Dreaming of Streaming: Week 9 Update
October 31, 2014 | C.D. Carter
Washington’s relentless Week 8 pressuring of the oft-injured Tony Romo was no mistake, and if Washington beat writers and defensive coaches are to be believed, we shouldn’t expect anything less in Week 9 against an exploitable Minnesota offensive line.
We streamed Buffalo’s defense against the Vikings a couple weeks back precisely because Minnesota have proven almost totally incapable of protecting their various quarterbacks. The Vikings, after all, sport some of the lowest-graded guards and tackles the NFL has to offer, per Pro Football Focus.
Washington committed to blitzing one more guy than the Dallas offensive line could handle last Monday night. Watch for that once again against a Minnesota line that has allowed 20 sacks over the past month. Tampa’s front seven only got to the rookie once in Week 8.
I think that makes Washington, which has a nice Week 9 Streaming Score of 4.5, an excellent fallback option if you miss out on the Chiefs, Bengals, Browns, and 49ers. They could have one of the highest fantasy floors of the week since they’re likely to get to Teddy Bridgewater again and again in a game that Vegas expects to be relatively low scoring.
Bridgewater, by the bye, has completed 46.9 percent of his passes when under pressure this year, notching a terribly low 4.8 yards per pass when pressured. Washington will continue to field one of the league’s most abysmal coverage units, but consistent pressure on the passer should compensate for those coverage flaws.
Against a stuck-in-the-mud offense like Minnesota, I don’t see any reason to hedge on Washington’s defense as a secondary option. The Rotoviz Streaming D app, for what it’s worth, has tapped Washington as a top-5 Week 9 option.
Here are a couple more notes on Week 9 defensive options…
* I’m not sure if I’m legally allowed to write this, or if I’ll have my degenerate card ripped from my hands, but I don’t hate the Jaguars defense this week against the Bengals. Yes, they’re on the road, and yes, they’re once again a major underdog — two factors we weight heavily when considering weekly streamers. Jacksonville, very quietly, has been a top-10 fantasy defense over the past month, scoring seven points or more in three of the past four. While the Jags’ defense is constantly put in unenviable spots thanks to Blake Bortles’ prowess for unspeakably bad turnovers, they’ve held their own and make for a decent option in deep leagues during this bye week apocalypse. The Jaguars have recorded three or more sacks in four straight games. They face a Bengals offense that isn’t particularly prone to turnovers, but shouldn’t scare us all that much even with the return of a gimpy A.J. Green.
* The Denver and New England defenses are owned in 86 and 91 percent of leagues, respectively. If you’re one of these owners and have major reservations about deploying a defense set to do battle in Vegas’ highest-scoring affair of the week, I think you might want to reconsider. Unless, that is, you have a defense with one of the week’s top-5 Streaming Scores. Weather prognosticators in New England have said in recent days that wind speeds could reach 30 MPH, with some reports going so far as to mention gusts of 45-50 MPH. Precipitation is not closely correlated with scoring, but wind certainly is. I don’t think Peyton Manning and Tom Brady — as good as they’ve been — are immune to that sort of extreme wind. The Patriots’ defense has flourish of late with three double-digit fantasy outings since the beginning of October. They have the NFL’s ninth-best pass coverage unit, per PFF, while Denver has the league’s second-best secondary. Only the Jets rank higher than the Broncos in run defense, according to PFF. If you think the Brady-Manning Bowl will be suspiciously low scoring — and I think there’s good reason to suspect just that — then either defense makes for a reasonable play if you don’t have the Chiefs, Browns, or Browns.