Dreaming of Streaming: Week 3 Update
September 19, 2014 | C.D. Carter
I would’ve been bullish about the Saints’ Week 3 defensive prospects even if the Vikings offered their extended middle finger to a horrified public and plugged Adrian Peterson into their starting lineup.
Now, with Peterson out this week and maybe for a very long time, Minnesota has an offense captained by Matt Cassel — he of a 59 percent career completion rate — with a replacement-level running back taking carries in an environment that will be decidedly hostile.
Rob Ryan’s defense might not be good, but it doesn’t really matter here.
Why am I so confident in New Orleans this week (confident enough to rank them as a top-3 defensive play)? Cassel, in the last eight games that have seen him throw more than 35 passes — an arbitrary number, I realize — has averaged 1.87 interceptions and a 57.5 percent completion rate. That’s not bad; that’s horrific.
And then there’s the surprising late-week addition of Cordarrelle Patterson to Minnesota’s injury report. Chances are Patterson suits up, but if he doesn’t, New Orleans could become the top defensive play of Week 3.
The problem with the New Orleans defense, according to Ryan and game watchers alike, has been a lack of communication. It’s not systemic, it’s not a lack of talent or speed — it’s the occasional cover guy not talking to the other cover guy, as happened a couple times in the team’s Week 2 loss to Cleveland.
This helped ease my degenerate mind in tapping the Saints’ defense as an elite Week 3 play. Well, that and Cassel keeping his job as Minnesota’s field general. Good luck with that, Vikes.
Here are some other last minute notes as we approach Week 3…
* Don’t overlook Cleveland as a legit option against a Baltimore offense in disarray. The Ravens’ running game is a total disaster, with Bernard Pierce looking like the love child of Larry Johnson and Trent Richardson and the Ravens’ offensive linemen failing to open any sort of running lanes for their runners. The Browns managed 12 fantasy points against the Saints defense last week, giving me the sneaking suspicion that they’ll be just fine against Joe Flacco and his bumbling group of buddies. The Rotoviz Streaming D app is also madly in love with the Browns’ defense this week. Take note.
* If we’re looking for defenses that will get a chance to take advantage of an inaccurate quarterback who will likely have to fling it around the ballpark on Sunday afternoon, the Chargers are not our team. The Bills are throwing the ball on just 44 percent of their offensive snaps through two weeks — a percentage straight out of the NFL’s Stone Ages — and Buffalo is favored in an affair Vegas expects to be low scoring. I simply don’t get the appeal of San Diego’s defense this week.
* The Dolphins‘ defense is the league’s top-rated unit, according to Pro Football Focus’ defensive grades. The Fins are sporting PFF’s top run defense and third-best pass defense. Miami put the clamps on Buffalo last week, but didn’t create turnovers against the ultra-conservative Bills’ offense. That’s to be expected, really. Miami, at home against a Chiefs’ offense that appears to be quite a mess, is a nice play if our top streamers have been plucked from your local waiver wire. Rotoviz’s Streaming D app has the Dolphins as their 10th best defensive play, just behind the Seahawks.