One of the most common tactics in fantasy football is streaming defenses weekly. For newbies, that’s when you pick your defense from the waiver wire and try and play the matchups each week. You will often see people not draft a defense at all, and pick one up later to start Week 1. In this column, I will be giving some suggestions on D/ST that should be readily available on your waiver wire.
1. Baltimore Ravens
Another team ESPN has listed at just under 50% ownership. That seems pretty crazy to me, considering they open up on the road against the Dolphins. Almost everyone in the sports media projects Miami to be one of the worst teams in the league this season. Baltimore does have some questions on the defensive front. Losing talent such as Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley certainly doesn’t help your team. However, their secondary remained relatively intact. Safety Eric Weddle did leave in free agency, but they found an a top replacement in Earl Thomas. When healthy, Thomas is a good player who could make an immediate impact for the team. He should pair nicely with talented young safety Tony Jefferson. Lucky for them, they get a great matchup on paper to figure things out Week 1. Ryan Fitzpatrick certainly isn’t shy about throwing to the opposing team. Miami’s offensive line figures to be a leaky sieve all year long and they lack any type of legitimate receiving threat. The bottom line is that the Dolphins just flat out lack talent at every offensive level. The Ravens D/ST probably offers the safest floor with huge upside for Week 1. A game total of 37.5 is impossible to ignore. Scoop them up immediately if they’re still hanging out on the waiver wire.
2. Dallas Cowboys
Here’s another D/ST whose rostered percentage is puzzling as ESPN has them at just 25% ownership. The Cowboys will start their season at home against divisional rival the New York Giants. Facing Eli Manning isn’t something that should scare any team in the league. While Saquon Barkley is a threat to score nearly every time he touches the ball, the Giants don’t have much else going for them. Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard are undoubtedly talented players, but their quarterback play will hold them back in this matchup. Dallas has a collection of star players on defense at every level. Their linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith are some of the best around. They also signed Robert Quinn to give Demarcus Lawrence some help getting to the passer. Stud corner Byron Jones will have no problem locking down whomever New York plays on the outside. The Giants will struggle to put up points in this one and Eli Manning is a good bet to commit a horrific turnover at any moment. Strip-sacks and interceptions are both on the table for the Cowboys D/ST in this game. Plus, Dallas is a unit you can hold for the next 3 weeks. After the Giants, they face the Redskins and the Dolphins.
3. Denver Broncos
Check your wire for this unit; ESPN has them listed at just under 50% rostered. This defense ranked in the top ten last year in both sacks and interceptions. Their edge rushing duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb should once again be one of the most deadly in the NFL. Also, they get star CB Chris Harris back after recovering from a broken leg last season. Playing divisional rival Oakland on the road isn’t a scary matchup. Derek Carr and Antonio Brown have had limited time to build chemistry with Brown’s dramatics and injuries throughout camp. While the Raiders have an above-average offensive line, Miller and Chubb are too talented to be held in check all game. Some sacks and an interception should be on the table. This game could become a field goal fest very quickly.