Week 1 was a bit hit-or-miss for my streaming recommendations, with the Rams (t-1) and Eagles (4th) topping 20 points apiece in Yahoo! standard scoring, while the Falcons (t-15) and Bengals (t-17) combined for just nine. The Bills (t-10) fell somewhere in between, tallying nine fantasy points in what ultimately turned out to be one of the better weeks in recent memory for NFL defenses (and a total nightmare for QBs and offensive lines).
The Week 2 matchups suggest scoring will get back on track across the league, but there are still some fine choices for those looking to stream a team defense. These recommendations are limited to D/ST units with under 60 percent ownership on Yahoo! as of Tuesday morning.
Top Streaming Options for Week 2
Baltimore Ravens (vs. Cleveland Browns)
49% Yahoo ownership
Ownership here is lagging due to Baltimore’s seemingly sub-optimal Week 1 road matchup in Cincinnati. Of course, we now know that the Ravens posted their first shutout since 2009, notching five sacks and five takeaways while allowing 221 yards of total offense to a Bengals squad with some impressive weapons. Baltimore will have to face a tougher offensive line this week, but there’s still ample cause for optimism heading into a home game against a rookie quarterback. DeShone Kizer accounted for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion in his first career start Sunday against the Steelers, but he also took seven sacks and threw an ugly interception. Baltimore’s defense looks much tougher than Pittsburgh’s on paper, and it’s no secret the Ravens have a dominant track record at home. Early lines have Baltimore favored by 7.5 in a game with an over/under of 41, giving the Browns an implied point total of only 16.75. The Ravens also have a favorable matchup in Week 3 when they fly to London to face the Jaguars.
Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Houston Texans)
24% Yahoo ownership
The Cincinnati defense didn’t have much opportunity for fantasy production in Week 1, facing 17 pass attempts and 42 rushes as the Ravens merely sought to grind away the clock after jumping out to a 17-0 lead by halftime. Likely ticketed for another low-scoring slugfest this week, Cincinnati will have a better chance to come out in front against a Houston team that already has a quarterback controversy. The Texans also have a porous offensive line that surrendered 10 sacks in Week 1, and they’ll likely be playing without their top three tight ends, each of whom suffered a concussion Sunday. Houston is projected to score only 16.75 points, initially listed as a 5-point underdog for a Thursday night game with an over/under of 38.5 -- possibly the lowest over/under we’ll see all season.
Oakland Raiders (vs. New York Jets)
35% Yahoo ownership
The Oakland defense was surprisingly competent in a tough week 1 road contest against Tennessee, limiting Marcus Mariota and Co. to one touchdown and three field goals on nine drives. It was still a lousy fantasy performance due to the lack of sacks (one) and turnovers (zero), but it at least showed that the Raiders’ defense might have a bit more fight than it did last season. Of course, a home game against the Jets is something we’ll always be happy to target, regardless of whether there’s any reason to believe the D/ST unit is actually decent. Josh McCown threw for only 187 yards (and two interceptions) on 39 pass attempts Sunday in Buffalo, essentially confirming that there’s no real hope for the Gang Green offense. The Jets are listed as 13.5-point underdogs with an implied total of only 15 points.
Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Miami Dolphins)
9% Yahoo ownership
Led by pass rushers Joey Bosa (1.5 sacks) and Melvin Ingram (1.5), the Chargers’ defense mounted a furious fourth-quarter rally Monday in Denver, notching two takeaways and two sacks over the final 11 minutes as the team came up a blocked field goal shy of erasing a 24-7 deficit in the fourth quarter. No longer an all-offense, no-defense team, the Chargers actually took a step in this direction last season, but the defensive improvement was partially obscured by injury woes on the other side. Heading back home to favor the turnover-prone Jay Cutler, the Chargers are favored by 4.5 in a game with an over/under of 45. Miami’s implied point total of 20.5 isn’t terrible, but it’s low enough to comfortably rank in the bottom half of the league for Week 1. Cutler should be able to move the ball at times, but he also figures to take some sacks and turn it over at least once or twice.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. Chicago Bears)
10% Yahoo ownership
The Bucs’ defense has the look of a mediocre unit, which should be good enough to get the job done in Mike Glennon’s return to Tampa Bay. Glennon avoided turnovers and nearly led a comeback Week 1 against Atlanta, but he also took four sacks while producing only 5.3 yards per pass attempt. The Bears already had arguably the league’s worst receiving corps and now will have to make do without Kevin White (shoulder). This one could get especially ugly if Chicago falls behind early and is forced to abandon the run. Vegas implies a score of Bucs 25-Bears 19, but that seems a bit generous to the visitors.
Week 2 D/ST Rankings
1. Seattle Seahawks (vs. SF)
2. Baltimore Ravens (vs. CLE)
3. Carolina Panthers (vs. BUF)
4. Cincinnati Bengals (vs. HOU)
5. Arizona Cardinals (at IND)
6. Oakland Raiders (vs. NYJ)
7. New York Giants (vs. DET)
8. Houston Texans (at CIN)
9. Kansas City Chiefs (vs. PHI)
10. Los Angeles Chargers (vs. MIA)
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. CHI)
12. Los Angeles Rams (vs. WAS)
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. TEN)
14. Denver Broncos (vs. DAL)
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. MIN)
16. Tennessee Titans (at JAC)
17. Atlanta Falcons (vs. GB)
18. Philadelphia Eagles (at KC)
19. Minnesota Vikings (at PIT)
20. Washington Redskins (at LA)
21. Miami Dolphins (at LAC)
22. Buffalo Bills (at CAR)
23. Chicago Bears (at TB)
24. New England Patriots (at NO)
25. Dallas Cowboys (at DEN)
26. Green Bay Packers (at ATL)
27. Indianapolis Colts (vs. ARZ)
28. Detroit Lions (at NYG)
29. Cleveland Browns (at BAL)
30. New York Jets (at OAK)
31. San Francisco 49ers (at SEA)
32. New Orleans Saints (vs. NE)
Looking Ahead to Week 3
The Dolphins win the weekly ‘facing the Jets’ lottery, which is attractive even on the road.
The Eagles’ excellent defensive line presents a mismatch for a Giants offense that looked lost in Week 1.
The Colts face the Browns in Indianapolis, but it’ll still be tough to pull the trigger on a unit with so little talent.
The 49ers and Rams square off in San Francisco for what should be an ugly Thursday game.