How to Effectively Stream Defenses?

One of the most important factors in your weekly fantasy matchups is which defense you start. The defense that you start can make or break your chances of winning in a specific week. Say that you’re in a tight matchup with your best buddy from school and he started the Steeler’s defense week one who ended up with seven sacks and five turnovers and you started the Lions who allowed 38 points and zero turnovers. In this situation you have almost guaranteed a loss in week one as depending on your league’s defensive scoring rules there’s most likely at least a 20-point difference between the two, which might not seem like too much but in fantasy that’s HUGE. Your friend now thinks he has an elite defense that somehow pulled off one the most impressive defensive masterclasses ever seen against an elite opponent in the Bengals, so now The Steelers are locked into his lineup for the future. Now in week two, they play the Patriots but this time ends the game with ZERO sacks and one interception. Not bad, but that’s not going to help his fantasy team win any games and after the week one game you would expect at least similar numbers in week two. This is an example of how in fantasy the issue with defenses is consistency, so the solution to that is a strategy called Streaming Defenses, which is the concept of picking up a new defense to start each week based on a variety of factors. So how does one go about doing that? Let’s look at some things you should look at when making a decision on what defense to stream.

Look at the Data

I’ll start off by saying, streaming defenses is no easy task because the number of factors involved and levels of inconsistency from teams can really screw with streaming. This is why the first thing you should do is look at data. Most platforms, like Sleeper and ESPN, will present you with analytical data to help you make decisions for your team throughout the season. The data won’t be too helpful until after a few weeks because the sample size isn’t great enough to make sense of the data yet. When there is enough data to help you, look at their overall ranking, PPG (points per game), and their stats, like sacks and turnovers so you can get a feel for what they are capable of. But remember teams will be inconsistent so data can’t predict everything.

Star Power

The next thing you could look at in order to help make a choice would be star power and what teams have the most playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. Although these players might not always play the role of superman and save your team from losing, there is always a chance that they make an impact and feed your team points. Players like Micah Parsons and Jalen Ramsey are just a couple of players that come to mind when thinking of superstars that have the ability to change a game.


Remember at the start when I said that The Steelers played a stellar game against the defending AFC champ Bengals, and then had a stinker against the Patriots a week later? Well, that was simply the effect of Pittsburgh losing the reigning defensive player of the year TJ Watt. Watt partially tore his pectoral muscle eliminating him from the game and for nine more weeks after that, leaving the scary Steelers D, not so terrifying. This means you should also look at the medical report when deciding who to stream as losing a star player will impact the performance of the team.


In my opinion, the most telling factor in streaming defenses is the schedule and who the team is playing each week. While defenses are inconsistent, opposing offenses are much more consistent which will allow you to get a feel for how well a defense is going to do in a particular week. By looking at the team’s schedule we can see if the other offense is a high-scoring team on a regular basis if any of the stars are injured, and how well-rested the other team is based on when their previous game was.

After looking at these factors you should be able to make your best-educated guess on who to start in your defensive slot each week. But always remember that no matter how much you try to study and research defenses there will always be consistency and outliers. Using the tools given to you and praying is the best advice to give when picking defenses. Goodluck.

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