FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 15
Last week’s picks went very well, with two of our defenses finishing in the top 10 in terms of fantasy points. Of course, that still leaves room for improvement, and that’s what we’ll go for in Week 15.
The theme this week is strong rushing defenses going up against backup quarterbacks and struggling offensive lines.
All three of our teams are under $5,000, leaving you plenty of room to fit studs into your lineup at other positions.
We have chosen and analyzed each matchup this week with the help of our signature metric, Net Expected Points (NEP), which compares a team's or player's performance relative to expectation-level.
Here are three defenses to consider for your Week 15 FanDuel lineups.
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Denver)
FanDuel Price: $4,600
numberFire Projected Points: 14.28
Pittsburgh is favored by 6.5 points at home and currently ranks first in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP. With the Broncos' rushing offense ranked 29th in Adjusted Rushing NEP (-29.59), Denver will need Brock Osweiler to beat the Steelers' defense while playing from behind.
Among all quarterbacks with 100 or more drop backs this season, Osweiler’s 0.06 Passing NEP per drop back ranks 26th. Plus, the Broncos have failed to score more than 20 points in three of his four starts this season.
Osweiler will be playing behind the Denver offensive line that has allowed 19 sacks over their last five games and will be dealing with the defense with the sixth most (38) sacks in the NFL.
When Osweiler is able to get the ball out of his hands, he’ll be throwing at a defense that also ranks sixth in the NFL with 14 interceptions this season.
We haven’t projected a defense this cheap to score this many points all season, so take advantage of this rare value to get the top defense on the board this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (at St. Louis)
FanDuel Price: $4,500
numberFire Projected Points: 9.09
This game has the lowest over/under projection of the week, and the Rams haven’t scored more than 18 points since Week 8.
The Rams had success relying on Todd Gurley last week, but that was against a much lesser run defense in Detroit. Tampa Bay’s -20.53 Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP is the eighth best in the league, which will force Case Keenum to take some of the pressure away from Gurley.
Of the 64 quarterbacks with 50 or more drop backs, Keenum’s -0.16 Passing NEP per play ranks 60th, just one spot ahead of Nick Foles.
The Buccaneers' pass rush is coming into this game on a hot streak with 14 sacks over their last five games and will be attacking an offensive line that has allowed a sack in all but two games this season.
We project Tampa Bay to score five fewer fantasy points than Pittsburgh, but if you really can’t fit that extra $100 into your lineup or you just want exposure to the Thursday game, they are still a great value play at only $4,500.
Indianapolis Colts (vs. Houston)
FanDuel Price: $4,100
numberFire Projected Points: 7.59
To continue with the theme this week, the Colts' defense, which ranks 10th (-9.59) in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP, has a great matchup against the Texans, whose -24.49 Adjusted Rushing NEP ranks 25th in the NFL this season.
To make matters worse for Houston, Brian Hoyer is still out, leaving T.J. Yates as the starter. Of all quarterbacks with 50 or more drop backs this season, Yates ranks 33rd with a 0.09 Passing NEP per drop back.
After being held to zero sacks in Week 13, the Colts got back on track with three sacks last game to add to their five sacks in Week 12. They’ve also had two fumble recoveries in each of their past two games and scored their fourth touchdown of the season in Week 14.
Three sacks, believe it or not, would have been a welcome sight last week for Houston, who gave up six and have now allowed three or more sacks in five games thus far.
The Colts defense has reached double-digit fantasy points three times this season and leaves plenty of room this week to spend up elsewhere in your lineup.