3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 2
Week 1 was bananas. Or, at least, having a full Sunday of football felt bananas. Regardless, there was a lot to learn from Week 1 -- important information as we build lineups moving forward.
Throughout the year, I'll attempt to pinpoint three fantasy defenses at various price points that deserve consideration on FanDuel, with specific options for both cash and GPP lineups. The idea will be to highlight lesser known plays. It's not worth anyone's time to tell you the Baltimore D/ST are a good cash play against the fast-paced, sack-prone Arizona Cardinals this week.
Given the lack of data we still have on the season, this week's article will lean heavier on the Vegas lines and numberFire projections until we have more Net Expected Points data to help inform our decisions down the line.
I'll spare you the lengthy intro. It might not be the most important part of your lineup, but there is still a ton of strategy involved when choosing your fantasy defense. And it can be the difference between losing and winning big.
With that in mind, let's take a look at three fantasy defenses that provide great value in Week 2.
San Francisco 49ers
numberFire Projection: 6.6 FanDuel Points
That said, there is plenty of intrigue here. The Niners actually led all fantasy defenses in scoring in Week 1, dropping 27 points on the strength of two defensive touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While expecting anything close to that is unrealistic, it's the way those takeaways occurred that offers optimism. And yes, the Niners were one-point road underdogs last week, too.
The Seattle Seahawks were a recommended play in this column last week in the same matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals. They delivered with 12 FanDuel points on the strength of 5 sacks against a bottom-five offensive line.
With the Bengals' offensive line still in tatters, this presents another good match up for the Niners defensive front. While not thought of as an elite unit, the combination of DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas and new additions Dee Ford and Nick Bosa create a mean front four capable of creating both interior and exterior pressure.
Sure enough, San Francisco's pressure forced three sacks, three interceptions and one fumble recovery against Tampa Bay. It's not unrealistic to expect a similar sack and turnover stat line in Week 2 against a poor Bengals front.
Green Bay Packers
numberFire Projection: 7.4 FanDuel Points
Green Bay isn't known for having a strong defense, but the team completely revamped that side of the ball this offseason, with the additions of Za'Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Rashan Gary up front and Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage Jr. in the back. Their presence was felt immediately in Week 1; the defense held a solid Bears offense to just three points on the road, generating five sacks and one interception. Impressively, Green Bay's defense ranks third in numberFire's Net Expected Points model after Week 1. This came against a Chicago Bears offensive line that numberFire's Jim Sannes ranked 16th heading into the season.
Now the Vikings head to Green Bay, with Sannes' 23rd-ranked offensive line. While the Vikings line looks improved and only allowed one sack in week 1, Kirk Cousins also only dropped back to pass an absurd 11 times. It's a crude sample size, but that sack rate would have still ranked bottom-five in the league last year, per Football Outsiders.
Green Bay enters the game as 3.0-point favorites, which should ensure Minnesota has to pass more. If they do, another five sacks are a realistic outcome from the new Packers' defense.
numberFire Projection: 7.8 FanDuel Points
It's tough to find a cheaper defense that's comfortable for cash lineups this week. Baltimore, the New England D/ST, and the Houston D/ST are obvious plays, but they're all at the top of the price menu.
But despite being on the road, the Buffalo D/ST are in a smash spot. For one, though they're on the road, the Bills Mafia shouldn't have much trouble traveling the six-hour drive to MetLife Stadium. Buffalo is actually also a 2.0-point favorite, which helps build their case.
And of course, they play the Eli Manning-led Giants. The Giants mustered just 17 points last weekend, while the Bills only allowed 9 offensive points on the road to the New York Jets last weekend. Given Buffalo's defense ranks eighth in numberFire's Net Expected Points model, it should have no problem controlling the game.
Eli Weiner is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Eli Weiner also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Eweiner2. 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.