Don’t worry Vikings D/ST drafters, nobody else saw the Bills offense coming either. Well, the past is the past so no need to panic and drop the Vikings D/ST. However, that does bring up one little piece of D/ST streaming strategy that I have yet to mention: looking ahead. “But Mundo, streaming a D/ST MORE than ONE week? That’s crazy!” you cry. No, I call that getting the most “bang for your buck” as they say. As always, if you are just here looking for a D/ST to stream in Week 4 then feel free to scroll down. If not, stick around. You might just learn something.
So back to what I was saying about looking ahead when it comes to streaming D/STs. Yes, in an ideal world your streaming D/ST would be able to play *insert worst NFL offense here* every week and rack up the fantasy points while your opponent who drafted the Texans D/ST keeps getting punked each week, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. In fact, that same Vikings/Jaguars/Rams D/ST drafter is bound to have about five or so of those same Grade A matchups against terrible NFL offenses you look for during the season as well. However, let’s not forget that you are a “good” fantasy football player so you took Ronald Jones in the 8th Round for his upside (TBD due to DNPs) over the Jaguars D/ST instead. Which means, you took the Steelers D/ST in the last two rounds because they played the Browns in Week 1, where they did perform admirably for a one-week rental D/ST so give yourself a golf clap for that one. Unfortunately, the Steelers played the Chiefs in Week 2 so you went into that draft pick knowing you would probably need another D/ST for that matchup after Week 1. Hold up, let’s rewind. Looking back on what we know after three weeks of the 2018 NFL season, you could have drafted a few D/STs that were great in both Week 1 AND Week 2 (I’m looking at you Cincy). Now that’s a true bargain and not too far-fetched to have seen coming based on the D/STs that have done just that:
- Cincinnati Bengals: Talented, improving offense – Sure.
- Chicago Bears: Real-life good in 2017, talented, great offseason – I can see it.
- New York Jets: Vs. Detroit and Miami; both winnable matchups, decent offense – Okay.
- Cleveland Browns: sneaky talent level, up-and-coming – I get it.
See what I mean? Outside of the Browns maybe actually being an elite level defensive unit this year, none of those other D/ST performances were out of the realm of possibility or completely unexpected. Simply put, you could have predicted those D/STs to do that based on their schedule and talent level. Therein lies my point, folks. Instead of locking on to The-D/ST-Playing-The-Worst-Team each week, look at a D/ST with maybe a bit less ceiling this week in exchange for two, three, or maybe even four weeks of great streaming D/ST return by looking at how their talent fits with the upcoming matchups on their schedule. Now, this approach might mean you play a few defenses throughout the season for a few weeks at a time rather than heading to the waiver-wire on a weekly basis for a one-week rental, where you are bound to be outbid some weeks by that Saints D/ST owner who realized they goofed. Save yourself some time and effort by taking a look ahead and thinking of each picked up D/ST as an investment that will either pay off this week only, or pay off this week and weeks down the road as well. With that said, here are the D/STs worth streaming in Week 4:
“I Just Need Some Points” (D/STs Owned In 70-20% Of 10-Team Yahoo Leagues)
Seattle Seahawks – vs. Arizona Cardinals
This play is self-explanatory. Against a Cardinals team that is 0-3, has scored just 20 points through the first three games, and will have a rookie quarterback starting his first NFL game, the Seahawks are sitting pretty in this one despite the narratives about the level of their defense this season. One of the best bets this week, you should be playing the Seahawks in this spot if you can.
Cleveland Browns – vs. Oakland Raiders
Man, that Browns bias is brutal. Easily one of the best surprises, and best D/STs, through the first three weeks the Browns are owned in just 49% of Yahoo leagues. Against a Raiders team that is 0-3 with quarterback Derek Carr having only thrown for two touchdowns so far this season, the Browns D/ST should be fired up this week, as well as rostered in a lot more leagues moving forward.
“So, You’re Saying There’s A Chance” (D/STs Owned In 20-10% of 10-Team Yahoo Leagues)
Miami Dolphins – vs. New England Patriots
Don’t let the Patriots name scare you in this one. This Dolphins squad has forced eight turnovers, garnered six sacks, and allowed no more than 20 points through their first three games. Going against a Patriots team that is in the bottom half of the NFL offensively across the board and struggling to establish a reliable ground game, the Dolphins aren’t that likely to let you down this week unless the Patriots offense explodes in a way that it hasn’t to this point. The Dolphins are worth a look this week.
“You Might Want To Look Away” (D/STs Owned in <10% 10-Team Yahoo Leagues)
Indianapolis Colts – vs. Houston Texans
The trend this week is picking on less than stellar offenses and that doesn’t change here for the Colts against the Texans. Playing behind arguably the NFL’s worst offensive line, Deshaun Watson has given up ten sacks while also committing four turnovers through the first three games. While the Colts aren’t the strongest defensive team, they have racked up ten sacks and five turnovers so far. There is no guarantee that the Colts can keep this game from getting out of hand, but if they can, then their defense should be in a spot to prey on this Texans offense. Proceed cautiously, but the opportunity is there for the Colts this week.