Streaming team defenses is not a new strategy among fantasy owners. But old strategies can be good ones, as this popular method allows fantasy owners to use valuable mid-round picks on players with upside instead of one defense from week to week. The biggest reason for this is that if there's a defense on the waiver wire that draws a bad offense, a similar output can be expected as a dominant defense from week to week.
Usually, there's a defense on the waiver wire with a good matchup, and even the best defenses can run into a buzzsaw of an offense (see: San Francisco vs. Green Bay during Week One). That is all the more reason to adhere to the strategy of picking and choosing, and there are a few defenses with favorable Week 2 matchups that can help owners with that.
Carolina Panthers (vs. Bills): Not impressed by their 12-points allowed to the Seahawks? Owners ought to be. Charles Johnson, Luke Kuechly and the rest of the Panthers front seven are revamped for the long haul, and they proved it by harassing Russell Wilson all game long. More of the same can be expected when they travel to face the Bills on Sunday. The Bills protected quarterback E.J. Manuel well versus the Patriots, but have a taller task on their hands that could lead to some poor decisions by a young quarterback. If the Panthers, who are owned in just six percent of Yahoo! leagues can induce those, it will be a valuable pickup for owners.
New Orleans Saints (vs. Buccaneers): Even versus a hobbled Roddy White, it's not easy to limit an offense like the one the Atlanta Falcons put on the field. That's just what the Saints did in their season opener, and now won't have Matt Ryan to worry about. Instead, they will have a Buccaneers offense that sputtered out of the gate versus a respectable Jets defense, but also didn't give them much of a challenge. It's also worth keeping in mind that the Buccaneers gave the ball away 23 times a season ago, which was highlighted by Josh Freeman's 17 interceptions. The five-year veteran sustained that pace with an interception in the season debut to the surprise of no one. Rob Ryan's defenses over the years haven't been huge takeaway machines, but his team could once again find a few chances to continue to skew the turnover margin (and point differential) in their favor.
Dallas Cowboys (vs. Chiefs): The six turnovers they forced versus the Giants won't happen this week, but there's no reason to hold that against them. They were opportunistic in their chances, and already accounted for 37 percent of their takeaways from a season ago in just one game. That usually means a regression is in order, especially against a game-managing quarterback like Alex Smith, who isn't known to take many chances with the football. The thing is, he may have to, especially if Tony Romo and the Cowboys move the ball as well as they usually do and force the Chiefs into a deep deficit early in the game. That's not something that even a pass-happy coach like Andy Reid would be comfortable asking of Smith, and there's a reason for that. Things could get ugly for the Chiefs if they fall behind, which means only good things for the Cowboys defense.
Detroit Lions (vs. Cardinals): As is the case with the Cowboys, an early lead would be a big part of the formula for success with the Lions defense this week. It's a bit of a risky play with the Cardinals offense looking competent with Carson Palmer at the helm, but the payoff can be big in the form of turnovers against a quarterback with 34 interceptions in his last 35 games. Just six percent of Yahoo! leagues have the Lions defense on rosters, and the payoff could be big if they make the gutsy move to start them in Week 2.
Atlanta Falcons (vs. Rams): Owners in 81 percent of Yahoo! leagues can find the Falcons defense on the waiver wire. Expect that to decrease after a respectable showing against one of the league's top offenses in the Saints, and also because they will face the Rams in their home opener. The Rams' checkdown passes and poor run blocking from a week ago won't be a winning formula versus a team with the look of an improved coverage unit and rejuvenated run defense. The Falcons should once again keep points off the board and be a nice spot start in leagues that heavily reward such an accomplishment.