Fantasy News  

 

Week 16 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 16.

Baltimore Ravens D/ST (56.8 percent owned) at Houston Texans

If you scooped up the Ravens defense off waivers last week, you were rewarded with 20 fantasy points in the playoffs. And lucky you, you've also been gift-wrapped another plus-matchup as the Ravens travel to face the Texans this week, who will likely be starting signed-off-the-street quarterback Case Keenum.

The Ravens defense has been playing well lately, posting double digit fantasy points in three of their last four games. The Texans lost quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick for the season on Sunday, and his backup, Tom Savage, was also injured. Whether it's Savage or Keenum under center, the Ravens are one of the best streaming options for Week 15.

Buffalo Bills D/ST (66.4 percent owned) at Oakland Raiders

Those bold enough to start the Bills against the Packers received 17 fantasy points for their risky move. This week, the Bills could duplicate that success against a Raiders team that has conceded an average of 11.75 fantasy points to opposing defenses over the last four weeks.

The Bills boast one of the best front sevens in the league, and have shut down two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks in back-to-back weeks (Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers). They should have no problem handling Derek Carr, even if the game is in Oakland. Start the Bills with confidence this weekend in your fantasy championships.

Green Bay Packers D/ST (46.8 percent owned) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Don't let the final score fool you -- the Packers defense played quite well on Sunday. Their special teams and offense gave up nine points to the Bills, while the defense allowed just 12 (facing several tough situations, too). The punt return for a touchdown (see above video) was on the special teams, but Tim Masthay's kick was cut way short by the swirling winds in Orchard Park, setting up his coverage unit for failure. Those shouldn't be as much of an issue down in Tampa Bay this weekend.

The Packers are likely going to be angry coming off of a loss, and they'll be looking to put away the Buccaneers early. The Bucs have allowed an average of 10.25 fantasy points to opposing defenses over the last month, and Josh McCown has been sacked 15 times over that span. Look for the Packers as a whole to bounce back this week with their defense setting the tone early.

Carolina Panthers D/ST (65.4 percent owned) vs. Cleveland Browns

A disapointment for much of the season, the Panthers defense has bounced back recently with two consecutive double digit fantasy outings. That sets them up nicely for a visit from the Cleveland Browns and their struggling offense this weekend.

Whether it's Johnny Manziel or Brian Hoyer under center, the Panthers should still be able to do work against an offense that has allowed opposing defenses to score an average of 11 fantasy points per game over the last four weeks. Manziel and Hoyer have both been prone to turning the ball over as well, which could set this up nicely as a big game for the Panthers defense.

Good matchups: NE at NYJ, SEA at ARI, PHI at WAS

Matchups to avoid: NO vs. ATL, DAL vs. IND

Frisky and risky streaming plays:


Jacksonville Jaguars D/ST (0.7 percent owned) vs. Tennessee Titans -- The Titans could have Charlie Whitehurst (aka Clipboard Jesus) under center this week. Even if Jake Locker returns, this is a plus-matchup for the Jaguars at home on a short week. It's a dangerous play in the fantasy championship for sure, but if you play daily fantasy the Jags could make a nice, super-cheap option.
San Diego Chargers D/ST (8.2 percent owned) at San Francisco 49ers -- San Diego's defense has done pretty well in back-to-back weeks against Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, and now they catch the 49ers who are in a bit of an offensive free fall. If you're in need of a defense likely on waivers, the Chargers could help you out.

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

Print