2018 Fantasy Football Week 1 Defense Stream-O-Matic

by Tyler Thompson
2018 Fantasy Football Week 1 Defense Stream-O-Matic


The Stream-O-Matic is BACK! Did you think I was going to take off for Week 1 due to lack of data? Nonsense! The Stream-O-Matic may be a bit out of tune until we get a couple of weeks worth of information, but I definitely wanted to give you a Week 1 edition for many reasons.

For starters, I wanted to explain the system a little bit. Most of us fantasy footballers play in leagues with team defenses/special teams, but we don't ever put too much thought into why we are selecting them. It's always just a search for who's playing the Browns or Bills, am I right? With the Stream-O-Matic, we take many factors into account that will dive into why these matchups are good or bad for us. We use all of these great stats for the skill position players like yards per attempt (QB), yards after contact (RB), and yards per route run (WR/TE). Why can't we utilize some great statistics for ranking defensive units in fantasy?

Also, I wanted to express that this is a fun exercise that gets you to think differently about fantasy ratings. I will provide some less than formal thoughts on the certain games that may be 'snoozers' and 'barn-burners' of the week. Additionally, I enjoy breaking down some notable defenses that could be floating out on your waiver wire. Whatever it may be, I write these in a lighter tone just to be different than the stale, serious articles you may see elsewhere. Why not have a bit of fun with something as (mostly) unpredictable as fantasy defenses?

Anyway, let's get started with the inaugural Stream-O-Matic of 2018! A few caveats are necessary with small sample sizes (see orange text below), but it's nothing crazy and worth sharing!

2018 Fantasy Football Week 1 Defense Stream-O-Matic


I use a traditional rotisserie scoring style commonly used in fantasy baseball season-long leagues to give point totals to each team.


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 depicts which fantasy football defenses might be available in leagues. This doesn’t factor into the standings.
  • Location: Generally speaking, defenses play better at home than on the road. Thus, a five-point advantage is given to all home teams.
  • Wind: The only weather element that has shown a direct correlation with point totals is winds in excess of 15 MPH. Another five-point bonus is awarded to teams playing in such a windy condition.
  • Vegas: Using Vegas odds, the spread and over/under generates a projected game score that the bettors go against. This game score portrays what the game flow could look like and, therefore, which fantasy football defenses are in a good position to succeed.
  • 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 some quarterbacks don’t show the ability to avoid the sack. Whatever the case, it will show in this statistic. For Week 1, we will use 2017 statistics from these teams, which can suck a little bit given turnover at offensive line.
  • oINT%: The opponent’s interception percentage obviously helps in streaming a defense. Turnover percentage is not used here because fumbles can be a little fluky and turnover percentage uses both fumbles and interceptions. For Week 1, we will use 2017 statistics for specific quarterbacks rather than teams. Sam Darnold will be treated as a below average QB when it comes to interceptions until further data is collected.
  • FPPG: I use ESPN defensive scoring rankings to determine a ranking of the fantasy football defenses. I'm going to remove this for Week 1. Just too much difference from last year.
  • DVOA: Probably the most popular tool for evaluating defenses, the DVOA efficiency ratings are utilized to give a strong baseline to the rankings. FootballOutsiders has a preseason projected DVOA that I will utilize for Week 1.

Defenses on Bye Week: NONE!

Stream-O-Matic Chart


Snooze-a-palooza of the Week

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The title says it all - this is the game that I think will be unbearable to watch due to lack of fantasy production. Both defenses in this game usually have some usage in starting lineups, though!

Who wants to watch the Broncos face the Seahawks this Sunday? Okay, now all of the Denver and Seattle fans lower your hands. Nothingness. Serenity. Silence.

So, it'll be marketed as the Super Bowl rematch from a few years back. Whatever, don't try that on me. I will be steering clear from this game in favor of some other exciting games. As for the fantasy defenses, I'm good with either of them. I know the Seahawks o-line has looked better this preseason, but I am not buying it until I see a couple of real games. The Denver defensive line is still strong and I expect them to pressure Russell Wilson plenty.

The Seahawks defense is the one that scares me here. With a late-to-camp Earl Thomas and a loss of other players, it's a new-look defense going up against a new-look offense for Denver. If Case Keenum turns this offense into one that resembled his Minnesota days of 2017, it could be really good. He's got the weapons, so it's just a matter of finding a groove with them. The Stream-O-Matic is with me, ranking Seattle 23rd on the chart.

Barn-Lighting Scoreboard-Burner

30-13. 24-10. 37-27. 33-27. Those are the last four games between the Chiefs and Chargers in 2016-2017, all won by Kansas City. These two squads have a history of crazy games and I expect nothing less from this one.

The Chiefs defense is looking to be a disaster this year. I'm sure the coaching staff will put 'makeup on a pig' here to use an Arkansan's saying, but it's not going to be good. The Chargers look loaded on offense despite the loss of Hunter Henry. I love the receiving tandem of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams along with the rushing attack from Melvin Gordon. I'll call my shot here - the Chargers are winning the AFC West.

On the other hand, the Chiefs have the element of the unknown going for them. Patrick Mahomes has been connecting well with Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill in the preseason. Kareem Hunt looks to have another great season in the league. The Chargers defense should be good over the course of the season, but this game could be trouble for them.

So, don't start either of these defenses. That's what I'm getting at here.


Carolina Panthers, DST1 (45.6%)

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Here lies a good case of seeing an opponent's name rather than their actual worth. Most people probably see the Cowboys as their 2016 self with the beautiful offensive line and an efficient Dak Prescott.

Those things no longer exist.

The offensive line has experienced lots of turnover and injury. Prescott looks completely different from his rookie season and has no one to catch the ball. Seriously, when was the first Dallas receiver taken in your draft? I bet free agent Dez Bryant was taken before guys like Allen Hurns and Michael Gallup. The fantasy zombie that is Jason Witten is finally retired. Who are we scared of other than Ezekiel Elliott on the Cowboys offense?

The Panthers had a top 10 DVOA rating in both pass and rush defense last year. Once they load up to stop the run, the rest will be easy peasy.

Green Bay Packers, DST4 (10.9%)

Nope, nope, nope. I'm out. Sorry, Stream-O-Matic - don't hate me, oh hyphenated one!

The Bears should be a much-improved offense from last year. They could end up like the 2017 Jaguars for all we know - exerted focus on running the ball and high-percentile throws from Mitch Trubisky. Remember, we all picked on the Jaguars early last year thinking that we were going to get tons of Bortles' picks. That didn't work well!

I don't know. Bad defenses always scare me to use in Week 1. I like having a floor for my fantasy DST just in case teams like the Bears with new regimes surprise us and wreck shop.

'Wreck shop'. What a strange phrase. The only definition of it that I could find was on Urban Dictionary, which is never a good sign.

Cleveland Browns, DST6 (5.4%)

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It's strange seeing the Browns defense so high and, personally, I wouldn't play them. However, they do have a lot of things going their way in 2018 that was not nearly the case in 2017.

Starting with the big picture, it's an incredibly-improved team since last year. The offense is going to be efficient with Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, Josh Gordon, etc. That's going to take a lot of pressure off of the defense, which is sort of getting lost in all the hype from the offense/Hard Knocks. With a revamped offense, the defense should follow suit.

Next, look at the factors from this one game as well. The Steelers notoriously play worse on the road - specifically Ben Roethlisberger. They will be without Le'Veon Bell due to money problems. The weather is going to be very windy, thus calling for more of a ground & pound approach from both sides. One could say that this is a perfect storm for the Browns to play a competitive game here.

Like I said, I'm not playing the Browns defense in fantasy this week. However, I don't mind the aggressive ranking from the Stream-O-Matic and could definitely see a scenario where they have a decent performance.

Detroit Lions, DST11 (29.2%)

Here we are, my favorite streaming defense of the week!

The Lions will be facing the Jets, who just don't have much going their way in Week 1. Rookie starter Sam Darnold is not a favorite of this author. I had him rated behind Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, and Lamar Jackson in the 2018 draft class. Additionally, he doesn't have that superstar to throw to in stressful times. Sure, Robby Anderson could be a good player and Quincy Enunwa should be a middle of the field threat, but there's just not an elite player Darnold can turn to in this offense. With the backfield looking like a true RB-split between only-running Isaiah Crowell and only-catching Bilal Powell, it looks to be a very predictable offense. That spells doom for them in my eyes.

Detroit was an average defense last year, but they were opportunistic in pass defense. In a Monday Night Football matchup with the rookie QB under the lights, I expect the Lions to show out.

Indianapolis Colts, DST12 (0.4%)

This is cute, Stream-O-Matic, but c'mon. It's the Colts defense. And for that, I pass.

Boy, I can't wait to see the Colts finish as a DST1. As I always say, the Stream-O-Matic knows...

Check out the rest of our 2018 Fantasy Football content from our outstanding team of writers.

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