DST Streaming: Week 2
September 12, 2017 | Scott Cedar
In Week 1 passes were thrown by Scott Tolzien, Jacoby Brissett, Tom Savage, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Josh McCown, Mike Glennon, Blake Bortles, Brian Hoyer, and Trevor Siemian. That’s ¼ of the league, before we even get into the shaky veterans like Jay Cutler and Eli Manning or the exploitable youngsters like DeShone Kizer and Carson Wentz.
In other words, this is a golden age for streaming defenses.
The thing to remember is streaming defenses isn’t about the defense itself, it’s about the opposing offense. Our ideal scenario is to have our defense against a bad quarterback playing from behind, meaning he has to throw a lot in obvious passing downs. That’s how we rack up sacks, turnovers, and with a little luck, touchdowns. Points allowed is secondary… that’ll give us a floor, but we want ceiling too. The defense’s actual talent? That matters too, but the primary driver is the opposing offense. After all, the best defenses aren’t sitting around on waivers.
Putting it all together, our streaming targets are: (1) at home; (2) favored to win; and (3) playing a bad quarterback. Bonus points for bad offensive lines, low implied team totals (based on Vegas lines), and the defense’s talent. We won’t always check all of those boxes, but that’s the North Star guiding this adventure.
For purposes of this column, we’re going to focus on defenses owned in under 50% of Yahoo leagues. Let’s get to it.
Baltimore (vs. Cleveland)
Home favorite against a rookie quarterback? That’ll play. Especially coming off a dominant road win in which the Baltimore D forced not one, not two, not three, not four, not… oh sorry, yes, four interceptions. The Ravens were a really strong defense last year, and in Week 1 they picked up right where they left off.
As for DeShone Kizer, he looked pretty good in his first start on Sunday, but still threw an INT and took 7 sacks. Both of those were problems throughout the preseason, and not exactly surprising given his inexperience. Kizer will make a few plays on Sunday, but the rookie mistakes will generate plenty of points for the Ravens D.
Oakland (vs. New York Jets)
It’s going to get really old talking about streaming against the Jets, but we’ll be doing it every week because you can quite literally stream any team playing the Jets. Case in point: last week the tanking/division-leading Bills—who traded away multiple defensive starters during the preseason and may have one of the worst sets of cornerbacks in the league—still forced 2 INTs and a sack while holding the Jets to 12 points. And of course with any Jets game there’s a chance we get some Christian Hackenberg… Josh McCown usually can’t go more than a quarter and a half before leaving the game with a rib injury, and having finished Week 1 unscathed, I’d say he’s overdue.
As for Oakland’s defense, they were a positive surprise on Sunday. The Raiders finished dead last in net yards/attempt last season, and with their top two draft picks out (CB Gareon Conley and S Obi Melifonwu), I figured it’d be the same old story against the Titans. Instead, the Raiders held their own, limiting the Titans to just 16 points in a road win. They’re the safest streaming play this week.
Cincinnati (vs. Houston)
The best thing about streaming a defense against a rookie quarterback on the road in his first start on a short week is that you’re streaming a defense against a rookie quarterback on the road in his first start on a short week. After Tom Savage came out looking exactly like the guy who couldn’t beat out Brock Osweiler last year, Bill O’Brien decided to pull his starting quarterback in Week 1 for the 2nd time in 3 years. That means it’ll be Deshaun Watson on Thursday night against the Bengals.
Watson was not a particularly good college passer, and looked out of his element this preseason (29/56, 0 TDs, 1 INT). It was no surprise, then, when he struggled in relief duty on Sunday (albeit against a very good Jaguars defense), going 12/23 for 102 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. Watson will hit on some splash plays, and will make plays with his legs, but he’s going to throw a lot of picks and take a lot of sacks behind a bad Texans o-line.
Meanwhile, Cincinnati’s defense played pretty well on Sunday, it was just hard to notice with the offense imploding. I also like that they’re playing on Thursday Night Football… if you’re going to sit through a sloppy disaster of a game, you should at least be getting something out of it.
Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Miami)
I debated the Chargers and the Buccaneers (vs. Chicago) for a while. I ultimately decided against the Bucs because I think the Bears will try run as much as they can and limit Mike Glennon’s opportunities to make mistakes. I think the Dolphins will try do all of that too; Jay Cutler just won’t listen.
Due to the hurricane, we haven’t had a chance to see what a 34-year-old Cutler coming out of retirement looks like. Some would point to Cutler’s season with Adam Gase in 2015—in which Cutler threw “only” 11 INTs—as evidence he can be a competent game manager. I’m going to bet the guy who made it pretty clear he does not care does not, in fact, care. There’s a reason Cutler has been talking up jump-baller DeVante Parker rather than safety valve Jarvis Landry. That’s the attitude you like from your opposing quarterback.
As for the Chargers, home field advantage may not mean much in a 20,000 seat stadium, but this is a good defense. They started 2017 with a solid road performance, amassing 4 sacks and 2 turnovers (and juuust missing an early pick-6), good enough to sneak into the top 12. Expect more in Week 2.
Happy streaming. Any questions, hit me up on Twitter @scedar015.