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Streaming Defenses: Picking a Week 10 Team Defense

Jerry Donabedian

Donabedian is an Assistant Football Editor at RotoWire. He writes and edits articles and covers breaking news. A Baltimore native, Donabedian roots for the Ravens and watches "The Wire" in his spare time.

There’s really no way to sugarcoat it — this is a tough week for streaming defenses. Six of the top seven units in my weekly rankings are over 60-percent owned on Yahoo!, while the seventh (Detroit) is knocking right on that door. Of course, there are still a couple of strong options, even if you can’t grab the Lions for a first-rate matchup with Cleveland. The Titans and Bears are also solid Week 10 starts, while the Packers and Giants should be serviceable in a pinch.

Note: These recommendations are limited to D/ST units with under 60 percent ownership on Yahoo! as of Tuesday morning.

Top Streaming Options for Week 10

Detroit Lions (vs. Cleveland Browns)
59% Yahoo ownership

Detroit barely makes the cut, as ownership has climbed to right below 60 percent in anticipation of a matchup with the 0-8 Browns, who have given up the third most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses. The Indianapolis defense has been the only unit to fall shy of eight points in a matchup with Cleveland this season, and even the Colts managed a solid six points.

That’s where we can set the floor for our Week 10 expectation, even though the Detroit has been less than spectacular the past four games. The Lions nonetheless averaged 7.75 points over that stretch, after notching at least 12 in each of its first four outings. While the early-season success clearly was a bit of a fluke, the Detroit defense did look competent the past two weeks, holding Pittsburgh to 20 points and then shutting down Brett Hundley and the Packers until garbage time in an easy win. The Lions won’t be this good of an option Week 11 at Chicago, but they’ll at least still be usable, making this a potential multi-week streamer.

Tennessee Titans (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)
21% Yahoo ownership

The Bengals somewhat surprisingly are giving up the sixth most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses, as new toys Joe Mixon and John Ross haven’t done nearly enough to make up for an offseason in which the Bengals lost their two best offensive linemen. Cincinnati has surrendered 24 sacks and 15 turnovers in eight games, ranking as a top 10 matchup for defenses despite giving up just one touchdown (a punt return Sunday in Jacksonville).

Making an appearance in this space for a second straight week and fourth time in the past five weeks, the Tennessee defense has rebounded nicely from that memorable 57-14 loss to the Texans in Week 4, averaging eight fantasy points in the subsequent four games. The Titans have yet to record more than two sacks in any game this season, but they’ve held opponents to 6.4 yards per pass attempt and 3.6 per carry, and safety Kevin Byard is emerging as a star with a whopping five interceptions over the last two games. The Titans have some more favorable matchups headed their way late in the season, though it’ll be tough to justify holding them through a Week 11 road game in Pittsburgh.

Chicago Bears (vs. Green Bay Packers)
7% Yahoo ownership

The Packers look completely lost without Aaron Rodgers, stuck in the midst of a three-game losing streak in which they’ve dropped each contest by at least nine points. Brett Hundley at least looked a bit better in Monday’s 30-17 loss to Detroit, but he did most of his damage in garbage time and still owns ugly passing numbers for the year — 58.3 completion percentage, 5.0 YPA, 1:4 TD:INT ratio.

The Chicago defense should be good enough to take advantage, coming out of a bye week after putting up at least seven fantasy points in four straight games (including a trip to New Orleans). The Bears averaged a whopping 14.75 points over that stretch, turning eight turnovers into three touchdowns and also piling up 14 sacks. They’ve recorded multiple sacks in every game this season, with Akiem Hicks (7.0), Leonard Floyd (5.0) and Pernell McPhee (4.0) putting them on pace to finish the year with 46. The underrated Chicago defense should also be in play for Weeks 11 (vs. DET), 13 (vs. SF), 14 (at CIN) and 16 (vs. CLE), but not so much for Week 12 (at PHI).

Green Bay Packers (vs. Chicago Bears)
44% Yahoo ownership

Despite their reliance on a solid rushing attack, the Bears have provided an excellent matchup all season, allowing the opponent’s defense to score at least five fantasy points in every contest, with an average of 11.75 points in Mitchell Trubisky’s four starts. The rookie has shown some promise with his scrambling, but he’s completed just 38 of his 80 throws (47.5 percent) while taking 11 sacks. His 12.1 percent sack rate would lead the league if he’d attempted enough passes to qualify.

The Green Bay defense isn’t an exceptional unit by any means, but it should be competent enough to score a handful of points against a Chicago team that’s giving up the fourth most points per game to team defenses. Despite their recent struggles, the Packers should also be usable in Week 11 when they play host to the offense-averse Ravens. I do think the Lions, Titans and Bears are all stronger options for this week.

New York Giants (at San Francisco 49ers)
26% Yahoo ownership

While obviously not a part of San Francisco’s long-term plan, Brian Hoyer at least displayed a level of competence that allowed the team to lose by only two or three points in five consecutive games from Weeks 2-6. The Niners have lost by margins of 30, 23 and 10 points since handing the keys over to C.J. Beathard, who has completed only 50.9 percent of his throws while taking 16 sacks and committing six turnovers on 161 pass attempts. He looked pretty good as a mid-game replacement Week 6 in Washington, but his three starts have led to fantasy point totals of 15, 20 and 13 for the opposing defense. The Niners’ other option is Jimmy Garoppolo, who is still in the process of learning the offense and wouldn’t have Pierre Garcon (neck) around to help.

The Big Blue defense isn’t one we’d normally target — particularly for a cross-country road trip — but the matchup nonetheless puts this unit in play as a low-end option in a week with limited streaming selections. Injuries and suspensions have played a major role in the Giants’ inconsistency on defense. Top cornerback Janoris Jenkins figures to be back from a team-imposed suspension, and some combination of DE Olivier Vernon (ankle), MLB B.J. Goodson (ankle) and OLB Jonathan Casillas (neck) could also push to return. This admittedly is a bit of a desperation pick, and the Giants definitely shouldn’t be rostered when they face the Chiefs in Week 11.

Honorable Mentions: New York Jets (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers), San Francisco 49ers (vs. NYG)

Week 10 D/ST Rankings

1. Los Angeles Rams (vs. HOU)
2. Detroit Lions (vs. CLE)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. LAC)
4. Carolina Panthers (vs. MIA)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (at IND)
6. Seattle Seahawks (at ARI)
7. Minnesota Vikings (at WAS)
8. Tennessee Titans (vs. CIN)
9. Chicago Bears (vs. GB)
10. Arizona Cardinals (vs. SEA)
11. Green Bay Packers (at CHI)
12. New York Giants (at SF)
13. New York Jets (at TB)
14. San Francisco 49ers (vs. NYG)
15. Washington Redskins (vs. MIN)
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (vs. NYJ)
17. New Orleans Saints (at BUF)
18. Cincinnati Bengals (at TEN)
19. New England Patriots (at DEN)
20. Los Angeles Chargers (at JAC)
21. Buffalo Bills (vs. NO)
22. Denver Broncos (vs. NE)
23. Dallas Cowboys (at ATL)
24. Houston Texans (at LA)
25. Atlanta Falcons (vs. DAL)
26. Indianapolis Colts (vs. PIT)
27. Miami Dolphins (at CAR)
28. Cleveland Browns (at DET)

Looking Ahead to Week 11

The Packers welcome the Ravens to Lambeau Field.

The Texans host Drew Stanton and the Cardinals.

Coming out of a bye, the Chiefs travel to New York to face the Giants.

The Bengals travel to Denver to face Brock Osweiler or Paxton Lynch.