Let’s Stream Defenses: Week 11 (2020 Fantasy Football)
This is the last week with four teams on bye. While three of them – NYG, CHI and SF – are offenses to target (the other being BUF), this week actually turned out OK for streaming defenses, thanks to the remaining teams lining up well. Whether streaming defenses gets easier or harder from here really depends on your league. On one hand, there will be more options in general, and teams at the bottom of your league might stop competing on the waiver wire. On the other hand, the top teams are more likely to be streaming (because it’s the best strategy, obviously), and are more likely to be stashing defenses for the playoffs. If you want to stash a team for Week 12, or find one you can use both this week and next, here are the teams that stand out to me, in no particular order.
- The Football Team, vs. CIN this week and @DAL next week. They’re a middling start against a boom-bust Bengals offense this week, but a good defense like Washington is basically guaranteed to be a Tier 1 start against the Cowboys, who they play in Week 12.
- The Browns, vs. PHI this week and @JAC next week. Gardner Minshew might be back for the Jags in Week 12, and while he’s better than Jake Luton, that doesn’t mean he’s good in a general sense. The Browns will be startable in Week 12 either way.
- The Bengals, @WAS this week and vs. NYG next week. The Bengals are just outside my top 10 for Week 11. I don’t exactly recommend playing them against Washington, but if you’re short on bench space and want to make sure you have them for Week 12 against the Giants, you could do worse than starting Cincinnati this week. At 2% rostership however, I wouldn’t be that concerned about them not being available a week from now.
- The Dolphins, @DEN this week and @NYJ next week. I really like rostering Miami right now because they have three good matchups – DEN, NYJ and CIN – in a row. Sam Darnold will probably be back for the Jets in Week 12, but that might actually be an improvement for opposing fantasy DSTs compared to Joe Flacco, because Darnold is less conservative and more prone to turnovers.
- The Saints, vs. ATL this week and @DEN next week. As I discuss in my blurb for this week’s matchup below, the Saints have a pretty good schedule for the next four weeks. They’re rostered in most leagues, but if you’re the team that has them, you can keep starting them up until Week 16, when you’ll need to find someone else as the Saints play the Chiefs.
Week 11 Projections
This week is pretty OK for streaming, despite having three bad offenses on bye. There are eight teams I feel good about, and three of them are rostered in less than 50% of leagues. Rostership numbers reflect Yahoo leagues on Tuesday morning, before waivers have cleared in most leagues. You can find me on Twitter.
|The Start Them With Confidence Tier|
|The Still a Fine Choice Tier|
|The Only If You Have To Tier|
|The Surely You Can Find Something Better Tier|
- PIT @ JAC: Through two games, Jake Luton has been pretty good relative to expectations, but that’s largely because expectations were rock-bottom. He has three total touchdowns, two interceptions and has been sacked five times in that span. That’s not bad for a sixth-round rookie, but it’s nowhere near anything to scare Pittsburgh, one of the best defenses in the league.
- MIN vs DAL: Andy Dalton will return to starting for the Cowboys this week. That’s a slight upgrade over Ben DiNucci or Garrett Gilbert, but only slight. Dallas is still an excellent DST matchup and will be for the rest of the season.
- LAC vs NYJ: Sam Darnold won’t be returning this week, so Joe Flacco will start again for the Jets. Darnold wouldn’t have been a huge upgrade though. Both quarterbacks are great news for the opposing defense, Flacco is just a little less prone to turnovers.
- BAL vs TEN: This is where I start my second tier because Tennessee’s offense is actually pretty solid. This play has two things going for it: (1) Baltimore has the best run defense in the league, and that matches up perfectly with Tennessee’s strength, and; (2) Vegas has very little faith in Tennessee, giving them only 21.25 points.
- CLE vs PHI: Through nine games, Carson Wentz has only one with fewer than three sacks, thanks in part to an essentially absent offensive line. Cleveland absolutely has a defense that can take advantage of this. My projection for Wentz is three sacks, but I would not be surprised to see five or more.
- MIA @ DEN: Drew Lock had the worst game of his career last week, throwing four interceptions (and fumbling) to only one touchdown. His status for Week 11 is uncertain with strained muscles around his ribs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if those two factors combine to give him the week off. If that happens, Brett Rypien will probably start. Either one is good news for Miami.
- WAS vs CIN: Bengals QB Joe Burrow has been up and down this season. He’s yet to have more than one interception in a game, but the thing that makes him attractive for fantasy defenses is the sack potential. He’s averaged more than 3.5 sacks per game. While he has the potential for excellent games (3 TDs, 300+ yards), the more common outcome so far is 1 or fewer TDs. There’s some downside here, but the average expectation for defenses facing Burrow is pretty good.
- NE @ HOU: Houston’s offense was dismal last week, scoring just a single touchdown against Cleveland. Deshaun Watson has actually had one of his better years with respect to avoiding turnovers, but he still provides a solid floor with sacks, and the team around him is entirely dysfunctional.
- CAR vs DET: I don’t particularly love Carolina this week against a Detroit team that exceeded expectations against Washington last week, but it’s an OK play if you’re desperate. You can almost certainly get Carolina if you want them, with the team’s DST rostered in just 2% of leagues.
- NO vs ATL: When a high-rostership team is ranked on the bubble like this, I’m not really saying go out and get them. But if you already have the Saints, it’s OK to use them this week in order to hold on to them for an excellent Week 12 and 14 matchup against Denver and Philadelphia (with Atlanta again in between).
Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you prepare for the fantasy playoffs season. From our start/sit assistant Start/Sit Assistant – which provides custom start/sit advice from 100+ experts – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that suggests the best pickups for your team and league – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.