Fantasy Football Team Defenses to Stream for Week 14
If you’re still playing in a season-long league and have made the Fantasy playoffs, congratulations! For the most part, the best advice that anyone can give you is don’t over think things as you are putting your weekly lineup together. Go with what got you there! Streaming team defenses might have helped get you to your league’s postseason, and if you’ve used this strategy you’ve got some decisions to make this week. Let’s see if I can help you…
Winter reared its ugly head in Week 13, making for a couple of messy games in Green Bay and Chicago and we should expect more of that frozen white stuff to affect NFL games in Cleveland and Buffalo in Week 14.
You do have options when it comes to defensive streaming, but some may not be the best options. I probably wouldn’t do it, but if you really like risk, you might consider using the Jaguars’ defense this week. Their opponent, the Vikings, continue to have trouble scoring, and their run game has been putrid. The Jags have been very tough against the pass and much softer against the run. Sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it? The Redskins’ defense appears to have a favorable matchup against the Eagles. Eagles QB Carson Wentz has been turning the ball over and question marks abound regarding the Eagles run game, but can you really trust a Redskins defense that has given up 62 points in the past two games? I’m not opposed to you using the Buccaneers team defense this week. With seven interceptions in the last four games, their defense has been solid of late, but they face a Saints offense that can explode at any time, even when they play on the road. As always, when you’re trying to decide which team defense to stream, the questions abound, but I’ve identified four that could be in play for the upcoming weekend. Good luck!
Matchup: @ Cleveland Browns
Weather: 32 degrees with light snow, S winds 13 MPH
If you like streaming defenses, you had to make do without one of your favorite targets last week. Yes, you couldn’t take advantage of the punch less Cleveland Browns offense, as they were on a bye in Week 13. This week, we’ll see someone new at quarterback for the Browns; well, I guess he’s really not new. Technically, he’s the Browns’ old quarterback. Of course, I’m talking about Robert Griffin III, who will be under center for the Browns in Week 14. Can he make a difference? Will he help energize a Browns offense that scores the second-fewest average points per game (16.4) and is tied for having relinquished the most Fantasy points per game to opposing defenses (per ESPN)? RG3 is just one man, and he’s coming off a lengthy injury-induced layoff. He’ll still have to try to produce despite being “protected” by an offensive line that’s given up the most sacks in football (45). Harassing opposing quarterbacks is Bengals DE Carlos Dunlap’s specialty. In his last seven meetings against the Browns he has seven and a half sacks and 11 tackles that resulted in loss of yards (TFL). The Browns are fourth in the league with 20 giveaways and will have to contend with LB Vontaze Burfict, who had 15 tackles and two interceptions last week, and is vying for his sixth straight game with 10 or more tackles. Weather conditions may also offensive production in this matchup, as fog and snow are in the forecasted for Cleveland this Sunday.
Matchup: vs. Chicago Bears
In recent weeks, the Detroit Lions’ team defense has taken a page from their animal kingdom counterparts. They stalk their prey, lying in wait and striking with ferocity at the opportune moment. The Lions’ defense has flown under the radar this season. Overall, they’ve given up the 10th fewest average points per game (20.9), but lately they’ve been playing at an even higher level. They’ve registered six interceptions in their last three games, and allowed an average of just 15.25 points per game in their last four matchups. The Bears should be wary of safety Glover Quin, who has two interceptions in his last three home games against the Bears and ranks second among all NFL safeties with 16 interceptions since 2013. RB Jordan Howard will have his hands full carrying the ball against a Lions defense that has kept opponents’ running games in check. They’ve played well against the run, giving up an average of just 98.2 rushing yards per game and six rushing touchdowns (tied for the third fewest in football). The Lions pass defense has been a bit suspect, especially against tight ends, but with Zach Miller out for the season, Detroit’s secondary’s primary focus will be on a myriad of inconsistent Bears receivers. Fortunately for the Lions, they have had some success against receivers, giving up the eighth-fewest Fantasy points to pass catchers this season.
Matchup: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Weather: 24 degrees light snow, S winds 7 MPH
I’ll admit that playing the Bills team defense, which has been slumping as of late, is a bit risky, but if you are truly in a bind they may be worth taking a look at. They’ve got a home matchup in game conditions that could be affected by snow. In addition, they take on a Steelers team that averages 25.33 points scored when playing at home, compared to just 20.33 points scored when they play on the road. One of the few bright spots for the Bills D of late has been DT Marcell Dareus who has three and a half sacks in his last four games. Remember, proceed with caution!
Matchup: vs. Arizona Cardinals
Weather: 77 degrees light rain, E winds 15 MPH
There’ll be no snow in Miami, but the Cardinals and Dolphins may be dealing with some rain and gusty winds that may limit the scoring in their contest. There haven’t been too many teams who’ve been able to stop Cardinals RB David Johnson this season, so maybe a soggy field will help the Dolphins defend against him. The Dolphins pass rush, led by DE Cameron Wake, took a hiatus last week, but should be drooling at the thought of going up against a Cardinals offensive line that has given up the third most sacks in football (35). That total includes eight in their last three games. The Dolphins defense has plenty of potential playmakers, but Wake has been on a tear with seven and a half sacks in his last seven games. The poor play of their porous offensive line and their tendency to give the ball away (19 giveaways, fifth most in football), has caused the Cardinals to yield the sixth-most Fantasy points to opposing defenses this season, including four games in which they’ve given up 13 or more Fantasy points (per ESPN).
Fantasy Football Kickers to Stream for Week 14
Graham Cano, Carolina Panthers
Matchup: vs. San Diego Chargers
Weather: 43 degree and partly cloudy, SE winds 4 MPH
According to CBS Sports, Cano is available in 41 percent of Fantasy leagues. His matchup against the Chargers is projected as being high scoring and weather conditions are favorable.
Ryan Succop, Tennessee Titans
Matchup: vs. Denver Broncos
Weather: 45 degrees and partly cloudy, S winds 13 MPH
The Titans have a tough matchup against the stingy Broncos defense. I wouldn’t expect the Titans to score too many touchdowns, but they should be able to move the ball on the ground setting up some scoring opportunities for Succop. He is owned in just nine percent of Fantasy leagues.
Dustin Hopkins, Washington Redskins
Matchup: @ New Orleans Saints
Weather: 34 degrees and overcast, SSW winds 3 MPH
According to CBS Sports, Hopkins is owned in just 61 percent of Fantasy leagues despite being tied for the league lead in field goals made (28). The Eagles have given up just over 28 points per game over the past three weeks and the Redskins should be able to put some points on the board this week, providing Hopkins with multiple scoring opportunities.