2023 Fantasy Football playoffs: Best streaming defenses feat. New York Jets and more
The 2023 fantasy football playoffs are right around the corner as they begin in Week 15 in most formats. The majority of leagues will include six teams in the postseason, with the top two overall records getting a first-round bye. With Week 18 usually excluded from the playoff structure, the three-round tournament often spans Week 15 through 17.
Preparation is a key to success when it comes to playoff strategies, as wise managers will look ahead to player matchups in these particular weeks. Defense is one of the best examples of this concept. Streaming defenses is already a popular strategy in fantasy football, but for the playoffs, it's almost an essential move.
The general idea is to take a look at the NFL schedule for the fantasy playoff weeks and find defenses to target that will be facing off against weak offenses. At this point in the fantasy season, bench spots and stash players lose most of their overall value because every matchup is win-or-go-home. This means it's all about producing the most favorable starting lineup for a single week.
Utilizing this strategy sometimes means adding a defense to a fantasy roster to use during the three-week playoff stretch that may normally be left on the waiver wire under regular-season circumstances. It doesn't matter which team that defense is facing in Week 13 and 14, only who they play after that. Overall season performance becomes much less important than individual weekly projections.
A few of the overall best fantasy defenses, such as the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers, offer elite upside regardless of their matchup. Managers lucky enough to have them on their rosters can still comfortably start them during the fantasy playoffs. The majority of managers should instead be looking to capitalize on favorable situations on the NFL schedule.
Those doing so should consider adding one of the following three defenses now and stashing them for the fantasy football playoffs.
Best streaming defenses to add for the 2023 fantasy football playoffs
#3 - New Orleans Saints
While the New Orleans Saints defense hasn't been as dominant this year as in past seasons, they still rank 12th in fantasy points per game this season. They are also rostered in less than 60% of leagues, so there is a good chance that they are available.
During the important stretch of the fantasy football playoffs, they will face off against the New York Giants, Los Angeles Rams, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They all rank in the bottom half of the NFL in points per game, with the Giants dead last. The Giants also allow the most sacks in the NFL, while the Buccaneers rank 11th. The three teams have also combined to throw 27 interceptions this year.
#2 - New York Jets
The New York Jets defense is currently averaging the eighth-most fantasy point per game this season. They have been one of the top fantasy football defenses in creating valuable turnovers, ranking fourth in interceptions and eighth in recovered fumbles.
The Jets will be difficult to trust in Week 15 against the Miami Dolphins' elite offense, but they are an ideal streamer after that. They finish the fantasy football playoffs with matchups against the Washington Commanders and Cleveland Browns. Sam Howell has thrown 13 interceptions and been sacked 55 times, leading the entire NFL. The Browns' offense has been one of the worst in the NFL without Deshaun Watson, who suffered a season-ending injury.
#1 - Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis Colts defense has been one of the most underrated units all season long in fantasy football. Despite averaging the seventh-most fantasy points per game this year, they are still only owned in 15% of leagues. It's time to stop sleeping on them as they have one of the most favorable schedules for the fantasy playoffs.
Their final stretch includes the Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, and Las Vegas Raiders. All three teams rank among the bottom ten in points per game this season. They also all feature struggling quarterbacks. Desmond Ridder was benched earlier this year, Aidan O'Connell is a rookie backup, and Kenny Pickett has thrown just six touchdown passes all year.