Dreaming of Streaming: Week 6
October 7, 2014 | C.D. Carter
Probably you’re tired of reading this, but it bears repeating: Defensive streamers, or anyone interested in scoring fantasy points in that fickle defensive spot, should prioritize teams that apply consistent pressure on the passer and units that play against erratic quarterbacks who will likely throw the ball a lot.
We saw this strategy play out nicely once again in Week 6, as the Packers, Chargers, and Lions took full advantage of opposing signal callers who handed over fantasy points in an oh-so-predictable fashion.
And predictability, as you well know, is a word not often used in conversations about fantasy defenses. As esteemed 4for4.com writer Chris Raybon wrote this summer…
Defense/Special Teams scoring is very volatile from week to week. On average, the position scores 67 percent more or 67 percent less than their actual seasonal mean fantasy points per game. That 67 percent figure is called the coefficient of variation (CV), which is the standard deviation in weekly fantasy points divided by the mean of weekly fantasy points. At 67 percent, defense/special teams is the most volatile fantasy position along with tight end (also 67 percent). … Points allowed is less strongly correlated to defense/special teams fantasy points than turnovers and sacks; limiting points alone will usually not be enough to post a good score unless accompanied by some turnovers and sacks.
Let’s forget about points allowed for a moment — since that has very little to do with defensive fantasy production — and focus on teams that are pressuring quarterbacks and forcing turnovers through six weeks of the 2014 season.
The Chiefs, Ravens, Dolphins, Cowboys, and Seahawks have the best pass rushes in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus’ season-long grades, while the Bengals, Falcons, Cardinals, and Jaguars have the league’s worst pass rushes. We saw why the Bengals are a shaky play on Sunday night, when Tom Brady operated from a clean pocket and picked apart of Cincy secondary. Take note.
And while the Colts, Patriots, Bills, Dolphins, Bears, Texans, 49ers, Packers, and Giants all averaged at least two takeaways per game, there are a handful of defenses that simply aren’t generating turnovers. Those units include the Saints, Jets, Chiefs, Broncos, and Seahawks, all of which average .6 turnovers or less.
Our choices will become clearer as data piles up and we have larger sample sizes with which to work. It’s important to note the defenses putting pressure on the passer and creating turnovers, without considering matchup. We can then use weekly Streaming Scores to determine the favorability of their upcoming matchup.
It’s a good formula, and it served us well in Week 5, as seen below.
|Team||Week 5 Streaming Score||Points/rank|
See below for Week 6’s Streaming Scores, with analysis below each block of teams.
* The Jags, even in a seemingly favorable home matchup against an injury-riddled Pittsburgh secondary, proved to be a sieve for opposing defenses. I think Blake Bortles will prove to be a usable quarterback streamer, but he’s clearly a target — if only because Jacksonville doesn’t have anything resembling a running game, leaving defenses to tee off against the rookie signal caller and his cast of misfit pass catchers. The Jaguars have given up six turnovers in their past three contests and still lead the league in fantasy points allowed to opposing defenses. They’re a disaster, they’re playing on the road as an underdog, and the Titans have a top-7 pass rush, according to PFF. Tennessee — owned in 3 percent of leagues — is our Don’t Overthink It play of the week.
* The Bucs are not nearly the pushovers they were when Josh McCown was behind center. Mike Glennon is something better than a terrible quarterback, and he’s acquitted himself nicely in two straight showings. Opposing defenses are averaging three measly fantasy points per game against the Glennon-led Tampa offense. Glennon has been sacked just twice in his two 2014 starts. I’d be wary of the Ravens on the road.
* Denver’s defense is available on close to 20 percent of waiver wires. I’d highly recommend you snag the Broncos as they get set to face one of our favorite streaming targets: Geno Smith. Smith, who was benched in Week 5’s loss to San Diego, continued to show why we want him throwing the rock in catchup mode. That’s precisely what he’ll do in Week 6, unless you think the struggling New York secondary can contain Peyton’s Perfect Machine. Geno, who averages 1.9 interceptions in Gang Green losses, offers Denver a ridiculously high fantasy floor in this one.
* I’m a tad surprised that the Chargers don’t have a higher Streaming Score against one of the most generous opposing offenses of the young NFL season. No matter though — stream San Diego once again as they’ll get another chance to feast on a bottom-feeding quarterback who will likely have to throw 40 times to keep up with the scorching hot Chargers offense. Oakland sports a bottom-7 run blocking unit, meaning they’ll have to chuck it quite a bit in this one. The Raiders have committed 10 turnovers over their past three games.
* I’d fade the Colts this week, if at all possible. They’re on the road against a Texans offense that — despite my expectations — is not turning the ball over much at all. Opposing defenses have been held to three points or fewer in three of Houston’s first five games. The Rotoviz Streaming D app has the Colts pegged as one of the worst Week 6 defensive options.
* Be very careful with going full steam ahead with the Lions defense this week. Teddy Bridgewater is expected back, the Vikes are playing at home, and Minnesota’s defensive points-against have been artificially inflated by disastrous performances from Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. I won’t have Detroit ranked as a top-10 Week 6 option.