Team defenses in fantasy football are very tricky. You may think you’ve got a defense that is going to play well every week and help lead you to a championship, only to find out that they give up 42 points to the Jacksonville Jaguars. On the other hand, you can think you’re stuck with a run of the mill defense in an average match up, hoping for six or seven points, only to have them go off and put up 20 points for you in that week.
This is the Week One version of my weekly team defense streaming options article. I will be looking at a few defenses each week that I think will be solid and that you can likely get off the waiver wire. We all wish we could start Seattle every week, but remember that the Kansas City defense came off of the waiver wire for most teams last year and it led a lot of players to a championship. I’m hoping that I can find you a weekly Seattle or 2013 Kansas City defense based on positive match ups. Let’s take a look!
New York Jets (Owned in 11% of Yahoo! leagues)
My first pick of 2014 is likely a popular one, but follows suit with the 2013 of any team playing the Raiders. The Jets are a solid defense overall, but now have a great match up against what could be a terrible Raiders offense. The Raiders are 0-7 playing in the Eastern Time Zone in the past two years and are starting a rookie at QB (Derek Carr). The Raiders had the 9th worst pass block grade in 2013 as per Pro Football Focus and they lost their best offensive linemen in Jared Veldheer to free agency. Muhammad Wilkerson had 10.5 sacks last year and I think he is going to wreak havoc in this game against the porous offensive line of Oakland. If you missed on one of the top defenses or just like to pick a new defense every week to keep it fresh, the J-E-T-S are my #1 streaming defense for this week.
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New Orleans Saints (Owned in 19% of Yahoo! leagues)
My second pick happens to be my favourite team in the league, the New Orleans Saints. This top five real football defensive unit has an excellent match up. Another poor offensive line in Atlanta that lost a staple of their line in Sam Baker to injury, this is a great matchup for the strong pass rush of New Orleans. According to Pro Football Focus, the Falcons offensive line ranked 3rd worst in their pass blocking efficiency metric, which measures total pressures allowed (sacks, hits allowed and hurries allowed) against how many passing plays they had. While they did sign Jon Asamoah from the Chiefs and they drafted Jake Matthews this year in the 1st round, I don’t think these players will stop the strong pass rush of the Saints enough to keep Matt Ryan upright. Sack monsters Cameron “not the tight end” Jordan and Junior Galette are going to run over this line all game and start off their seasons right where they left off in 2013 (12.5 sacks for Jordan and 12.0 sacks for Galette). Lastly, the Saints ranked 8th in pass coverage as per PFF – and did I mention they just added ballhawk Jairus Byrd? There could be a turnover or two in this game.
Detroit Lions (Owned in 38% of Yahoo! leagues)
The last pick this week is the Detroit Lions. They have a very strong defensive line and they are playing the Giants who’s offensive line is…..well if you ask me, offensively bad (are you sensing a trend here?). In 2013 according to Pro Football Focus, the Giants offensive line sported the 2nd worst pass blocking grade and 2nd worst pass blocking efficiency in the league. On the Lions side of the ball, Detroit had the 7th best pass rush grade last year. With no major improvements to the Giants offensive line, you can expect a few sacks and Eli Manning is always good for an interception or two (league high 27 interceptions last year). I’m expecting a big game from both Ndamukong Suh & Nick Fairley and a poor game from Eli Manning and his offense as a whole.