3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 3
Welcome back! It's Week 3.
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 Dallas D/ST are a good cash play against the pitiful Miami Dolphins this week. The hope is to find you cheaper plays to fill out your cash lineup or under-owned home run swings for tournament rosters.
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 3.
numberFire Projection: 9.2 FanDuel Points
I expect the Minnesota D/ST to be heavily owned in cash lineups this week and with good reason. Minnesota checks in as 9.0-point home favorites, the ideal scenario we're looking for when targeting safe defense plays. Oakland, meanwhile, has the third-lowest implied point total of the week with a measly 17.25 points.
This will be Derek Carr's first road game of the year. Per Evan Silva of Establish The Run, the Vikings' defense held Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers to just 6.41 yards per attempt. Those are premier quarterbacks with elite wide receivers, and the Raiders' offense checks neither of those boxes.
At just $4,200, Minnesota is an easy play this week with legitimate defensive touchdown upside.
Los Angeles Chargers
numberFire Projection: 8.2 FanDuel Points
When doing my preliminary research for the week, I knew the Los Angeles Chargers D/ST would get a nod in this article. And that was before learning the Chargers' D/ST owns the seventh-highest scoring outlook, according to numberFire's projections.
My assumption is most players will see that the high-octane Houston Texans' offense is on the docket and scroll right past the Chargers when building lineups. But that would be a mistake, and it opens up a great GPP opportunity.
Just off the bat, the Chargers are 3.5-point home favorites. As you know, we always want to chase home favorites when selecting a defense. Let's also not forget the Texans have a bottom-five offensive line in the league.
Our own Jim Sannes ranked the unit as the worst in football heading into the year, and sure enough, through two weeks the Texans rank dead-last in Football Outsiders pass blocking DVOA. Yes, worse than the Miami Dolphins.
For as great as he is, Deshaun Watson has taken 10 sacks through two games. A home favorite with one of the fiercest pass rushes in the league going against a bottom-five offensive line, another five sacks is a reasonable projection for the Chargers this Sunday.
For what it's worth, though they're owned in 79% of Yahoo fantasy leagues, I noticed the Los Angeles Chargers D/ST on the waiver wire in two of my competitive season-long leagues. That makes them potentially an underrated stream for this week, and they're a great stash as they play the Miami Dolphins in Week 4. It's early, but according to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Chargers are already slated as 15.5-point favorites for that game.
numberFire Projection: 8.4 FanDuel Points
In terms of pure point-per-dollar value, the Seattle D/ST is numberFire's second-strongest projected value on the main slate. For that reason, they will likely have high cash ownership, and that's honestly fine.
With Drew Brees out for approximately six weeks, Seattle has jumped to 5.0-point home favorites. It's pretty clear FanDuel's pricing was set before the Brees injury news came through, as Seattle's defense should be closer to $4,000 than its current menu price.
Truthfully, Saints head coach Sean Payton has been coy as to whether Teddy Bridgewater or Taysom Hill will start at quarterback for the New Orleans Saints. The most likely outcome is a dose of both, but either way, the new revamped Seattle pass-rush should make the combination uncomfortable.
Spearhead by offseason additions Jadeveon Clowney and Ezekiel Ansah, Seattle's defense ranks 10th in sacks per game and 13th in sack percentage. New Orleans offensive line, meanwhile, ranks as a middle-of-the-pack group in pass blocking thus far (per Football Outsiders), perhaps hurt more than anticipated by center Max Unger's offseason retirement.
New Orleans defense currently ranks fifth-worst by numberFire's Net Expected Points metric. If Russell Wilson is able to build a lead like Vegas projects, it should mean plenty of passing-down work for the Seattle D.