3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 17

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 got some backup quarterbacks playing this week, which should make some defenses more enticing on this slate.

San Francisco 49ers

FanDuel Salary: $5,000

The San Francisco 49ers can be considered legitimate Super Bowl contenders despite being on their third different starting quarterback. Their offense has been good, but where they really excel is on the defensive side of the ball.

San Francisco allows just 15.3 points per game, 2.0 fewer on average than the Buffalo Bills. Our schedule-adjusted defensive metrics have them as the second-best unit overall this season. They can get after the quarterback with the likes of Nick Bosa wreaking havoc, as the team is tied for seventh in sacks this season.

The San Francisco D/ST was a great play heading into this game, but they became an even better one with some news. They'll be facing the Las Vegas Raiders, who will turn to backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham in his first career start. Stidham has seen some playing time in the last three seasons, and it hasn't been pretty. He's been intercepted four times on 61 attempts and has also taken six sacks. Against this defense, it's hard to see him putting things together.

If you have the salary, the 49ers' defense makes for a fantastic play. They have the upside to be the defense you need to compete in tournaments this week.

Kansas City Chiefs

FanDuel Salary: $4,300

The Kansas City Chiefs have held things together well enough defensively to compete for the number one seed in the AFC. They'll get one of the better matchups a defense can face this week.

The Kansas City D/ST use their pass rush effectively to slow down other teams' offenses. They are seventh in the league in pressure rate, and the pass rush has also been successfully getting to the quarterback, ranking sixth in adjusted sack rate.

The Chiefs will face the Denver Broncos, who are coming off an embarrassing loss on Christmas to what's left of the Los Angeles Rams. In that game, Russell Wilson threw three interceptions and got sacked six times. He was also sacked six times when he faced the Chiefs in Week 14. The Chiefs' D was able to get 15 fantasy points in that matchup and could have enough sacks and turnovers to do something similar this week.

Kansas City might not be facing a backup quarterback like other teams, but they are facing a starter who's playing worse than some of the replacement signal callers.

Carolina Panthers

FanDuel Salary: $3,500

Somehow, the Carolina Panthers are still alive in the NFC South, and they. have a crucial game this week. Defense hasn't been their problem for most of the season, and they're playing against a struggling offense that they've already had success against earlier this season.

Carolina has recorded multiple sacks in seven of their last eight games. They've also had seven takeaways in that stretch. If they can get multiple sacks and a takeaway while not giving too many points, they'll be a fine play at just $3,500.

The Carolina D/ST will face off against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week with a chance to tie them for first place in the division. Brady has thrown two interceptions in each of his last three games and seems to be rushing throws to avoid getting hit. The Panthers allowed only three points to the Bucs when they played in Week 7 and could easily limit them again.

If you need the savings, going down to the Panthers' D is unlikely to hurt your lineup too much.

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.