Fantasy Football

2018 Fantasy Football Week 2 Defense Stream-O-Matic

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Whoa! Now THAT was a hell of an Opening Week.

Before we hop into the Stream-O-Matic chart and all of its glory, we look back on Week 1. There were a few individual players that stood out to me during the Sunday games I was able to watch.

  • Denzel Ward, the 4th overall selection of the 2018 draft to Cleveland, was impressive in the stalemate against Pittsburgh. He picked off Roethlisberger twice and played admirably across the line from Antonio Brown. He did allow a touchdown to Brown, but even the best will do that. Next for Ward is a matchup against the monster that is Michael Thomas. If he holds serve there, he could be the next big thing at cornerback.
  • T.J. Watt led the way in sacks for Week 1 with four against the Browns. Could we please see the day where the Watt brothers play in tandem for a stacked defensive line someday? His techniques are incredibly sound and he was giving the Browns o-linemen trouble all afternoon.
  • Anthony Hitchens led the way in tackling at 15, but that seemed more of a game script thing against the Chargers. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler were breezing past the line of scrimmage to the second level and Hitchens was just doing his job. The linebacker that impressed me most was, unsurprisingly, Luke Kuechly. He was running around like a madman out there against the Cowboys breaking up screen passes and stuffing runs by Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott alike. I’ll try to pick a different linebacker during the other weeks.

Next, check out the results from Week 1 courtesy of my colleague Keith Lott. You can find him on Twitter at @WeTlkFntsySprts.


The major takeaway from the chart above – the trendline is pointing UP. Despite the Week 1 craziness, the Stream-O-Matic generally got it done. The Browns were the biggest hit while the Saints were the biggest whiff. I have more on them later. Hopefully, as the season wears on, we get a steeper trendline there. If not, it’s time to reevaluate what the hell I’m doing here!

Well, let’s get rolling with Stream-O-Matic No. 2! A few caveats are still necessary with small sample sizes and all (see green text below).

2018 Fantasy Football Week 2 Defense Stream-O-Matic

Scoring

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

Categories

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 gives us an idea of who is available. 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 windy conditions.
  • 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. For Week 2, we will use Week 1 plus 2017 statistics from these teams, which sucks but we will get enough info by Week 4!
  • 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 2, we will use Week 1 plus 2017 statistics for specific quarterbacks rather than teams. Josh Allen will be treated as a below average interception-thrower until further notice.
  • FPPG: I use ESPN defensive scoring rankings to determine a ranking of the fantasy football defenses. Using Week 1’s FPPG is a risky business, but I am doing it anyway!
  • 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 continue to utilize for Week 2.

Stream-O-Matic Chart

OverallDefenseOwn%OppLocationWindVegasoSAC%oINT%FPPGDVOA
136Rams98.8ARZ503119202932
122.5Bears39.8SEA5026.529242513
122Vikings98.7GB001428183131
115Ravens97.2CIN001920193027
110Jets1.0MIA50179283219
106Broncos76.4OAK50254272223
105Saints76.0CLE50223023124
104Dolphins1.0NYJ002325222410
103.5Redskins9.6IND5526.521122311
103Chargers83.2BUF00323225212
103Texans86.1TEN00295291129
95.5Panthers45.7ATL008.518142728
94Falcons9.1CAR50302410178
93Cowboys10.7NYG502813161417
90Titans53.8HOU50526211914
87.5Jaguars99.7NE5011.511112821
8249ers1.3DET5019730129
81Eagles98.2TB0024361830
77Patriots87.8JAX00216171518
75Bengals3.2BAL50191052016
75Seahawks6.7CHI0014278620
75Steelers22.7KC50101222125
74Lions48.4SF0052231133
69Packers13.3MIN50141631615
67Giants1.8DAL0016319101
63.5Raiders1.7DEN008.5153244
60Browns5.1NO002242626
59.5Buccaneers0.8PHI5011.5141577
59Chiefs4.9PIT001172696
53Colts0.4WAS05523785
39Cardinals23.8LAR00381522
31Bills2.4LAC50711332

Defenses on Bye Week: NONE!

Tyler’s Top Team

Here’s a new section we are trying out! I’m going to be throwing in a short blurb about my favorite defense for the rest of the season (ROS). Make sure that this defensive unit doesn’t sneak around on your waiver wire! While I enjoy streaming defenses, if someone throws you a gift, you gotta unwrap it.

After all of my research in the preseason and a week of performances, I was torn between the Los Angeles Rams and the Baltimore Ravens. While the Ravens had the better week against the lowly Bills, I’m going to select the Rams as my top defense ROS. There is just way too much talent from the one-two punch of Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh to the corners like Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib shutting down the X- and Y-receivers. I was also very impressed with the play of Cory Littleton at the linebacker spot in that Monday Night Football matchup.

Snooze-a-palooza of the Week

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Eww, eww, EWW! Anyone else just skipping over this JetsDolphins game in the Sunday slate? I mean, it may end up being a decent game since both teams are about the same, but come on! These are probably the two worst 1-0 teams in the league. Just thinking about one of these teams being at the top of the AFC East if the Patriots lose in Jacksonville makes me laugh.

However, I could understand throwing the Jets defense out there for a little streaming action. They made poor Matthew Stafford look terrible last week, which cost many fantasy owners their matchups. Remember, the ridicule going the Jets way this preseason mostly surrounded the lack of talent on the offensive end, not the defensive one. If they can get some more favorable game flows, maybe this defense can prove its merit.

Barn-Lighting Scoreboard-Burner

Well, picking Kansas City as part of my Barn-Lighting Scoreboard-Burner for last week worked well. Both the Chiefs and Chargers forgot how to play defense in Week 1 and fantasy points were aplenty.

I’m going back to the well here, as I am thirsty for some more offensive fireworks, and rolling with the matchup between the Chiefs and Steelers. We’ve already seen how explosive the KC offense can be and that was without Travis Kelce as involved as normal. The Steelers, meanwhile, had a bit of a rough Week 1, mainly because of the interceptability of one Ben Roethlisberger. He was throwing more picks than an overzealous guitar player at a hard rock concert.

Well, call it what you will, but Big Ben’s home/road splits should have been a caution flag for you in Week 1 (and something I mentioned in the Stream-O-Matic last week when I mentioned the Browns as a DST play). Now at the comforts of his own home, I’m expecting huge games from him, Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and James Conner. I mean, did you see how many fantasy points Philip Rivers put up on that Chiefs defense last week?



Notables

Chicago Bears, DST2 (39.8%)

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Despite the epic blown lead by the Bears, I thought they looked like a contender. Mitch Trubisky still has a lot of work to do to become a good quarterback, but the pieces are all here. On the defense specifically, the talent jumps off the screen and Khalil Mack looked like an All-Pro after just a week of practice with his new team.

This week, they get the Seahawks at home, which sounds worse than it is. This isn’t your older brother’s Seahawks, as they have holes everywhere. The offensive line is still bad, they have no true workhorse back, Doug Baldwin is out, and their leading receiver was some guy with the nickname of “Uncle Will”. Their only saving grace is that Russell Wilson is just an amazing creator of plays. They give up sacks and struggle to move the ball frequently. This season doesn’t seem to be any different than how it was for them in 2017.

I’m expecting the Bears to show out for their home crowd and bounce back from a bad Week 1 ending. Stream of the Week material right here.

Minnesota Vikings, DST3 (98.7%)

It’s an interesting ranking for the Vikings this week. From what I can gather, the Stream-O-Matic is putting more value in the ability of the Vikings defense than a one-legged Aaron Rodgers. As we saw on Sunday night, a one-legged Rodgers is not one to bet against.

I’m inclined to start the Vikings DST this week. Look, you didn’t draft the Minnesota defense a round or two earlier than many league members to sit them in Week 2. With a matchup against the Bills next week, it’s imperative that you hold onto them and just take what you can get this week.

Besides, the Vikings did take down a damn good offense last week. The 49ers are no slouches and I believe people will remember that fact this week when they put up some points on the Lions. Without his scrambling ability, Rodgers may be limited to pocket-passing, which is still going to be very good but that threat to prolong plays will be much less frequent. Look for Minnesota to rack up enough sacks to make for a low-end DST1 this week.

New Orleans Saints, DST7 (76.0%)

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Well, you live and you learn. I learned two things from the Saints defense this past week.

Directly, I learned that they were not in the least bit prepared for the Ryan Fitzpatrick deep ball. They didn’t respect it at all with no safeties over the top helping these talented corners. I still believe in the talent that exists on the New Orleans pass defense. Everyone has off games and we are hoping that this was one of them.

Indirectly, I learned the distinction between ‘weary’, ‘wary’, and ‘leery’. The first of the trio of words is used as a synonym of ‘tired’. The last two can be used interchangeably to mean ‘cautious’. I typically use these three words interchangeably, which is indubitably wrong.

How did I get on that short aside? Well, it’s because I’m leery of playing the Saints DST this week against the Browns. Cleveland’s offense actually looked passable against the Steelers last week in a bad-weather game and I think they improve in the dome. The weapons are real and Tyrod Taylor is a good game manager. I believe in a bounce-back for the New Orleans defense, but I’m a bit wary of it happening this week. You know when you learn something and you decide to say it like ten times that day to instill it in your brain? That’s what I’m going for here. However, I’m getting weary of these haters judging my style.

Washington Redskins, DST9 (9.6%)

This one was strange to me at first, but I’m coming around to the idea of playing the Redskins DST against the Colts. Sometimes, it just takes my brain longer to process things than normal. Or is there even a ‘normal’ for me? Probably not.

What was I saying? Oh, right, we are rolling out the Washington defense against the Colts. I don’t really care that Andrew Luck had a decent Week 1 on paper – he still looks rusty to me. With no running game, the Colts are predictable and Washington has some ballhawks in their secondary.



If Washington hadn’t looked so good against the Cardinals last week, I likely wouldn’t have believed in the Stream-O-Matic here. However, with that performance in mind, I’m willing to roll the dice if you were late to the waiver wire for your defense and remain stuck with, say, the Lions or Steelers (after streaming them last week).


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

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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