In My Defense is a weekly feature designed to give you a little advice when it comes to streaming defenses. By nature, defensive scoring is extremely random and difficult to forecast, but each week we’ll take a look at three defenses who are readily available in the majority of leagues and may be in line for a nice output based on matchups.
After a lackluster round of prognostications in the opening week, Week 2 was much kinder to “In My Defense”. Two of my three suggestions proved useful this week. Baltimore (11 points) and Oakland (10) were top-12 performers in Week 2 while Philadelphia (-2), my other streaming option, didn’t work out very well (to put it nicely). Hey, no one saw that coming from Philip Rivers and company!
En route to bottling up San Francisco on Sunday evening, Seattle led all defenses with 21 points. In all, just five defenses produced more than 11 points in standard scoring leagues. The “out of nowhere” performance of the week goes to Minnesota, who rode the turnover train to 17 points against Chicago. The Vikings were unowned in 91.9 percent of ESPN leagues.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns – owned in 8.1% of ESPN leagues
Speaking of the Vikings, they have a very enticing home matchup with Cleveland in Week 3. Previous defenses that have faced the Browns (Miami and Baltimore) have scored 16 and 11 points , respectively, which is good for the third highest total in the league. Simply put: the Browns offense is awful. Toss in the Week 2 hand injury to Brandon Weeden and we could be looking at Jason Campbell on the road, in a very loud stadium, with Josh Gordon, Greg Little, and Davone Bess as his top wideouts. Need I say more?
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills – owned in 4.0% of ESPN leagues
The Jets have played solid defense in their first two games, but it hasn’t translated into big fantasy numbers. They’ve amassed only 15 fantasy points through two weeks. New York is allowing a stout 15.5 points per game and is coming off a solid showing against New England. E.J. Manuel has looked pretty good thus far, but the trip to New York will be the first road test for the former ‘Nole and the Bills’ no-huddle offense. Rex and his defense will have extra time to prepare, as well.
New Orleans vs. Arizona Cardinals – owned in 5.1% of ESPN leagues
Drew Brees and the offense will always dominate the headlines for New Orleans, but the Saints’ defense has been rather impressive this season. New Orleans held Atlanta to 17 points in Week 1 and followed that up with a good showing in Week 2’s 16-14 win at Tampa Bay. Because of a lack of turnovers, the Saints D/ST is averaging just 8.5 fantasy points per contest. The Cards’ have a very weak offensive line, and New Orleans loves to blitz, racking up six sacks through two games. It also helps that Arizona dynamo Larry Fitzgerald is battling a hamstring injury (although he professes he will play). In a week where a lot of the best matchups are held by defenses who aren’t going to be available in most leagues, you could do much worse than the Saints.
Defenses that are likely unavailable but have juicy matchups
Seattle (vs. Jacksonville), New England (vs. Tampa Bay), Chicago (at Pittsburgh) and Denver (vs. Oakland). And since I said juicy, here’s a link to one of the greatest rap songs of all time.