DST Streaming: Week 3
September 19, 2017 | Scott Cedar
Week 1 was so terrible that it generated headlines like “Wow, Week 1 of the NFL Was Terrible.” Unfortunately, Week 2 wasn’t much better. It turns out fantasy football isn’t much fun when nobody is scoring.
Except for defenses, that is. Defenses are scoring plenty. Last year there were 45 games where a defense scored 15+ points. There have already been ten this season. There’s probably some regression coming, but for now, streaming defenses is like shooting fish in a barrel. (Which I assume is easy… I’ve never mongered fish.) Let’s get to it.
All defenses owned in under 50% of Yahoo leagues.
Philadelphia (vs. New York Giants)
The Eagles defense held up pretty well in a tough road matchup against Kansas City. I mean, they held Kareem Hunt to only 109 total yards and 2 touchdowns, both career lows for the future HOFer.
The strength of this defense is its front seven, which through two games ranks first in the league with 17 QB hits. Meanwhile, the Giants’ biggest weakness is their offensive line, so you can see where this is headed. With no chance of establishing a running game, the Giants are going to be totally one dimensional, making it even easier to tee off on Eli Manning. Throw in the fact that the Giants are a dumpster fire without Odell Beckham Jr., who despite playing on Monday is pretty clearly not 6-8 weeks removed from his 6-8 week injury, and you have a premium streamer for the week.
Green Bay (vs. Cincinnati)
The Bengals offense has been so bad through two games that it nearly inspired a mutiny… yeah, we can stream against that. That offensive line was a major concern coming into the season, and it’s looked even worse than expected. Andy Dalton has been sacked on nearly 11% of his dropbacks (4th most in the NFL), and just two games in he’s already looking shook.
Now the Bengals will have to go on the road as 9.5 point underdogs to face the Packers, whose pass defense appears to have improved from god-awful a season ago to respectably mediocre through two games. I think we already saw this play out in Week 1, when the Seahawks’ bottom-feeder offensive line went into Green Bay and got absolutely manhandled by a good Packers d-line. The Packers racked up 7 QB hits and 3 sacks in that game, allowing just 3 field goals en route to a top 10 DST finish. Green Bay has both a high floor and a high ceiling in Week 3.
Tampa Bay (@ Minnesota)
I probably wouldn’t use Tampa Bay if Sam Bradford plays, but Dr. David Chao expects a multi-week absence.
Assuming he’s out, it’ll be turnover connoisseur Case Keenum under center, fresh off an exhilarating 37 attempt, 167 yard performance. Even on the road, this is a prime matchup for an underrated defense. The Buccaneers finished 6th against the pass in 2016 according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA, and picked up right where they left off against Chicago last week. Mike Glennon was completely overmatched, looking nothing like the guy who got $18.5 million guaranteed this offseason.
(Actually, Glennon looked exactly the same as he did in Tampa… why did they give him that contract???)
In any event, the Buccaneers crushed the Bears, forcing four turnovers and racking up 19 points. Don’t let the one sack fool you; Tampa’s front 7 dominated, racking up eight tackles for loss and eight QB hits. When you’re living in the backfield, the sacks will come. And putting pressure on Keenum is a very good thing.
Miami (@ New York Jets)
You can certainly play any defense against the Jets, but I’m less excited about the Dolphins than I should be. Both the Bills and the Raiders DSTs scored 9 points against the Jets. Put them together and you’d have the DST11 through two weeks. Solid, but nothing special.
As for the Dolphins, despite eking out a road win on Sunday, the defense didn’t look particularly good. They registered only 3 QB hits and 0 sacks against a pretty unimpressive Chargers offensive line, while allowing Philip Rivers to throw for over 300 yards. Not a great start after giving up the 4th most points to opposing quarterbacks last season. The Dolphins are definitely startable, but if I already have a good defense in a decent matchup, I probably wouldn’t move off of them to get Miami.
Tennessee (vs. Seattle)
You probably didn’t need a 5th streaming option, so I’ll be quick. Seattle’s offense has a touchdown so far, and could not have been more underwhelming… umm, less overwhelming… let’s just say they were not good at home against the 49ers in Week 2. While I remain optimistic on Seattle’s long-term prospects, I doubt the breakout comes in Tennessee. Seattle was especially bad on the road last year, averaging 12 fewer points per game as their efficiency plummeted (2.45 points per drive at home, 1.34 points per drive on the road per the RotoViz Team Splits App). The Titans are 2.5 point favorites, suggesting a close matchup, but if the Titans build a lead like in Week 2 they’ll be in prime position to take advantage of the Seahawks’ o-line woes. Wilson is a great quarterback and has three receivers capable of making big plays, so this is probably more of a contrarian play for DFS than a season-long recommendation.
Happy streaming. Any questions, hit me up on Twitter @scedar015.