The key to this strategy is to roster defenses playing against teams that are either at a disadvantage in the trenches or aren’t expected to win many games, which means you can expect those offenses to play from behind more often than not, making them more predictable and prone to mistakes. For example, over the past three seasons, a team that trailed by four to 10 points passed the ball more than half the time with higher interception, sack and fumble rates than those teams leading by four to 10 points. Teams with offensive lines expected to struggle include the Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Chargers and Washington Football Team.
In 12-team leagues, an average of 15 defenses are being drafted, according to data from Fantasy Football Calculator, leaving 17 to choose from during the early parts of the season. Not all of those are fantasy viable but there are plenty of opportunities to make the most of a mismatch each week.
One defense overlooked in this year’s draft will be that of the Washington Football Team. Washington’s defense has been more sizzle than steak these last few years, yet this season it warrants optimism. New head coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio switched the base defense from 3-4 to 4-3, brought in free agent cornerback Kendall Fuller and drafted edge rusher Chase Young to complement fellow first-round picks Jonathan Allen (2017), Da’Ron Payne (2018) and Montez Sweat (2019) plus veterans Ryan Kerrigan and Matt Ioannidis. Pro Football Focus ranks this defensive line as the third best headed into 2020. In Week 5, Washington will battle the Los Angeles Rams (25th best offensive line). In Week 6 and 9 they will face the New York Giants (20th). In Week 15 Washington will play against the Seattle Seahawks (28th).
Here’s how you can stream defenses for the those weeks and also the rest of the season.
Fantasy football regular season
Week 1: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Week 2: Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 3: Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Football Team
Week 4: Green Bay Packers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 5: Washington Football Team vs. Los Angeles Rams
Week 6: Washington Football Team at New York Giants
Week 7: Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 8: Los Angeles Rams at Miami Dolphins
Week 9: Washington Football Team vs. New York Giants
Week 10: Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 11: Washington Football Team vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 12: Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears
Week 13: Cincinnati Bengals at Miami Dolphins
Week 14: Dallas Cowboys at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 15: Washington Football Team vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 16: Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks