3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 9

Selecting a defense is never the most glamorous part of fantasy football. It often goes overlooked for the more fun positions that people want to watch and root for during the game. The good news is that if our opponents aren’t putting too much thought into their defense, we can gain an advantage with some research. So let’s dig in and try to identify some defenses that could be in a good position to score fantasy points this week.

Week 9 has some great defensive plays all at different tiers on the salary spectrum. Let's take a look at three that stand out above the rest.

Pittsburgh Steelers

FanDuel Salary: $5,000

The Pittsburgh D/ST is harkening back to the old Steel Curtain defense that won four Super Bowls in the 1970s. They lead the league in both sacks and adjusted sack rate, per Football Outsiders. They also have ten interceptions, the second-most in the league. This week, they get a dream situation.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will face the depleted Dallas Cowboys' offense this week. Even being on the road, the Steelers are 13.5-point favorites. It's pretty telling about how the Cowboys season has gone that, at the time of writing, it's unclear who their starting quarterback will be. It looks like it will either be Garrett Gilbert or Cooper Rush, and neither of them have an impressive résumé. Add that to the fact that Dallas is without two of their starting offensive linemen from the start of the year, that doesn't bode well for whoever is behind center against Pittsburgh's fearsome pass rush. The Cowboys have allowed the fifth-most sacks in the league, and it doesn't look like they will be able to improve their protection anytime soon.

The Steelers' defense is projected for 10.7 points, nearly two points more than any other defense. It's rare that the highest salary defense is a good value, but that's the case here, as Pittsburgh also tops our value metric. They are definitely a defense to consider in all formats given the spot this week.

Arizona Cardinals

FanDuel Salary: $4,300

The Arizona D/ST doesn't have the best reputation around the league, but they've been a pretty solid unit this season. They are a slightly above-average defense according to numberFire's efficiency metric. They also have 10 takeaways in their seven games played this season. In this upcoming game, they'll get a good matchup to continue playing well.

The Arizona Cardinals are at home and favored against the Miami Dolphins. Dolphins' quarterback Tua Tagovailoa got a win in his first start, but it wasn't exactly an impressive performance from him. His passing Net Expected Points per drop back was a terrible -.21. He passed for just 93 yards and lost a fumble. Now, he's going into his first road game, and the Dolphins will also be without starting running back Myles Gaskin, who was just placed on IR. It will be tough for the Dolphins to move the ball on the ground, which could force a quarterback who is inexperienced at the pro level to drop back a ton. That would be good news for the Cardinals' defense, who could pounce on any potential mistakes.

The Cardinals are -3.5 point favorites in this game. It's tough to see the Dolphins scoring a ton of points with their current offensive predicament, so Arizona at least offers that safety. The Cardinals defense projects for 7.1 points, the fifth-most on this week's main slate.

Houston Texans

FanDuel Salary: $3,700

Matchups are key when selecting a defense for one week. The Houston D/ST has not impressed anyone this season, as our metrics currently have them as the second-worst in the entire league. They do have an above-average adjusted sack rate, however, and this week they'll get a fantastic matchup in that regard.

The Houston Texans will face the Jacksonville Jaguars, in a spot that any defense in the league would lick their lips if they saw on the schedule. The Jaguars will be starting sixth-round rookie quarterback, Jake Luton in his first NFL game. Unfortunately for Luton, he'll be playing behind the offensive line that has allowed the worst adjusted sack rate in the league so far this season. The Texans should disrupt the young quarterback a high percentage of the time, leading to potential turnovers.

Our projections have the Texans' defense as the third-highest projected defense on the week, despite being just $3,700. That places them second in the value rankings, only behind the Steelers. If you need a defense under $4,000 to fill out your lineup, Houston in this matchup makes a ton of sense.

Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. 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.