Fantasy owners who streamed the Bengals (14.00 fantasy points), Giants (11.00 fantasy points), Dolphins (17.00 fantasy points) and 49ers (10.00 fantasy points) were rewarded nicely with solid outings in Week 13. Getting solid fantasy production out of your D/ST is more vital now than it has been all season as we're now in the midst of the fantasy playoffs. For the most part, the best units are already owned so if you're looking to pick up a D/ST on the waiver wire, I'm here to help. Below are some of this week's top streaming options for fantasy owners in need for Week 14..
Some of the streaming D/ST qualifications that I use here each week include good matchups, home teams, favorites, and obviously good defenses.
Now, we look ahead to Week 14 for some recommendations with the caveat that defensive fantasy points are one of the most difficult things predict with complete accuracy, but if you're in need, here are some suggestions based on the above guidelines. Lets throw a few of these at the wall and see what sticks.
The Chiefs top pass-rusher Justin Houston (knee) was ruled out of Sunday's game against the Raiders, but that didn't stop this unit from producing for fantasy owners. Kansas City sacked Derek Carr four times and intercepted the Oakland quarterback thrice (all in the fourth quarter) on the way to a 34-20 win. With the three picks, Kansas City racked up as many yards off of interceptions in the fourth quarter as quarterback Alex Smith had passing yards the entire game (162). It's shocking that the unit isn't owned in a higher percentage of NFL.com leagues considering how well it's been playing lately.
In its last eight games, Kansas City's defense has been on a roll allowing an average of 14.4 points per game to opposing offenses while collecting 25 sacks and 20 takeaways in that span. The team has also held opponents to 22 or fewer points in eight straight games and has registered two or more takeaways in seven straight games which is the longest active streak in the NFL.
This week, San Diego heads into Arrowhead stadium. As if the Chargers pass-catching corps wasn't depleted enough heading into Week 13, both Dontrelle Inman (neck) and Steve Johnson (groin) left Sunday's game with injuries. Malcom Floyd has been playing but there's no way he's at 100 percent after suffering a torn labrum back in Week 9. That leaves tight end Antonio Gates and Javontee Herndon as Philip Rivers' go-to options. The Chargers run game has been abysmal too. San Diego has less than 100 yards rushing in 11 of 12 games this season and hasn't posted a rushing touchdown since Week 1.
When Kansas City's D/ST faced the Chargers in San Diego back in Week 11 the unit posted 20.00 fantasy points. The team sacked Rivers three times, recovered a fumble and scored on an interception return (Justin Houston). The Chargers only managed 201 total yards and a single field goal in the game. For fantasy owners looking to stream a defense for Week 14, Kansas City should be your top target.
Detroit is coming off a tough last-second loss against the Packers on Thursday Night Football. Without the miracle Hail Mary walk-off touchdown, the Lions would have held Green Bay to fewer than 300 total yards. But the long, last-second score docked the Lions D/ST fantasy point total for the week down to 5.00 points. Prior to Week 13, Detroit's defense had been on a roll, limiting opponents to 16 or fewer points in three straight contests with 10 sacks, one fumble recovery and a safety. Those aren't week-winning numbers but fantasy totals of 4.00, 7.00 and 9.00 points are acceptable for streamers just looking to stay afloat.
In Week 14, the Lions head to St. Louis to take on one of the worst offenses in the entire NFL. The Rams average just 15.8 points and 296.3 total yards per game - that's the second lowest mark in the league. Quarterback Nick Foles threw five interceptions in his last three games and hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in his last six games. He also hasn't registered more than 228 passing yards since Week 1 (297), his highest mark of the year.
The Rams' only threat on offense, rookie running back Todd Gurley, hasn't been much of a threat lately either. He's been held under 100 yards in each of his last five games and hasn't scored a touchdown in his last two contests. Behind a poor-run blocking offensive line and even worse quarterback play, opposing defenses have been able to stack the box at will which leaves virtually no room for Gurley to run. If there was ever a week to bench Gurley based on the matchup, this is the week. In the last four weeks, the Lions have allowed rush yard totals of 47, 50, 68 and 67 yards to opposing teams. The case should be no different when the Lions come to town in Week 14, making them a solid streaming option for fantasy owners in need of a spot start at D/ST.
Yes, the Giants are one of the worst defenses in the NFL this season. But the Giants D/ST continues to be a sneaky option in fantasy. Despite allowing 23 points in a loss to the Jets in Week 13, the Giants defense still managed to register 11.00 fantasy points and finished as a top 10 option at the position. Even though Big Blue's defense is allowing more total yards per game than virtually every other team in the league, they somehow manage to get it done for fantasy owners one way or another. In Week 13 it was a Dwayne Harris punt returned for a touchdown that boosted the unit's fantasy output. In a seemingly horrible matchup against the high-scoring New England offense, the Giants sacked Tom Brady three times and collected two takeaways notching 7.00 fantasy points. And in each of the three weeks before that, the unit scored a touchdown.
In Week 14, the Giants head to South Florida to take on a struggling Miami offense. The Dolphins have now scored 20 points or fewer in six straight games. The Dolphins beat the Ravens on Sunday, but that's not saying much. Ryan Tannehill threw for just 86 yards in the game. EIGHTY-SIX! He's been horribly inconsistent in recent weeks and his volatile play is the stuff opposing defenses prey on. And for a Giants defense that has collected 14 interceptions and 10 fumble recoveries this season, it's easy to see why the unit is a viable streaming option for Week 13.
Washington matches up against Dallas on Monday night so we have yet to see them play this week but the unit should still be a decent option to stream against Chicago in Week 14.
Heading into Week 13, Washington has held its opponents to below 300 passing yards in every game this year. The unit has also posted double-digit fantasy totals in two of its last three contests with 13.00 points against New Orleans in Week 10 and 10.00 points against the Giants in Week 12. Even when they surrendered a ridiculous 44 points to the Panthers in Week 11, they still registered 6.00 fantasy points thanks to two sacks and a safety.
Although Washington's defense has performed better at home (17.5 ppg) than on the road (32.4 ppg), the Bears have allowed 8.50 fantasy points per game to opposing D/STs this season. The Bears' biggest threat on offense is the Jay Cutler to Alshon Jeffery connection. That connection wasn't firing on all cylinders against San Francisco on Sunday as Cutler struggled with just 202 pass yards, a pick-six, and zero touchdowns. So as long as Washington can get some pressure on Cutler, I can the unit forcing a few mistakes and the team's D/ST should be a solid streaming option against the Bears in Week 14.
Here are some D/STs with good matchups to consider picking up if you're looking for solid streaming plays in Weeks 15 and 16:
Week 15:Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs St. Louis Rams), Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Baltimore Ravens), Minnesota Vikings (vs. Chicago Bears), Miami Dolphins (vs. San Diego Chargers)
Week 16:Detroit Lions (vs. San Francisco 49ers), Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Cleveland Browns), Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Baltimore Ravens)
Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. Congratulations to the Chemical Brothers for earning a Grammy nomination for one of the best songs of the year, "Go". Hit Matt up on Twitter **@MattFranchise** for music recommendations and fantasy advice.