Week 15 waiver wire: Streaming defenses to target


With Week 15 arriving, almost every fantasy league in America has reached the postseason. Every point carries added importance, so hopefully this week our streaming picks can all come up big in the stat sheets. I do feel good about the four teams listed below ... which of course means you should avoid picking up/starting all of them. I kid, of course, we've been relatively accurate in this column throughout the year. The process of identifying streaming defenses isn't rocket science, after all.

As always, I'll rely on the streaming D/ST qualifications previously established by Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich in this column: good matchups, home teams, favorites, and obviously talented defenses. Let's get to it.

Week 15 Streaming Defenses

Atlanta Falcons D/ST (10.7 percent owned) vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Falcons are coming off their best defensive fantasy performance of the year, thanks in part to two touchdowns against the lowly Los Angeles Rams offense. Next up they face a 49ers team led by Colin Kaepernick, who has been sacked two-plus times in every game save one in 2016. His 8.57 sack rate is the fourth-highest among qualified starting quarterbacks this year. The Falcons play at home, are going to be favored to win, and figure to jump out to a sizeable lead early against a poor 49ers defense. That will create ample opportunities for Vic Beasley and company to rack up sacks and fantasy points. It's worth noting that Beasley is currently tied for the NFL lead in sacks with Von Miller at 13.5.

Miami Dolphins D/ST (22.5 percent owned) at New York Jets

While Bryce Petty put smiles on the faces of countless Jets fans with his comeback win last week, he also should be causing fantasy players to smile. His arrival as the Jets starting quarterback (for now) creates a great streaming opportunity when he takes on the Dolphins this Saturday (don't forget to set your lineups for this game too). Yes, it's from a small sample size, but in his 2.5 starts he's earned the seventh-highest sack rate (7.55) and owns the highest interception rate (4.26) among qualified passers. That's right, he not only usurped the starting gig from Ryan Fitzpatrick, but also the crown as the league's most oft-intercepted passer (among starters with at least 90 attempts). The Dolphins are in the thick of the playoff race and have been playing well on defense aside from that debacle against Baltimore in Week 13. Grab the Dolphins this week and hope Petty continues to give up sacks and interceptions like they're going out of style.

Baltimore Ravens D/ST (36.9 percent owned) vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Since Week 8, only one defense has failed to finish as a top-12 scoring unit against the Eagles. That's thanks in large part to Carson Wentz committing 11 giveaways and being sacked the fourth-most times in the league (19) in that span. The Ravens already boast one of the league's top defenses both in a real and fantasy sense, and get to face Wentz and his severely neutered passing attack in Baltimore. Any way you cut it, the Ravens look like a prime streaming candidate if they're still available in your league.

Buffalo Bills D/ST (33.3 percent owned) vs. Cleveland Browns

The Bills play the Browns in Buffalo, so start their defense.

Oh, you want a bit more analysis? Are you sure? All right, here goes. Among qualified passers, Robert Griffin III has the fourth-highest interception rate (3.7) and sixth-highest sack rate (7.58). In Week 14, he had the longest time to throw of any passer but failed to put that to any use. Per Next Gen Stats, he averaged 11.2 intended air yards per target, but only averaged 3.5 air yards per completion. That -7.7 air yards difference was the worst in the league in Week 14. All told, Griffin isn't able to ignite the Browns' passing game and is holding the ball forever. This will allow the Bills front seven plenty of time to get into the backfield and cause sacks, turnovers, and general sadness for the Browns faithful.

New York Giants D/ST (22.3 percent owned) vs. Detroit Lions

Every game, all season

Matthew Stafford injured his middle finger on his throwing hand last week, and now has to travel on the road and play outdoors in the elements versus a strong Giants defense. Big Blue has scored six or more fantasy points in every game since their Week 8 bye, recording two-plus sacks in each contest and collecting at least one interception in all but one. The Lions scoring offense hasn't been fierce of late as they've slowed down games to hide their defensive issues. If the Giants defense prevents Detroit from scoring on their minimal chances, that will only aid their fantasy outlook.

-- Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexGelhar