If you read this column last week and streamed the Eagles (11 fantasy points), Jets (nine), or Bills (10) defenses, you found solid production off the waiver wire at one of fantasy's most volatile positions -- though the Browns (two) and desperation-play Titans (four) didn't really pay dividends. But those are the risks you take when streaming defenses. Then again, several highly-drafted defenses put up disappointing totals (looking at you, Chiefs), so no strategy is perfect. Nevertheless, we'll soldier on and highlight some lower-owned defenses in great positions to produce solid fantasy totals for Week 2.
As always, I'll use the streaming D/ST qualifications previously established by Matt Harmon and Matt Franciscovich in this column: good matchups, home teams, favorites, and obviously good defenses.
Week 2 features a few curious road streaming options, but there are reasons to believe these units could help bring us fantasy glory. Let's get to it.
New York Jets D/ST (13.4 percent owned) at Buffalo Bills
One of our Week 1 streaming options, the Jets delivered a solid fantasy performance thanks to seven sacks of Andy Dalton. In Week 2, they travel on a short week to face a Buffalo offense that only mustered seven points and 160 total yards against a re-building Baltimore defense. To make matters worse for the Bills, Sammy Watkins is playing through "severe discomfort" in his surgically repaired foot, and could be shut down for weeks by the team. Even if he does play and Darrelle Revis has a hard time locking him down (Revis got whooped by A.J. Green in Week 1), the Bills running game could find tough sledding against a Jets front that welcomes back Sheldon Richardson from his one-game suspension. While the Bills' trio of Tyrod Taylor, LeSean McCoy, and Watkins did magical things together last year, early returns in 2015 aren't great. The Bills could easily turn things around in the hurry, but while they sort out their issues they'll be a streaming target, especially against talented defenses like the Jets.
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST (26.6 percent owned) at Chicago Bears
The Eagles worked for us in Week 1, so why shy away in Week 2? The Bears offensive line has issues right now and is coming off a five-sack performance against the Texans' stout front seven. The Eagles also boast a powerful front seven led by Fletcher Cox that could spend a lot of time in the backfield with Jay Cutler on Sunday. The Eagles corners might have trouble with Alshon Jeffery, but if the defense locks him up or puts bracket coverage over him, who else is a real threat in Chicago to catch passes at this point? We're still waiting for an answer after Zach Miller and Kevin White disappointed (save me your Eddie Royal takes, please). If you picked the Eagles up last week there's really no reason to cast them back into the waiver-wire waters just yet.
Miami Dolphins (2.7 percent owned) at New England Patriots
With Mario Williams joining the Dolphins this offseason, many wondered if this would turn into one of the most dominant defensive lines in football, or one of the most overpaid. So far, so good for those who voted dominant. Granted, it was against a patchwork Seahawks offensive line, but the Dolphins sacked Russell Wilson three times, hit him nine times, and drew three holding penalties. If the Dolphins hope to have a chance against the Patriots in Foxborough in Week 2, they'll need to get to Jimmy Garoppolo early and often. The Cardinals only hit Garoppolo four times in Week 1 and recorded two sacks, allowing Jimmy G. plenty of time to spread the ball around. He did still throw a few questionable passes that Arizona wasn't able to take advantage of, so opportunities will be there for turnovers. If Nate Solder (hamstring) misses Week 2 as well, the Dolphins will be an even stronger streaming candidate. There are certainly risks here, seeing as they're on the road and playing a Bill Belichick-led team, but after the performance this team put up in Seattle last week, they're worth a look for defensive streamers.
Jacksonville Jaguars D/ST (4.8 percent owned) at San Diego Chargers
While the scoreboard (27 points allowed) and stat line (one sack, zero turnovers) for the Jaguars defense tell one story, this unit's play on the field tells another. They consistently harassed Aaron Rodgers in the pocket, but seeing as he's Houdini-esque when it comes to escaping pressure, they managed just one sack. Philip Rivers is one of the least mobile passers in the league, and will be running an offense that is now without its top two wide receivers (Keenan Allen, Steve Johnson). While he could mitigate a pass rush by using checkdowns and short passes to Danny Woodhead and company, odds are the Jaguars get home to sack Rivers a handful of times in this contest. Last year, the Chargers offense gave up 2.13 more fantasy points per game to opposing defenses with Keenan Allen out of the lineup than they did when he was starting. All told, the Jags look like a sneaky good streaming option for Week 2.
Washington Redskins (10.1 percent owned) vs. Dallas Cowboys
While the Giants defense mustered just "a" fantasy point against Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in Week 1, the rookie will be facing a new task heading on the road for the first time as a starter. The Washington defense boasts two talented corners in Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland and a front seven that can get after the passer with Preston Smith and Ryan Kerrigan. In front of what figures to be a raucous home crowd, expect the Redskins to give Prescott more fits than the Giants did. With Prescott throwing a combined 26 targets to Cole Beasley and Jason Witten last week the Dallas offense is really lacking an explosive, downfield element. Dez Bryant only saw five targets, though he did have a touchdown overturned on yet another catch ruling (sorry, Dez). If Washington gets up early, which they very well could, this could help their defense get into a fantasy-friendly game script against a rookie quarterback.
Desperation/contrarian DFS plays
Chicago Bears D/ST (2.9 percent owned) vs. Philadelphia Eagles:Carson Wentz impressed in his NFL debut, but now he faces a tougher test going on the road to Chicago against a defensive mastermind in Vic Fangio. The Bears could receive some help in the secondary as well if Kyle Fuller heals up. The Bears defense has some holes right now, but a rookie's first road game could make him ripe for the fantasy picking, and in DFS few figure to be on the Bears after they were beat handily Brock Osweiler.
Detroit Lions D/ST (2.5 percent owned) vs. Tennessee Titans: I'm not suggesting you chase the fluky second-half turnovers that plagued the Titans in Week 1, but after the performance the Lions offense put up, there's a chance this game turns into a negative game script for the Titans. They're a team built to play with a lead behind the strength of their offensive line and running game, but if Detroit gets up early on the Titans (as they did against the Colts), then Marcus Mariota will have to take to the air to win. He could certainly put up points against a leaky Lions defense (and probably will), but for those looking for a totally wild card option in DFS contests, or for a streamer in deeper leagues, the Lions could have some appeal. It's a risk, but the Lions will be favored to win and are at home in their dome, so they check a couple of the boxes we look for in streaming candidates.