3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 9

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 9 has a plethora of options at defense, but let's see if we can identify the best one in different salary tiers.

New Orleans Saints

FanDuel Salary: $4,700

Gone are the days of the high-flying New Orleans Saints, where Drew Brees would throw for 5,000 yards in a season. They've become more focused on the run game and playing good defense due to the change in personnel on offense. This style has worked out for them this season and has them in the playoff hunt with a 5-2 record.

There are a lot of indicators saying the New Orleans D/ST is one of the best in the league thus far. Our metrics at numberFire have them as the third-best defense in the NFL after adjusting for schedule. They are averaging 1.9 takeaways per game, the fourth-most in the league. For fantasy purposes, they are second in fantasy points per game this season.

The Saints have a home divisional matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Last week, the Falcons played without Calvin Ridley and things did not go well for them. Matt Ryan was sacked three times and threw two interceptions, and the team could manage just 13 points. Overall, their schedule-adjusted offense ranks 26th, per our numbers, so they are nothing to be scared of this season.

New Orleans is at home and favored by six points, which is something we like to see when rostering a defense. Among the top-projected defenses, they are the only ones playing at home, and they're an elite option Sunday if you have the salary.

Dallas Cowboys

FanDuel Salary: $3,900

Coming into the season, the Dallas D/ST was not supposed to be a strength of the team. In fact, many fantasy managers drafted the Dallas Cowboys' skill position players in anticipation that the Cowboys' offense would have to keep pace with their weak defense. Things haven't played out that way, and it's not likely to change this week.

The reason for the improvement for the defense has been a few young players. Trevon Diggs leads the league in interceptions with seven, including two returned for touchdowns. Micah Parsons has been an all-action linebacker, and he has been good at pressuring opposing quarterbacks. Dallas is the seventh-best defense overall by numberFire's metrics, and they face an offense that is unlikely to hurt them on Sunday.

The Cowboys are at home against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos' season has really been dictated by their opponents. They have four wins against four teams that have won a combined six games. Their four losses have come against teams that have combined for 18 wins. Denver and Teddy Bridgewater are likely to have to drop back a bunch against Dallas, which isn't great when their offensive line has allowed an adjusted sack rate of 8.2% this season.

Dallas' defense had at least two takeaways in every game until last week. Playing back at home, they should be able to control this game. Our projections rate them as the second-best point-per-dollar value at the position on this slate, and they can be rostered with confidence .

Kansas City Chiefs

FanDuel Salary: $3,300

Fantasy football is a funny game, especially at the position of defense. The Kansas City D/ST has been one of the worst in the NFL this year, and now because of some news, they look like the best option on the slate.

There aren't many metrics that are positive for this defense. They have the third-worst adjusted sack rate in the league despite having solid pass rushers in Chris Jones and Frank Clark. They have been the third-worst schedule-adjusted defense by our metrics, ranking 29th in pass defense and 30th in run defense. The only slight positive is that they have generated one turnover per game, so at least they've done that for their fantasy managers.

So why do we like the Kansas City Chiefs this week? Well, of course, it's because they are going up against the Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers. Jordan Love will start his first career game on Sunday in a hostile environment at Arrowhead Stadium. Love has appeared in only two NFL games since being drafted in 2020. Earlier this campaign, he got sacked and lost a fumble on one of his 15 snaps against the Saints in Week 1.

The salaries were obviously set before the Rodgers' news came out, and if it was known before the slate was posted, Kansas City likely would have been around the $4,000 range. At a position where most people like to save salary, KC will certainly be popular this week. They are the best point-per-dollar value by our projections and should be a staple in cash-game lineups. However, you can make a case to fade them in large-field tournaments, as defense is still the most random position, so it's often best to get away from the chalk, especially if it's at a low salary.

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.