Streaming Defenses: Week 7 Targets
For those new to Streaming Defenses (also called Defensive Team By Waiver Wire, or DTBWW), the strategy goes like this: Each week, you target a mediocre defense on the waiver wire, looking for a good matchup (i.e. bad quarterback, suspect offensive line, etc.), preferably at home. You will typically get good defensive production without having to burn a semi-valuable pick on draft day. Or if you do draft a defense and they start to disappoint, you can stream the rest of the way.
Note: For more on selecting a defense each week, read Chris Raybon’s excellent piece about what factors go into an attractive defensive matchup. I have come to some of the same conclusions over the years, but he added a few new factors to consider.
I have been writing this streaming feature for five years -- offering readers several available-on-the-waiver-wire defense picks each week -- and they averaged DT5, DT6, DT7, DT10 and DT8 numbers from 2009 to 2013. Generating top 10 DT numbers off the waiver wire allows fantasy owners to basically ignore the position on draft day, instead focusing on more important areas.
Generally, defenses have to be available on the waiver wire in at least 40% of Yahoo fantasy leagues to be eligible. This ensures that we are talking about defenses that are readily available.
Last week, our top two picks were the Titans (13 fantasy points, DT7) and the Cardinals (16, DT3). The Ravens (8.5, DT13), Packers (7, DT14) and Colts (9, DT12) also posted solid numbers, while the Bills (2, DT23) and Falcons (3, DT20) were duds. (In my defense, I only picked the Falcons because of the possibility that Devin Hester might make a big play on special teams, but that didn’t happen.)
I recommended that owners hold onto the Chargers (DT23, sorry), Lions (DT1, you’re welcome) and the Eagles (DT2, you’re welcome) and had varied results.
On the season, these DTBWW picks have averaged 9.0 fantasy points per game, which equates to DT6 numbers. Not bad, not bad at all.
Hold or Move On?
The Eagles are on bye and they’ll face Arizona and Houston on the road before hosting Carolina in Week 8-10, so I’m not sure they’re worth holding through their bye. Conversely, I’m going to continue to ride the Lions despite a so-so matchup with the Saints, who are not the same team on the road. The Lions host the Buccaneers and Vikings in Week 14 and Week 15, so I’m going to do what I can to hold them through the remainder of the season provided they continue to produce.
As for the Chargers, they are a decent start against the Chiefs at home this week, but they travel to Denver and Miami before their Week 10 bye, so owners may want to go another direction. The Chargers do host the Raiders and the Rams in Week 11 and Week 12.
I really like the Cardinals and Bills in the short-term (next 4-5 weeks). Looking at our Hot Spots report, the Cards face the Raiders, Eagles, Cowboys, Rams and Lions in the next five weeks. All of those teams are mediocre-to-great matchups for Arizona, who currently owns the #5 fantasy defense.
The Bills face the Vikings and Jets before their bye, and then face the Chiefs, Dolphins and Jets in Weeks 10-12. Buffalo is also in the top 10 and may hit a few waiver wires after a poor performance against the Patriots.
I’ll discuss the Browns below, but proactive owners (who are holding two defenses at a time) should consider the Chiefs, who host the Rams and the Jets in Week 8 and Week 9 after a bad matchup this week in San Diego.
Let’s take a look at the top streaming picks for Week 7:
Note: The Bills and Cardinals are available on roughly 30% of Yahoo waiver wires, but are ranked in our top 5 this week, so be sure to check their availability before going down the list.
Browns (@ JAX)
The Jaguars are the gift that keeps on giving. They have yielded 14.8 FP through six weeks and have given up at least 12.0 FP in each and every game. The Browns are only 20th as a fantasy defense, but they should be able to produce in a great matchup. The Browns have the Raiders and the Buccaneers at home in the next two weeks. Giddy up.