3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 7
Don't cry because we're six weeks into the NFL season. Smile because it's still happening. Or just play a ton of DFS lineups this week.
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. The idea will be to highlight lesser-known plays. It's not worth anyone's time to tell you the New England D/ST are a good play every week. The hope is to find you cheaper plays to fill out your cash lineup or under-owned home run swings for tournament rosters.
With six weeks of data under our belt, this article will utilize numberFire's Net Expected Points (NEP) data to mine for good matchups, while still leaning on the Vegas lines and numberFire projections to help inform our decisions.
Last week was #good. Washington D/ST delivered 10 points as a solid cash play, the Minnesota D/ST was clearly underpriced, and the San Francisco D/ST was an ideal play at $3,500 and low-ish ownership. We'll aim for more great plays in Week 7.
It might not be the most important part of your lineup, but there is still a ton of strategy involved when choosing your defense in DFS. 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 7.
numberFire Projection: 7.8 FanDuel Points
As the season has progressed, it feels like FanDuel has tightened up its defensive pricing. All of the standout plays are listed basically in order at the top of the menu this week. That means we'll need to get a little more creative in Week 7 and be a little less comfortable in cash lineups.
Enter the Tennessee D/ST, priced at a very reasonable $4,200. Despite lacking name-brand recognition, this unit is tied as the sixth-best fantasy defense on the season. The Net Expected Points (NEP) data paints an even rosier picture, in which the Tennessee Titans defense ranks third-best overall, per our models. Priced as the ninth-highest defense on the main slate despite a heavy bye week, there is already value from the jump.
Especially when the Los Angeles Chargers and their 21st-best offense (by NEP) come to town. While Tennessee's defense ranks 8th-best in Adjusted Sack Rate, per Football Outsiders, the Chargers' offensive line ranks middle of the pack by the same metric and recently lost pro bowl center Mike Pouncey to IR with a neck injury.
Tennessee is a 2.0-point home favorite, the Chargers have the fourth-lowest implied total of the week, and notably, this game projects as a slow-paced slog. The Titans deserve cash-game consideration at a discount, and even more so if defensive end Cameron Wake is able to return from his hamstring injury.
numberFire Projection: 6.4 FanDuel Points
Each week for the past few, I've gone off the beaten path to identify a defense that our projections don't love despite several favorable indicators beneath the surface. For one, this is a bet on the overall talent of the Minnesota D/ST, which stands out as a clear discount on skill and coaching alone. Minnesota is the fifth-best defense by our schedule-adjusted numbers yet is priced below $4,000.
Though they're on the road, the Minnesota Vikings are actually one-point favorites, and the matchup isn't scary: The Detroit Lions' offense grades as the sixth-worst in the league by our numbers. Minnesota ranks third against the run, which should come in handy against a Detroit offense that runs the ball at the league's sixth-highest rate, per Sharp Football Stats.
While Detroit has an out in its successful deep passing game, the Vikings have allowed the ninth-fewest completions of 20 yards or more despite having faced Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers and Carson Wentz to date. Given the talent, matchup and price, Minnesota's defense has a strong enough floor/upside combination for both cash and GPP consideration.
numberFire Projection: 7.8 FanDuel Points
The Indianapolis D/ST sneakily has the highest points-per-dollar value this week, according to numberFire's projections. The Indianapolis Colts are just one-point home favorites, but like the Vikings above, they have some below-the-surface indicators working in their favor.
For one, Indy doesn't project for high ownership. Deshaun Watson is riding high off two big wins, one of which occurred against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead. Not only is winning consecutive road games tough to do in the NFL, but this offense's hot streak should push ownership off the Colts.
Don't forget that last time out, this same Colts D held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to just 10 points on the road. Now at home, Indianapolis has its best pass rusher Jabaal Sheard back and should get difference-making linebacker Darius Leonard back this week. The reigning AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year should inject a jolt into all levels of this defense.
Most importantly, the recent defenses the Texans have played haven't been able to create pressure. Prior to those two sack-less games, Watson had been sacked 4.5 times per game.
Houston's offensive line ranks eighth-worst in Adjusted Sack Rate, per Football Outsiders, and the unit just lost exciting rookie right tackle Tytus Howard to an MCL tear. Meanwhile, the Colts defense ranks 13th in Adjusted Sack Rate despite missing Sheard and Leonard for several games apiece. Lock them into your cash lineups this week.
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.