Friday - Feb 15, 2019

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DRAFTKINGS SLEEPER DEFENSES: Week 5

It seems amazing to me that Week 5 of the NFL season is already upon us. The months spent waiting for the return of football drag on like a Robert Altman movie (look him up and you’ll quickly agree) the season itself seems to fly by.

For the second week in a row, we hit double-digit scoring from one of our bargain defense/special teams. We’ll take that. It was a slight step back from Week 4 when we had a pair of defense/special teams hit that mark but at least we avoided a negative scoring unit (I’m looking at you Week 3, Pittsburgh).

After having only two teams on a bye last week there are four teams taking a siesta this week further depleting (we already can’t use the Thursday Night participants) our list of prospective dollar store values.

Never fear as the crack staff working with me on the ‘DraftKings Sleeper Defenses’ (that would be my 13-year-old step-daughter and my cat) scoured the matchups and found the following “Red Light Special” bargains for this week.

CHICAGO at Indianapolis ($2,200). For some inexplicable reason Indianapolis asked the NFL to not give it the obligatory bye week after playing a game in London last week. A game in which Indianapolis didn’t look particularly good, allowing six sacks and an interception to Jacksonville by the way. If ever a team looked to need a week off it’s Indianapolis. In the first four games, Indianapolis has allowed 15 sacks while turning the ball over five times and the offensive line is a mess. The Chicago defense has been on a bit of an upswing holding the Detroit passing game to 197 net yards with a pair of interceptions and two sacks last week. If Indianapolis is going to move the ball it’s likely going to be with running back Frank Gore but he sat out practice Wednesday (he did return to practice Thursday) with a chest injury. At 33 years old, Gore seems like a man who could have used a week off to me.

MIAMI vs. Tennessee ($2,900). We are going to chase the mistake-prone Tennessee offense this week. More to the point we are going to chase struggling Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota. In the last two weeks he has not scored a touchdown and has turned the ball over four times. On the season, Mariota has produced only four scores while turning the ball over seven times. Tennessee will have to ride resurgent running back DeMarco Murray this week and Miami knows this. Miami will sell out to stop Murray and are coming off a game in which it limited Cincinnati running backs to 77 yards on 37 carries keeping them out of the end zone. Miami has racked up 10 sacks on the season and will look to force Mariota to pass this week. That is likely to mean plenty of big-play opportunities and fantasy points for this defense/special teams unit.

INDIANAPOLIS vs. Chicago ($2,600). Yes, I am still scratching my head as to why Indianapolis’ front office personnel could possibly think passing on a bye week following a trip to London would be a wise move, but those guys get the big bucks. So folks may be wondering why I would possibly suggest streaming this defense/special teamS in Week 5. As stated earlier, we like to chase mistake-prone quarterbacks and it appears that Brian Hoyer will be under center once again for Chicago. I understand that he has been solid this season having thrown 97 passes without an interception since taking over the for the injured Jay Cutler (he has lost a fumble). The bottom line is that Hoyer will make mistakes sooner rather than later as only one time since 2012 has he gone three consecutive games without an interception. Not counting the turnover-filled debacle Hoyer had in the playoffs last season (Houston fans still count them, I’d bet), Hoyer has turned the ball over 24 times in his last 28 regular season games. I see Hoyer reverting to form against an Indianapolis secondary that is likely to get Darius Butler back this week.

TENNESSEE at Miami ($2,400). It should be apparent by now that I like two particular games this week to give us the most value for our buck. I like the Tennessee defense/special teams in this game for the same reason I like Miami. The quarterbacks in this game have combined for 11 total touchdowns and a whopping 14 turnovers. Ryan Tannehill is struggling out of the gate and seems to be regressing in pocket presence as he looks completely confused at times and chooses short dump-offs. Miami does not have a running game and its running back by committee only managed 62 yards on 13 carries last week. That means Miami will look to rely on Tannehill and that’s a risky proposition. Tennessee has allowed four touchdown passes but also racked up four interceptions. Tennessee will also benefit from a Miami offensive line that has allowed 11 sacks through four weeks. This should be a mistake-laden game where both defense/special teams have the chance to produce nice fantasy totals. The weather could also be a huge factor as Hurricane Matthew could bring some nasty rain and wind to the Miami area on Sunday.

PHILADELPHIA at Detroit ($2,900). This is by far my favorite matchup of the week and I am so giddy that the Philadelphia defense/special teams came in less than the $3,000 plateau. Philadelphia is coming off its bye week and get to face a struggling (I am being kind) Detroit team that failed to score an offensive touchdown last week against Chicago. Chicago sacked Matthew Stafford twice and intercepted a pair of passes. Wide receiver Golden Tate was benched for the second half and has zero rapport with Stafford right now. Recent reports out of Detroit are indicating that tight end Eric Ebron is likely to miss this game with ankle and knee issues. The last time we saw the Philadelphia defense on the field it was manhandling Pittsburgh, holding it to only three points. Philadelphia sacked Ben Roethlisberger four times and added an interception for good measure. New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has this unit firing on all cylinders and will be looking for some payback against the team that showed him the door. Detroit has no running game, leaving Stafford at the mercy of Schwartz’s ‘Wide-9’ defensive scheme. Look for Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham and Connor Barwin to have their way with a Detroit offensive line that has allowed an average of three sacks per game from Weeks 2-4. This is going to be a beat down, folks. Ride the Philadelphia defense that has rolled up 10 sacks and six turnovers through three games.

There you have it folks. The defense/special teams choices that you can spend chump change on while stocking up on all the Philadelphia receiving options that you can get. They are going to roll over a Detroit team that is circling the drain.

Good luck …  and, 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