FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 6

Can the Broncos continue their reign of defensive dominance?

Last week’s picks went well overall as we featured two of the top four FanDuel defenses, but I’m hoping to do even better this week.

The Giants failed to generate a turnover for only the second time all season and gave up 27 points to San Francisco, making my cheap pick a bit of a disappointment.

Once again there are defenses to like in every price range, but the theme this week is injuries. Two of the four picks are very dependent on injuries from the opposing team, so it will be important to check the status of those players before finalizing your lineups.

Here are four defenses to consider for your Week 6 FanDuel lineups.

Denver Broncos (at Cleveland)

FanDuel Price: $5,000 
numberFire Projected Points: 9.92

This isn’t the best matchup, but let’s look at how many fantasy points the Broncos defense has scored each week.

Week Fantasy Points
1 16
2 22
3 16
4 10
5 22

As I mentioned last week, they’ll be a top option every week until they prove otherwise. The Broncos have scored the most FanDuel points of any defense this season and are still priced a couple hundred dollars less than Seattle has been in previous weeks.

This game has the second highest spread of the week, and only two teams are projected to score fewer points than the Browns.

Cleveland has given up the third most sacks in the league this year, including 13 over their last three games, and Josh McCown will be in for a long day Sunday against the Broncos, who currently lead the league with 22 sacks. The Denver pass rush will be missing a key piece if DeMarcus Ware is unable to play, but the rest of the defense is certainly good enough not to fall off to far under his absence.

Through five games, they have 7 interceptions, 7 fumble recoveries, and have held all opponents to 20 or fewer points.

Denver ranks first in terms of Adjusted Defensive Net Expected Points (NEP), which measures how many points a team is taking away from an offense compared to another team in a similar situation when adjusted for strength of schedule. Their -32.56 rating in this category is almost 10 points better than the second best team.

The Broncos are likely going to be the most popular defense this weekend, but we project them to score the most FanDuel points of any defense, and at $5,000 they are certainly still affordable.

New York Jets (vs. Washington)

FanDuel Price: $4,800 
numberFire Projected Points: 8.72

According to our power rankings, the Jets are the second best defense in the NFL, and rank among the top four in both rush and pass defense. Their 13.8 points allowed per game is the best in the league, and they have a great matchup this week.

They’re playing at home on Sunday after two weeks of rest against the Redskins, who have the second lowest projected point total in the league.

Sheldon Richardson's suspension is over, and he will be making his season debut against the Redskins' offensive line that could be without Trent Williams and Kory Lichtensteiger. That’s a big matchup in favor of the Jets, who have three sacks in two of their four games already this season.

New York also has six interceptions through four games, and Kirk Cousins has thrown multiple interceptions in three of five games so far.

Everything in this matchup is tilting in favor of the Jets' defense, and they are likely going to be owned less than the Broncos come Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals (at Buffalo)

FanDuel Price: $4,700 
numberFire Projected Points: 8.64

Tyrod Taylor has been playing great this season, and I learned my lesson about targeting a defense at Buffalo in Week 1, but Taylor is most likely not playing this week.

That leaves E.J. Manuel as the Bills' starting quarterback, and that’s why the Bengals are on this list. Of the 50 quarterbacks with 50 or more drop backs last season, Manuel (0.00) was tied for with Mike Glennon and Ryan Mallett for 33rd in terms of Passing NEP per play, which measures the value added or lost through passing on a per drop back basis.

That is not good company to be in, and he will be under constant pressure this week against the Bengals, who have three games with four or more sacks and an interception in four out of five games this season.

LeSean McCoy should be back this week after missing the last two games, but he was hardly impressive this season before the injury. Among 59 players with 25 or more carries this year, McCoy’s -0.11 Rushing NEP per play (which ranks the value added or lost per rushing attempt) ranks 49th, and he is averaging 3.4 yards per carry.

Keep an eye on the injury report here, and roll the Bengals comfortably in your lineups if Taylor is out.

Detroit Lions (vs. Chicago)

FanDuel Price: $4,300 
numberFire Projected Points: 8.23

Detroit is my sleeper pick of the week, and this is another one dependent on injuries. If Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal are still out, I really like this pick. If Jeffery gets a full practice in on Friday and they both end up playing, I’d shift away from the Lions and pay up for one of the other defenses listed above.

Battling through injuries to Jay Cutler and the receivers, Chicago has allowed the most FanDuel points per game to opposing defenses in 2015. They’ve given up at least two sacks in every game, and Cutler has thrown an interception in three of the four games he’s played.

Despite losing every game thus far, Detroit’s defense has actually scored the 12th most FanDuel points per game this year. They have at least one sack in every game and took down Russell Wilson in the backfield six times in Week 4.

They are a risky pick but have scored 13 or more points in two games already, including 22 in that Week 4 matchup against the Seahawks.

If Jeffery and Royal are out, the Lions have significant upside, and will be a great contrarian pick.