3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 2
Selecting a defense is never the most glamorous part of fantasy football. It often goes overlooked for the more fun positions that people want to watch and root for during the game. The good news is that if our opponents aren’t putting too much thought into their defense, we can gain an advantage with some research. So let’s dig in and try to identify some defenses that could be in a good position to score fantasy points this week.
Headed into Week 2, we now have some information on how defenses will play this season and what offenses we should be using defenses against. Let’s take a look at three defenses to put into our FanDuel lineups this week.
New England Patriots
FanDuel Salary: $5,000
Perhaps no unit suffered more in 2020 from opt-outs than the New England D/ST. With key players returning this season and some free agents being added, the defense looks like it could be elite again. In Week 2, they have the perfect opportunity to prove that’s the case.
The New England Patriots will face the New York Jets on Sunday. In Week 1, the Jets revealed themselves to be similar to the Gang Green offense we picked on with defenses last season despite the new coaching staff and a new quarterback. Zach Wilson was sacked six times and pressured 14 times, according to Next Gen Stats. New York also lost their best offensive lineman, left tackle Mekhi Becton, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury.
New England is a 5.5-point favorite in this game despite being on the road. The Jets have the second-lowest implied total on this week's main slate. The Patriots' defense is also numberFire's highest-projected D/ST of the week, so they are checking a lot of boxes of the things we look for when rostering a defense.
There's also the narrative of Bill Belichick against a rookie quarterback -- which you can choose to believe or not. It certainly did not go well for Justin Herbert when he played the Patriots last season. Either way, the Patriots are an elite option this week if you have the salary to fit them in your lineups.
FanDuel Salary:$ 4,200
Going down to the middle tier, the Cleveland D/ST stands out. They did their best to hold versus the Kansas City Chiefs last week, but the Chiefs' explosive offense eventually won out. This week, Myles Garrett, Jadeveon Clowney and a revamped secondary get to face an offense that many were projecting to be the worst in the league.
The Cleveland Browns come home to play the Houston Texans in Week 2. Houston surprised many with a convincing win in Week 1, but it's hard to ignore their faults on offense. They are obviously without Deshaun Watson and Will Fuller, their two best offensive players from last season. Their O-Line had the league's worst adjusted sack rate, and they haven't done much to improve that heading into this year.
The Browns are the biggest favorite on the main slate this week, currently favored by -12.5 points. The Texans have the lowest implied team total of the week, sitting at a measly 17 points. The Browns should be able to control the game and force Tyrod Taylor into a lot of pass attempts.
Perhaps the best thing about the Cleveland defense is their salary. They rank as the best point-per-dollar value at defense, per our model and they have the third-best projection overall. They have as much upside as any defense on the slate, making them a fine play in all formats, and they'll likely be pretty chalky.
FanDuel Salary: $3,600
If you want to go below $4,000 for your defense, the Cincinnati D/ST might be the best option. They aren't thought of as having a strong D, but their Week 1 performance was better than expected. They had three sacks, forced a fumble, and were the best defense in the league against the run, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. All of these things will be useful in their Week 2 game.
The Cincinnati Bengals do battle with the Chicago Bears in Week 2 in a matchup that has some similarities to their Week 1 game. The Bears have a weak offensive line with an immobile quarterback, similar to the Minnesota Vikings. If Cincinnati can slow down David Montgomery like they did Dalvin Cook, they could force Andy Dalton to drop back a ton, which could be fruitful for the Cincy defense. Dalton took three sacks, had one interception and one fumble lost in his Week 1 outing -- although that was a brutal road date with the Los Angeles Rams.
It's never ideal to have your defense as a road underdog, but the Bengals are projecting fairly well. They are fourth in point-per-dollar value in our projections. Sometimes, you can roster defenses solely based on targeting the opposing quarterback, and late-career Dalton is certainly a guy we can target.
Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. 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.