Streaming Defenses: Week 4 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 to 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 4.
Week 3 Review
Given that we look to stream defenses rostered in 40% of Yahoo! leagues or fewer, we actually did pretty well here. In a week filled with upsets, the only streamable defense that we could have seen coming and missed on is the Dallas Cowboys, who dropped a 13-point performance on the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night. The other surprise units who went off – the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Los Angeles Chargers, the Detroit Lions – only desperate fantasy managers in the deepest of leagues would have thought of using them. Kudos to you if you did, but we shouldn’t expect weeks like this to happen in the future.
The Carolina Panthers were our obvious streamer of the week, going up against the Davis Mills-led Houston Texans. They didn’t force a turnover but did sack the fourth-round rookie four times and held the Texans to just nine points. The Las Vegas Raiders had a good thing going early on, scoring a safety and getting two sacks, but a back-and-forth struggle that tussled into overtime meant their fantasy defense wasn’t going to get scoring or yardage points.
The Tennessee Titans were a solid defense this week, thumping the injured Carson Wentz for two sacks and holding the Indianapolis Colts to 16. They just couldn’t do much else to the opposition and walked away with an empty three points. The New York Giants did fairly well as a deeper streamer, holding the Atlanta Falcons to just 17 points while sacking quarterback Matt Ryan three times and forcing a fumble.
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