Streaming Defenses: Week 15 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 the great matchup. This practice is commonly known as streaming defenses. Every week, you target a mediocre defense with 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 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, instead focusing on more important areas during the draft.
We’re now headed into Week 15, and defenses like the Broncos, Jets and Cardinals have emerged from the stream and are weekly starters. If you’re still streaming, target a defense playing a below average QB. A home matchup is nice, but not absolute.
In Week 14, I underestimated how bad the San Francisco 49ers were. The New York Jets finished the best of our suggestions, DST10 with 11 points. Through 14 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% 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 15:
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Denver Broncos)
The Steelers continue to be under-owned despite putting up double-digit fantasy points in three of their last five games. The Broncos had a tough-time with the Raiders last week and I project the Steelers to give them fits.
Despite not having a sack, Stephon Tuitt had a big INT in Week 14 that also produced a broken thumb for Andy Dalton on the tackle. Cameron Heyward has sacks in three of his last four games and also has 11 QB hits, so he's getting to the QB consistently.
Lawrence Timmons continues to be the Steelers tackle leader with 96, and James Harrison can still get to the QB. Harrison recorded a multi-sack game in Week 13 and has notched 13 QB hits.
Will Allen leads the defensive secondary with 60 tackles and has produced sacks in consecutive weeks.
Keith Butler, the defensive coordinator, has this group playing aggressive, as they have produced 38 sacks and 14 INTs. After watching the Brock Osweiler get dismantled by Khalil Mack in Week 14, the Steelers will be aggressive with the pass rush. Even on the road, I like the matchup as Denver is 26th in aFPA to opposing defenses.