The Tampa Bay Buccaneers top my defensive streamers for Week 2 with an excellent matchup at home against the St. Louis Rams (more on that shortly).
Last week was hit and miss, with the Detroit Lions having a nice game (two sacks, two interceptions and just 14 points allowed) and then the New Orleans Saints defense getting lit up for 37 points and only getting one sack and one fumble recovery. The New York Jets also disappointed, giving up 14 points but only getting two sacks and zero turnovers against a rookie quarterback. I do like the Detroit Lions again playing in Carolina, even if Cam Newton is returning and I like the New Orleans Saints this week (call it a homer hunch, I’ll explain below) going to the Dog Pound in Cleveland. Let’s take a look at some of my picks for this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (available in 60% of Yahoo! leagues)
While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers disappointed last week against a Carolina offense lacking their starting quarterback in Newton, I like them a lot this week to bounce back against a very weak St. Louis Rams offense. The Rams were dominated last week by a defense in Minnesota that is not as strong as the Tampa Bay defense. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), the St. Louis offensive line allowed a total of 17 quarterback pressures (sacks, hits and hurries) to Minnesota last week. In my books, more pressures means more potential for sacks and points. Tampa Bay has a lot of potential for sacks this week against this weak Rams offensive line. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive pass rush struggled a bit last week, but we may have been wrong about the Carolina offensive line woes (11th best pass blocking grade as per PFF in Week One). Combine the weak offensive line with a shaky quarterback situation going against this strong defense and you’ve got yourself the top defensive streaming option for Week Two. Gerald McCoy, Michael Johnson and Adrian Clayborn are going to eat.
Houston Texans (available in 18% of Yahoo! leagues)
Admittedly, the Houston Texans are not available in very many leagues, but if they are or you have them on your roster, start them and don’t look back. The New York Jets didn’t have a great game against Oakland last week, but the New York Jets also don’t have J.J. Watt. PFF rated Watt as the best 3-4 defensive end in terms of his pass rush grade in week one. He had a sack, four quarterback hits and a batted pass last week. I could see him having 3 sacks himself in this game and then the Houston defense also has Brian Cushing and Brooks Reed to get after the quarterback. PFF rated the Houston Texans as the 4th best team in terms of pass rush in Week One, while Oakland was rated with the 8th worst pass blocking grade. If Watt is terrorizing rookie quarterback Derek Carr all game, there is bound to be some turnovers for this defense. I am sticking with my “target the Oakland Raiders” theme this week and Houston has a chance to be the top defense of the week.
New Orleans Saints (available in 82% of Yahoo! leagues)
I know, I know….okay stop yelling at me! Hey who threw that rock at my head?! Yes, the New Orleans Saints probably burned you last week, but who saw that coming from a top five defense in 2013? The good news is that Cleveland doesn’t have Roddy White or Julio Jones, they more than likely won’t have Josh Gordon for this game and Jordan Cameron‘s shoulder is injured at the moment. I’m not afraid of Andrew Hawkins or Miles Austin. I think Rob Ryan will correct the mistakes the defense made last week (16 missed tackles as per PFF in Week One against Atlanta) and they will have a nice bounce back game here. While Cleveland only gave up five quarterback pressures last week, I believe that had something to do with the Pittsburgh Steeler defense being ranked 4th worst in terms of pass rush by PFF last week. Look for lots of extra pass rushers from the Saints defense this week and look for a lot of quarterback hits and sacks. As previously mentioned, with pressure on an inexperienced quarterback comes the potential for turnovers. This is my gut call of the week, but it could pay off big time for you.
Miami Dolphins (available in 83% of Yahoo! leagues)
I decided to include a fourth defense since the Houston defense is very highly owned. Miami had the best pass rush in Week One per PFF. The New England Patriots offensive line gave up 25 quarterback pressures (including four sacks) to this Miami Dolphins pass rush last week. It gets better – Buffalo had the 7th worst pass blocking grade from PFF last week against the 10th best pass rush defense (Chicago Bears). Cameron Wake had two sacks last week and I could see him having another two or three if the Buffalo offensive line doesn’t have a plan for him. As with the last couple of defenses, Miami gets to face a young, inexperienced quarterback in EJ Manuel, who PFF ranked as the 14th best quarterback in week one. EJ Manuel under pressure last week: eight dropbacks, three of six passing, with one sack and one interception – that bodes very well for this top pass rushing unit. Buffalo does run the ball a lot though, but good thing that the Miami Dolphins defense ranked 11th last week in run defense. Miami has a great matchup and a lot of potential this week.