Fantasy News  

 

Week 14 waiver wire: Streaming defenses to target

Print

Defenses in fantasy football are a fickle beast to figure out. Touchdowns can sway the course of a defense's fantasy season, but are nearly impossible to predict. This is why many fantasy players are fans of a strategy called "streaming defenses." If you've been playing for years, this is nothing new to you, but for those unaware, what this entails is using a waiver claim most weeks to acquire a defense with an enticing matchup. This doesn't always work, but for many players it's a better option than rolling the dice with an average defense week after week.

So with this in mind, here are some lesser-owned defenses to target for Week 14.

St. Louis Rams D/ST (61.8 percent owned) at Washington Redskins

I liked the Rams' matchup against the Raiders last week, and they responded with a season-high 32-point fantasy performance. This week, they get to travel to Washington for another matchup I like.

St. Louis has notched 22 sacks over their last five games, and they just got Chris Long back last week. Colt McCoy played very well against the Colts (31 of 47, 392 passing yards, three touchdowns), but it might be hard for him to replicate that without committing a turnover against the rising St. Louis defense.

Minnesota Vikings D/ST (5.9 percent owned) vs. New York Jets

The Jets had been trending toward a less-favorable fantasy matchup recently, but regressed into their usual form last week against the Bills. We've yet to see the Jets play on Monday Night Football in Week 13 as I write this column, but regardless, I still like the Vikings matchup against them next week.

Minnesota quietly boasts one of the best DE-DT combos in the league with emerging stars Everson Griffen and Sharrif Floyd, both of whom rank near the top for their position per Pro Football Focus' grading scale. The Vikings defense is a force, and with their special teams getting hot this unit could be in line for a big day against the Jets.

Green Bay Packers D/ST (44.9 percent owned) vs. Atlanta Falcons

As expected the Patriots-Packers showdown last week did not create a lot of defensive fantasy points (four total between the teams). This week, however, the Packers take on the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field in what amounts to another nice streaming option.

Aside from their game against the Patriots, the Packers have scored 30, 17, 6, 22 and 4 fantasy points at home. The two sub-10-point outings came against a surprisingly accurate Geno Smith, and in a blowout to the Panthers where a garbage time touchdown in the last minute lessened Green Bay's fantasy output. Atlanta's offensive line is a mess, and the Green Bay pass-rush is coming alive. They only sacked Tom Brady once last week, but put pressure on him all game. Atlanta will likely be playing from behind for much of this game, which could lead to increased sack and turnover chances for Green Bay's opportunistic defense.

Indianapolis Colts D/ST (22.5 percent owned) at Cleveland Browns

Even though the Colts gave up 24 points to a Colt McCoy-led offense, they still scored 14 fantasy points thanks in part to a fumble recovery they returned for a touchdown. And many of those yards/points from McCoy came with Vontae Davis out with a concussion. Next up on the slate is a matchup against the Cleveland Browns. With the Browns in the midst of a potential quarterback change, they make a decent streaming target.

The Colts have a combined 10 sacks over their last two games, and will either be facing a recently turnover-prone Brian Hoyer, or Johnny Manziel in his first NFL start. I like the fantasy potential in this matchup, but it doesn't come without a fair amount of risk, as McCoy threw the ball all over this defense last Sunday without Davis. Keep an eye on his status for Sunday if you're looking to stream the Colts.

Good matchups: SF at OAK, KC at ARI, HOU at JAC

Matchups to avoid: BAL at MIA, SEA at PHI

Frisky and risky streaming plays:


New Orleans Saints D/ST (6.9 percent owned) vs. Carolina Panthers -- New Orleans defense hasn't been great this season, but they get to face the porous Panthers offensive line in the raucous Superdome and could notch a few sacks/turnovers as they battle for the playoffs.
Detroit Lions D/ST (69.7 percent owned) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- This is a pretty good matchup for the Lions, as the Tampa Bay offensive line is pretty weak, but I just worry that Josh McCown and his tree-like receivers will score enough points to keep Detroit from having a remarkable fantasy day. The Lions are still a pretty good play though.

-- Alex Gelhar is a fantasy and features writer for NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @AlexGelhar.

Print