DST Streaming: Week 11
November 14, 2017 | Scott Cedar
Welcome to Goldilocks week.
There is a host of terrible quarterbacks slated to start in Week 11, making a lot of defenses look like inviting streamers. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, none of the matchups is quite right. With everything a bit too hot or too cold, it’s a risky week to be streaming. In other words, if you like your defense already, consider holding on to them. Otherwise, here are some plays for Week 11.
All defenses owned in under 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Buffalo)
You know how in every teen romance movie there’s a dorky girl who transforms into a supermodel by getting a new dress, taking her glasses off, and letting her hair down? That’s the Bills. They’ve actually been a relatively bad matchup for opposing defenses in 2017, yielding only 5.9 points per game (22nd in the NFL). It’s just hard for defenses to score fantasy points without facing a lot of passing attempts, and the Bills have the 2nd fewest attempts in the league.
If you can force the Bills to throw, however, they instantly transform into the hot girl for fantasy defense purposes. Buffalo has been sacked on nearly 10% of its dropbacks this season—only the Colts have been sacked more often. And in their four losses, the Bills are averaging just 12.5 points per game.
This week the Bills are traveling across the country as four-point underdogs, having been outscored by 50 points in their last two games. Falling behind would be a disaster against the Chargers, who have two of the NFL’s best pass rushers and are tied for the 2nd most sacks in the league. I like their odds of putting Buffalo into passing situations and, at the very least, racking up sacks.
(Philip Rivers reported to work on Monday with concussion symptoms. If he’s out, the Chargers are still usable but become much riskier.)
Arizona Cardinals (@ Houston)
Literally anyone against Tom Savage. There is no situation where I’m not streaming against him.
Since taking over for Deshaun Watson, Savage has looked exactly like the guy who couldn’t beat out Osweiler last season. He’s literally the perfect target for a streaming defense: inaccurate (completing 46% of his passes) and doesn’t handle pressure (taking a sack on 11% of his dropbacks). The Texans’ formerly high-powered offense has completely shut down with Savage, scoring 14 and 7 points in their last two games. It doesn’t take a genius to see they’re trending toward a shutout on Sunday and -7 points in Week 12.
The Cardinals aren’t a great defense (19th per Football Outsiders), but they at least have Patrick Peterson to shut down DeAndre Hopkins. With Will Fuller likely out with cracked ribs, that should be enough. They’re our high floor, high ceiling option for the week.
Cincinnati Bengals (@ Denver)
Everything I just said about Savage? Ditto for Brock Osweiler. At least these guys “know the offense…”
In three games this season, Osweiler is completing just 52% of his passes and has thrown an interception on 4% of his passes. His 4.29 net adjusted yards per attempt would rank 5th lowest in the league if he had enough attempts to qualify. His two starts have both yielded top 10 finishes for the opposing defense. Not that it’s all on him. This team has been supporting opposing defenses all year (only the Colts and Browns allow more fantasy points to opposing defenses) and we can’t really blame Osweiler for the Broncos’ inept special teams.
For its part, Cincinnati has been a pretty good fantasy defense. They’re middle of the pack in points scored but have five DST1 finishes in nine games. They get good pressure (26 sacks, tied for 7th) and defend both the pass and run well.
The risk here is that the Bengals’ offensive line gets killed by the Denver defense, putting Osweiler close enough to get a few scores. Given what we’ve seen from Denver in recent weeks, plus the low over/under for this game (40), that’s not keeping me up at night.
Happy streaming. Any questions hit me up on Twitter @scedar015.