3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 5
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.
Last week was a good week for defenses in this article, as both the Buffalo D/ST and the New York Jets D/ST came in with strong performances for their salaries. Let’s see if we can identify three that will provide good value this week.
New England Patriots
FanDuel Salary: $5,000
This play fits the bill for two different angles that we’ve used to roster a defense this season.
We’ve used the New England D/ST in Week 2 against the New York Jets, and it was the success we thought it would be. They recorded four sacks, got four interceptions and allowed only six points. That week, the reason to play them was matchup driven, and that’s the case again this week.
The New England Patriots face off against the lowly Houston Texans in Week 5. This is the other angle that we’ve used before -- defenses against the Texans. It certainly paid off for us last week, as the Buffalo D scored a massive 23 points against Houston.
Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills has really struggled in his first few starts. He threw four interceptions in the game against Buffalo last week and is sporting a league-high 7.5% interception rate. He also took three sacks, bringing his sack rate to 10.7%, the second-highest in the NFL.
The Patriots have an adjusted sack rate of 7.2%, above the league average of 6.7%. They should be able to get pressure on Mills, which can lead to sacks and turnovers. Houston has an implied team total of a measly 15.5 points, by far the lowest of the week.
It can be uncomfortable to use a large chunk of your salary on defense, but a main-slate D/ST with a $5,000 salary has scored at least 19 FanDuel points each of the last three weeks. If you have the salary, the Patriots are easily the top play on the slate.
FanDuel Salary: $3,900
The Minnesota Vikings have started the season as hard-luck losers in some of their games and are just 1-3.
The defense has actually performed well and has maybe suffered from a bit of bad luck. According to numberFire's metrics, the Minnesota D/ST ranks sixth in schedule-adjusted defense. They've also been able to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks, with their 9.4% adjusted sack rate ranking as the fifth-best in the NFL.
This week, they'll take on the Detroit Lions, who are 0-4. Things are looking like they are going to get worse before they get better for the Lions, with a number of injuries on the offensive line. They will be without Taylor Decker and Frank Ragnow and also are expected to be without first-round pick Penei Sewell. This doesn't bode well for an offensive line that was only slightly better than league average in terms of adjusted sack rate.
Minnesota is a 9.5-point favorite at home in this game. This sets up for Detroit to have to throw a lot. We know that Jared Goff can be turnover-prone and is also one of the most pressure-sensitive quarterbacks in the league, so the offensive line injuries are even more concerning for him. Detroit also doesn't have the playmakers at the wide receiver position to truly hurt Minnesota's secondary.
The Vikings are one of the best values at defense this week. Getting a large home favorite for just $3,900 works in all formats.
FanDuel Salary: $3,500
We don't have a standout minimum-salary defense to play like we did with the Jets last week, so we'll have to settle for the Philadelphia D/ST at $3,500.
The Philadelphia Eagles' defense has certainly not been great from a real-life perspective, especially over the past two weeks. But they faced two elite offenses in the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, and Philly has a better matchup this time around. There are also some underlying numbers that point to the Eagles being a good play this week.
The Eagles face the impressive Carolina Panthers. While the Panthers have been playing well this season, they still have the same reasons for concern they had going into the season. Sam Darnold has improved by leaps and bounds this season, but he still has flashes of the Jets' Sam Darnold. He still is behind a suspect offensive line and has taken a sack on 7.0% of his drop backs. He also has fumbled four times and thrown three interceptions, so the guy who made a lot of mistakes with the Jets is still in there somewhere.
Philadelphia has shown an ability to get after the quarterback this campaign, notching eight sacks on the season. The Eagles are projecting well, ranking third in point-per-dollar value, per our projections. If you need to go low at defense, $3,500 for the Eagles is one of the better options.
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.