3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 6
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 6 is the first week of the season with bye weeks, but we should still have enough good defenses to choose from -- or enough offenses we want to bet against.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FanDuel Salary: $5,000
The credit for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' turnaround went largely to Tom Brady when they won the Super Bowl two years ago. The improvements they made on the defensive side went under the radar. They are still one of the best defenses in the league, with a matchup this week that we love to target.
The Bucs rank first in numberFire's schedule-adjusted pass defense and first in defense overall. They also have a league-leading 10.2% adjusted sack rate. Tampa also has nine takeaways; only four teams have more. They should get plenty of opportunities to get turnovers this Sunday.
Tampa Bay is on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers this week. The Steelers' offense has sputtered so far this season, and they've decided to make a change at quarterback. We've seen rookie Kenny Pickett for six quarters now, and he's thrown four interceptions. Pittsburgh's offensive line came into question over the offseason but has mostly held up throughout the season. However, it will be tough for them against this Bucs' pass rush.
Pittsburgh is not expected to do well in this game, holding an implied team total of just 17.5 points. The Tampa Bay D/ST can definitely force some mistakes in this game, and that could see them be the defense you need to roster in tournaments this week.
Los Angeles Rams
FanDuel Salary: $4,400
The Los Angeles Rams have struggled more than what people were expecting from the defending Super Bowl champs.
Most of their problems have been on the offensive side of the ball. They haven't been perfect on defense but get a good spot to change that this week.
The Los Angeles Rams D/ST is 12th by numberFire's metrics after ranking seventh last season. Their adjusted sack rate is down from 7.6% to 6.8%, but what's even more concerning is their pressure rate is one of the worst in the league. With Aaron Donald still on the team, you would expect that to change.
The Rams are at home against the Carolina Panthers and are big favorites. It's been a big week for change for Carolina. Matt Rhule was fired, and Baker Mayfield is injured. In steps P.J. Walker, who has not had much success in appearances in the last two seasons. He has thrown interceptions on 8 of his 128 NFL passes while also taking sacks on 9.2% of his drop backs.
Both of these numbers are shockingly high, and playing behind a suspect offensive line won't help.
Our projections have the Rams as the highest-scoring defense on the slate, so for just $4,400, they are definitely a bargain. They are in play in all lineup formats this week.
Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel Salary: $3,400
Rostering the Kansas City D/ST might seem crazy at first glance. They are facing a team with the highest team total on the slate and one of the best offenses in football. Well, there is a method to this madness.
The Kansas City Chiefs' defense hasn't been too bad this season, particularly against the pass. They rank 16th, per numberFire, against aerial attacks. They also are 3rd in the league in pressure rate and 10th in adjusted sack rate. They will need to put pressure on the quarterback in this matchup.
So the Chiefs are playing against the Buffalo Bills as home underdogs. This game has the highest total on the week, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
For example, in the epic matchup between the Chiefs and Rams back in 2018 which saw 95 points scored, both defenses scored well in fantasy. The Rams forced five turnovers and scored a touchdown, while the Chiefs forced two and had five sacks. These two teams are also first and second in pass rate over expectation, and more pass attempts mean more possibilities for sacks and interceptions.
The Chiefs may feel like an uncomfortable defense to roster, but there are reasons to do it if you need the salary. If they get a lead in this game that might see a ton of pass attempts, that's when we could see them feast in a positive game script.
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.