3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 7
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.
Week 7 sees some huge mismatches across the board, and that includes defenses. Let’s see which ones stand out at each salary range.
FanDuel Salary: $5,000
The Arizona D/ST hasn’t gotten much of the credit or the spotlight for the team’s 6-0 start, but perhaps they should. They’ve been performing to a level that not many thought they would be capable of to start the season. That should continue in Week 7, as they get one of the best matchups you can get.
There are a lot of ways in which this defense stands out. According to numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics, they rank as the second-best defense in the league. They are third in the league with 13 takeaways. They also are able to pressure the quarterback, with their 8.2% adjusted sack rate ranking as the fifth-best in the league. They should have a chance to increase both of those numbers in their game on Sunday.
The Arizona Cardinals will face the Houston Texans, and the matchup couldn't be much better. The Cardinals are 17.5-point favorites, and the Texans have an implied team total of a measly 15.00 points. Since Davis Mills has taken over as the starting quarterback for Houston, it's not gone well. He has the second-highest interception rate and the sixth-highest sack rate among quarterbacks this year.
This is one of the biggest mismatches between a defense and an offense we have seen this season, so the Cardinals are worth the maximum salary at defense if you have the coin available to you when building a lineup.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FanDuel Salary: $4,400
The Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers have talent across the board, including on defense. They have had injuries in their secondary, but most of their opponents haven't been able to exploit them. It's unlikely that their opponents this week will change that.
The Tampa Bay D/ST has been fairly consistent throughout the season. They've had at least one sack in every game and a takeaway in five of six games. Tampa Bay has been so good against the run going back to last year that it forces the other team into a ton of passing attempts. The pass-to-run ratio for teams facing the Tampa defense is the highest in the league. We know that we want our defenses to face a lot of quarterback drop backs, especially with a quarterback who could make mistakes behind a weak offensive line.
It's been a tough start for Justin Fields as an NFL quarterback. He's been sacked on 15.4% of his drop backs. It's not all on Fields, as the weapons, offensive line and coaching staff could all stand to improve, but it's tough to see that happening this week in this matchup.
With Tampa Bay being 12.5-point home favorites, we should see Fields drop back often in this game. The rookie could be in for a long day if his offensive line performs like it has for most of the season. Tampa Bay's defense is a great play if you want to save a bit off the Cardinals, and they come in as the best point-per-dollar value in our projections.
New York Giants
FanDuel Salary: $3,600
The New York Giants D/ST was supposed to be a strength of the team headed into the season. It was the main reason why the team was in playoff contention in the last week of the 2020 campaign.
Well, seeing how they are 27th in schedule-adjusted defense and sitting at 1-5 this season, it's safe to say it hasn't gone according to plan. There have been some positive signs, however, and this game could be a get-right spot for them.
The New York Giants have been producing in some of the ways we want from a fantasy defense -- sacks and turnovers. They have multiple sacks in four of six games and have a takeaway in every game this year.
The Giants have been burned by two of the most efficient offenses in the league in the last two weeks, the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams. This week it gets easier as they host the Carolina Panthers, whose season has taken a turn for the worst. Sam Darnold has not kept up his play from the first couple weeks, with six interceptions in the last three games. Carolina's offensive line has allowed 18 sacks, tied for the fourth-most in the league.
The Giants could benefit from mistakes from Darnold and are in a much better position to score fantasy points than the other defenses salaried around them. If you want to save at the position without going to the bottom of the barrel, Big Blue is a great way to do that.
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.