3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 1
Birds are chirping, the smell of pumpkin spice lattes is in the air, and dad is prepping the man cave. Yes, NFL football is back. It's really back.
Of course, with the NFL season comes DFS season. Throughout the year, I'll attempt to pinpoint three fantasy defenses at various price points that deserve consideration on FanDuel, with specific options for both cash and GPP lineups.
Given the lack of data we have on the season, this week's article will lean heavier on the Vegas lines until we have Net Expected Points data to help inform our decisions down the line.
I'll spare you the lengthy intro. It might not be the most important part of your lineup, but there is still a ton of strategy involved when choosing your fantasy defense. And it can be the difference between losing and winning big.
With that in mind, let's take a look at three fantasy defenses that provide great value in Week 1.
numberFire Projection: 8.2 FanDuel Points
It's not exactly fun to eat the chalk, but it's got to be done nonetheless. It's worth noting there are actually several chalky options at the top of the defense price list, such as the Baltimore D/ST, Philadelphia D/ST and Dallas D/ST, all of which are great options.
For that reason, however, I think the Seattle D/ST may go slightly under-owned despite an ideal situation and the cheapest FanDuel price of the bunch. That makes them a solid option in cash game lineups, offering a nice stacking option with Chris Carson ($6,600).
While it's probably true that the Seahawks' defense is living off the name brand recognition and glory days of the Legion of Boom, scoring fantasy points is much more about game script than defensive talent. Seattle checks in as 10-point home favorites, and their opponent, the Cincinnati Bengals, have the second-lowest implied team total on the slate. This is the exact recipe for targeting a profitable fantasy defense.
Missing A.J. Green is a killer for this Bengals offense. In the eight games Green played in 2018, the Bengals averaged an impressive 27.6 points per game. Believe it or not, that would've been the fourth-best mark in the league for the full season. Yet, in the eight other games sans Green, Cincinnati mustered just 18.4 points per game.
Los Angeles Chargers
numberFire Projection: 9.2 FanDuel Points
Los Angeles checks both boxes as 6.5-point home favorite, and they're playing against a quarterback who hasn't made a regular season start in over a year. Due to a likely negative game script and Jacoby Brissett's indecisiveness, there should be sacks galore for the Chargers.
It's also possible the Derwin James injury pushes some DFS players off this defense, but that would be an oversight. Again, game script matters as much, if not more, than talent, but with Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, Casey Hayward and more, the Chargers are still plenty talented throughout all levels of their defense. Take advantage while this unit's price is too low.
numberFire Projection: 7.4 FanDuel Points
In today's era of information, it's tough to identify a defense as a "sneaky" play. It's still possible, however, that the Cleveland D/ST flies under the radar in this juicy matchup.
To start, the Browns again match the trend that you've surely noticed by now -- they're at home and favored by 5.0 points. Good start.
While the Tennessee Titans took some measures to improve their offensive weaponry over the summer, let's not pretend we're scared of Adam Humphries. Tennessee averaged the sixth-fewest points per game last year and this is OC Arthur Smith's first game as coordinator.
Most importantly, Tennessee will be missing suspended left tackle Taylor Lewan, while Cleveland boasts one of the strongest front fours in the entire league, boosted by the addition of pass rusher Olivier Vernon. Per Establish The Run's Evan Silva, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota averages 3.1 sacks per game over his last 24 games played.
If the exciting new Browns offense is able to get an early lead, expect a heavy dose of fantasy points courtesy of the Dawg Pound.
Eli Weiner is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Eli Weiner also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Eweiner2. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.