3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming Options for Week 2
I hope that most, if not all, numberFire readers are fully on board the streaming defense bandwagon for fantasy football purposes. With Week 1 finished, the only defenses not available for Week 2 are those that were initially drafted in fantasy leagues, so there will be plenty of favorable options to target for Week 2. Since there were likely few -- if any -- moves between the draft and now in your fantasy leagues, depending on when you had your draft, any defense outside the top-12 in average draft position (ADP), per FantasyPros, should be in play for Week 2 streaming.
So, with that noted, who are the optimal streaming defenses for Week 2? I am considering every defense outside of the top-12 units in average draft position -- per FantasyPros -- a streamer option, but if a top-12 unit has a nice matchup and is available in your league, don't let this column interfere with that gift.
The ideal spot for a streaming defense is as a home favorite, but in this case, a road favorite will work. The Buffalo Bills are close to home and open as 2.0-point favorites over the New York Giants.
The Bills may be owned in some leagues since they are the D/ST13 in ADP and had a decent matchup in Week 1 against the New York Jets. This game has a meager 43.5-point over/under, giving the Giants an implied total of 20.75 points. While Saquon Barkley is a mythical creature at the running back position, the Giants are still intent on starting Eli Manning, who is a disaster, to put it gently. Manning took 47 sacks in 2018, and while his 11 interceptions were low, he added seven fumbles on the season.
The Giants had three receivers see over 100 targets in 2018. One was Odell Beckham, who is now with the Cleveland Browns, and another was Sterling Shepard, who may miss this game with an injury. (The third was the aforementioned Barkley.) It's likely that the team's top receiver this week could be tight end Evan Engram
So the Bills' D, a unit that basically shut down the Jets all game (Gang Green scored nine of their 16 points on defense), gets to face a Giants passing attack that likely got worse from 2018, when it was already weak? Sign me up.
The Bills posted the ninth-best rate of opposing drives ending in turnovers in 2018 but were lackluster in sacks. While not perfect, the Bills have a strong defense and should be a featured option for streamers in Week 2. We have them ranked seventh for the week.
Kansas City Chiefs
It's always beneficial to get defenses on teams that force their opponents to throw more as that increases the chances for sacks and turnovers. Even though the Kansas City Chiefs are on the road, that should be the case next week versus the Oakland Raiders.
The Chiefs open as 9.0-point road favorites, which should offer confidence that they'll be in command and the Raiders will be playing catch-up in the second half. Especially without Antonio Brown, the Raiders do not have an intimidating offense. With their primary weapons being a rookie running back with a limited college resume, Josh Jacobs, and a veteran wide receiver who has operated primarily as a deep threat, Tyrell Williams, the Raiders do not have many ways to beat a defense.
Outside of Williams, the Raiders have a largely inexperienced offense and should not be a significant threat to the Chiefs. Derek Carr's 51 sacks taken in 2018 should also inspire confidence in what should be an improved KC defensive line for 2019. The Chiefs ended 2019 with the fifth-highest rate of opponent's drives ending in a turnover (14.9%). Week 2 sets up as a good bet for the Chiefs to combine sacks and turnovers with a low opposing output. They should be a priority add this week if you need a defense, and we have them ranked fourth for Week 2.
Thursday Night Football games have a reputation for being sloppy, which bodes well for a defense playing at home against the turnover machine that is Jameis Winston. This game could well be a shootout, but if the Carolina Panthers are able to rack up sacks and turnovers (which seems quite likely), that will cover up for any fantasy points lost for conceding yards and points.
The Panthers open as 6.5-point favorites, making them the home favorite we crave. The over/under of this game is set at 49.5 points as of now, which gives the Buccaneers a relatively high implied point total of 21.5 points. After throwing three interceptions in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers, Winston may be in "protect the ball" mode, but for a quarterback averaging more than one interception per game over his career (61 picks in 57 games), that's still not a problem for the opposing defense. Winston has also taken 60 sacks over the past two seasons, a rate of 2.5 per game.
The Panthers should be in a positive game script, forcing Winston to throw, which will provide opportunities for the coveted sacks and turnovers -- and even potential for a defensive score. We have Carolina as the fifth-best defense of the week.