by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It’s Week 5, so we’re slowly starting to get a feel for which defenses are strong and which aren’t… Aren’t we? Unfortunately what we think we know may not quite be accurate, as we all have learned how volatile NFL teams can be from year to year (or even week to week). With that in mind, which defenses could be worth streaming this week? Let’s take a look:
New York Giants – vs. San Francisco
ESPN – 4.7%, Yahoo! – 14%
Is this about the Giants defense or the ineptitude of Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers offense? The truth is that it’s a mix of both, as both units are trending in the right direction to create the perfect storm for a streaming defense. While the Giants’ defense has been susceptible to running backs catching the ball out of the backfield, over the past two weeks they’ve allowed the seventh fewest rushing yards (128) and for the season have allowed the third fewest (266). Couple that with the struggles of Carlos Hyde since Week 1 (114 total rushing yards) and there’s reason for optimism (though there is the potential of a Reggie Bush sighting).
As for Kaepernick, his struggles have been well documented over the past two weeks and the rumblings have begun that the team could switch to Blaine Gaebbert. Does anyone really believe that would improve anything? The 49ers have allowed 14 sacks (tied for third most in the league) and have thrown 5 INT, simply adding to the Giants’ appeal.
Throw in having to travel across the country and this is looking like a tremendous opportunity to exploit.
Jacksonville Jaguars – at Tampa Bay
ESPN – 0.8%, Yahoo! – 2%
It’s easy to get excited about this matchup, with Tampa Bay scoring just 18 points per game. They’ve also been fairly loose with the football, throwing 7 INT and fumbling 7 times (they’ve lost 3 of them). That’s going to make for an appealing opportunity for the Jaguars, who have recorded 9 sacks but have yet to generate many turnovers (1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries).
Be careful here, as the Buccaneers do have some offensive fire power with Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin (who came alive in Week 4). That said, this is certainly a situation where fantasy owners in need of a defense can look to target.
Tennessee Titans – vs. Buffalo
ESPN – 3.6%, Yahoo! – 3%
The potential here is the significant questions regarding the Bills’ skill players. LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins missed Week 4 and could be sidelined again in Week 5, while Karlos Williams is going through the NFL concussion protocol and may not be cleared to play. With an offense that would be highlighted by Percy Harvin and Charles Clay, this situation is certainly one to consider.
Sources – Yahoo!, ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings: