Last week, I decided after much deliberation that I was going to exclude the Miami Dolphins from my list of streamers. Sure enough, they scored a defensive touchdown on Arizona’s first drive of the ballgame. That one play accounted for all nine of Miami’s fantasy points, leading to a top-10 weekly finish. It goes to show that one big play is all you need from a fantasy defense in a given week. Quarterbacks who struggle with ball security and teams with poor offensive lines will always be targeted by fantasy managers seeking streamers. This week is no different. Below are three defenses that have a chance to make a big play and rack up fantasy points. All are available in at least 50 percent of all Fantrax leagues. Here are my Week 10 D/ST streamers.
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Week 10 D/ST Streamers
Detroit Lions (vs. Washington Football Team, 18 percent rostered in Fantrax leagues)
It may seem strange that I am recommending the Detroit Lions defense considering that they have allowed 97 points and over 1,200 yards of total offense over their last three games. But this is a case where it is all about the matchup. I am willing to consider virtually any defense opposing the Washington Football Team. They simply do not have an offense that compromises opposing defenses. Washington is one of only five teams in the NFL to average less than 20 points scored per game. They have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses and have also permitted the fourth-highest adjusted sack rate. Now on their third starting quarterback, Washington could be ripe for the picking on Sunday.
The comeback of Washington quarterback Alex Smith is one of the few things we can all see in a positive light. However, from a pure football perspective, his results have been less than spectacular to this point. Three of Smith’s 49 pass attempts this season have been intercepted, and he has already taken eight sacks. His numbers pale in comparison to those of Dwayne Haskins, and Ron Rivera benched last year’s first-round pick after just four games. Perhaps Smith needs some time to shake off the cobwebs. But I would not bet on the Football Team lighting up the scoreboard anytime soon. Detroit has proven they can handle subpar offenses, as was the case in Week 6. The Lions D/ST scored 10 points in a 34-16 victory in Jacksonville. They finished eighth in fantasy points that week, and I am expecting a similar performance in Week 10.
Cleveland Browns (vs. Houston Texans, 39 percent rostered)
Unlike Washington, the Houston Texans are not a team I necessarily look to pick on when searching for streamers. Deshaun Watson is having another terrific season and is on pace to set new career-highs in yardage, touchdowns, and yards per pass attempt. Despite that, there is a path to fantasy points here for the Cleveland Browns, which is why they are among my Week 10 D/ST streamers. Houston’s offensive line has the worst adjusted sack rate in the entire NFL. The Texans are also likely to be without lead running back David Johnson for this game. Johnson took a big hit early in last week’s win and left with a concussion. He has yet to practice this week and looks to be on the wrong side of a questionable tag.
Cleveland’s defense has enjoyed some fantasy success of late. They have scored at least seven fantasy points in four of their last five contests, posting a dozen sacks and seven turnovers in that span. They are also fresh off a bye, which could help Myles Garrett get back to full strength. The star edge rusher tweaked his knee in his last game and failed to register a sack for the first time since the season opener. But he should be back in time for this game, which could be a big boost for the Browns. He also figures to avoid Laremy Tunsil on most snaps. Tytus Howard is most likely to be tasked with blocking Garrett, and that is a matchup that Garrett can exploit. I believe Cleveland can make that one big play that fantasy managers are looking for out of a D/ST streamer.
Las Vegas Raiders (vs. Denver Broncos, 10 percent rostered)
Denver is most definitely a team I look to take advantage of when looking for potential streamers. I listed Atlanta here in a similar spot last week. And though the final result did not pan out as I had hoped, it was your classic “process over results” scenario. The Falcons led 27-6 after three quarters and had a commanding 34-13 lead when they punted the football with less than six minutes remaining. With the game seemingly in hand, Atlanta took their foot off the gas defensively and allowed Drew Lock to engineer two quick touchdown drives before finally holding on for a seven-point victory. Denver’s fourth-quarter fireworks resulted in the Falcons only finishing with three fantasy points. Their defense played much better than their fantasy finish would indicate.
The Las Vegas Raiders are the lowest scoring fantasy defense through nine weeks of the NFL season. So this is not a safe pick by any means. I just have that little faith in the Broncos from an offensive standpoint. If you remove the fourth quarters of their last two ballgames, their offense (and quarterback Drew Lock in particular) has been awful for a month now. Denver has scored just nine touchdowns over their last four games, and six of the nine have come in those two fourth quarters. This could be a get right matchup for the Broncos offense, but I believe it is just as likely that the Raiders defense exceeds expectations this week. If you are scraping the barrel looking for a defense to stream, Las Vegas could be the ticket.
Houston Texans (vs. New England Patriots, 40 percent rostered)
You can make the argument that Houston should be listed among the Week 10 D/ST streamers. I certainly would not blame a fantasy manager who would rather target Baker Mayfield than Deshaun Watson, for instance. The Texans also have a decent matchup next week when they host the New England Patriots. New England has struggled mightily from an offensive standpoint in recent weeks. They scored a total of just 49 points through four October games before tagging the hapless Jets for 30 last week. The Patriots may revert to their prior form when forced to line up with a decent defense such as the Texans.
Cincinnati Bengals (at Washington Football Team, 11 percent rostered)
This matchup s a typical case of a poor defense against what is possibly an even worse offense. I have already explained why I like the prospect of going up against Washington’s offense, so I will go the other way and point out that the Bengals defense has scored at least five fantasy points in four of their last five games, so they have shown a bit of life lately. I would be willing to put in a claim on them under the right circumstances.
If you enjoyed Mick’s Week 10 D/ST Streamers, make sure to check the rest of our Week 10 Analysis for more help in optimizing your lineups.
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