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 their matchups.
In the words of noted scholar Charles Barkley, Week 6 was horr-awful for streaming defenses. All of the top five scorers for the past week were owned in at least 60 percent of ESPN Leagues. It was particularly brutal for my three suggestions, two of which scored negative points. Yikes.
Just seven D/STs racked up double digit points in Week 6. Kansas City continued their magical start to the season, pouring on a week-high 27 points to its already league leading total. The Chiefs have amassed 114 points this season, which is 39 more than any other D/ST. Things look promising in Week 7 as the bumbling Texans stroll into Arrowhead Stadium.
Speaking of Houston, Matt Schaub, T.J. Yates, and company gift-wrapped 25 points to the St. Louis D/ST in Week 6, making the Rams the second-highest scoring unit of the week. The Rams entered the week with just 23 points on the season. Four turnovers, five sacks and two defensive touchdowns later, and St. Louis is the No. 12 overall fantasy defense.
Here’s one crazy statistic from Week 6; in the Jacksonville at Denver matchup, the Jaguars’ defense scored more fantasy points (six) than the Broncos’ defense (five). And that sums up the cooky world of fantasy defenses.
Similar to Week 6, Week 7 is another one where some of the top matchups (Kansas City vs. Houston, Seattle at Arizona, San Francisco at Tennessee, New England at the Jets, Baltimore at Pittsburgh) fall to defenses who are likely owned in most leagues. There are, however, a couple of solid defenses with good matchups who you can target for this upcoming weekend.
Miami vs. Buffalo – owned in 14.0% of ESPN eagues
In Sunday’s tilt at Miami, Buffalo will be trotting out a backup quarterback (at the very least second string, maybe worse) and a banged up running back. These are two things that work in favor of the well-rested Miami Dolphins, who are coming off of a bye week. Miami’s defense has produced well when presented with a favorable matchup, averaging 14 points per game in its contests against Cleveland and Baltimore. The Dolphins D/ST fell on its face in games against New Orleans and Atlanta, weighing down its overall season totals. The Dolphins will be facing either Jeff Tuel, Matt Flynn, or Thad Lewis at quarterback. None of these QBs necessarily inspire fear in a defense.
Carolina vs. St. Louis – owned in 35% of ESPN leagues
Quietly, the Panthers have one of the better defenses in the NFL. Carolina ranks fourth in rushing yards allowed per game and seventh in passing yards allowed per game. The Panthers are fresh off a manhandling of Minnesota, where their D/ST totaled 12 points. Carolina has now reached double digits in three straight outings (average of 14.3 points during that time). Don’t let the box score fool you in the Rams’ 38-13 thrashing of Houston last week. St. Louis mustered only 216 yards in the win. While Zac Stacy has been an upgrade at running back, the Rams are averaging just 78 yards per game on the ground. This is simply a matter of a bad offense going on the road to face a very good defense.
Green Bay vs. Cleveland – owned in 66% of ESPN leagues
Green Bay toes the line of being owned in too many leagues to be included here. Despite being owned in 66 percent of ESPN leagues, the Packers are owned in just 45 percent of Yahoo! leagues which makes them eligible for a spot in In My Defense. After a truly awful start to the season, the Green Bay D/ST has rebounded fairly well. The Packers are averaging 12.6 fantasy points in their previous three games. Green Bay plays host to Brandon Weeden and the Browns in Week 7. Cleveland cant’t do much on the ground, so the chain-moving responsibility falls mostly on Weeden. In case you were unaware, this is a great thing for opposing defenses. Yes, Josh Gordon is a flat-out stud and will probably get his work in this one, but Weeden is a turnover waiting to happen (five picks and three fumbles in four starts).