Streaming Defenses: Week 6 Options
Streaming Defenses: Week 6 Options

This article is part of our Streaming Defenses series.

A rough Week 4 set us up for a nice rebound, and let's just say Dennis Rodman would be proud. Our top streaming pick for Week 5 was the Eagles, who went on to score 35 fantasy points. The other choices weren't necessarily spectacular, but they all proved functional, at a minimum — seven points for Tennessee, 11 for Buffalo, six for New Orleans and 19 for San Francisco.

Unfortunately, the upcoming week appears less favorable for D/ST streaming, in part because four teams are on bye. On a more optimistic note, there are two defenses that don't technically meet our ownership requirements for streaming recommendations but nonetheless may be available in some competitive leagues — the Ravens and Chargers. It's a nice reminder that ownership percentages are at least partially dictated by August expectations, as many fantasy players don't realize how much they're losing (35 points from the Eagles!) when they keep one team in the D/ST spot all season long.

For injury/ranking updates throughout the week, follow me on Twitter (@RotowireNFL_JD).

Note: These recommendations are limited to team defenses with ownership under 60 percent on Yahoo or 30 percent on ESPN as of Tuesday morning. Any references to fantasy points are based on Yahoo standard scoring, which doesn't include yards allowed.

Top Streaming Options for Week 6

1. Washington Redskins (at Miami Dolphins)

6% Yahoo ownership, 5% ESPN

Team implied total: 22.75

Opponent implied total: 18.75

Upcoming Ranks — Week 7: 28th (vs. SF), Week 8: 26th (at MIN)

This upcoming Sunday brings us the gift of all matchups — a true blessing for the depraved football fan. I never thought I'd see a winless team listed as a 3.5-point road favorite after firing its head coach earlier in the week. Such is the power of the 2019 Miami Dolphins, a team that's scored 26 points in four games while allowing 73 fantasy points to opposing defenses (league-high 18.3 average). Whether we look at DVOA or more traditional stats like yards and points, it quickly becomes clear that the difference between Washington's subpar defense and a league-average defense is much, much smaller than the difference between Miami's offense and a league-average offense.

2. Carolina Panthers ("at" Tampa Bay Buccaneers in London)

46% Yahoo ownership, 54% ESPN

Team implied total: 25.0

Opponent implied total: 23.0

Upcoming Ranks — Week 7: Bye,  Week 8: 22nd (at SF)

Averaging 10.2 fantasy points (fifth-most) and four sacks (second-most) per game, the Panthers defense has been one of the pleasant surprises of the 2019 campaign, led by a career year from Mario Addison (6.5 sacks) along with an instant impact from first-round pick Brian Burns (3.5 sacks). Carolina hasn't been nearly as effective against the run, but that's not the worst problem to have in modern football, especially when facing a team like Tampa Bay that's averaging just 3.9 YPC. The Bucs have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to team defenses (10.4 per game), including 3.6 sacks per game. As a bonus, there's a decent chance for bad weather whenever we're dealing with a London game.

3. Denver Broncos (vs. Tennessee Titans)

30% Yahoo ownership, 20% ESPN

Team implied total: 20.75

Opponent implied total: 18.25

Upcoming Ranks — Week 7: 24th (vs. KC), Week 8: 19th (at IND)

Despite losing Bradly Chubb to an ACL tear, the Broncos defense finally showed a pulse the past two weeks against Jacksonville and Los Angeles, putting up 17 fantasy points from five sacks and three takeaways. That's not exactly world-beating stuff, but it does show the minimal level of competence we need to stream a defense that's hosting Marcus Mariota. The Titans quarterback has taken a league-high 22 sacks, sporting the second-highest sack rate (13.5 percent) in the league after he had the highest rate (11.3) last season. To be fair, this is more of a "floor" play than a "ceiling" play — the Denver defense is unreliable, and Mariota's propensity for taking sacks is largely related to an overly cautious approach that also limits turnovers.

4. Green Bay Packers (vs. Detroit Lions)

31% Yahoo ownership, 36% ESPN

Team implied total: 25.75

Opponent implied total: 21.25

Upcoming Ranks — Week 7: 5th (vs. OAK), Week 8: 25th (at KC)

Our streaming recommendations generally try to target weak offenses rather than strong defenses, partially out of necessity and partially because defensive performance is far less reliable — with less predictive value — than what happens on the other side of the ball. This is one of the rare exceptions where we list a defense that's facing a solid offense — another sign that the streaming depth is disappointing compared to last week. That said, the Packers D/ST ranks ninth with an average of 9.4 fantasy points, led by a pass rush that's averaging three sacks per game (t-10th most). Injuries in the Green Bay secondary should allow Matthew Stafford to put up some yards, but an opportunistic defense likely will make some big plays of its own along the way.

5. Miami Dolphins (vs. Washington Redskins)

25% Yahoo ownership, 5% ESPN

Team implied total: 18.75

Opponent implied total: 22.25

Upcoming Ranks — Week 7: 23rd (at BUF), Week 8: 27th (at PIT)

Look, I'm not saying you should actually do it. But really, we primarily play fantasy football to have fun, and what's more fun than winning a matchup against a close friend with the Miami Dolphins defense in your lineup? I guess the flip side is that it would stink to lose by two points because you started Miami over a real NFL team. The Dolphins do have a reasonable shot at their first (and only?) win this upcoming weekend, facing the one other team that's almost as much of a mess as they are.

Week 6 Rankings

1. New England Patriots (vs. NYG)

2. Baltimore Ravens (vs. CIN)

3. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. PIT)

4. Washington Redskins (at MIA)

5. Carolina Panthers (at TB)

6. Denver Broncos (vs. TEN)

7. Green Bay Packers (vs. DET)

8. Miami Dolphins (vs. WAS)

9. Dallas Cowboys (at NYJ)

10. New Orleans Saints (at JAX)

11. Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. NO)

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CAR)

13. Tennessee Titans (at DEN)

14. San Francisco 49ers (at LAR)

15. Arizona Cardinals (vs. ATL)

16. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. HOU)

17. Los Angeles Rams (vs. SF)

18. Minnesota Vikings (vs. PHI)

19. Philadelphia Eagles (at MIN)

20. Atlanta Falcons (at ARZ)

Looking Ahead to Week 7

1. Buffalo Bills (vs. MIA)

2. New England Patriots (at NYJ)

3. San Francisco 49ers (at WAS)

4. Chicago Bears (vs. NO)

5. Green Bay Packers (vs. OAK)

6. New Orleans Saints (at CHI)

7. Detroit Lions (vs. MIN)

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (at CIN)

9. Los Angeles Chargers (at TEN)

10. New York Giants (vs. ARZ)

11. Los Angeles Rams (at ATL)

12. Kansas City Chiefs (at DEN)

13. Seattle Seahawks (vs. BAL)

14. Tennessee Titans (vs. LAC)

15. Minnesota Vikings (at DET)

16. Indianapolis Colts (vs. HOU)

17. Arizona Cardinals (at NYG)

18. Dallas Cowboys (vs. PHI)

19. Houston Texans (at IND)

20. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. JAX)

Rest-of-Season Rankings

1. New England Patriots

2. Chicago Bears

3. Buffalo Bills

4. Minnesota Vikings

5. San Francisco 49ers 

6. Los Angeles Rams

7. Green Bay Packers

8. Jacksonville Jaguars

9. Detroit Lions

10. Cleveland Browns

11. Dallas Cowboys

12. Philadelphia Eagles

13. Carolina Panthers

14. Tennessee Titans

15. New Orleans Saints

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Houston Texans

18. Kansas City Chiefs

19. Indianapolis Colts

20. Seattle Seahawks

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Donabedian
Jerry was a 2018 finalist for the FSWA's Player Notes Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year awards. A Baltimore native, Jerry roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.
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