Streaming Defenses: Navigating the Fantasy Playoffs
Streaming defenses uses the Streaming D app and the wizardry of Jeremy Marin and Matt Wispe to provide the best low-owned defensive options each week.
Week 11 signifies the impending approach of most fantasy leagues’ playoffs. If you are already locked into the playoffs and/or have extra bench spots available to you, now is the time to think about the best streaming defenses for the championship run. Let’s look at a couple of different ways to go about this.
Locking in one defense with three plus matchups
Obviously, this strategy is ideal, as you do not sacrifice any bench spots to extra defenses. Using the Streaming D app and filtering for weeks 14 through 16, we see the best options available.
If you were able to secure the Jacksonville defense, read no further, you are set. They have been one of the most dominating defenses in recent memory and could be an elite unit for a few seasons with their young core. However, if you do not have them, there are still a few other options.
They come off their bye, so their ownership has dipped. If they are still available, grab them. They face both the Colts and Browns in the last two weeks of the playoffs. Those two teams happen to be No. 1 and 2 in allowing fantasy points to defenses. If you have a bye locked in, this is the team to get. Even if you do not, a Week 14 meeting with Pittsburgh is not ideal, but the Ravens did manage to score some fantasy points last time out.
Detroit doesn’t get to face the Browns or Colts, but they do face teams that have given up the fourth, fifth, and 18th most fantasy points thus far in Chicago, Cincinnati, and Tampa Bay. All three of those offenses have struggled with scoring points and turning the ball over, so the Lions should feast.
Washington is currently owned in less than 12 percent of leagues on ESPN but has a top-three playoff schedule. While the matchup against the Chargers is middling, Week 15 and 16 games against Arizona and Denver are enticing, as both are in the top eight for fantasy points allowed.
The Bears face the woeful Browns in Week 16, which helps them make a top-five option for the playoffs. Chicago is quietly a top-10 fantasy defense and has less than 50 percent ownership. They also face Cincinnati and Detroit – two teams in the top 12 in fantasy points allowed – but do face them on the road. They might be better suited for the next strategy.
Matching Defenses based on Schedule
If your team is playoff bound, most of the bench players at this point in the season are expendable, as they are very unlikely to crack your starting lineup. Grabbing a second defense could be much more beneficial in this case. Referring back to the Streaming D app, we can mix and match a couple of defenses that have favorable games on opposite weeks. Ideally, we will target the offenses that give fantasy defenses the most points. The last few weeks it is also important to keep an eye on teams that may be out of the hunt that want to see what a rookie can do for them before the offseason. That makes teams like the Buffalo Bills ones to monitor and see if they would make a favorable target down the stretch. Based on our current knowledge, here are a few options.
Week 14 Matchups
Week 14 actually has three fantastic low-owned options. The Jets have the best matchup against Denver, the Packers have the second best versus Cleveland, and the Bills have the third best with the Colts. All three defenses are currently owned in less than 15 percent of ESPN leagues.
Week 15 Matchups
Week 15 isn’t as kind, as the only favorable, low-owned option is Indianapolis facing Denver. Other decent options are Washington hosting Arizona and Buffalo hosting Miami.
Week 16 Matchups
Week 16 is a little better, as the Bears host Cleveland in a great matchup. Washington shows up again, this time against Denver as the best option for the week, and the Chargers facing off against the Jets offer a top-10 option if all else fails.
Piecing it together
With this information, you can grab one, two, or even three defenses based on matchups to try to maximize scoring. Here are a few options that stand out.
Two defenses rostered:
New York Jets and Washington
Really, this could be any of the three Week 14 options listed above and Washington, but for variety’s sake, we will go with the Jets, who will face the Broncos, to pair with Washington’s home games with Arizona and Denver. Given the recent quarterback play in Denver, having two defenses going up against them in the fantasy playoffs isn’t a bad idea.
Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears
As mentioned before, the Bears may be best suited for this section, and the Bills fit nicely with them. Despite the recent benching of Tyrod Taylor and the departure of Marcell Dareus, the Bills should be able to score fantasy points in a Week 14 home game against Indianapolis. Week 15, the Bills face the Dolphins in a decent matchup as well. That leaves Chicago to take over with their primo matchup Week 16 against the Browns. This would give you the defense going up against the Nos. 1, 7, and 2 teams in fantasy points allowed per game. Not a bad spot to be in.
Three Defenses Rostered:
Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears
Ideally, you wouldn’t use three roster spots for defenses, but if the room is there, this strategy could be a difference maker. Week 14, the Packers face the Browns, and Week 15, the Colts face Denver. These two are good to add to the Bears and their favorable Week 16 tilt. This trifecta could be changed with the other two great Week 14 matchups mentioned earlier as well, substituting the Packers for either the Jets or Bills.
Whether you secure one or as many as three defenses for your playoff run, matchups are key. Targeting teams that give up the most fantasy points to defenses are what you are looking for. Injuries have plagued QBs this year, and many backups are starting. Monitor these situations closely if the options mentioned here are taken by other savvy fantasy owners. Look for turnover and sack prone teams to exploit for the most points. Good luck!