FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 9
This week, we have a pick for every price range, and the theme is picking on offenses that are undergoing change. We’re going after a struggling backup quarterback, a new offensive coordinator, and the second new head coach of the 2015 season.
As always, we have chosen matchups with the help of our signature metric, Net Expected Points (NEP). If you're a new reader, NEP is used to track the efficiency of both teams and players. Each play -- based on field location and down-and-distance among other factors -- in an NFL game has an expected number of points tied to it. A positive play will increase NEP and a negative play will decrease it. Obviously, for defenses a negative NEP is better, as it shows how many points they have prevented from the opposing offense.
Using the same type of process, last week’s picks included two top six defenses and a six-point sleeper pick.
Here are three defenses to consider for your Week 9 FanDuel lineups.
Denver Broncos (at Indianapolis)
FanDuel Price: $5,300
numberFire Projected Points: 10.15
Once again Denver is the most expensive defense of the week, and once again we project them to put up the most fantasy points of any defense. The Broncos' defense proved they truly are matchup proof by scoring nine fantasy points last week against the Packers, who have allowed the second fewest fantasy points per game to opposing defenses.
This week the matchup is much better against the Colts, who are giving up the 13th most fantasy points to opposing defenses, including 10 points in each of their last two games.
Now the struggling Colts offense will play their first game under new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski in Week 9.
Among the 31 quarterbacks with 150 or more drop backs this season, Andrew Luck's 0.03 Passing NEP per play ranks 23rd, and he has thrown at least 2 or more interceptions in five of the six games he’s played in. He will have his hands full against the Broncos, whose -51.85 Adjusted Defensive NEP ranks first in the league.
The Broncos also lead the league with 29 sacks, have an interception in five of seven games, and have scored 4 defensive touchdowns.
The price is high, but the Broncos have proved week in and week out that they are worth it.
Philadelphia Eagles (at Dallas)
FanDuel Price: $4,700
numberFire Projected Points: 9.93
At $600 cheaper than the Broncos, Philadelphia is our top value play of Week 9. We typically shy away from defenses on the road, but the Eagles have scored the fourth most fantasy points per game among defenses and are in a great spot here against the Cowboys, who have allowed the seventh most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses.
Of all quarterbacks to start at least one game this season, Matt Cassel’s -0.28 Passing NEP per play is better than only Zach Mettenberger and Jimmy Clausen, but the Cowboys are sticking with him as their starter.
He has thrown one touchdown and three interceptions in his two starts, and now gets to face the Eagles defense that leads the league in turnovers and ranks third in Adjusted Defensive NEP.
The Cowboys will be a team to pick on as long as Tony Romo is out, and the Eagles are bordering on being matchup proof, making this an easy pick at $4,700.
New Orleans Saints (vs. Tennessee)
FanDuel Price: $4,200
numberFire Projected Points: 7.98
New Orleans is our low priced sleeper pick of the week against the Titans, who have allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing defenses this season. Tennessee also ranks dead last (-26.24) in Adjusted NEP and fired their head coach earlier this week.
Marcus Mariota will be back under center for Tennessee, but he’s only been able to lead them to one victory this season and ranks 22nd in Passing NEP per play (0.04) among quarterbacks with 150 or more drop backs this season.
The Saints defense allowed the Giants to score 49 points in their high scoring shootout last week, but that isn’t likely to happen for the Titans, who have scored the second fewest points per game in the NFL.
Mariota will be under a lot of pressure in his first game back behind the Titans' offensive line that has allowed at least six sacks in three games already this season. The Saints have been especially good at getting after the quarterback in New Orleans, averaging four sacks per game at home.
If you want to spend up at other positions and can’t afford one of the higher priced defenses, the Saints are a great play at home for only $4,200 against a Titans team in disarray.