Friday - Apr 19, 2019

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DRAFTKINGS SLEEPER DEFENSES: Week 4

Don’t look now, folks, but some of our bargain basement defenses/special teams are paying off. We had two teams actually finish in double-digits last week and yours truly is back in the black on the season.

Yes. As I’ve stated regarding my “Start/Bench” article here at Fantasy Sharks (shameless plug) the teams/players I suggest I also put in my lineups. If I’m going to stay up until 2 a.m. most nights researching and watching games over and over again you can bet (see what I did there?) I am going to follow my own advice.

My butt is on the line with these defenses every week as I put my money where my mouth is. That being said, it’s not like I am looking at real estate in Hawaii just yet from my winnings but we are definitely trending in the right direction.

Let’s keep the momentum going with the Week 4 selections.

DALLAS at San Francisco ($2,900) : We are chasing a bad offense with this selection. The Dallas defense/special teams has not been a dominating unit by any stretch of the imagination, having put up only four sacks in the first three weeks. Dallas has forced four turnovers and that’s what we are banking on this week. The San Francisco offense has benefited from ‘garbage time’ points in the past two games and those may not be available this week. San Francisco has allowed only two sacks but turned the ball over five times and given up a defensive score. The clock is ticking on the Blaine Gabbert era as I believe head coach Chip Kelly is itching to roll out Colin Kaepernick (provided he can put on some weight and get healthy). I see Dallas snagging an interception or two (Gabbert is averaging one per game) in a close game where the team is actually playing defense for four quarters.

NEW YORK JETS vs. Seattle ($2,800): After sacking Andy Dalton seven times in Week 1, it appeared that the vaunted Jets defensive line was firing on all cylinders. That hasn’t been the case as they’ve managed just two sacks in the last two games. This defense/special teams was hung out to dry last week as the offense imploded turning the ball over eight times and will be playing angry. Seattle will likely try and establish the run with quarterback Russell Wilson dealing with a sprained MCL (he’s practicing in full and on track to start). The Jets are stout against the run, allowing an average of only 83.4 yards per game this season (second-best in the league; Seattle is first at 81.5). Stuffing the run will force Russell Wilson to throw the ball more and that’s where New York can have success. Wilson is hobbled and will lack his usual elusiveness to prolong plays allowing Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams and Sheldon Richardson to get after the quarterback. In the first three games, Seattle has allowed seven sacks and turned the ball over six times. There are big plays to be made for the Jets defense/special teams and I see this unit having a big day at home.

SAN DIEGO vs. New Orleans ($2,300): San Diego is quietly a Top 10 fantasy defense/special teams through the first three weeks. They boast one of the better secondary’s led by cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward who have combined for four interceptions. San Diego has put up seven sacks and has produced the highest pressure rate on quarterbacks to date. When you get Drew Brees outdoors and playing on grass you get a different Drew Brees. Since 2013 when playing on grass, Brees has a 23-to-13 touchdown-to-interception ratio as opposed to a 81-to-27 ratio when playing on turf (New Orleans hasn’t played on grass yet in 2016). This game certainly looks to be a shootout on paper but so did the Week 2 game between New Orleans and the New York Giants and we know how that turned out. Throw in the fact that New Orleans wide receiver Willie Snead is dealing with a toe injury and may be limited and we can see the San Diego defense/special teams making some noise at home this week.

OAKLAND at Baltimore ($2,700): After allowing more than 1,000 yards and 69 points to New Orleans and Atlanta in the first two games, Oakland made some personnel changes that seemed to pay off. The team inserted rookie safety Karl Joseph in place of veteran Nate Allen and replaced linebacker Ben Heeney with rookie Cory James. Oakland held Tennessee to 10 points while putting up a sack and forcing three turnovers. Things seem to be trending upwards for Oakland as it heads to Baltimore this week. Baltimore is the ugliest 3-0 team I can remember taking advantage of a weak early season schedule. Baltimore has beaten Buffalo, Cleveland and Jacksonville … thank you NFL schedule makers. The Baltimore offense is only 23rd in total yardage and has given up some big plays in the first three weeks. Baltimore has allowed an average of two sacks per game and turned the ball over six times. Oakland defensive end Khalil Mack is overdue for a big game (he has yet to register a sack) and I see him getting after the less-than-mobile Joe Flacco all day long. I like Oakland to steal a win on the road and produce quite a few turnovers in Week 4.

LOS ANGELES at Arizona ($2,700): If someone had told me before the season that heading into this matchup Los Angeles would be 2-1 and Arizona 1-2 I’m pretty sure I would have laughed pretty hard. Needless to say I nor Arizona fans are laughing at this point. After playing two turnover-free games at home the Arizona offense was a hot mess last week at Buffalo, turning the ball over five times and allowing a defense/special teams score. Arizona also allowed quarterback Carson Palmer to be sacked five times and has given up nine on the season. The Los Angeles defense hasn’t been playing dominant football especially considering that it has Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn anchoring the defensive front. Through three games, Los Angeles has amassed only four sacks and forced four turnovers while scoring one defense/special teams touchdown. So why would I be high on the Los Angeles defense at Arizona? Well, in the last two games between these teams out in the dessert Los Angeles has racked up seven sacks as well as four turnovers. This is the week that Donald and Quinn put up the sack numbers we have been waiting for.

There we have it, folks. Grab these bargains and stock up on some skill position players to bring home the bacon!

As always … 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