The best defenses to stream in fantasy in Week 11
The kickoff of Week 11 brings us to the final week that fantasy owners will have to deal with bye weeks affecting their lineup decisions. That’s the good news. The bad news is that this week there are two idle offenses that would normally be excellent streaming defense options to chase.
The Colts and Jets have both been giving up nice production to defenses. Alas. We’ll have to look elsewhere.
When looking it’s vitally important to keep in mind something my esteemed IDP colleague here at PFF Ross Miles mentioned in last week’s edition of the PFF podcast “The Nickel” (hosted by yours truly): Shorten the research on teams to the previous three to four weeks rather than taking a look at the entire season. Many things have changed due to injuries or position or scheme changes and the smaller sample of more recent statistics are far more telling.
For example, over the first four weeks of the season the New Orleans Saints defense was well outside the top 15. Over their past four games they are a top-five unit. Staying abreast of current trends can be the difference between just making the playoffs and winning the title.
One last note. The Jaguars are a weekly start and that’s why the unit is not listed as the team to chase the Browns this week. That will be the Bengals next week.
Arizona Cardinals (at Houston)
Since coming off the Week 8 bye, the Cardinals defense has flat out been getting after the quarterback. After totaling just 12 sacks through their first seven games Arizona has racked up five sacks in each of the past two weeks. Led by outside linebacker Chandler Jones and rookie defensive end Olsen Pierre, the Cardinals have been credited with 28 quarterback hurries as well as nine hits in the last two games. Ride the surging Cardinals’ pass rush against a Texans offense that allowed three sacks last week and turned the ball over four times.
The Vikings are coming off a strong offensive performance in which they hung over 400 total yards of offense on Washington. Quarterback Case Keenum threw for over 300 yards and tossed four touchdown passes. Things will not go as smoothly against a Rams defense that is getting it done in all facets of the game. The Rams put up three sacks last week while also racking up four turnovers. Over their last three games Los Angeles has amassed eight sacks along with four fumble recoveries and five interceptions. Keep in mind that Keenum is still prone to tossing untimely interceptions and the pair he threw last week brings his total to 25 in 34 career games.
Detroit Lions (at Chicago)
Yes. We like some road warriors in Week 11 as Detroit heads to the Windy City. The Lions defense continues to be an opportunistic unit even in a surprisingly tough outing against the Cleveland Browns. Despite giving up 24 points and over 400 total yards the Lions managed to be fantasy relevant by scoring their fourth defensive touchdown of the season. That ties them with Jacksonville and Houston for tops in the league. It’s encouraging that Detroit was able put up four sacks with Ezekiel Ansah out of the lineup last week. The Bears just allowed five sacks to the struggling Packers’ pass rush and is a nice matchup for Detroit.
Playing without left tackle Tyron Smith (groin) the Cowboys struggled mightily in pass protection against the Falcons last week. Actually, that might be an understatement as Dallas gave up eight sacks along with 13 quarterback hurries and two hits. With head coach Jason Garrett admitting Monday that Smith is uncertain to play in Week 11 the Eagles becoming a very nice streaming option. In the three games prior to their Week 10 bye Philadelphia put up 11 sacks, five interceptions and a defensive score. The Eagles have a dominating pass rush that can bring interior pressure with Fletcher Cox along with edge pressure from Brandon Graham and company. This looks to be another “meet at the quarterback” sackfest for the Eagles.
Let’s roll with another defense coming off its bye week in a juicy matchup against a banged-up offense. The Packers did manage to beat the Bears last week but allowed three sacks for the second straight week. Furthermore, quarterback Brett Hundley appeared to have suffered a hamstring injury that could affect his availability or at least mobility this week. Over their last four games the Ravens defense has been a mixed bag of nice fantasy production with 10 sacks and six turnovers along with two defensive as well as two special-team touchdowns. Look for a rested Baltimore defense to take advantage of a banged up offensive line and a banged up starting quarterback this week.
Cincinnati Bengals (at Denver)
With the news that Brock Osweiler will be the starting quarterback for Denver in Week 11 we once again chase a struggling offense. Since taking the helm for the Broncos two games ago, Osweiler has thrown three interceptions, been sacked three times and lost a fumble. This is simply an offense that appears to be in a state of disarray. The Broncos have also been vulnerable on special teams, having given up a pair of kick returns for a score in the past month and had a punt blocked last week as well. The Bengals have likely avoided a suspension to linebacker Vontaze Burfict which bolsters their chances. Cincinnati got to Marcus Mariota for four sacks along with an interception last week and will find the going much easier against the mistake prone Broncos.
Yes. The final start option is also playing on the road and the third option this week that is coming off their bye week. After stumbling from a fantasy perspective in three of their last four games the Chiefs have a matchup that’s too good to pass up. The Giants just lost to the previously winless San Francisco 49ers and appear to be playing out the string. Without rookie defensive end Solomon Thomas the 49ers still managed to rack up three sacks and a fumble recovery against New York. The Giants offense has lost too many key players to consistently challenge defenses and that trend will continue this week. A rested Justin Houston will look to add to the 7.5 sacks he’s amassed to date and look for speedy Tyreek Hill to make a big play on special teams.