3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 12

We are officially 70% into the NFL regular season. And, yes, defense matters!

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. The hope is to find you cheaper plays to fill out your cash lineup or under-owned home run swings for tournament rosters.

With eleven 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.

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 12.

Cleveland Browns

Price: $4,500
numberFire Projection: 10.5 FanDuel Points

Week 12 is an interesting week at the top of the price menu. Incredibly, there are six defenses priced at $4,700 or above. Two of them aren't even home favorites, and there are question marks for most of their matchups.

None of those options are 11.0-point home favorites like the Cleveland D/ST is this week against the Miami Dolphins. And at $4,500 at home, Cleveland checks all the boxes we're looking for while simultaneously offering a bit of savings from the top tier options. Not only do the Browns have the highest raw projection, according to numberFire's projections, but given the affordable price, they are also the second-best point-per-dollar value on the slate.

Throughout the season, we've found success leveraging advantages in the trenches; this matchup is no exception. Miami's offensive line ranks third-worst in Football Outsiders Adjusted Sack Rate, while the Browns' defense sits fifth-best on the defensive side of the same metric. Even sans Myles Garrett (suspension), there is plenty of talent along this defensive front to cause disruption, as displayed by the four-sack, four-turnover performance last Thursday, none of which came from Garrett.

Cleveland is cash- and GPP-viable in this plum matchup as double-digit home favorites.

New England Patriots

Price: $4,600
numberFire Projection: 6.1 FanDuel Points

To be honest, numberFire's projections don't love the New England D/ST this week. But this is the first time the unit has been priced below $4,900 since the Mesozoic Era, so we have to factor that in. And with seldom few good defensive plays this week, getting the league's best defense below cost is appetizing.

This is somewhat of an immovable-object-meets-unstoppable-force situation: the Dallas Cowboys rank first in fantasy points allowed to defenses while the Patriots rank first among defenses in points scored. It's notable, however, that the Pats average five more points per game than the second-best scoring defense (San Francisco D/ST). While Dallas ranks first in adjusted sack rate, New England ranks top-six in adjusted sack rate, blitz rate and pressure rate, according to Football Outsiders and Pro-Football-Reference.

Ultimately, this is nothing close to a cash play. But getting the head-and-shoulders number-one scorer at the position at the seventh-highest price is worth a potentially low-owned GPP gamble. It helps, of course, that New England is still 6.5-point home favorites.

Philadelphia Eagles

Price: $3,200
numberFire Projection: 7 FanDuel Points

Typically, when we're looking for a punt at or near the stone minimum that has a reasonable path to upside, it takes some beer goggles to get there. But thankfully in Week 12, the Philadelphia D/ST is all the way down at $3,200. That's partially why they check in as the third strongest point-per-dollar value, according to our projections .

It's a small spread, but it's rare that a home favorite (-1.5) is this cheap. Despite a 5-5 record, Philly is legitimately a few dropped passes from sitting at 7-3 right now. More importantly, they are a home favorite defense in a projected shootout (total of 47.5 per FanDuel Sportsbook) with paths to success. As we know, a shootout implies more drop backs, which is what leads to more opportunities for sacks, interceptions, fumbles and touchdowns.

On the surface, Philly's pass rush has disappointed this year. Yet there is plenty of room for optimism. Despite ranking 17th in sacks, the Eagles are 13th in pressure rate and second in quarterback knockdown rate, both per Pro-Football-Reference. Seattle's offensive line, meanwhile, ranks just 20th in Adjusted Sack Rate, according to Football Outsiders.

At this price, there aren't many options more enticing than the Philadelphia D/ST this week. And for you season-long players out there, Philadelphia will get the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Washington Redskins over the following three weeks.

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.