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Fantasy Football Strategy: Guide To Streaming D/ST (2024)

In this day and age of the NFL, offense is king. However, defense still plays a role in helping you win from week to week in fantasy football.

When streaming defenses, you push them off towards the end of your draft or completely ignore drafting one altogether. From there, you work the schedule on a weekly basis to find different units throughout the season.

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Fantasy Football Strategy: Guide To Streaming D/ST

So, how do you go about streaming? You must check the schedule and add other tips for the correct defense. We will break down the first four weeks of the season to help you understand how to identify the proper defenses.

We won’t do every week because defenses can change at the drop of the hat, where the best squads from last season are suddenly the worst this year. As an Eagles fan, sadly, I know this all too well.

Week 1 Defenses To Target

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New England

New England is heading into the season with a rookie quarterback, multiple rookie wide receivers, and a new coach. This combination could spell disaster for Week 1, as they continue acclimating to the NFL. Another issue is the 28th-ranked offensive line in New England. The Bengals should be able to create pressure. Remember my rule: pressure + sacks = turnovers.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have a bottom-five offensive line in the NFL. Although the Saints have an aging defense, they will never be fresher than Week 1. The New Orleans defense tied for third with 18 interceptions last season. Turnovers led to points for your fantasy team.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have two quarterbacks who can not elevate a team. When you combine that with a weak offensive line and a defense with the seventh-most sacks, you create a streaming defense to elevate your lineup.

Week 2 Defenses to Targets

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Carolina Panthers

The Chargers are my favorite for Week 2, as we can keep a defense for two weeks. That is a golden ticket in streaming defensive tactics. We discussed Carolina above and why targeting that line will produce turnovers in Week 2.

Washington Commanders vs. New York Giants

The Commanders are not a solid defensive group. However, the Giants are not a potent offensive squad. This game could be low scoring, providing a solid floor if you need to stream.

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Week 3 Defenses to Target

Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants

If the Browns are out there on waivers, grab them. They are a top-five unit in the league, facing a weak offense in Week 3.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Another week in which we could use the Chargers defense, so we do not need to waste our FAAB/waiver-wire priority.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Denver Broncos

The Broncos will either start Zach “The Turnover Machine” Wilson or a rookie in Bo Nix at QB. There are turnover chances galore in this matchup.

Week 4 Defense Targets

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers

We are picking on the Panthers this season until they prove us wrong. When streaming defenses, you must find teams to target. Unfortunately for the Panthers, they are my favorite target to start the season.

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

Reports show a slim chance of J.J. McCarthy starting this season as the quarterback in Minnesota. This report means that the Packers will face Sam Darnold, who has been vulnerable to turnovers during his career. The Packers allowed the ninth fewest yards per game last season as a unit. This divisional game should produce some fantasy fun for our streaming defense.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

If the Colts are on your waiver wire, pick them up. They are one of the strongest units in the NFL. The Colts’ defense racked up the fifth-most sacks last season, and adding Laiatu Latu will only elevate the group.

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Things to Consider Each Week

1. Pressures + Sacks = Turnovers

When researching defenses, you must not only look at sacks and interceptions. It would be best to research the total pressures created by the defense. Pressures lead to sacks and turnovers, and those turnovers become fantasy points within your lineup.

2. Research the opposing offensive line

You must research the opponents’ offensive line. It would help if you asked where they rank in the NFL standings as a unit. If you face a weaker offensive line, like that of the Patriots, even a mediocre defensive line struggling to get pressure can elevate to a more dominant unit.

Also, don’t forget to research and identify the injuries along the offensive line. Even an offensive lineman playing through their injury can result in a game scenario that creates positive fantasy points for your lineup.

An example would be a shoulder injury that stops them from lifting their arm correctly against a strong pass rusher. Another example is an offensive lineman with a groin injury that limits his lateral movement. Considering all this will help you elevate your research and correctly identify the streaming defense to deploy.

3. Identify defenses that have multiple weeks of usage

As you saw above, identifying the team that can be used for multiple weeks will help you gain an advantage over your league mates. A team like the Chargers can help you save FAAB or waiver-wire priority.

4. Do not draft more than one defense

Do not waste two roster spots on defenses. The whole point of streaming a defense is to punt the position and correctly identify a unit each week that can help you to victory. Drafting two defenses and trying to decide which one to play in the correct week only limits the ceiling of your team.

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Remember to read all the fantastic work here at FantasyPro. If you ever need unique help with your fantasy lineup or advice throughout the season, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on X at @jpep20.

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