One of the biggest mistakes novice fantasy players make is reaching too early in a draft for a team defense. This is a mistake for several reasons, but most importantly because you can stream the position, picking up a defense with a great matchup each week.
In this series, I’ll be highlighting the best defensive matchups with an emphasis on defenses that should be available in most leagues.
Best Streaming Defenses Week 3
The Chicago Bears defense put up another great week. They have the best matchup according to the RotoViz Fantasy Streaming app against a truly dysfunctional Arizona team which may be the worst in the league. The Cardinals have only scored six points in two games. They have run only 94 plays and have gained just 350 yards of total offense. For comparison, 19 different teams are averaging more than 350 yards per game in 2018. The Cardinals have managed only 19 first downs on the season. Of the 31 other teams in the NFL, 25 have doubled that number.
Hopefully you were able to pick up the Bears last week and enjoyed the 19-point outing against Seattle on Monday night. The Bears are third in total fantasy points through two weeks yet are still available in 41 percent of ESPN leagues.
The second DST in total fantasy points through two weeks is the Dallas Cowboys. Like the Bears, it’s looking like the Cowboys might also be an elite every-week DST option. The Cowboys dominated the New York Giants, with six sacks and a forced fumble. The Seattle line is even worse than New York’s, ranking dead last in adjusted sack rate allowed. Doug Baldwin also remains out.
New York Jets
After two weeks the Jets DST is the top defense in total fantasy points scored and they have another good matchup this week against the Cleveland Browns. The Jets should be owned in much more than the 25 percent of ESPN leagues in which they find themselves on a fantasy roster.
The Miami Dolphins defense has five interceptions through two weeks and rank fifth in total points scored, yet are available in 81 percent of ESPN leagues. They brought rookie sensation Sam Darnold back down to earth with three sacks and two interceptions. Miami is 4.5-point favorites against the Raiders who have an implied total of only 19.5 points.
Elite Defenses to Hold
If you include the Cleveland Browns defense (10 fantasy points per game, 5.5 percent owned) all of the teams mentioned so far have a higher points-per-game average through two weeks than Minnesota and Jacksonville. I am not saying you should drop the Vikings. If you own them, they are an excellent play this week, as they face the Buffalo Bills, a team that is averaging only 3.7 yards per play, tied for the worst mark in the league.1 This fact does clearly show the advantage of streaming defenses, however.
Once-Elite Defenses to Drop
It is likely time to cut ties with the New Orleans Saints, who are 52 percent owned, despite a -2.0 weekly fantasy-point average, and the Patriots, who are 81 percent owned and are averaging only 2.0 points per game. The Chargers might get dropped in your league. I wouldn’t really blame you if you are the one dropping them since there are better streaming options available and Joey Bosa is not expected to return until October.
- The other is, you guessed it, the Cardinals. (back)