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Week 9 Defenses to Stream (Fantasy Football)

by Josh Shepardson | @BChad50 | Featured Writer
Oct 31, 2017

Last week, the streaming options were ripe despite six teams on bye. This week, the pickings are a little bit slimmer with six more teams on bye, and as a result, I had to loosen the streaming restrictions a bit. The highest owned defense featured below has ownership rates between 60-65% at ESPN and Yahoo!. That’s a little higher owned than I typically shoot for, but that still leaves them widely available enough that they could be a streaming option for some gamers. The other defenses carry ownership rates below 50% at both sites, so if the highest owned touted option below isn’t available, have no fear, you should have a shot at the other options — namely one unit that carries an ownership rate under 25% on both ESPN and Yahoo!.

*Spreads and over/under totals are from Pinnacle, and stats and ranks in the tables below are from Pro-Football Reference and do not include the stats from the Monday Night Football game.

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New Orleans Saints

Opponent Spread/Total Ownership
ESPN/Y!
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank) Turnovers Forced (Rank) Sacks (Rank)
vs. TB -7/50 61.5%/65%  20.7 (13th) 11 (T-11th) 19 (T-12th)

 
For the third week in a row, the Saints appear in this piece. Their solid play on defense has been surprising, especially after they looked like the typically bad defense they’ve been in previous seasons when they were torched the first two weeks of the season by the Vikings and Patriots. Since then, they’ve held four of five opponents under 20 points, and they forced an absurd five turnovers and three touchdowns in a Week 6 shootout against the Lions. As a touchdown and successful PAT favorite at home this week, the spread is favorable for scoring points via sacks and turnovers in predictable passing situations. The Buccaneers can be explosive at times offensively, but they’re also turnover prone with 12 in seven games (tied for seventh most), and they were held to a paltry three points and 279 total yards of offense by the Panthers last week. Jameis Winston has been playing through an AC joint sprain in his throwing shoulder, and head coach Dirk Koetter contemplated pulling him after a hit in the fourth quarter. The fact there’s a line out already suggests Winston should be expected to start this week, but be sure to keep tabs on his status in case he suffers any setbacks this week. Of course, a setback might not rear its ugly head until Friday since the team hasn’t decided if he’ll throw in practice Wednesday and Thursday this week — he hasn’t been throwing those two days in practice the last couple weeks. If Ryan Fitzpatrick is thrust into starting duty, the Saints go from a good, high-upside option on defense to an elite streaming play.

Buffalo Bills

Opponent Spread/Total Ownership
ESPN/Y!
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank) Turnovers Forced (Rank) Sacks (Rank)
@ NYJ -3/43 47%/32.5%  16.4 (T-2nd) 17 (T-1st) 13 (T-24th)

 
The Bills narrowly missed the cut in last week’s streaming selections, but I sung their praises in the intro. They proceeded to hold the visiting Raiders to just 14 points while forcing four turnovers — one returned for a touchdown. The Jets have been surprisingly competent offensively this year, and in previous seasons I’d be leery of a letdown game by the Bills, but they’ve done a good job of avoiding beating themselves and are in a good spot on a short week. Describing the Jets’ offense as surprisingly competent is a relative statement, and they’ve still been a below-average offense. They’re tied for the fourth most turnovers (14), tied for 14th in yards per play (5.2), and tied for the fourth most sacks given up (25) this season. It’s a plus matchup for a defense that’s grossly under owned. The Jets implied team over/under total of just 20 points is eight more than they scored in the season opener in Buffalo. In Week 1, the Bills held the Jets to a pathetic 214 total yards of offense with two turnovers and a sack. Buffalo’s D/ST is my favorite of the touted units in this week’s piece.

Arizona Cardinals

Opponent Spread/Total Ownership
ESPN/Y!
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank) Turnovers Forced (Rank) Sacks (Rank)
@ SF -2.5/39 30.4%/36%  27.3 (30th) 7 (T-25th) 1 (T-24th)

 
There’s no question which game this week has the least watchability as this one takes the cake. The 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo yesterday, but he’ll need to get acclimated to a new offense, so I imagine it will be another week of C.J. Beathard starting. The 49ers have scored 20 points total in Beathard’s two starts the last two weeks, and he’s tossed one touchdown against two interceptions. If you include his relief appearance against the Redskins, he’s led the team to 44 points in about 10 and a half quarters of action. He’s not an NFL-caliber starting quarterback, and the 49ers are not an NFL-caliber offense. They’ve yielded the second most sacks (27), are tied for the seventh most turnovers (12), rank tied for 28th in yards per play (4.7), and 29th in points per game (16.8). A Drew Stanton-led offense is unlikely to provide Arizona’s defense a big lead, but the visiting Cardinals are small favorites, and the 49ers lack the weapons to exploit Arizona’s giving defense.

Tennessee Titans

Opponent Spread/Total Ownership
ESPN/Y!
Points Allowed Per Game (Rank) Turnovers Forced (Rank) Sacks (Rank)
vs. BAL Not Posted 21.2%/14% 24.7 (26th) 10 (T-15th) 10 (31st)

 
This matchup is perfect for the Titans. They’re coming off of a bye and facing a run-heavy offense. The Ravens rank dead last in passing yards per game (152.9), yards per attempt (5.3), and 31st in adjusted yards per attempt (4.5). The Titans are much stronger against the run than the pass and have held teams to the 10th fewest yards per game (100.1) rushing at just 3.61 yards per carry, per Pro-Football Reference. There isn’t a posted spread and total at the time of writing due to Joe Flacco leaving the last game with a concussion, but he’s “exhibiting ‘zero’ concussion symptoms.” He’ll still need to make it through the concussion protocol, but the lack of symptoms is a good starting point. Tennessee’s defense gets a boost if Flacco is out, but even if Flacco plays, he’s been dreadful this year and a player to attack with defenses as opposed to avoid.


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Josh Shepardson is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @BChad50.

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