Streaming Defenses: Week 10 Targets
When it comes to drafting a defense, I’m not someone to start the run. I’d rather wait until the end of the draft and play the defense with a great matchup.
This practice is commonly known as streaming defenses. Every week, you target a mediocre defense that has a great matchup against a weak QB or offensive line. We have been writing this streaming feature for six years -- offering readers several available-on-the-waiver-wire defense picks each week -- and they have averaged DT5, DT6, DT7, DT10, DT8 and DT7 numbers from 2009 to 2014. Generating top-10 DT numbers off the waiver wire allows fantasy owners to basically ignore the position on draft day, and focus on more important areas during the draft instead.
It seems like yesterday we were talking Week 1 and now we’re headed into the double-digit weeks of the season. Defenses like the Broncos, Jets and Cardinals have emerged from the stream and are weekly starters. If you’re still streaming, target a defense that is playing a below-average QB. A home matchup is nice, but not absolute.
In Week 9, three of our targets produced top-10 numbers; Cincinnati (DST9), Philadelphia (DST3) and Atlanta (DST10). Through nine weeks, our defensive streaming suggestions are averaging nine fantasy points per week, on par with DST10 numbers.
Generally, defenses have to be available on the waiver wire in at least 40 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues to be eligible. This ensures we are talking about defenses that are readily available.
Now, let’s take a look at the defensive targets for Week 10:
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Cleveland Browns)
The Steelers head into a home matchup against division rival Cleveland. Although many would argue it hasn’t been a rivalry since it has been so one-sided. The Browns are in a free-fall and, as of now, the QB situation is up in the air. McCown is battered and bruised, and Johnny Manizel is susceptible to sacks and INTs.
Stephon Tuitt leads the defensive line with 3.5 sacks and has added six QB hits as he’s generated consistent pressure this season. Cameron Heyward lines up opposite Tuitt and has added three sacks and seven QB hits. He’s also had an impact at the line of scrimmage with a forced fumble and nine tackles for loss.
Lawrence Timmons leads the linebacker group with 63 tackles and has also added six defended passes and 1.5 sacks. Bud Dupree has been the big play linebacker and can get to the QB, as he’s provided four sacks on the year from the edge.
Antwon Blake will be targeted and has produced nine defended passes, two INTs and 57 tackles at the corner position. Michael Mitchell has been a big play safety around the ball, producing two forced fumbles and two INTs.
As a defensive unit, the Steelers have produced 22 total sacks, eight INTs and are averaging around eight points per game. The Browns can turn the ball over and allow sacks, and through nine games, are 30th in adjusted fantasy points allowed to opposing defenses.