3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 9

We are past the halfway mark of the NFL season. I know, I'm scared too.

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 is 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 eight 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 8 was a mixed bag of success. While the low-floor Tampa Bay D/ST didn't hit in GPPs, the Indianapolis D/ST proved to be a solid cash play and the New Orleans D/ST also performed for cash lineups. We'll aim for more great plays in Week 9.

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 9.

Carolina Panthers

Price: $4,000
numberFire Projection: 11.2 FanDuel Points

With the league-winning New England D/ST off the main slate, ownership figures to spread out more on defenses this week. While a few matchups stand out, one that might not scream "play me" on paper is the Carolina D/ST hosting Ryan Tannehill and the Tennessee Titans.

That's why it's notable that the Carolina defense tops all of the numberFire projections this week, with a projected 11.2 point total that is one of the higher projections we've seen all year. At just $4,000, Carolina is suddenly a very intriguing GPP and cash play.

Beneath the surface, it makes sense. Carolina ranks as the ninth-best defense, according to Net Expected Points, while Tennessee checks in as the fourth-worst offense. Now, obviously, a portion of that was with Marcus Mariota at the helm, but let's not pretend that Tannehill is suddenly a world-beater.

If you read this column each week, you know we've found success pinpointing favorable matchups in the trenches. That's the true reason for optimism here. According to Football Outsiders, Tennessee's offensive line ranks dead last in Adjusted Sack Rate, while Carolina's defense ranks second in the same metric. As 3.5-point home favorites, this is a major bounce-back spot for the Carolina defense, which should also go underowned after last week's performance in a tough spot.

Cleveland Browns

Price: $4,300
numberFire Projection: 9 FanDuel Points

There isn't a lot to overthink here. Other than playing on the road, the Cleveland D/ST is in a smash spot against former 2018 sixth-round pick Brandon Allen in his first career start. Allen's Pro Football Reference page literally contains no stats, as he's yet to take an NFL snap in a regular season game.

Cleveland should have no problem making Allen's life difficult. Myles Garrett and the Browns rank sixth-best in Football Outsiders' Adjusted Sack Rate, while Denver's offensive line inconveniently ranks fifth-worst. The Browns are 3.0-point favorites while this game has a paltry implied total of 39, second-lowest on the slate. This could be the defense that swings the slate.


Price: $3,000
numberFire Projection: 6.8 FanDuel Points

Every week, we're mining for a potential punt that can open up salary in cash lineups and provides enough of a floor for optimism. The Washington D/ST absolutely fits the bill this weekend -- no pun intended -- as they take on Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.

Though they're massive 9.5-point road 'dogs, as the lowest priced defense on the slate, it won't take too much to provide value in your lineup. Notably, Washington's raw points-per-dollar value is the second-best on the entire slate, per our models, after Carolina.

And it's not as if we should be scared of Allen. Buffalo's offensive line has the sixth worst Adjusted Sack Rate on the year, per Football Outsiders, while Washington's defense actually ranks a respectable 17th in defensive Adjusted Sack Rate.

Despite playing in plenty of positive game scripts, Allen has 10 turnovers in seven games this year. This game has the lowest total of the slate. If Washington can just create an adequate amount of pressure on Allen, which the numbers suggest they'll be able to do, then this is the money-saving cash play your lineup deserves.

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.