Let’s Stream Defenses: Week 3 (2019 Fantasy Football)
When we think about drafting quarterbacks, most experts will tell you to wait until late in the draft. This is because the good QBs are pretty similar, and there’s not that much to gain by having the QB2 instead of the QB10. In 2018, the quarterbacks who finished between ranks tw0 and 10 all scored between 19 and 22 points per game. However, I excluded rank one from that stat for a reason. Sometimes, one player is head and shoulders above the rest, and last year Patrick Mahomes scored 26 fantasy points per game. That’s a talent worth paying up for.
The same concept applies to bad offenses to target with your team defenses. There are a lot of teams you’d start most defenses against: the Jags, the Bills, the Cardinals and both New York teams, to name a few. Like quarterbacks, though, one team stands above the rest: the Miami Dolphins. In Week 1, they put up just 10 points against the Ravens, while turning over the ball three times and allowing three sacks. In Week 2, they gave New England one of the best team D/ST fantasy performances of all time, scoring no points, allowing seven sacks, throwing four interceptions (two for touchdowns) and suffering a safety to top it all off. Like Patrick Mahomes, it’s going to be hard to rank “whoever’s playing Miami this week” anywhere but first. This is no secret, and if you want to roster the Dolphins’ opponent, you’ll either need to spend some significant FAAB or plan ahead. If you have an extra bench spot this week, consider stashing the Chargers, who face Miami in Week 4.
I’m generally not a fan of spending more than a dollar or two of FAAB on your streaming defense. I also generally organize my rankings into 3 tiers, that can be summarized as “no doubts,” “starters, but with doubts,” and “non-starters.” This week, I added a new tier above all the others: teams I would actually spend FAAB on. It has two teams: DAL, who face Miami; and NE, who have great matchups for the next 5 weeks.
If you have any questions, find me on Twitter. Ownership numbers were pulled from Yahoo.
|The Actually Spend FAAB on Them Tier|
|The Start Them With Confidence Tier|
|The Still a Fine Choice Tier|
|The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier|
Some Notes on the Top Picks
- DAL vs MIA: There’s not much more to say about Dallas this week: if you have the opportunity, start them. Dallas’s average real-world defense is more than enough to steamroll the Dolphins.
- NE vs NYJ: The Jets were a team to target when the season began. Between Sam Darnold’s Mononucleosis and a nasty-looking ankle injury to Trevor Siemian, the Jets are on their third-string QB, Luke Falk. That’s a team defense gold mine.
- SF vs PIT: Week 2 was kind of a disaster for quarterbacks. The Steelers were already not looking like themselves in the absence of Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, and now they’ve lost their future Hall of Fame QB Ben Roethlisberger for the season. It sucks for football as a whole, but it’s good for D/ST streaming. Until Mason Rudolph proves otherwise, the Steelers will be a team to target.
- SEA vs NO: The Saints also lost their future Hall of Fame quarterback, but they’re in a slightly better situation than Pittsburgh. Teddy Bridgewater was the backup for a reason, and he does have experience as a starter alongside some pretty good weapons around him in Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. But don’t get me wrong, the Saints are absolutely a team to target as long as Drew Brees is out, just not quite as confidently as the Steelers.
- BUF vs CIN: After getting completely crushed by the 49ers, the Bengals’ stock is at an all-time low as they go on the road to face a solid-but-they’ve-only-had-good-matchups-so-far Bills defense. This rank might change if A.J. Green is able to play in Week 3, but that seems unlikely at this point.
- MIN vs OAK: So far this year, Minnesota has shut down two offenses we expected to be pretty good: Atlanta and Green Bay. Oakland is not a great offense, so the Vikings should feast.
- CAR @ ARI: You know it’s a good week when you have to go all the way down to rank seven to find a team on the road. Kyler Murray could still be a good NFL quarterback, but we’ll start defenses against him until that happens. Murray has been sacked eight times in just two games, and that gives Carolina a nice ceiling for fantasy.
- GB vs DEN: Oh, Denver. As a Broncos fan, I’m as pessimistic as anyone, but even I expected more than what they’ve done so far. Green Bay’s defense did well against two other below-average offenses in the Bears and Vikings, and they should do the same again at home against the Broncos.
- LAC vs HOU: In 2018, the Texans were the most-sacked team in the league by a wide margin. In 2019, nothing seems to have changed. Deshaun Watson was sacked six times by the Saints in Week 1, and four times by the Jaguars in Week 2. With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram on the other side, that trend should continue in Week 3.
- PHI vs DET: Detroit is another team in a huge list of offenses we expected to be pretty good this season, but have disappointed. There’s not a ton of sack or turnover upside here, but the Eagles should be a safe play if you can’t get anyone higher-ranked.
- TB vs NYG: Well, the Giants finally did it. They benched Eli Manning for Daniel Jones. As bad as Manning was, a quarterback’s rookie debut presents a lot of upside for the opposing defense.
- TEN @ JAC: As fun as Gardner Minshew is, he did not set the world on fire in his first start in the NFL. With an over-under of 40 and a one-point spread, both sides would be usable in this game if there weren’t so many other good options this week. Even though Tennessee is on the road, they are the preferred side to start because Jacksonville has a backup at the helm.
- CHI @ WAS: I generally prefer an average defense against a bad offense, but a great defense against an average offense can be startable too, and that’s exactly what we have here. Even on the road, there’s no reason not to use Chicago this week if you drafted them.
Jacob Herlin is a Senior Data Analyst for FantasyPros. For more from Jacob, follow him @jacoblawherlin.