It is strange at this time of year to not be mentioning the fantasy playoffs in an article. That’s one of the reasons we love DFS so much though isn’t it? There is no ‘win or go home’ pressure. There is simply setting that weekly lineup and wait for the moolah to roll in.
Let’s do this!!
TAMPA BAY vs. New Orleans-cost $2200: The Buccaneers have quietly been a top-10 fantasy defense this season and are playing well of late. Over the past three games they have put up nine sacks along with five turnovers and scored a defensive touchdown. For the season, Tampa has 29 sacks and has forced 21 turnovers while scoring three defensive touchdowns. This week they face Drew Brees playing outdoors which is a different breed of Brees indeed (see what I did there? It’s a whole bunch of ‘B’ words). In the three games he has played outdoors, Brees has five touchdowns and six turnovers. With Mark Ingram out for the season the Saints will be forced to throw more and that means more big play opportunities for the Bucs defense that may get Gerald McCoy back this week.
HOUSTON vs. New England-cost $2200: It used to be considered crazy to start a defense against the potent New England offense but that’s not the case these days. The Patriots offense is a beaten up and tattered mess right now. One can only assume that Tom Brady has his wide receivers names written on his wristband so he can call tell who is who. The lowly Philadelphia Eagles defense just intercepted Brady twice (taking one to the house) and sacked him four times. Over the past five games, the Patriots have turned the ball over eight times while allowing 11 sacks and three D/ST scores. That lands the Pats among the top five teams in giving up fantasy production to defenses. The last team a battered offensive line wants to see is the Texans. Led by All World DE J.J. Watt (now sporting a cast but expected to play) Houston has racked up 16 sacks in the last five games with Watt accounting for 7 ½ of them. Look for a relentless pass rush and limited (Rob Gronkowski did practice Wednesday but there is no word on if he will play Sunday night) receiving options to force Brady into at least two turnovers this week.
BUFFALO at Philadelphia-cost $2800: The Bills defense has been less than scintillating under new head coach Rex Ryan. If ever there were a matchup to jump-start this unit, we have it this week. The Eagles offense has been a herky-jerky mess all season. Sam Bradford returned last week but continues to play mediocre football and has turned the ball over 11 times this season. In the past five games, Philadelphia has turned the ball over eight times and has given up an average of three sacks to their opposition. While the sacks have not been coming with the regularity that the Bills would like, they have been a big play type of defense. They have intercepted 12 passes in 2015 and scored three defensive touchdowns. There is a possibility that Mario Williams returns this week, which will bolster the pass rush a bit. The Bills will be good for a big play or two (or three knowing the Eagles) as well as a couple of sacks this week.
DETROIT at St. Louis-cost $2700: The last time we saw Case Keenum under center for the Rams he was being battered by the less than stellar Baltimore Ravens defense. In that game, St. Louis was held to 13 points and Keenum lost a pair of fumbles. He’s just not a very good quarterback (what does that say about Nick Foles) and has struggled the last seven times he has played extensive snaps. In those games, Keenum has thrown seven interceptions and only four touchdowns. Despite giving up a horrific ‘Hail Mary’ pass last week that was completely botched, the Detroit defense has actually been playing well. They have been very effective with the pass rush racking up 13 sacks over the past four games. This is the week that all that pressure pays off with some turnovers and big plays for Detroit.
NEW YORK GIANTS at Miami-cost $2500: The Giants pass rush came to life a bit last week as they were able to sack Ryan Fitzpatrick three times. It appears that Jason Pierre-Paul is working himself into game shape and getting comfortable with his new club/cast. Pierre-Paul is drawing more offensive line attention and that will open things up for his teammates. This is a nice matchup for the D-line. The Dolphins are struggling to protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill and have allowed 13 sacks in the past five games. Tannehill has failed to take the next step that a lot of folks were expecting, having thrown 11 interceptions and losing three fumbles on the season. The Dolphins showed more commitment to the run last week but have still turned the ball over five times over their last five games and allowed a pair of safeties. Miami will be forced to put the ball in the air to keep up with the Giants this week and when they do there will be big plays to be had.
There we have it folks. Just in time for shopping season these are the cheaper sleeper defenses that will have us cashing in this week.
As always…good luck…and have fun!