If you are competing for a fantasy championship this week, then you will commit an enormous percentage of your focus toward determining your starters at QB, RB, WR, and TE. But many owners have become increasingly aware that streaming a defense can also be extremely beneficial toward your chances of winning. Some of the more proficient units may not be available on your waiver wires. But here are three alternatives that could deliver favorable results, if you prefer to stream a defense during this critical week.
Giants at Lions
The shortcomings that exist within Detroit's 30th ranked pass defense have diminished their appeal to fantasy owners this season. And those deficiencies have offset the formidable presence of a run defense which now ranks an impressive fourth overall, while permitting only 99 YPG. However, the Lions become a more enticing option this week, because they will be lining up against a highly flawed Giant offense that ranks just 28th overall, and was gangster slapped into oblivion by the Seahawks in Week 15. Not only was New York held scoreless during the contest, but Andre Brown was limited to 17 yards on 11 attempts (1.5 YPC), and the thoroughly horrid season of Eli Manning continued. Since Week 2, he has managed just 12 TDs. Plus, he has supplied opponents with 25 INTs, including the season high five that he tossed last Sunday. Manning also failed to register a TD pass for the third time this season, which matches the number of contests in which he has manufactured multiple scoring throws. Not only should Detroit stifle New York's efforts to establish a ground game, but the usual vulnerability against the pass should not present a major issue for owners. Detroit is available in 92% of all ESPN leagues, and could be the final ingredient needed to secure your league’s championship.
Other Favorable Matchups
Buccaneers at Rams
Even though St. Louis does not currently rank among the leaders in total defense, this unit has produced noteworthy performances at various times during the regular season. That includes the impressive victory over New Orleans last Sunday, in which they intercepted Drew Brees twice, forced him to fumble, and sacked him four times. They also limited the Saint offense to a mere FG heading into the fourth quarter. The Rams do rank a respectable 12th against the run (105 YPG). Plus, only four teams have generated more takeaways than the 27 that St. Louis has produced, and the unit's 42 sacks place them in a tie for fifth overall. This week they will benefit from an appealing matchup with Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are ranked dead last in total offense, and remain one of just two teams to average under 300 YPG (284). The Buccaneers are also 30th in scoring, while manufacturing only 18 PPG. The Rams are the type of Week 16 option that streamers should be hoping for while perusing the waiver wires. They are still available in just under 30% of all ESPN leagues, and unless you are among the fortunate owners who already have an elite defensive unit, it is well worth your time to check your league’s waiver wires.
Titans at Jaguars
Tennessee makes a return appearance in this column with a current ranking of 14th in total defense, and an outstanding matchup for owners' consideration. The Titans have been highly successful at limiting opposing passing attacks, and their ranking of 11th in that category is somewhat misleading. The unit ranked seventh prior to their Week 14 encounter with Denver, when Peyton Manning dissected them for 397 yards and four TDs. Yet despite that output, Tennessee still has surrendered just 13 scoring throws this season, which is the fewest among all teams. They have encountered more issues versus the run, but this week’s matchup with a depleted Jacksonville attack is far too enticing to overlook. The Jaguars rank 31st in total offense, average 291 YPG, and are dead last in scoring (15.8 PPG). At this point, it appears the Jags will be without their two best playmakers, as there is little reason to subject the hobbled tandem of Maurice Jones-Drew and Cecil Shorts to further injury. Even though Jordan Todman possesses the potential to accumulate yardage, there is little reason for concern about an attack that includes Chad Henne performing under center. The Titans remain available in 65% of all ESPN leagues, and should provide willing owners with very favorable results.