3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 8
We're seven weeks into the NFL season, coming off a week full of injuries and a few trades. Welcome to Week 8.
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 seven 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.
Week 7 was a mixed bag of success. While fading the numberFire projections and riding Minnesota D/ST didn't work out, the Indianapolis D/ST proved to be the ideal cash play and the Tennessee D/ST came through as well. We'll aim for more great plays in Week 8.
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 8.
numberFire Projection: 8.4 FanDuel Points
As we'll get to below, there are plenty of good options at defense this week. The challenge will be parsing through the options to find the best combination of ownership, price, and upside (isn't it every week?). DFS players are sharper than ever, but there is still some name-brand bias that filters into decision-making processes.
That makes the Colts defense intriguing, given the unit lacks the recognition of similarly-priced options like the San Francisco D/ST, Tennessee D/ST, Seattle D/ST and more. That might mean Indy goes overlooked in a premium matchup against our generation's most elite quarterback.
Yes, Joe Flacco is coming to town, fresh off taking eight sacks from the previously anemic Kansas City Chiefs pass rush. Related, the Denver Broncos offensive line ranks fourth-worst in Adjusted Sack Rate, per Football Outsiders. The passing offense, as a whole, ranks third-worst by Net Expected Points and just traded away Emmanuel Sanders.
Meanwhile, Indy's defensive line is tied for ninth in Adjusted Sack Rate and is really starting to click with difference-makers Darius Leonard and Jabaal Sheard back in the fold. The Colts are six-point home favorites and Denver is implied for just 19 points. This is a sneaky smash spot for a team that should go overlooked.
New Orleans Saints
numberFire Projection: 8.6 FanDuel Points
The New Orleans D/ST is tied as the ninth-most expensive defense on the slate, yet checks in with the fourth-strongest numberFire projection on the slate. As 10.5-point home favorites against an up-tempo Arizona Cardinals offense, the New Orleans Saints should be a cash staple this week. While there's a chunk of good defenses in appetizing matchups, New Orleans is the cheapest of the bunch with arguably the highest upside.
One of the driving forces is the battle in the trenches, a clear theme of this article each week. Per Football Outsiders, the Arizona offensive line ranks fifth-worst in Adjusted Sack Rate. Meanwhile, New Orleans ranks tied for ninth by that same metric, and also ranks sixth in raw sacks.
This one is pretty simple. The Saints are huge home dogs with a significant pass rush mismatch. Fire the cannons.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
numberFire Projection: 8.4 FanDuel Points
With ownership likely clustered around the New England D/ST ($5,000 vs. Cleveland Browns), the Los Angeles Rams D/ST ($5,000 vs. Cincinnati Bengals) and the Jacksonville D/ST ($4,500 vs. New York Jets), there is plenty of opportunity for differentiation. Enter the Tampa Bay D/ST, elite against the run, below average against the pass, but full of upside this week.
Based on raw points per dollar value, Tampa Bay is the number one defense in our projections this week. Facing Ryan Tannehill is one reason. Another is the Tennessee Titans offensive line, which easily ranks dead-last in Adjusted Sack Rate, per Football Outsiders.
Tampa Bay is the epitome of a 'pass-funnel' defense; they rank 1st against the run but 21st against the pass according to Net Expected points data. This should come in handy against Tennessee's run-first offense, which ranks 7th in rushing rate according to Sharp Football Stats. If this defense is able to stifle the run like its done throughout the season, it should push Tennessee to pass more. More passing is the recipe for defensive fantasy success.
As 2.5-point road dogs, the Bucs are clearly a GPP option only. But that spread implies Tampa Bay would actually be favored at home, and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has had an extra week to prepare for this game. At likely low ownership and a bottom-barrel price, Tampa Bay has exciting GPP upside.
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.