Marvin Lewis and Mike Zimmer break down Tampa Bay’s defense and how it compares to other teams around the league.
There are two types of people in fantasy football: Those who draft Justin Tucker way too early, and those who rightfully wait until the last two rounds to draft a kicker. If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’re a part of the latter group. So there’s no need to waste your time on why streaming kickers and defenses in fantasy football is the optimal path.
Instead, let’s look at what traits make the best streaming options for each position. Then, we’ll pin down the specific players and teams you should roll with in Week 3. While certain stats – like red-zone efficiency and point totals – can be telling, two weeks of data is too small of a sample size to really impact your decisions. Therefore, a lot of the following analysis is purely based on the eye test. With kickers and defenses, it’s usually that simple.
That’s why you should pay more attention to the desired traits of good streaming options in this week’s column – so you can teach yourself how to find the best streamers each week.
Kickers to Stream in Week 3
There’s a misconception in fantasy football that the best kickers come from the best offenses. An influx of weekly points does boost kicker value, but the best fantasy kickers are relied on more to kick field goals, not extra points.
Still, the beauty of streaming kickers is that they’re so interchangeable. You typically don’t have to worry about season-long data when the difference between them is so slim. Daniel Carlson and Nick Folk led the league in 2021 with 8.8 fantasy points per game. 13 kickers finished within a point of that average.
And of the top-10 kickers in fantasy points per game, all of them were on teams with top-19 offenses. But you know how important high-scoring offenses are to kicker value. What so many people fail to realize is the prioritization of kickers in good offenses versus kickers in great offenses.
You want kickers on teams that don’t score touchdowns easily. Of the top-five highest-scoring offenses per game last season, only Dallas had a top-10 fantasy kicker per game.
What does that mean for you? Target the good but not great offenses. As a bonus, prefer kickers playing inside rather than outside – and definitely double-check those weather reports.
With that said, here are the top streaming options for kicker this week. Each kicker is available in 50% or more of leagues, per FantasyPros’ consensus rostership data.
Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles at WAS
The Eagles’ offense has been red-hot to start the season. They’ve averaged 31 points per game, which is a juicy metric to target for fantasy in Week 3. The Commanders have also surrendered 29 points per game, which tied for the fourth-most points in football. Vegas’ over/under of 47.5 points suggests plenty of points. Elliott is my top streaming option this week, though weather concerns could always change that.
Austin Seibert, Detroit Lions at MIN
Don’t look now, but the Lions are quietly one of the NFL’s highest-scoring teams. Only the Bills have averaged more points per game. Seibert also gets two favorable factors in fantasy: A suspect defense and a dome. While the Vikings have only allowed 15 points per game, they allowed 25.1 points last season – eighth-most in the NFL. As a bonus, Minnesota also allowed 46 points to Detroit in their two matchups last year, including a 29-point shootout in Week 13 at Ford Field. Speaking of Ford Field, we all know how important a windless game is for kickers. Seibert is a sneaky start in Week 3.
Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers at DEN
Denver is a glorious place for kickers. The altitude gives every kick a much-appreciated boost in strength. After a rain-filled Week 1, the 49ers’ offense shifted back to 2021 form when Jimmy Garoppolo replaced an injured Trey Lance. San Francisco was middle of the pack in nearly every major scoring and red-zone category in 2021, which actually bodes well for Gould’s chances in Week 3. Vegas set an average over/under at 44.5, so this isn’t expected to be a high-scoring matchup. However, Vegas’ average spread of -1.5 in favor of the 49ers suggests a potential shootout. Don’t be surprised if Gould is relied upon often in this game.
Other Kickers to Consider: Will Lutz, Ka’imi Fairbairn
D/STs to Stream in Week 3
Ironically, nearly every desirable trait for good fantasy kickers is flipped for good fantasy defenses. Obviously, you want defenses that are facing bad offenses. Luckily, the eye test becomes a bit more reliable when pinpointing them.
Low Vegas totals certainly can be a good indicator of potential low-scoring games. Typically, the stats to support these are pretty straightforward. Although, we still can’t rely too heavily on just two weeks of data.
If you find yourself stuck between a bad defense versus a bad offense, and a good defense versus a good offense, choosing a bad offense tends to be the right answer. Turnover-prone quarterbacks normally stay turnover-prone, though quarterbacks like Daniel Jones do have their moments.
While there isn’t one true path to follow every single time, focusing on bad offenses typically works out better than just rolling with good defenses. Even last year’s highest scoring D/ST, the Cowboys, wasn’t a must-start each week. Do you really want to play your top defense against an offense like the Chiefs or Bills?
Hence why you stream your defenses. For what it’s worth, the special teams aspect should almost never impact your decision since it’s so rare and unpredictable.
Ironically, another bonus in finding good fantasy defenses is targeting bad-weather games, as opposed to targeting good-weather games for kickers. In case you couldn’t tell by now, you better pay attention to weather forecasts on Sunday morning.
If you need a D/ST to stream for Week 3, these ones could do the trick. Once again, each D/ST is available in 50% or more of leagues, per FantasyPros’ consensus rostership data.
Philadelphia Eagles at WAS
After allowing 35 points to the Lions in Week 1, the Eagles held the Vikings to seven points in Week 2. They scored 13 fantasy points in the process. The Commanders have put up 20+ points in each game so far, so starting the Eagles is a bet on turnovers. Luckily, Washington had three in Week 1 and one in Week 2. Vegas is also projecting the Commanders to score no more than 20 points this week, which is tied for the fifth-lowest mark in the league. Even if Carson Wentz and Co. score some points, expect some turnovers as well.
Kansas City Chiefs at IND
Something isn’t right in Indianapolis. The Colts tied with the Texans in Week 1, and then they got shut out by the Jaguars in Week 2. They face the Chiefs in Week 3 and, well, you have an idea how that will go. Perhaps the Colts recoup some points in garbage time, or the anticipated return of Michael Pittman boosts the rest of the offense. Still, Kansas City has allowed just over 20 points in each game, yet Indianapolis just surrendered 18 fantasy points to Jacksonville. Matt Ryan has four interceptions and has been sacked seven times already. Expect the Chiefs to pile onto those numbers.
Houston Texans at CHI
This game has one of the lowest implied total points, and it’s not hard to see why. Neither team has scored more than 20 points in a game. By all accounts, this should be a low-scoring matchup. While neither team has yet to turn the ball over more than once in a game, simply banking on a lack of points is a sustainable strategy in fantasy. A miserable-looking day at Soldier Field could impact the game as well.
Other D/STs to Consider: Raiders at TEN, Bears at HOU