Fantasy Football

2017 Fantasy Football Defense Stream-O-Matic Guide


If you are here, it means that you enjoy streaming fantasy football defenses as much as I do. On the other hand, it could mean that you dislike selecting defenses and just want someone else to do it for you.

No matter the reason, the important thing to remember is that you are here, nonetheless, for the one and only Stream-O-Matic! Where the intense and lazy fantasy players alike come to gain some knowledge on which defenses are in a position to succeed each week.

For those of you that are new to the concept, I have created a chart to generate fantasy football defensive rankings each week. The way it works is that I list the major categories conducive to defensive glory and assign point values to the teams. Then, I sum it all up and sort from highest to lowest.

The advantage of this method is that it involves no human involvement. I personally will write about the defenses that stood out to me, but the chart itself has no human input. Well, that is unless you want to say that Vegas odds are human input, but that’s a discussion for another time.

The disadvantage of this method is sample size. As with any position of any fantasy sport, the longer the season goes on, the better the chart gets. For example, if Tom Brady takes six sacks and throws three picks in Week 1, the chart will tell you to target the Patriots in Week 2. That’s obviously not a wise bet to make and I will be sure to point out any caution flags in the descriptive section.

Without further delay, let’s get into the 2017 Fantasy Football Defense Stream-O-Matic Guide. I will format this article just like the articles I will write for the season. I will also walk you through each step and how I decide to write about different games and teams. Enjoy!

2017 Fantasy Football Defense Stream-O-Matic Guide


Last year, I used a traditional rotisserie scoring style commonly used in fantasy baseball season-long leagues to give point totals to each team. This year, I considered making the switch to z-scores. However, this felt like a lateral step for the author and an extra step of effort. Crisis averted!


The categories for the chart are listed below along with links to websites that I use to find this data.

  • Own%: Ownership percentages based on ESPN leagues. This gives me an idea of which fantasy football defenses might be available in differently sized leagues. This doesn’t factor into the standings.
  • Location: Generally speaking, defenses play better at home than on the road. Thus, I will give a five point advantage to all home teams. Now that’s not a huge difference, but it can sometimes be the deciding factor when struggling to pick between two defenses.
  • Wind: The only weather element that has shown a direct correlation with point totals is wind. Studies show that point totals tend to decrease linearly once wind speed surpasses 15 MPH. I have added another five point bonus to both teams playing in such a windy condition.
  • Vegas: When in doubt, check the Vegas odds. I will look at the spread and over/under to generate the game score the bettors go against. This game score depicts what the game flow could look like and, therefore, which fantasy football defenses are in a good position to succeed. Because there are so many stats involving opposing defenses, I have cut the effect of this one in half.
  • oSAC%: To gauge how good (or bad) an opposing offensive line might be, look at the sack percentage for that team’s offense. Not only are some offensive lines bad, but the quarterbacks they have don’t show the ability to avoid the sack and that shows in this statistic.
  • oINT%: Most fantasy football defenses not only get points for sacks, but turnovers too. The opponent’s interception percentage obviously can help in that regard. I didn’t use turnover percentage because fumbles can be a little fluky and turnover percentage uses both fumbles and interceptions.
  • FPPG: This is just a ranking of the fantasy football defenses by how many fantasy points they have scored on a per game basis so far this season. I used ESPN defensive scoring rankings for this table in the past and they are now updating their scoring system in a positive way.
  • PFF: Pro Football Focus ranked each of the defenses based on their analysis of performance, which is probably the most trusted site out there (i.e. NBC uses their rankings for Sunday Night Football broadcasts).

Defenses on Bye Week: I will list the defenses taking off a week here. Nothing more embarrassing than wasting a waiver wire pick on a defense who doesn’t even play.

Stream-O-Matic Chart

Here is an example chart from Week 16 of the 2016 season.

RkTeam DefenseOwn%OppLocWindVegasoSAC%oINT%FPPGPFFOverall

Snooze-a-palooza of the Week

In this section, I will discuss which game looks to be the lowest scoring game of the week. To do that, I simply pick the highest combined score from every defensive duo facing off in a given week. For example, in the chart above, there would be a close battle between the Seattle-Arizona (218.5) and Denver-Kansas City (218) games for this award.

What I like about the Snooze-a-palooza games are that it heightens the play of each defense. Now I don’t have any hard evidence, but when there are two awesome defenses on the field, it feels like they are trying to outperform one another. The rhythm of the game is also conducive to defensive prowess and thus is very important for streaming purposes.

Barn-Lighting Scoreboard-Burner

This one is obvious, just the inverse of the previous section! The lowest point total of any defense duo for a week is considered as a ‘stay far away’ suggestion for those getting cute with streaming defenses. In the chart above, the RedskinsBears (104.5) contest would take the cake with a few other games close by.

Not only is this helpful for defense help, but this can be used positively for DFS entries as well. Shootouts are desirable in DFS play and this chart should certainly show which games could blow up. You could benefit from games that many don’t see as shootouts to get low-owned players in a week.

For example, in that Redskins-Bears game above, many people wouldn’t have used a Bears stack and, that week, Cameron Meredith had a 134-yard outburst with a TD. Jordan Howard also had over 120 all-purpose yards. Just a thought!

Shoulder Shrugger of the Century of the Week

This is one of my more favorite sections although there isn’t a rhyme or reason to it. I just pick the game where I have no clue what to expect. I usually find two bad or mediocre teams playing each other that are inconsistent. In the sample chart, the Rams49ers contest had me shrugging my shoulders because they both suck and neither have great defenses. Endless possibilities for the way that game could’ve played.

This is mostly just for fun, but it is also to show caution on matchup-based selections. The Rams were probably a hot pickup last year in Week 16, but that would’ve been a mistake. The 49ers put up 458 total yards of offense and only turned the ball over once. The chart has a weird way of getting your mind running and I love it because of that.


I will list defenses here that are intriguing to me as pickups. I will usually pick them based on their ownership percentage numbers. If they are at 50% ownership or below and I think they should break the 50% threshold for the week, I will include them in the list and explain why.

2016 Results

This won’t be part of the weekly articles. I just wanted to show a quick graph regarding how the Stream-O-Matic turned out against the actual results in 2016. The issues with this chart are endless, including the time frame and methodology. However, it’s a case of simplicity and a lethargic attitude towards proving myself right.


Okay, for the first go around, that R^2 ain’t bad. I know this chart is a little chopped up and vague, but it’s certainly a start. Remember, too, that I changed the formatting back in Week 7 of last year. This was an effort to devalue the overwhelming effect that the Vegas odds had on the rankings. Perhaps my results could have been even better had I done that to begin the season.

2017 Fantasy Football Position Previews
QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide ReceiversTight Ends

For more F6P preseason coverage please visit our 2017 Draft Kit section.

About Tyler Thompson

Follow me on Twitter at @therealwody. For all the latest news and best advice out there, like us on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram.

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