Have you ever watched a horse race? Unless you are hardcore fan of the “Sport of Kings” you don’t watch most of the race. You wait until the horses come around the final turn and then watch for your horse to pull ahead and hopefully cross the finish line ahead of the others. You look at your ticket and depending on what you bet, you head to the cashier and collect your winnings. Over the last couple years I have met some people on Twitter who love horse racing. You might even say they obsess over it. They dedicate hours looking at past performance sheets, watch race replays, and look for anything that might get them an advantage against the other players. I have been on Twitter long enough to know that the horse racing community is maybe the nicest group of people on the internet. Some people I have barely met have become good friends, while others I enjoy following for their insight and humor that stretches beyond the track.
Why am I talking about horse races? On Twitter, the community of horse handicappers has a universal tweet that comes out when someone hits big. It might be an exacta, a trifecta, a superfecta, a big win bet, or a pick 4 or pick 6 win. The tweet is simple, the tweet is beautiful.
If I see that word come up on my Twitter timeline I know something good happened to one of my horse betting buddies. Sometimes the person might have won $50, while other times, (no kidding), it might be a 50k hit on a pick 4 or pick 6 ticket. This terminology might not mean much to you, but I promise, it will all come full circle quickly.
I have been writing this article for a 6 weeks now, and I finally had my BOOOOOM moment over the weekend. Below you will find the three defenses I said were worth streaming this weekend. In horse racing, when you pick three horses and they come 1st, 2nd and 3rd, you have hit the trifecta. While my three defenses weren’t the three highest scoring defenses this weekend, they were up there. Going 3/3 for the first time is close enough to a trifecta for me, so I am going to call it a big win.
Last week’s results:
- Tennessee Titans: The Titans were my sleeper pick of the week and showed once again why facing the Jacksonville Jaguars is fantasy gold! The Titans were owned in 1.1% of leagues when last week’s article went live. On Sunday they held the Jags to 14 points, while recording a fumble recovery and an interception. They also sacked Bortles six times, giving them 12 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring. If you were lucky enough to grab the Titans last week, they have another great matchup ahead when they travel to Washington this weekend. I wouldn’t drop them yet.
- Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens were unreal this weekend. One minute into the 2nd quarter and they were up 35-0 against the Buccaneers, once again proving that Tampa Bay might want to bring in more CFL competition if they want to see any wins in 2014. The Bucs did score 17 points, mostly in garbage time, as Baltimore recorded an interception and 5 sacks en route to a 7 point showing. Not bad.
- Philadelphia Eagles: 14, 4, 1, 23, 18 and 17. No, these are not tonight’s lottery numbers. Instead, this is the number of fantasy points that the Eagles have scored from week to week in 2014. Currently ranked as the number 1 fantasy defense, the ownership of the Eagles D/ST is only 22.8%. Amazing, to be honest, especially after their primetime beating of the Giants on Sunday night. The Eagles are on bye this week, and face a much tougher schedule after the week off. That being said, it is hard to stay away from a defense that has 7 touchdowns in 6 games.
Week 7 Targets:
Cleveland Browns: I apologize if you are a Jaguars fan, I really do. Each week I feel like I am picking on you because I always recommend the defense that plays against your squad. It isn’t personal, I promise. Let’s look at the fantasy totals of the defenses that have played the Jaguars so far, shall we?
- Week 1: Eagles; 15 fantasy points
- Week 2: Washington; 18 fantasy points
- Week 3: Colts; 17 fantasy points
- Week 4: Chargers; 10 fantasy points
- Week 5: Steelers; 16 fantasy points
- Week 6: Titans; 12 fantasy points
This gives us a grand total of 88 fantasy points. That is eleven more points than the leading fantasy defense in ESPN standard scoring right now. The stats don’t need to get more complex than that. Find the defense that plays the Jaguars and start them. They allow sack after sack, and struggle to get anything going as an offense. This week the Browns are the lucky team that gets to face the Jaguars. Currently 4.8% owned on ESPN, the Browns have a prime schedule for the next three weeks. They start with Jacksonville but then get the Raiders and Buccaneers at home in back to back weeks. Picking up the Browns defense this week can keep your team set at the position for the next three weeks!
NOTE: In case you want to think ahead, the Dolphins face a tough Bears team this week but then get the Jaguars next!
Dallas Cowboys: Which Giants team are we going to see? Which Eli Manning shows up? Victor Cruz is one of my favorite players, but from the recent reports, it doesn’t look like 2014 is going to be one to remember for him. What will that do to the Giants offense? While no one can be quite sure, I do believe that the Cruz injury does help out any defense who is playing against them. This week that is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys came into the year ranked potentially as one of worst defenses in the league. Injuries mixed with lack of depth brought about many questions. The Cowboys have proven that they deserve much more credit, currently 5-1 with a nice schedule ahead of them. After the Giants come into town, Washington and Arizona follow. Dallas then heads to Jacksonville before their bye, giving the Cowboys four straight fantasy match ups that make my mouth water. Currently 4.6% owned, I would consider them a must add with a schedule that is juicer than the first watermelon of summer.
Before we go: Two defenses that should be picked up this week (for this week and for future weeks) are listed above, but what about those defenses that are 85%+ owned? The ones that you had to waste a draft pick on early in your draft. The defenses that you picked before DeAndre Hopkins or Brian Quick? Currently on ESPN there are 6 units that are 85% owned or higher. How do they rank amongst the 32 teams in fantasy points?
- Carolina Panthers are 85.7% owned and currently are the 7th highest scoring fantasy defense. Not bad at all!
- Arizona Cardinals are usually hyped up and their defense usually lets people down. Currently ranked 25th in fantasy scoring.
- Denver Broncos are currently 93.2% owned on ESPN and rank next to the Cardinals at 26th in fantasy points! Why are you starting them every week?
- Cincinnati Bengals are 95.9% owned and currently rank 18th in the league in fantasy points. The top three fantasy defenses combined aren’t even owned in that many leagues.
- San Francisco 49ers are 81.8% started and 98.2% owned right now in fantasy leagues. They currently rank number 15 and are a middle of the pack fantasy defense in 2014. 15th is also inflated because of their week one performance against the Cowboys. They have also scored single digit fantasy points three weeks this year as well.
- Seattle Seahawks are still 81.8% started and 100% owned. The “Legion of Boom” currently rank 29th out of 32 teams in fantasy scoring this year. While you assume they will pick it up eventually, it is hard to start a defense that might get you single digit fantasy points and the Seahawks have helped you accomplish that 3 times. If you own them you are just holding them and hoping for their BOOOOOOM moment soon. Pick up another unit until the Seahawks prove to you that they are willing to start again.
Good luck in week 7!
Photo cred: http://goo.gl/IQOBVh
Jared “Minnesota Nice” Hines is a fantasy football contributor at The Sports Script. Follow him on Twitter @Jared_Hines27!