Streaming Defenses: Week 3 Targets
Were it not for pandemic-related closings of my state’s parks, I would have spent much more of the last two summers camping. I love getting out in nature for hikes, campfires, a tent, and sleeping under the stars and I’ve really been missing that more than anything else since March 2020. Nothing beats a nice stroll in the middle of nowhere along a babbling brook without a care in the world.
But we do have cares at this point in the year, with football season already fully underway. We’ve got to keep our eyes out of the stars and on our fantasy teams, and many of us have to give up the watery streams for the waiver wire ones until next summer.
I explained in my introductory article the concept that streaming defenses is one of the most sound ways to approach the position in fantasy football, as well as how to do it, and what to look for from a statistical perspective in a defensive streamer.
This column will combine that approach with our own Kevin Zatloukal’s analytical model for streaming defenses. KZ’s model utilizes Vegas lines for predicting points scored by the opposing defense, opposing quarterback history for interception rates, and both the offense and defense’s history of allowing sacks – the most predictive parts of defensive scoring on a weekly basis.
It may not be as soothing as fishing for trout but hooking a great fantasy defense can be just as rewarding a feeling. Here are four defenses to consider picking up ahead of Week 3.
Week 2 Review
Early-season defensive streaming remains difficult if you’re not getting the obvious top options of the week. Offseason player turnover and the lack of statistical predictability for a defensive unit from one year to the next hasn’t fully registered in our data samples yet, but hopefully, you can catch lightning in a bottle or squeak out wins without a monster defensive showing early on.
The Bears proved to be one of the best defensive performers of the week, dropping quarterback Joe Burrow for four sacks, picking him off three times, forcing a fumble, and scoring a defensive TD. Disruption leads to production, and that’s what we have to aim for going forward. The Packers' defense looks just as messy as they did in Week 1, but they were able to cobble together a sack and two turnovers to salvage a passable fantasy day.
The Seahawks and Cardinals both looked to be in great spots from Week 1, and Seattle did rack up three sacks and a fumble. Unfortunately, the Tennessee Titans were in the mood for vengeance, and running back Derrick Henry was the architect of a 33-point showing against this defense. Arizona got stonewalled outside of one sack and ended up in a shootout instead of a blowout.
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