The Streamer's Guide to DSTs: Week 1
The Streamer's Guide is a series meant to help those of you who want to stream quarterbacks, tight ends, and/or defenses for some (or all) of the season. Streaming is the process of picking up and starting a player each week who is normally not a starting-caliber (or even roster-caliber) option at their position but who has a good matchup that week. This strategy, if played right, can net you the same amount of points as a mid-tier starter at any of the above positions. It is mainly used if you punted the QB/TE/DST position in the draft, your starter at any of those positions gets hurt, or you drafted Andrew Luck. Ready to get started? Let's hop right in!
For streaming defenses, I look at three things: the quality of opposing team's offense, the Vegas spread, and whether the team is at home. The reasons for the quality of the opposing offense and whether they play at home are pretty obvious, but the reason for the spread may not be. I look at the spread because it is a general rule that favored teams score more defensive points. For this week, I came up with 3 units who might be worth a look in 10 or 12 team leagues.
1. Steelers DST, Pit (@ Cle, Spread: -8.5)
The Steelers defense is one of my favorites to stream for the first couple of weeks, as they have a juicy beginning schedule of the Browns, Vikings, Bears, Ravens, and Jaguars. I would consider starting them any of those weeks. Also, the Steelers D is currently underrated, with an impactful pass rush utilizing DE Cameron Heyward and OLBs Bud Dupree and TJ Watt. In addition to that, they are currently projected to win by 8.5 points. The Steelers are currently owned in 53.8% of ESPN leagues. If yours is not one of the 53.8%, pick them up now if you need a streamer. Despite that they play on the road, they are still one of the more solid streaming options for Week 1.
2. Rams DST, LAR (v. Ind, Spread: -3.5)
Yes, I know they're missing Aaron Donald. Although being without their star DT will be a huge blow, the bigger blow is to the Colts. Without Andrew Luck, the Colts are quietly one of the worst teams in the NFL. Scott Tolzien is starting this game in LA. Tolzien's career TD:INT ratio is 2:7. There will be plenty of opportunities for this Rams unit to force turnovers. Also, with the injury to center Ryan Kelly, the Colts offensive line currently performs more like a sieve than an offensive line, so there should be some sack opportunities as well. Owned in a surprisingly small 26.1% of ESPN leagues, the Rams are more likely than not to be available in your league. Even though the Rams defense minus Aaron Donald isn't great, the Colts offense is even worse. Start the Rams this week.
3. Falcons DST, Atl (@ Chi, Spread: -7)
The Falcons defense is one of the other most underrated units in the NFL. They are ridiculously fast and use that speed to their advantage. Against Mike Glennon and the hapless Bears offense, this unit is a good start. The Bears offense is very one dimensional after losing Alshon Jeffery in free agency and Cameron Meredith to an ACL tear. All they have is Jordan Howard, so Atlanta will be able to sell out for some more pressure, taking advantage of the Bears middling offensive line for sacks. Owned in only 13.9% of ESPN leagues, this one is the one most likely to be available in your league. If you are scrambling for a last-minute defense option, the Falcons are a decent option for you to consider.
Thank you for choosing the Streamer's Guide to DSTs, and I hope your chosen DST lights it up this week!