Streaming Defenses: Week 5 Targets

Streaming Defenses: Week 5 Targets

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), on Sep 30, 2014

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, finished as runner-up in 2011 and 4th in both 2012 and 2015 for a total of five Top 5 seasons in the last six years. Cumulatively, John was the most accurate expert from 2010-15 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate draft rankings. 

Follow John Paulsen on Twitter: @4for4_John.

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 seven streaming defenses averaged 9.0 FP, which is pretty good, considering the average for the week was 7.7 FP. The Dolphins (19 FP, DT2), Chargers (12 FP, DT6), Colts (10.5, FP, DT7), Bills (8 FP, DT11) and the Lions (7.5 FP, DT12) all posted serviceable-to-great numbers. Only the Steelers and Redskins flopped, scoring 3.0 FP each. On the season, we have averaged 8.6 FP through four weeks, which equates to DT9 numbers.

I instructed owners to hold onto the Patriots (2 FP, sorry) and the Texans (13.5 FP, you’re welcome). At this point, you could cut either and stream the position, though the Texans face the Cowboys this week (and are currently our 9th-ranked defense for Week 5) and have a bad matchup with the Colts next week. Meanwhile, the Patriots have the Bills and Jets after a tough matchup with the Bengals this week.

Owners who currently hold the Chargers (vs. NYJ) and Lions (vs. BUF) will find that they are both ranked in our top 4, so hold onto them this week. They are also looking good for Week 6.

The Bills (@ DET) have a solid-but-not-great matchup this week, but they face the Patriots, Vikings and Jets before their Week 9 bye. Whether to hold will depend on each individual owner’s league characteristics (i.e. how easy is it to find a streamable defense each week?).

Here’s a look at the top streaming plays for Week 5:

Eagles (vs. STL)
The Eagles have scored at least 8.0 FP in three of four games this season, including 24 FP against the 49ers last week. The Rams have given up an average of 12.8 FP in three games, and they still have the same issues at QB.

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