We are officially-ish one month into the 2015 NFL season as Week 4 kicked off Thursday night. Wow. It feels like the offseason (OK, non-playing season) drags on forever and then the regular season (and the fantasy season) flies by.
As you may have noticed by now this is not ‘Old Uncle Waldo’s’ usual “53 Deep” article that appears on the site every Friday. At least I’m hoping some folks have noticed.
This is the inaugural edition of a new article that my editor asked if I would be interested in taking a crack at involving daily fantasy football. In the vein of “Even an old dog can learn new tricks,” I jumped (well, at my age I don’t actually do a lot of jumping … it was more of a stumbling hop) at the opportunity.
So, welcome to the first “DraftKings Sleeper Defenses” article.
It is still undetermined if “53 Deep” is on hiatus or has gone to the great fantasy football articles archive in the sky, but either way I am indeed excited with this new endeavor.
What we will do each week is find five low-cost team defenses to play on DraftKings that have a chance to outperform their value. This will of course allow us to spend our budget on the flashier offensive skill positions.
So enough with lips flapping and let’s get to this week’s choices …
Oakland Raiders at Chicago Bears – Cost $2,600: The Chicago offense is a hot mess right now and has given up two sacks in each of the first three games. They have also turned the ball over three times and allowed opposing team defenses/special teams to score three touchdowns. The Raiders defense comes into this game sky high after racking up five sacks along with an interception and fumble recovery last week against Cleveland. It doesn’t matter if Alshon Jeffery plays or if Jay Cutler returns (unlikely), the Bears will give up fantasy points to the Oakland defense.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers – Cost $2,700: We are chasing the debacle that is Colin Kaepernick with this selection. He tossed a pair of pick-sixes last week and four interceptions overall. The Packers turned Clay Matthews loose as a pass rusher last week (he was credited with 35 pass rushes according to Pro Football Focus) and he responded with two sacks against Kansas City. The 49ers have given up eight sacks and have turned the ball over six times this season. There are going to a lot of big plays turned in by Green Bay this week and that equals fantasy goodness.
Cleveland Browns at San Diego Chargers – Cost $2,700: The Browns defense was nothing to write home about last week against Oakland but has a very juicy matchup this week. San Diego is really struggling to protect Philip Rivers and have allowed 10 sacks through three weeks. According to Pro Football Focus, defenses have also been credited with 13 quarterback hits and 37 hurries, which has resulted in sloppy play from Rivers. He has tossed a pair of pick-sixes and four interceptions overall. Cleveland has amassed seven sacks to-date and has also returned a punt for a touchdown, making this a very good week to buy low on this defense and start them.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – Cost $2,800: This is another matchup between an offense that struggles to move the ball consistently and a surging defense. The Colts returned an interception for a touchdown last week while racking up two total interceptions. They also sacked the quarterback four times in the comeback win over Tennessee. Jacksonville’s offense has given up seven sacks and turned the ball over four times while allowing one defense/special teams score. Look for the Colts to have a big game at home getting pressure on Blake Bortles and forcing the Jaguars offense into a couple of turnovers.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Kansas City Chiefs – Cost $2,800: After averaging less than a turnover per game last season, the Chiefs have already committed six turnovers in 2015. They have also allowed a fumble recovery for a touchdown and a league-high 14 sacks. Last week, Green Bay hung seven sacks on Alex Smith and you can bet the Bengals defense has taken note of that. So far Cincinnati has averaged only two sacks per game but they have come up with three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. On average, the Chiefs are allowing 15 quarterback hurries per game, forcing Smith into costly turnovers. Turnovers equal fantasy points and fantasy points equal moolah. We like that.
There we have it, folks. Our first shot at cracking the daily fantasy vaults from a defense/special teams perspective.
One last thing is that since this article is posted on Fridays we will not be able to suggest any of the Thursday night defenses for obvious reasons.
At least not until Uncle Rico gets that time machine working.
Good luck this week!