Week 2 proved fertile for those of us streaming defenses with both the Ravens and Lions finishing in the top 13 of weekly rankings, and the Bears salvaging an okay performance thanks to an Eddie Royal punt return for a score.1 With hopes to carry this momentum into next week, let’s take a look at defenses that are likely to be available in fantasy leagues.
AVAILABLE DEFENSES FOR WEEK 3
As noted last week, we will be using ownership percentages from ESPN fantasy leagues to identify potential streaming options. I have listed the 16 least-owned defenses below as well as their Week 3 opponent, preliminary line and over/under.
If you’re new to the site, the Streaming D App is a highly useful tool for quickly identifying defenses with favorable upcoming schedules. For those of you that like to plan ahead, here’s the app filtered for the next three weeks.
We streamed against the Browns in Week 1 with the Eagles and again in Week 2 with the Ravens. As a result, we managed to nab top 10 defenses in both of these weeks. Guess what? We will be going to the well once more in a matchup that checks all of the boxes. The Browns have been an easy target to stream against, and with rookie Cody Kessler likely taking over as the team’s quarterback in Week 3 that trend should continue. Kessler, who has yet to throw a regular season NFL pass, will get indoctrinated into the league as a significant underdog on the road.
Miami hit Russell Wilson nine times in Week 1 and recorded three sacks en route to finishing in the top four of weekly DST rankings. Though the team struggled against New England, this stream is less about the Dolphins and entirely about the situation. A home favorite squaring off against a rookie passer, for a weak offense, in his first start, is about as safe of a streaming option as they come.
Of course, the Browns did sign veteran Charlie Whitehurst but with less than a week to prep signs are pointing to Kessler making the start this week. Even if Whitehurst were to play, Cleveland would likely operate at a slow, ground-based pace, which would keep scoring to a minimum. Additionally, the team will be without starting center Cameron Erving who exited Sunday’s game with a pulmonary contusion.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Through two games, the Buccaneers defense has totaled three fantasy points. However, they are favored to beat the Rams by five and a half points at home on Sunday. Defenses opposing Los Angeles have averaged 11.5 points a game, recorded five sacks, two interceptions and allowed a total of only nine points to be scored by the Rams offense. In addition to being unable to find the end zone, Los Angeles has amassed a league low 468 total yards and is among the bottom of the barrel in nearly every statistical category. The team has the lowest third down percentage in the league and has been the fourth most penalized.
For these reasons, the Bucs will not need a gargantuan effort to keep the Rams offense off the field. This makes the team a solid streaming option despite its aforementioned struggles, which it should be noted came against two offenses with solid quarterbacks and talented receivers. Absent another Jameis Winston turnover fest, Tampa Bay seems like a conservative option if you need a Week 3 streamer.
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants, another home favorite, held the high octane Saints offense to 13 points on Sunday. The team will be opposing a Washington offense that struggled to protect Kirk Cousins this past weekend, is averaging under 20 points a game, and has turned the ball over in consecutive weeks.
With a number of frustrated teammates and two losses, Cousins will look to improve in Week 3 but will be facing a New York defense that held Drew Brees to only 263 passing yards and a single touchdown. The Giants spent $200 Million on defensive upgrades over the summer and to this point in the early season it appears to be money well spent. Additionally, the Giants special teams may have improved, as evidenced by a blocked field goal attempt returned for a score against the Saints. Though divisional matchups can be tricky, I’ll be streaming the Giants when unable to secure the above options.