Streaming Defenses: Week 17 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 16, and defenses like the Broncos, Chiefs 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 16, the Buffalo Bills finished as a DST7 with 11 points. Through 16 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 17:
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Cleveland Browns)
The Steelers laid an egg against the Ravens and now they come into Cleveland with a chip on their shoulder, needing a win to make the playoffs. I don’t like the prospects for the Cleveland offense, and Pittsburgh will be coming out swinging.
Cameron Heyward heads up the defensive line with seven sacks and 13 QB hits and has been a beast in the run game, notching 15 tackles for a loss. Stephon Tuitt has 4.5 sacks and has been a solid pass rusher in his 2nd season.
Lawrence Timmons has been Pittsburgh’s leading tackler with 110 and has been deployed in blitzes more, producing 3.5 sacks and seven QB hits.
Michael Mitchell has produced big plays, producing five turnovers, while Antwon Blake has two INTs and nine defended passes.