3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 10
We are officially two weeks past the halfway mark of the NFL season. Just breathe.
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 nine 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.
Overall, Week 9 was productive. Our projections loved Carolina D/ST, which came through as the fifth-best defense on the slate. The Indianapolis D/ST checked in seventh-best, providing a nice floor in cash. And while the Washington D/ST didn't hit, we knew it was a risk/reward play that would open up pricing throughout the rest of our lineups. We'll aim for more great plays in Week 10.
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 10.
Kansas City Chiefs
numberFire Projection: 9.5 FanDuel Points
With New England D/ST again off the main slate (on bye) and many good plays on the board, it's tougher to nail down who will be the high-owned plays of the week. New Orleans D/ST ($5,000 vs. Atlanta Falcons), Baltimore D/ST ($5,000 at Cincinnati Bengals) and Indianapolis D/ST ($4,900 vs. Miami Dolphins) are the three best plays, but all will cost top dollar. As such, our plan should be to stay below the $4,000 range and embrace some variance.
In tournaments, the Kansas City D/ST checks a number of appealing boxes. Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes practiced in full on Wednesday, so we can assume he plays. Vegas would seem to agree, as the Kansas City Chiefs are 4.5-point road favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. While in cash, we should always target home favorites when possible, it's okay to embrace some risk on the road with a strong favorite.
Notably, Kansas City checks in as the best point-per-dollar value on the slate, according to numberFire's projections. We successfully played the Carolina D/ST last week due to Tennessee's weak offensive line, which ranks 31st in Adjusted Sack Rate, per Football Outsiders. With stud Chris Jones back healthy, the Chiefs' defensive line ranks eighth-best in Adjusted Sack Rate. If Mahomes and company are able to build a lead, there should be plenty of opportunities for sacks and turnovers for this underrated KC defense.
numberFire Projection: 8.5 FanDuel Points
Somehow again the laughing stock of the NFL and coming off a flop in a pristine matchup, the Cleveland D/ST will likely go low-owned this week. Let's fade recency bias and strike given that the combination of price and matchup is juicy.
For one, according to our projections, the Browns are second to only Kansas City in point-per-dollar value. And unlike Kansas City, the Browns are playing at home. While you might not think they should be favored, we're still following Vegas, and the Browns are 2.5-point favorites.
After all, the matchup is sneakily favorable. Cleveland impressively ranks fifth in Football Outsiders' Adjusted Sack Rate, spearheaded by Myles Garrett. The Buffalo Bills' offensive line, meanwhile, ranks sixth-last by the same metric despite playing a schedule that includes games against the New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Washington, all of which rank in the bottom-half in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate.
Josh Allen has been able to play game manager against a cake schedule, but if the game flows as Vegas is predicting (read: Cleveland gets a lead), he should be under loads of pressure. And that's how fantasy defenses score points. I'm willing to roll with the Browns in both cash and GPPs, even if it feels uncomfortable.
numberFire Projection: 6 FanDuel Points
This one is a bit of a conundrum. The Pittsburgh Steelers are at home, yet they're 3.5-point underdogs to the Los Angeles Rams. The Pittsburgh D/ST impressively ranks second in the league in Adjusted Sack Rate and Pressure Rate, but despite common conception, the Rams' O-Line ranks third-best in Adjusted Sack Rate.
Still, that Rams ranking doesn't meet the eye test. Establish The Run's line expert Brandon Thorn ranked the Rams' offensive line 22nd in his midseason update, and their third-best Adjusted Sack Rate is skewed by three games against bottom-five units in Pressure Rate (Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, and Cincinnati Bengals). There is an opportunity to get in front of this before the public does.
It's also worth noting that the Steelers are simply priced too cheap for an elite defense playing at home. Pittsburgh checks in as the third-best defense by our schedule-adjusted metrics (after only the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers), and they are not coincidentally also the third-best fantasy defense this season. In fact, the Steelers have scored 11 fantasy points or more in six straight games, something that no other defense can claim right now. Put simply: the Steelers are too cheap for their to-date production. Use them now before price adjusts accordingly.
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.