For my first article of the regular season, we’re going to be breaking down defensive streamers. This will actually be a weekly piece from me, as I’ll also do a weekly waiver wire article as well. The reason I’ve been chosen to do the DST streamers piece is because this is something I’ve been doing for years in all my season-long leagues. I never draft a defense until the final round because I always stream them. I’ve done the math and I’ve actually finished with the most points from the defensive position out of anyone in my home league numerous times strictly through streaming. It’s simply much easier to exploit a bad offense than trust a good defense and that’s just what we’re going to do here. With that in mind, let’s get to my favorite Week 1 DST streamers of the week…
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Week 1 DST Streamers
Seattle Seahawks (vs. CIN)
This one is just too easy and it’s crazy that the Seahawks sit below 50 percent ownership for the opening week. While this defense isn’t the same one that played in the Super Bowl twice, it’s still good enough to succeed in a spot like this. Let’s start with the narratives, as Vegas has Seattle as the most optimal defense on the board. That’s evident by the fact that they enter this matchup as a –10 favorite with the game total sitting at 44. That means the Bengals are only projected for 17 points, which happens to be the second-lowest team total of the week.
Defense aside, do you know how tough it is for a team to go into Seattle and play an opener in front of that crowd? Let alone one who will be without their best receiver? In the final eight games without A.J. Green last season, Cincy went 1-7, never scoring more than 21 points in any of those losses while averaging 17.1 points per game. It’s not like the Seahawks were bad last season either, finishing eighth in total fantasy points. Amazingly, Seattle has never finished outside of the Top-8 at the D/ST position dating back to 2011 and they’re not even being drafted this year. All of these factors don’t even take into consideration that Andy Dalton is statistically one of the worst QBs in the league right now and will now have to deal with Seattle’s newest acquisition, Jadeveon Clowney.
Dallas Cowboys (vs. NYG)
The Cowboys have an up-and-coming defense and they truly might be the best option of all my Week 1 DST streamers. The reason for that is because they face Eli Manning and the Giants. This dude simply hasn’t been the same since his crazy Super Bowl runs and it’s becoming clear that he’s playing for his job with NY drafting Daniel Jones in the offseason. It’s hard to defend Manning right now too, as his 40 TDs to 24 INTs over the last two years is easily one of the worst ratios in the league. He also has 36 fumbles over the last four years, playing behind an offensive line who ranked 21st in sacks allowed last season.
Now that we have the matchup out of the way, let’s talk about this defense. The Cowboys ranked seventh in yardage allowed last season and sixth in points surrendered and they’re only getting better. What’s really scary is that Dallas allowed just 94.6 rushing yards per game last year and 3.8 yards per attempt. Those both ranked Top-5 in the NFL, which is horrifying with New York’s only offense coming through the ground. The Giants will be without Golden Tate here as well (suspension) and a beat-up Sterling Shepard and it’s going to be tough sledding for Saquon Barkley to navigate against this stout defensive line. Vegas agrees, projecting the Giants for an implied team total of 19 while making the Cowboys a 7-point favorite.
Cleveland Browns (vs. TEN)
This defense has been growing through the draft throughout the last decade and they’re finally at the point where we can actually start calling them a solid defense. Where that was really evident last season was in their takeaways, with the Browns 31 forced turnovers being the second-best mark in the NFL. That’s huge against an offense that really struggled to move the ball last season, with the Titans ranked 25th in total yardage and 27th in points scored. That doesn’t even take into consideration that Marcus Mariota was sacked 2.9 times per game, ranking them 23rd in that category as well. That’s why Vegas has given the Titans an implied team total of 20, which is easily one of the lowest of the week.
Other Week 1 D/ST Streamers to Consider
Philadelphia Eagles: This stout Eagles defense hosts a Washington Redskins offense who finished 28th in yards and 29th in points scored last season. They haven’t gotten any better either, with players like Case Keenum, Adrian Peterson and a group of nobodies at WR taking the field as an 8.5-point underdog. In two games against the Redskins last season, Washington averaged just 6.5 points per game and an unsightly 162 yards per outing.
Buffalo Bills: Buffalo actually finished eighth in the NFL with 28 takeaways last season and allowed the second-fewest yards in the league. That could be beneficial against an offense like the Jets, who ranked 29th in both yardage and giveaways. In two games against the Bills last season, New York averaged just 224 yards per game.
If you’d like to see more of my work or have any questions, reach me on Twitter @Bartilottajoel
Joel Bartilotta is a fantasy addict who gets paid to write about his addiction. He writes for FantasyPros, RotoWire, Razzball and now Fantrax. Joel is a basketball lifer but he also covers MLB and NFL.
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