I can now officially say it: we have reached the Fantasy playoffs. Unless you failed to make the playoffs or you are one of the few leagues with either a four team playoff or a Week 17 Championship, we have reached the moment that we have all been preparing for.
Your team is mostly set. You can’t trade anymore, so whatever the core of your team looks like right now is going to be the one that will have to win you games in the coming weeks. Outside of maybe a couple last waiver claims that can help shape your team, there is really one spot on your team that may or may not be final … defense.
Unless you are one of the lucky people to own the Vikings, Broncos, or any of the few matchup proof defenses in Fantasy, you likely pick up defenses with the best matchup for that week. We want to give you a head start over your opponents and tell you which defenses will be the ones that can carry your team to glory before the playoffs even start.
In order to do this, we will be going over the best defenses to start in the next four weeks that have an ownership percentage of 30% or less in Yahoo leagues.
Since there aren’t very many good defenses that fall under that criteria, the main thing we have to look at now is matchups. While you still won’t want to be starting the Browns under any circumstances (sorry Browns), a below average defense becomes startable when given the right matchup. So, without further ado, lets get into the list.
Fantasy Football Playoffs: Your Guide For Streaming Defenses
The D/ST Pickup of the Playoffs
Atlanta Falcons (27% owned)
What if you could avoid streaming entirely for the playoffs? What if there was one defense who you could trust this year with your championship hopes and not have to stress about defenses any longer. Enter the Atlanta Falcons.
The 20th scoring D/ST in Yahoo leagues this year has been blessed with a playoff schedule of dreams. In Week 14, they play the Rams, who have allowed the third most points to opposing D/STs this year. In Week 15 they face the 49ers at home, who have given up the ninth most points to opposing D/STs, and then they get the Panthers (sixth most points to opposing defenses) in Week 16. You will probably even be able to get away with starting them against the Saints (16th) in Week 17. This is the defense that you want to pick up as soon as you can, and you can plug them in for the rest of the playoffs.
Okay, maybe you are not able to get the Falcons. Don’t worry, there still are plenty of options when you take it from a week-to-week outlook. Now, let’s dive into the best defenses to own during Week 14.
Indianapolis Colts (5% owned)
First we have the Indianapolis Colts. They are owned in only 5% of Yahoo leagues, so I would be very surprised if you weren’t able to pick them up in your league.
In Week 14, they play the Houston Texans at home. The Texans have been a great matchup all year long for opposing defenses, giving up the eighth most points to the position. The Texans rank 28th in points per game this year which should give the Colts defense a solid floor to work with. They also are tied for sixth in the league with 20 turnovers, which gives the Colts defense a good ceiling. While the Colts defense isn’t exactly a great unit (26th in Fantasy scoring this year), they should be able to take advantage of this matchup and post a solid Fantasy outing.
Tennessee Titans (11% owned)
Another defense with a very small ownership percentage, the Titans are a great candidate to put up points at the D/ST position this week. This defense has had four or more Fantasy points in 10 out of the 12 games this season, although they are only the 20th scoring defense in Yahoo leagues this season.
They play at home this week against Denver. While the Broncos offense ranks in the middle of the pack in both points per game and turnovers, they have still allowed the eighth most Fantasy points to opposing defenses. All this adds up to a defense with a low upside but a stable floor that will be sure to give you put up at least a few points this week, and that is all you can ask for when streaming defenses.
Detroit Lions (16% owned)
The Detroit Lions are another great D/ST to own for this week. They have been a really good unit all year, ranking 15th in Yahoo scoring, so it is a little bit of a surprise that they don’t have a higher ownership percentage.
They get to play the Chicago Bears at home this week, who have allowed the 11th most points to opposing defenses. The Bears are in the middle of the pack in giveaways, but rank third-worst in the league in points per game. It also helps the Lions’ cause that Matt Barkley is currently the starter for the Bears. They should have a solid Fantasy performance this week, and also carry a fair amount of upside.
Week 14 is a really good week for streaming defenses. When looking at Week 15 … not so much. While there aren’t many great options out there, we will do our best to help you find the best of the best.
Washington Redskins (13% owned)
In my opinion, the Redskins defense is the defense to own for streamers in Week 15.
They play at home against a Carolina Panthers offense that has struggled all year on their way to allowing the sixth most points to opposing D/STs. They have given the ball away the fourth most times in the NFL this year, which gives this group a high upside. The Redskins defense has also been good enough to be the 22nd scoring defense in Yahoo leagues this year. I certainly expect Washington to take advantage of their matchup on their way to a good outing.
New Orleans Saints (14% owned)
After a historically bad 2015 season, the Saints have done a solid job bouncing back this season. They still only rank as the 28th scoring defense in Yahoo leagues this season, but they have now become usable when given the right matchup, and it may have arrived in Week 15 against the Cardinals.
The Cardinals have taken a huge step down from last year on their way to allowing the sixth most points to opposing defenses this year. While they are in the middle of the pack in points scored, they turn the ball over a lot, which gives the Saints some upside. I expect Drew Brees and the Saints offense to get out to an early lead, which could lead to Carson Palmer forcing a few passes on his way to a few interceptions. Or at least that is the hopeful scenario. While the Saints could turn out as a bust if the Cardinals are clicking on offense on their home field, their enticing upside makes them a solid streaming option for Week 15.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2% owned)
Yes, I know, the Jaguars. I told you this week was rough. Although the Jaguars rank second to last in Yahoo’s defense scoring this year, a matchup against the Texans puts them in the streaming tier this week.
You can look above at the Colts write-up to see the stats on the Texans. Because of Houston’s low powered offense, I find it hard to see them putting up many points against the Jaguars, even at home. The Jaguars are a good bet to put up a few points, but you are probably better off going with one of the other two defenses above.
Now this is probably your championship week. Finding a good D/ST is more important than ever here, as a good outing from your defense could win you your entire league. Let’s look at the best defenses to stream for Week 16.
Tennessee Titans (11% owned)
As mentioned above, the Titans have been solid all year long. They are the top D/ST to pick up for you championship game with a prime matchup against the Jaguars.
While it is an away game, the Jaguars have been a dream matchup for defenses all year. They have allowed the fifth most points to opposing D/STs, and combine a solid floor for their opponents (27th in points per game) with an elite upside (tied for first in giveaways). Also, Blake Bortles has the most pick sixes by a quarterback in the first three years of his career, and he has now equaled his pick six number with his career win count. Yikes! This fuels an elite upside for the Titans defense in Week 16 that surely could win you a championship.
Washington Redskins (13% owned)
The Redskins are another team to make their second appearance on this list. You could basically write this portion by yourself by pulling information from earlier writeups in this article, but I will summarize it anyway.
The Redskins have had a solid, albeit unspectacular season this year. Their case is greatly helped by facing the Chicago Bears, who will likely still be starting Matt Barkley at quarterback. If you don’t get the Titans, make sure to find a way to get this group into your lineup.
**Longshot Alert-Proceed At Your Own Risk***
San Francisco 49ers (2% owned)
Cut me some slack here. There are two clear-cut very good options to stream this week, and then it falls off from there. If you want to find the ultimate dark-horse defense that probably will backfire, the 49ers fit the bill. If it works, then you can brag forever to your league members about how it was your expertise and not your stupidity that allowed you to make this lineup decision.
They have been atrocious all year long, but have had a combined 33 Fantasy points in the four games this year when they have faced a team that is in the Top 6 in points allowed to opposing defenses. Although they are on the road, Jared Goff could try a little bit too much to impress and that could lead to a few turnovers. Worst case scenario is that this game finishes as the worst game of all time as the Rams squeak out a 3-0 win, but you still would get a few points for that, right?
Best Streaming Combinations
Oh no, we aren’t done yet. Maybe you don’t want to worry about having to wait each week to pick up your defense. Maybe you want to be prepared before the playoffs even start. If you don’t have a matchup proof, stud defense or the Falcons like I mentioned earlier, maybe you can find a combination of two defenses that will give you an edge over your opponent. I will briefly describe the two defense pairs that I have come up with that you can put together in order to get elite production during the Fantasy playoffs.
Titans + Saints
If you were to play the Titans in Weeks 14 and 16 while playing the Saints in Week 15, you would have matchups of vs. Denver, @ Arizona and @ Jacksonville. Pretty dang good.
Redskins + Colts
If you were to play the Colts in Week 14 and then follow up with the Redskins in Weeks 15 and 16, your matchups would be: vs. Houston, vs. Carolina, and @ Chicago. Again, very good.
Alright, whatever. Although only the lamest of leagues will play in Week 17 (just kidding), I will go over who you can stream anyway. The best part is that both of these two defenses are in separate pairs out of the streaming pairs that I just listed, so you won’t have to alter your strategy at all if you choose to go in that direction.
Indianapolis Colts (5% owned)
In Week 17, the Colts will host the Jacksonville Jaguars. As mentioned above, the Jaguars are the absolute dream Fantasy matchup for opposing defenses. If your championship is in Week 17, you can confidently start the Colts who will give you a solid floor and great ceiling.
Tennessee Titans (11% owned)
Wow, do the Titans have a juicy D/ST schedule to end the year! I basically feel like I am repeating myself now, with the same teams and same matchups repeating over and over against. The Houston Texans will have to travel to Tennessee in Week 17 in order to face the Titans, and the Titans will retain the elite floor that they have had all year. If they can force a few turnovers, they could be in for a huge day.
Thank you for reading! Make sure to check out the other great articles here at SCFE!
- Week 7 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: The Young And The Old - May 16, 2018
- Week 5 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Replacing Corey Seager - May 6, 2018
- Week 3 Fantasy Baseball Waiver Wire: Hidden Gems - April 19, 2018