3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 8
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.
We've seen some offenses that are really struggling through seven weeks of the season, so let's see what defenses we can roster to exploit those offenses.
FanDuel Salary: $4,700
The Buffalo Bills ascended towards the top of the league last season, making the AFC championship game. They did this mostly through the strength of their offense, even though their defense took a step back compared to 2019. However, in 2021 the defense is playing better than it ever has.
The Buffalo D/ST is currently first in overall defense and in pass defense, according to numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. Their adjusted sack rate is 7.2%, above the league average of 6.4%. Best of all for a fantasy defense, they are tied for the league in takeaways with 16, but have played one less game than their co-leaders, the Indianapolis Colts.
Buffalo plays host to the Miami Dolphins at home in their second meeting of the season. In the first game, the Bills recorded six sacks, an interception, and two fumble recoveries. Tua Tagovailoa got injured in that game, and since returning has thrown three interceptions in two games.
Miami leads the league in pass/run ratio, which is great for the Bills' defense. They can get a lot of pressure on Tua, which could force him to make mistakes. With Buffalo being 13.5-point home favorites and Miami having only a 17.5-point implied team total, the spot doesn't get much better for a defense.
FanDuel Salary: $4,000
The Cleveland Browns are one of the NFL's most injured teams on offense. Last week, they played without their starting quarterback, both of their running backs that they like to utilize, and a banged-up wide receiver group. They were able to get the win through a solid defensive performance, and could do the same in Week 8.
The Cleveland D/ST has performed reasonably well throughout the season. They have multiple sacks in all but one game this season and are third overall with 20 sacks this season. So far, they've only recorded five takeaways, but if they keep getting pressure on the quarterback like they have been, they should force some turnovers.
Cleveland plays the Pittsburgh Steelers this week, in a game that has just a 42.5 total. The Browns' pass rush will try to get after Ben Roethlisberger, who hasn't exactly been lighting the world on fire to start the season. Ben has at least one fumble or interception in every game this season, and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in just one game this season.
The Browns should be able to contain the Steelers in this game, and could easily have a turnover or two in their favor. Our projections have them as the fifth-highest scoring defense of the week and the second-best value at position, making them worth rostering at $4,000.
FanDuel Salary: $3,700
The season has not gone the way many Chicago Bears fans had hoped it would. The offense often looks like the most inept in the league and there are plenty of fingers to be pointed on that side of the ball. The defense has mostly done its job, they could play well again this week.
The Chicago D/ST has the most sacks and the highest adjusted sack rate in the league. That's even after not being able to record any sacks in Week 7 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. According to numberFire's metrics, the Bears are the ninth-best overall defense and the seventh-best against the pass this season. This should mean they'll be able to limit their opponents on Sunday.
The Bears will face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 8's lowest-totaled game. The Niners' offense hasn't been humming this season either, ranking 19th in points-per-game. Jimmy Garoppolo has thrown four interceptions and fumbled five times in five starts this year. San Francisco continues to be without George Kittle, who is a key part of their offense in both the passing game and as a blocker.
Chicago is a home underdog in this game, but they offer a higher floor than most home underdog defenses do because of how this game script will likely play out. San Francisco's implied point total is just 21.5 points, so it's unlikely they completely blow up the Bears.
Chicago's defense is discounted at just $3,700, making them a solid play in all formats.
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.