As the sun rises this Tuesday morning, the fantasy football community can emerge from its bunker and start to move forward with the rest of the season.
NFL Week 7, appropriately named “Byemageddon,” has passed, and most of us are no worse for the wear. Some teams did suffer losses in the wake of six teams being off, but that is just the nature of the game.
If we want to take solace in something, find the silver lining, it is how we escaped the week without any significant injuries. Rarely does that happen and, as a result, it allows us to focus on other areas regarding roster maintenance. Instead of hunting for the new flavor-of-the-week running back or wide receiver, we can turn our attention to streaming defenses.
The trick to streaming the right defense this week isn’t just about looking at who is playing a worse team. Depending on your scoring, points and yards allowed can be an important factor, but where you really want to look is the turnovers. That’s your bread and butter. Quarterback sacks are also big because they lead to turnovers, but interceptions, forced fumbles and fumble recoveries are where you need to pay the most attention.
You should focus your attention on teams like the Bills, Colts, Cowboys, Cardinals and Buccaneers. They lead the league in takeaways, and Dallas has actually taken three interceptions and turned them into defensive touchdowns. The Bucs have done it twice.
Not only do you need to look at how many takeaways a defensive unit has, but also how many giveaways we see from the opposing team. The Chiefs, Jets, Jaguars and Texans are most guilty of turning the ball over, but Miami, Washington, Carolina and Chicago aren’t far behind. The more they “give,” the more your defense can “take,” which just increases their odds of scoring.
While many of the top defenses are being hoarded by their owners, you can still find plenty in Week 8. Atlanta will feast on Sam Darnold and the Panthers, the Bengals will get the Jets with backup quarterback Mike White, and Seattle will host the struggling Jaguars. The Monday night game between the Giants and Chiefs pits two turnover-prone teams against each other, and even the Chargers make for a good play against New England, which ranks third in giveaways.
Even if points or yards allowed matters in your scoring, a team defense can win a week for you if they dominate the turnover battle. Don’t be afraid to switch things up. Each week you should always be able to find someone with a favorable matchup.
Howard Bender is the VP of operations and head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.
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