3 Fantasy Football Defensive Streaming Options for Week 10
Week 9 was a decent week for this column as the Cleveland Browns had a solid game versus the Denver Broncos, though the Broncos didn't make much noise on defense, and the Dallas Cowboys rolled over Danny Dimes and the New York Giants for multiple turnovers en route to finishing the week as the second-best D/ST.
Time to look ahead to Week 10 for streaming defenses. All recommendations are available in over (or darn close to) two-thirds of ESPN fantasy leagues. If available, the Indianapolis Colts are the top streamer as they get the pleasure of facing the one-win Miami Dolphins. Easy money.
ESPN Ownership: 33.6%
This shouldn't require much explaining -- the team that just beat the New England Patriots now travels to the only remaining winless team in the NFL, the Cincinnati Bengals. Yes, you can pretty much book it that the Baltimore Ravens will both win this game and have a field day on both sides of the ball.
The Ravens are huge 10.0-point favorites in the game and should enjoy positive game script. That means rookie Ryan Finley will likely be throwing the ball a lot in his first NFL start, and Finley is surrounded by a below-average supporting cast at nearly every position.
Baltimore is allowing a fair amount of points, but they are doing well in terms of creating havoc on defense. The Ravens have created a turnover on 12.0% of their defensive drives (just above league-average), and they lead the league in quarterback knockdowns per drop back, despite not getting sacks at a high rate (meaning their sacks should tick up).
Meanwhile, the Bengals are scoring on just 26.7% of their possessions (sixth-worst in the league) and are turning the ball over on 16.3% of their drives (seventh-worst). This is all while surrendering sacks at the ninth-highest rate in the NFL, on 7.9% of their drop backs. Throw a rookie into his first NFL start, add in an average defense that has benefited from the recent addition of Marcus Peters, and you get a perfect streaming D. The Ravens are a top streaming option for Week 10.
ESPN Ownership: 30.4%
The Browns are actually favored (by two points) in a game against a two-loss Buffalo Bills team, and they are playing at home, which makes them the coveted home favorite for fantasy purposes. While the Browns have been average or worse in many regards, the matchup is strong and should give them a nice boost.
Cleveland's D is about as average as possible in terms of yards and points allowed, including on a rate basis, with 35.4% of opponents' possessions ending in a score (17th-highest). Unfortunately, they are not generating turnovers at a high rate -- just 9.4% of opponents' drives end in a turnover, which is 24th-best in the league. The big upside with the Browns is that they currently rank fifth-best in the NFL with a sack on 9.3% of passing plays. Make Josh Allen feel pressure, and he'll likely scramble, leading to potential danger throws.
Even with Allen's mobility, the Bills are allowing sacks at the 10th-highest rate in the league, 7.8% of their passing plays. The Bills rank seventh-worst with only 27.4% of their drives ending in a score and 12th-worst with 12.6% of them ending in a turnover. If the Browns are able to disrupt the pocket for Allen in this game, a handful of turnovers is well within reach.
New York Giants
ESPN Ownership: 2.6%
This makes me physically ill to say, but we are living in a reality where both New York football teams are very not #good, and they face off against each other this week. The worse offense of the two belongs to the New York Jets, so the New York Giants' defense becomes a viable dumpster dive for Week 10. The Giants are 2.5-point favorites in the game and are playing at their home stadium despite an official "away" designation.
To be clear, the Giants' defense is not good, but they are at least generating sacks on 8.1% of their opponents' dropbacks, which is the seventh-best mark in the NFL. They're generating pressure on just 23.0% of their opponents' dropbacks, though, so they appear to be over-performing thus far in sacks. The G-Men are surrendering a score on 38.9% of their defensive drives, an above-average (in a bad way) amount, and they are generating a turnover on just 11.1% of defensive stints, which is a below-average (in a bad way) rate.
The good news is that the Jets are an abomination on offense, so none of that really matters. Gang Green is scoring on just 13.4% of their offensive drives, which is easily the worst rate in the league (no other team is below 20.0%). They are turning the ball over more frequently than they are scoring -- 16.5% of drives to be exact, which is the sixth-worst rate in the league. Somehow, it gets worse still, as the Jets are allowing a league-high 12.8% of their passing plays to result in a sack. The only other teams over 10.0% are the Tennessee Titans and the Miami Dolphins.
The Jets are in truly abysmal company as far as the state of their offense, and while it is certainly better with Sam Darnold than it was with Luke Falk, it is still shockingly bad. Even the Giants should be able to take advantage.
If you're really desperate, there is an easy-to-imagine world where the Detroit Lions are engaged in a defensive slug-fest with the Chicago Bears and are able to turn over Mitchell Trubisky a few times.