Dreaming of Streaming: Week 16 December 16, 2014  |  C.D. Carter



We saw the power of home field advantage in Week 15. It’s an edge we’ve chased throughout the 2014 season, and for good reason. Five of our top Streaming Scores in Week 15 notched top-12 numbers, with the hapless Tennessee Titans’ defense being the lone failure.

Alas, the Titans are terrible on every level and defensive streamers were right to be cautious about their Week 15 prospects, even against Geno Smith and his merry gang of Gang Green.

Below is a look at how our top Week 15 defensive plays fared in semifinal matchups…


Defense Week 15 Streaming Score Week 15 fantasy points Week 15 D/ST rank
Giants 6 13 6th
Ravens 6 20 1st
Titans 5.5 7 19th
Cardinals 5.5 13 6th
Panthers 4.5 10 11th
Chiefs 4.5 16 5th


We’re moving on to championship week. I have notes about context behind this week’s Streaming Scores, as quarterback changes and recent trends aren’t fully reflected in a defense’s Streaming Score after only a week or two.

I think it’s still vitally important to listen to what each score is telling us though. Many did that by deploying the Arizona defense over St. Louis on Thursday Night Football, and they gained nine fantasy points for it.

I hope this sort of analysis has helped you pinpoint worthwhile streaming plays in 2014. Everything I do in fantasy emphasizes process over results, and I can’t think of a better example than quantifying a defensive matchup and continually going with the best available options rather than reaching for borderline plays that seem like juicy matchups.

Best of luck in your Week 16 title bouts.


Defense Week 16 opponent Week 16 Streaming Score
Eagles Washington 6
Patriots Jets 5.5
Titans Jaguars 5.5
Browns Panthers 5
Seahawks Cardinals 5
Giants Rams 5
Bills Raiders 5


*  We have, for the first time in 2014, seven Streaming Scores of at least five points. That’s fully two teams more than we usually have in the top tier of defensive streamers. My only qualm with this seemingly endless well of options is that every single one is playing on the road. That’s, well, something less than ideal. They are all favored in Vegas, however, which should be the focal point of any committed defensive streamer. There’s really only one home team defense I would elevate into the top Week 16 tier: Jacksonville. More on that defense later.


*  Those who have Seattle’s defense should rightfully be licking their chops. The Seahawks’ defense — which has been nothing short of suffocating over the past month — goes against Ryan Lindley, who somehow still has a job in pro football. He is the quarterback for whom we made a hashtag in 2012. He’s terribly inaccurate and has little awareness. Lindley is a living, breathing turnover waiting to happen. My only reservation here: Bruce Arians has been masterful this season in limiting sacks and turnovers. It’s why I shied away from the Rams last week. It’s why only a handful of teams have given up fewer fantasy points to opposing defenses. Seattle could go nuclear if — and only if — they build a big lead on the Cardinals and force Lindley to the air. A defensive battle and a close game, however, severely limits the Seahawks’ upside in this one.


*  St. Louis is a solid play against a Giants’ offense giving up 1.9 turnovers per game — the fifth most in the NFL after 15 weeks. Don’t forget about New York’s defense though. The Rams’ offense has been a garbage dump outside of somehow roasting the Denver defense in November. The Rams allow 1.5 turnovers per game and average the sixth fewest total yards. I think that gives the Giants a nice floor in this matchup, and the Rams’ bottom-5 offensive line — per Pro Football Focus — could give Big Blue a chance to pile up the sacks against Shaun Hill, like we saw last week against Arizona. I’ll have New York ranked as a top-10 play for Week 16. The Giants’s defense has taken full advantage of a favorable late-season schedule, posting 12, 27, and 13 fantasy points over their past three.


*  The Patriots and Eagles are no-brainer plays. Perhaps someone will be scared off by the ghost of RGIII looking a little like 2012 RGIII against the Giants, but Philly has a tremendous ceiling in this one. And New England should terrorize Geno Smith once they build a lead against the bumbling Jets.


*  It doesn’t matter all that much who starts for Jacksonville on Thursday night. Chad Henne, in fact, might be an upgrade over Blake Bortles. The Titans’ defense is a borderline top-12 play despite their high Streaming Score, in my humble estimation. We saw the Jets look like a functional offense against Tennessee last week, and now the Titans are on the road. Tennessee’s defense simply doesn’t generate turnovers and sacks. They haven’t cracked seven fantasy points since mid-October. Beware.


Defense Week 16 opponent Week 16 Streaming Score
Jaguars Titans 4.5
Rams Giants 4.5
Panthers Browns 4
Lions Bears 4
Packers Bucs 4
Ravens Texans 3.5
Dolphins Vikings 3.5


*  Here are the defenses I’d start over the Jaguars this week: Seattle, New England, Detroit, Buffalo, Baltimore and St. Louis. That’s it. That’s the list. With the Titans down to Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback, this is a great opportunity to pounce on one of the NFL’s most inaccurate quarterbacks — precisely what we look for in streaming defenses. Here are Whitehurst’s completion percentages over his past eight appearances: 57.5, 40, 57.1, 52.1, 61.9, 60.6, 65, 41.7. Tennessee, now in complete meltdown mode, is allowing 2.8 turnovers per game over the past three weeks. They barely gain 300 total yards per game. They average 2.3 giveaways on the road. The Jags’ defense isn’t nearly as bad as you might think, as they’re so often put in terrible situations by the team’s moribund, turnover-addicted offense. Jacksonville isn’t the safest play, but I maintain that the Jaguars have a fantasy ceiling that could win fantasy championships.


*  The Packers’ defense simply isn’t the same on the road. They’ve been dominant at home, but just average in road contests. Josh McCown isn’t nearly the streaming target I thought he’d be in 2014, in large part because he’s willing to simply toss it to his big wide receivers when they’re in man coverage. Green Bay is a decent play that has a somewhat frightening floor in Week 16. I’d prefer the Jags.


*  It seems many fantasy footballers are champing at the bit to deploy the Dolphins against the Vikings. I don’t get the appeal. Minnesota’s offense is hardly intimidating, but like the Cardinals, they don’t allow turnovers. Opponents have scored fewer than eight fantasy points in five of the past seven games against Teddy Bridgewater’s offense. Perhaps the Vikings’ bottom-7 pass blocking offensive line could lead to a handful of sacks for Miami’s sometimes-vicious pass rush, but beyond that that, I don’t see the Dolphins as a must-play high-upside option.


Defense Week 16 opponent Week 16 Streaming Score
Raiders Bills 3
49ers Chargers 3
Falcons Saints 3
Colts Cowboys 2.5
Bears Lions 2.5
Broncos Bengals 2.5



12 Responses

  1. j. bo says:

    Jaguars, giants or panthers defense? In order?

  2. Freddyg says:

    Would you play jags today or wait for waivers to see if u get Detroit? My backup is Balt.

  3. Andy says:

    I have Baltimore and Jacksonville…I’m fully prepared to start JAX because I’ve got Foster going against BAL, and I hate having my studs go against my defense. Unless you think there’s a huge difference between the two…are you good with me starting JAX over BAL?

  4. Norman says:

    With Clausen starting over turkey neck, does Det make an even more appealing D then GB, Phi or I guess Jax?

  5. David says:

    What do you think of the Texans vs Ravens? Its not a great matchup but Texans seem to generate sacks and turnovers.

    • c.d. carter says:

      Texans do indeed generate sacks and turnovers, but the Ravens don’t give up much of either. I won’t have Houston among my top-12 defenses this week.

  6. Cam says:

    What about @CAR v. Johnny Turnover? I was excited by this matchup, what am I missing?

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