With the 2020 opening kickoff rapidly approaching, it’s fair to say that most of you have already drafted your Fantasy Football teams this year. That being said, there’s a lot of us that may have prioritized bench depth at skill positions and completely faded the D/ST position. Streaming defenses is a viable option in any league and can often lead to you selling high on the trade market or claiming a potential league-winner off waivers. For example, The 49ers Defense were widely unowned at the start of the season and finished at 1st in fantasy points OVERALL in 2019. That being said, here are some streaming options for Week 1.
#3 – Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Football Team
The Eagles Defense look to start the season hot, as they take on a Washington Football team that remains one of the more under-whelming units in the NFL. Outside of breakout rookie wide receiver Terry Mclaurin, the entirety of their offense is one big question mark. Will their offensive line be able to get the job done after the departure of Donald Penn, and finally moving on from Trent Williams? Will Dwayne Haskins be able to take a BIG step forward after posting a 1:1 Touchdown to Interception ratio and being sacked 29 times in 9 games? Can the backfield duo of Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic run the ball effectively to open up some play-action passes to ease the pressure off Haskins? Nobody knows. What we do know however, is that the Eagles pride themselves on stopping the run. They were the 3rd best run stopping unit in the NFL last year, led by perennial Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox. With no other changes along their 4-3 base defense, they should continue to force teams to throw against them. When Dwayne Haskins is the one throwing against you, as of now, that’s a good thing for your fantasy defense.
#2 – Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals.
Although the loss of Derwin James is a big blow, the Chargers defense might surprise people this year with how good they can be. What better way to make a statement than taking on the most hyped rookie of his class in quarterback Joe Burrow. Considering that sacks accounted for 37.5% of D/ST fantasy points last year, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram should be racking up some fantasy points for your team this week, as they take on the 31st ranked offensive line going into the season. It’s important to remember that this will be Burrow’s first taste of NFL action and rookies often struggle as they get accustomed to NFL game speed and reading defenses. Although Burrow looks the part of being a franchise QB, not having a preseason might lead to more mistakes than anticipated. If you think the Bengals will be able to exploit the Chargers’ 18th ranked Run Defense from 2019, the additions of Linval Joseph and rookie first-round pick Kenneth Murray, whom they traded up for, should also help bolster a once ‘average’ part of their defense. The Chargers defense is loaded with talent, with no glaring weaknesses, and should be rostered for their Week 1 match-up.
#1 – Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars.
This pick has a lot less to do with the Colts defense and everything to do with how bad the Jaguars are expected to be in 2020. Outside of D.J. Chark, the Jaguars don’t possess any notable weapons on offense. Gardner Minshew is still unproven and he will be forced to carry the entirety of the offense with the departure of Leonard Fournette. Speaking of Fournette, it should be noted he was quoted this week saying, “For the first time in my life, I really have a quarterback” after his move to Tampa Bay. If that doesn’t make you think twice about the Minshew Mania hype, I don’t know what will. Another reason that might lead to a rough day for Minshew is that the Jaguars have the 26th ranked offensive-line per PFF, so look for Justin Houston and newly acquired Deforest Buckner to get after it on Sunday. The Colts also acquired Xavier Rhodes in free agency, who could have a nice bounce back year considering he’s only 2 years removed from an All-Pro season and was once considered one of the best shutdown corners in the game. Las Vegas has set the over/under on Total Wins for the Jaguars at a mere 4.5, so streaming any defense who goes against them this year will be a viable option, after all…. the house always wins.
Streaming defenses has traditionally always favored home teams, but with COVID pretty much nullifying home field advantage, we can leave that notion in the past. What doesn’t change however, is taking advantage of poor offensive line play and inexperienced quarterbacks. Add that to the fact that there was no preseason for these offenses to start building chemistry and you get viable fantasy defenses without having to reach for them in your drafts.
Editor’s note: Featured Image from: https://twitter.com/Colts