Here we are… The dreaded Week 8 bye week. We were upset when the Dolphins and Bucs had a surprising week 1 bye, and even more upset when we had 4 teams on bye in weeks 5 & 6. I hate to say it, but the worst is yet to come. Both this week and next week we’ll see 6 teams on bye, making roughly ⅓ of the league unavailable at some point through weeks 8 & 9. Defenses are often overlooked when it comes to fantasy football, and to an extent it’s easy to understand why.
The highest scoring defense in fantasy football so far this season is Jacksonville – who have been monsters to say the least. They have scored double digit points in 5/7 games this season, with 20+ in 3 of them; one of which they compiled 5 interceptions, one they forced and recovered 3 fumbles, and one where they recorded 10 sacks. Despite the dominance, they have only scored 106 points on the season in standard ESPN scoring, which is only good for 41st overall among all PPR fantasy scorers. Even so, playing the right defense on a week to week basis may not always be the exciting play, or the one that has the highest return, but could be the difference between getting a win or a loss. Your matchup could easily come down to the 10 points your solid streaming defense gets you, as opposed to the 0-2 that you get from playing a defense in a bad matchup.
With 6 defenses off the board, including the top 2, take a look at some streaming options for Week 8:
New Orleans Saints D/ST (48.6% owned – ESPN)
Only 2 weeks removed from a fluky 31 point performance, the Saints are suddenly looking like a different team than we are used to seeing. Dating back to 2014, the Saints have been THAT defense… you know, the one that you start every player that plays against them simply because the defense took naps on a weekly basis? In 2017, they haven’t morphed into the ‘85 Bears or anything, but they have transformed into something trending in the right direction largely in part to Rookie CB Marshon Lattimore. This week they get the Bears and Rookie QB Mitch Trubisky, who has only thrown for 16 and 7 pass attempts in his last 2 games. The Bears will be forced to throw the ball, with them likely playing catch up to this potent Saints offense, but with such a small body of work, I like the chances of an inexperienced rookie making some mistakes. Extra bonus, the Saints may also proved useful next week in another big bye week, playing against the mistake prone Jameis Winston who has committed 10 turnovers in 6 games.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9.5% owned – ESPN)
I know it probably doesn’t make you feel too great to start a defense who has given up a total of 68 points in their last 2 games. They have only produced 1 double digit performance in their first matchup of the season, and have done little to impress since then. However, with 6 teams off the board, I can make a case for a desperation Hail Mary play. The Bucs face the Panthers – a team that not only struggles to take care of the ball, but one that seemingly can’t figure out how to run the ball effectively, forcing a lot of predictable passing situations. Cam Newton shows flashes of Superman, but seems to be more of Clark Kent these days, trailing only rookie DeShone Kizer for the league lead in interceptions. If you missed out on popular streams on waivers, the Bucs are likely still available for you to scoop up in a pinch. This stream is a lot more about the inability of Cam and the Panthers to put together a balanced and efficient offense than the proficiency of the defense itself, but sometimes, that is what a stream is all about.