Week 11 D/ST Streamers for Fantasy Football
The Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Buffalo Bills are among the teams that are off this week. Though all three have fallen short of their draft-day expectations (Reason #863 why you should not draft a D/ST early), they are all rostered in at least 65 percent of Fantrax leagues. All three have been serviceable, ranking between 12th and 17th in terms of fantasy points per game. Fantasy managers with any of these defenses mentioned above may need to utilize one of the following Week 11 D/ST streamers.
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Week 11 D/ST Streamers
Cincinnati Bengals (at Washington Football Team, 13 percent rostered in Fantrax leagues)
There is a fourth team that is on bye this week. That would be the New York Football Giants. Believe it or not, their defense has scored more fantasy points than the Bears, 49ers, or Bills. New York is not considered an elite defensive unit by any means. But as readers of this piece know, targeting offenses in the NFC East is generally a good idea. All four teams in the NFC East are among the top seven in the entire NFL in points allowed to opposing fantasy defenses. The Giants have generally benefitted from facing their divisional foes. Chief among their victims this season is Cincinnati’s Week 11 opponent, the Washington Football Team. New York’s D/ST has scored 35 points against Washington and finished as the weekly D/ST4 in both of their meetings.
Cincinnati’s defense has scored just 44 fantasy points this season, but this is more a pick in favor of attacking Washington’s offense more so than advocating for Cincinnati’s defense. Having said that, the Bengals have shown flashes defensively in recent weeks. They have scored eight fantasy points in two of their last five games. And those performances have come against offenses that are generally difficult to defend in Baltimore and Tennessee. Because Cincinnati is well below average at generating pressure, I think expecting a top-five performance is unrealistic. If, however, you are simply looking for a defense to stream that will keep you afloat, the Bengals are a decent bet.
Detroit Lions (at Carolina Panthers, 27 percent rostered)
I originally did not intend on including the Lions among my Week 11 D/ST streamers. After all, Detroit’s defense has scored the fewest fantasy points in the entire NFL. However, the injury status of Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has opened up a path to fantasy production. Bridgewater is dealing with an MCL sprain and it is unlikely that he will suit up in Week 11. Carolina will likely have to call upon either Will Grier or P.J. Walker to lead their offense on Sunday. Neither has much of a track record in the NFL, and their small sample sizes should not exactly soothe the Panthers’ faithful.
Walker has attempted eight passes over two appearances this year, completing three for just 15 yards. Grier started Carolina’s final two games last season and was downright atrocious. In Week 16, Grier threw three interceptions while being sacked five times in a 38-6 loss. He threw for just 224 yards on 44 attempts in that game, yet was even worse in his second outing. He did not even last until halftime against the New Orleans Saints before being benched in favor of Kyle Allen. Grier completed just 1-of-8 passes for four yards, lost a fumble, and threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown. Other than that, he was terrific. The Lions have only forced eight turnovers this year, but they could be a low percentage streamer and cheap DFS play this week. I would bump them up a spot if Grier were to start over Walker.
Carolina Panthers (vs. Detroit Lions, 12 percent rostered)
The Panthers were also not on my original list of streamers, but they too find themselves in a similar circumstance to their Week 11 opponent. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has a partial tear in this throwing-hand thumb. He should play through the injury but will be doing so at less than 100 percent physically. Rookie running back D’Andre Swift, who has produced at a high level since Detroit’s bye week, suddenly finds himself in the league’s concussion protocol. His status for this week’s game is in doubt. And, last but not least, the team’s top four receivers (Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola, Marvin Jones, and T.J. Hockenson) are all dealing with nagging injuries. All should make the trip and be active on game day, but this is an ailing offense that could be ripe for the picking.
Carolina’s D/ST has been subpar from a fantasy perspective lately. But in their defense, their last four games have been against Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Atlanta, and New Orleans. There are not too many teams that will go through a more difficult four-game stretch than Carolina has faced over the last month. Even when healthy, Stafford has taken 22 sacks and thrown seven interceptions this season, so it is not as if he is immune to the occasional hiccup. I would probably not take the Panthers over either defense mentioned above, but I would be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in leagues where options are limited.
Atlanta Falcons (at New Orleans Saints, 11 percent rostered)
I would not necessarily recommend Atlanta as an elite defensive streamer this week. But I want this on the record so that when Jameis Winston throws one of his patented first quarter pick-sixes, I can take a victory lap on Twitter. Priorities.
New York Giants (at Cincinnati Bengals, 34 percent rostered)
Joe Burrow has been impressive and has given Cincinnati’s offense an air of legitimacy. But he is still a rookie quarterback who has experienced some growing pains at times. Opponents have sacked this year’s number-one overall draft pick 32 times in just nine games thus far.
Dallas Cowboys (vs. Washington Football Team, 21 percent rostered)
I will repeat this refrain until I am blue in the face, but I am always willing to target an NFC East offense when seeking streamers on defense. Washington may currently be the most susceptible offense among the group to attack.
Cincinnati Bengals (vs. New York Giants, 14 percent rostered)
Back-to-back games against NFC East opponents make Cincinnati a viable streamer. This is the primary reason they are my top option this week. For leagues with limited options or restrictions on transactions, the Bengals could be an average fantasy defense in each of the next two weeks.
If you enjoyed Mick’s Week 11 D/ST Streamers, make sure to check out the rest of our Week 11 Analysis for more help in optimizing your lineups.
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