Well, I feel the need to apologize. Last week, I let a strong island performance from a bad quarterback blind me, and mistakenly weighed that over the tape he's put together for the last several years. I'm of course talking about Jay Cutler. For some reason I took his game against the Vikings and incorrectly assumed he'd be at the very least OK against a bad Buccaneers secondary in Week 10. Boy, was I wrong. Cutler went full Cutler. And then decided to go a little more Cutler. All told, he helped Tampa Bay's defense finish as the top scoring unit with a whopping 24 points thanks to four sacks, two interceptions, two lost fumbles, a safety and a touchdown. So, again, I'm sorry. But seeing as this is my job, I must pick myself up by my bootstraps and look ahead to Week 11, which, as you'll see below, offers us a wealth of streaming candidates, including the team facing Cutler and the Bears.
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 11 Streaming Defenses
New York Giants D/ST (8.4 percent owned) vs. Chicago Bears
I missed this opportunity last week, and will not miss it again. Jay Cutler under center for the Bears makes this offense a weekly streaming target. In four games, Cutler has a 3.74 percent interception rate (third-highest in the league) and a 10.57 percent sack rate (highest in the league), with two lost fumbles for good measure. For comparison's sake, Brian Hoyer didn't throw an interception in six starts, posted a 1.94 percent sack rate (lowest in the league in that span) and only lost one fumble. New York's fantasy defense has only scored more than six points twice this year (both times requiring a defensive touchdown), but a home date against Cutler could help them buck that trend. Oh, and let's not forget that the team just announced star wide receiver Alshon Jeffery has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's PED policy. Grab the Giants while you can for this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST (36.9 percent owned) at Cleveland Browns
This analysis could be as simple as saying "Browns." But for a little context, Cleveland's quarterbacks have been sacked and intercepted the second-most times in the league (30 and 11 times, respectively). The team switched quarterbacks midway through the game in Week 10, preventing either from gaining or sustaining any sort of rhythm. That's not to say both will see the field again in Week 11, but the inconsistency that exists will breed a situation for the Pittsburgh defense to create turnovers. This would be a better play if the Steelers wern't on the road, but the Browns are worth streaming against even when they are at home.
Miami Dolphins D/ST (5.0 percent owned) at Los Angeles Rams
Perhaps inspired and rejuvenated by an emerging rushing attack, the Miami defense has found new life over the last month-plus. The Dolphins stop unit has notched 12 sacks and eight interceptions over the last four games (coinciding with Jay Ajayi's breakout), versus 10 sacks and one interception during the first five games of the year. Combine that with two return touchdowns (one interception, one kickoff return) and one can understand how this group has averaged 10.25 fantasy points per game over it's last four contests. Facing a Rams offense with a porous line, a scattershot quarterback, and a skittish running back, the Dolphins could be set for another strong fantasy outing.
Oakland Raiders D/ST (9.6 percent owned) at Houston Texans
The Raiders defense went from preseason darling to regular season punching bag after allowing north of 27 points per game and 444.83 over their first six contests. However, this group has gelled over the last three weeks, allowing just 20 points 304.3 total yards per game in that span. Rested and coming off their bye, the Raiders travel to Mexico City to take on Brock Osweiler and his inept Houston offense in Week 11. It'd be better if this game was taking place in the Black Hole, but the Texans as a whole are a different group away from Reliant Stadium. The Raiders are riding significant momentum and could completely stomp this offense in front of an international audience.
Dallas Cowboys D/ST (19.6 percent owned) vs. Baltimore Ravens
Dallas' recent run of fantasy defensive success came to an end in Week 10, but that's to be expected against a fully healthy Steelers offense playing at home. The Cowboys' next opponent, the Ravens, shouldn't offer up as much resistance, especially with this contest being in Dallas. Joe Flacco has 11 turnovers to 11 total touchdowns on the year, and is coming off a two-sack, two-interception performance at home against the Browns. The Browns. The Dallas defense suffered some big hits by losing Morris Claiborne and Barry Church for several weeks, but should have a decent chance to rack up at least a handful of fantasy points against a struggling Ravens offense.
Tennessee Titans D/ST (5.8 percent owned) at Indianapolis Colts
The Tennessee pass rush has been heating up of late, with multiple sacks in five of the last six games, and five-plus sacks in three of the last six. That's perfect timing for a date with Andrew Luck, the league's most-sacked passer (even though six teams have yet to enjoy their bye week). Luck has played a bit better of late, with six touchdowns versus four turnovers in his last three games, but is still prone to making costly mistakes. This Tennessee team as a whole is cresting at the right time of the season, and could be ready to put the Colts through the ringer after manhandling the Packers in Week 10. There's always risk in streaming against Luck, though, especially now that both T.Y. Hilton and Donte Moncrief are healthy.
Detroit Lions D/ST (8.4 percent owned) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Only three defenses have failed to score seven or more fantasy points against the Jaguars in nine games this season. Blake Bortles remains a broken quarterback who handicaps his offense simply by being on the field. The Lions defense is dealing with several crucial injuries, but if players like Darius Slay and (huge maybe) DeAndre Levy can get healthy in time for this game, the Lions could be in a good spot playing at home to take advantage of the opportunities Bortles will inevitably present before them.