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DraftKings Sleeper Defenses – Week 15

As longtime readers (Yes, I realize this article actually debuted around Week 4 of this season) of the “DraftKings Sleeper Defenses” articles, you may recall we sometimes like to reference movies to put things in perspective.

In recent weeks we have strayed from that formula and have decided it is time to get back to our roots.

Early on, after a couple of … let’s be kind and say ‘down’ weeks, we mentioned Rocky II and events that played out in that better than the average sequel. After recent events it is time to dig even deeper and recall the original Sylvester Stallone Oscar winning cinematic classic “Rocky.”

In the 14th round of the first fight with Apollo Creed, Adrian decided to stick her head out of the locker room just in time to see Rocky floored by a huge punch. The iconic song “Going the Distance” kicks in as Rocky writhes on the canvas. Things look bleak and even his crotchety old trainer ‘Mickey’ is yelling for Rocky to “stay down.”

He does not. Rocky rises as a stunned Apollo shakes his head in astonishment. The rest is history … well not really history as Rocky is currently back on the big screen in the hit movie “Creed.”

Yes. This is a long convoluted way of saying we were flat-out floored with last week’s DraftKings Sleeper Defenses. We are writhing on the canvas, folks. That’s fine because we are cut from the same cloth as Rocky Balboa. Just as he rose and nearly knocked Apollo out in the 15th round, we are going to nail our Week 15 selections. Hey, the original “Rocky” came out in 1976 so show some faith.

No sense in looking back at the punches that knocked us down as we are on the attack! Let’s get to it.

JACKSONVILLE vs. Atlanta ($2,400): It has become a nice idea of late to stream whatever defense is facing hapless Atlanta. Over their last four games, Atlanta has allowed 11 sacks while turning the ball over 12 times and has given up a defensive touchdown. Oh yeah, Atlanta was also shut out and completely manhandled by Carolina last week. On the flip side, the Jacksonville defense is coming off one of its best performances of the season, racking up three sacks along with two turnovers as well as two touchdowns against Indianapolis. We don’t say this often but the matchup is so good we have to ride the Jacksonville defense this week.

MINNESOTA vs. Chicago ($2,500): Despite the loss, the Minnesota defense actually played a good game against Arizona last week considering all the injuries. Minnesota managed to sack Carson Palmer a couple of times and keep the Arizona running game in check. Minnesota faces a familiar foe this week and one who has been known to throw an untimely interception or two. While Jay Cutler is having one of his better seasons he has tossed two interceptions and lost two fumbles in the last month. In the first meeting between the teams Minnesota had a special teams score and the speedy Cordarrelle Patterson is always a threat to take a return to the house.

HOUSTON at Indianapolis ($2,500): After a month of strong play the Houston defense has stumbled a bit of late. We didn’t see J.J. Watt struggling so much with his cast and he was darn near invisible against New England last week and hasn’t registered a sack in two games. Look for all that to change this week against an Indianapolis offense that just allowed double-digit points to Jacksonville. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was sacked three times and knocked around pretty good and is nursing shoulder and ribs injuries. There is the possibility the Charlie Whitehurst gets the start for Indianapolis this week. Let’s take a quick look at Whitehurst’s stat line from last week. That would 2-for-8 for 8 yards and an interception.

We like this matchup regardless of the Indianapolis starting quarterback.

MIAMI at San Diego ($2,800): This selection isn’t based as much on how well the Miami defense is playing as it is on how bad San Diego has been struggling lately. In three of the past four games San Diego has managed to score only a field goal. In those four games, San Diego has also allowed 14 sacks and turned the ball over six times. Defenses have also scored a pair of touchdowns in that time as well. While Miami has struggled to get to the quarterback (only four sacks in the past three games), the team has forced three turnovers and scored a touchdown in the last three weeks. We chase the wreck that is the San Diego offense this week.

PITTSBURGH vs. Denver ($2,700): This is a case of two units heading in opposite directions. Over the past three weeks Pittsburgh is Top 5 fantasy defense, having racked up 10 sacks along with six turnovers and two touchdowns. For the season Pittsburgh has  now amassed 38 sacks with 24 turnovers and three scores. This unit is hitting its stride at just the right time. On the other hand the wheels seem to be coming off the Denver offense lately. Brock Osweiler may not be the savior after all. Denver failed to score a touchdown last week against Oakland, and Osweiler was sacked five times. He has thrown only two touchdowns in the past three weeks while tossing a pair of interceptions. With the running game faltering again Denver will be forced to air it out more and that will lead to big plays for the surging Pittsburgh defense.

Ding! Ding! There is the final bell for our Week 15 edition of the DraftKings Sleeper Defenses. Just as Rocky was pummeling Apollo Creed at the end of their first fight we are going to hit these picks on the nose.

After all it is the season of miracles … wait … that’s from “Die Hard.” We’ll use that flick in another article.

As always … good luck … and have fun!

About Wally Spurlin

Wally Spurlin is a Fantasy Football Staff Writer at Fantasy Sharks and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writer Association (FSWA). Spurlin’s work has appeared in print publications, including the FSWA award winning 2014 USA Today Fantasy Football magazine as well as the 2015 edition. Wally is also a weekly co-host on the Fantasy Football Feeding Frenzy pod cast on Fantasy Sharks Radio at Blog Talk Radio.Follow him on Twitter @WaltonSpurlin