by Ray Kuhn
For those of you looking to stream defenses this week, here are 5 options that could potentially be available in your league. These might not necessarily be the best defensive options (to be eligible a defense must be owned in less than 60% of both Yahoo and ESPN leagues), but it could provide a viable alternative for those of you that do not have one of the top defenses.
- Cincinnati Bengals (38% Yahoo, 30.5% ESPN). I am sure that this ownership level is at least partly attributable to the Bengals showing against the Ravens last week, as their defense was responsible for 37 points (Ed Reed returned an interception for a touchdown). This week their task gets just slightly easier as they face rookie Brandon Weeden and his 5.1 QB rating and are also at home. There is no reason to expect Weeden to really improve much on his 4 interceptions last week as the Bengals will be daring him to throw. The Eagles did not have a problem shutting down Trent Richardson and the running game, and Weeden and his lackluster cast of receivers were not able to take advantage. Expect more of the same this week as the Bengals should be able to limit the points scored and create some turnovers.
- Dallas Cowboys (40% Yahoo, 50.5% ESPN). Maybe Jerry Jones was on to something when he upgraded the secondary by signing Brandon Carr and drafting Morris Claiborne. They didn’t seem to have much of a problem dealing with the Giants prolific offense, so Seattle should be a comparative walk in the park. Russell Wilson showed some slight flashes, but did not look to be close to dominating. Demarcus Ware and company also seemed to not have a problem getting to Eli Manning and should be good for a few sacks as well. They might give up some yards, but points should not be an issue here.
- Oakland Raiders (17% Yahoo, 6.1% ESPN). This is starting to look like a trend. The Raiders are also going up against a rookie quarterback this week. Although Ryan Tannehill showed some flashes against the Texans, he is still a welcome site for fantasy defenses. He threw 3 interceptions last week (2 were the result of tipped balls) and also fumbled a snap. The likely absence of Daniel Thomas will hinder the running game and there is not much to speak of in regards to receiving weapons. Against the Chargers and the dangerous Phillip Rivers, the Raiders only gave up 22 points. Their lack of turnover generation and pressure on the quarterback last week hinders their overall ranking, but they should be to make up for that this week. Even if Tannehill improves, the Dolphins will have trouble getting into the end zone, and he will still make a few mistakes, which the Raiders should be able to capitalize on.
- Buffalo Bills (41% Yahoo, 48.3% ESPN). The Bills defense generated some optimism entering the season, but the Jets put that to rest last week with 34 points generated via offense (there was a punt return and interception return for a touchdown). Keep in mind that the Jets offense was in good position to score thanks to turnovers generated by their strong defense. Shonn Greene did not rush for 100 yards and Mark Sanchez did not pass for over 300 yards, so there is some solace to be had. Also, Mario Williams was a non factor, which I cannot see happening two weeks in a row. There might be a little post hype value here from owners overreacting to one week. As a quarterback, Matt Cassel does not scare me and a lot of the damage he did was because Atlanta was scoring at will. This will likely be a closer game so the points will be limited.
- Washington Redskins (9% Yahoo, 2.1% ESPN). The Redskins did give up 32 points against the Saints, but some of those came in garbage time. The Rams put up 23 last week, but that was aided by 3 interceptions in the first half. As a whole an offense led by Sam Bradford and his mediocre receivers does not scare me, and the Redskins should be able at least limit the points and pick up a turnover or two. They might not have as high an upside as some of the other options, but at least there is minimal risk here.
What do you think of these streaming options? Is there another defense you like more?
Make sure to check out our Week 2 rankings: