3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 11
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 11 has a lot of good plays at defense. We'll look at three that stand out above the rest and can give our lineups a real edge at the position.
FanDuel Salary: $5,000
The Pittsburgh D/ST was expected to be an elite unit going into the season, and that has proven to be true. Our metrics at numberFire have them as the sixth-best schedule-adjusted defense in the league. The best feature of the defense is the pass rush, as they have the best adjusted sack rate in the league. They also have by far the best pressure rate in the NFL, pressuring the quarterback on 35% of drop backs. This pressure has helped the defense get takeaways, and their 17 are tied for the most in the league. They should have no problem getting after the quarterback again this week.
The undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers are on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Steelers are 10-point favorites, with the matchup setting up perfectly. That great pass rush is going up against an offensive line that is the third-worst in adjusted sack rate allowed this season. Rookie quarterback Jake Luton has thrown an interception each of his first two starts, and that was against two defenses that rank in the bottom-five of pressure rate in the league. If Luton is forced to throw a lot, it could lead to more interceptions this week.
The Steelers defense is our highest-projected defense this week. Their salary is at the highest we see defenses on FanDuel at $5,000, but there is an argument to be made that the salary could be even higher. The potential for sacks and interceptions give them tournament-winning upside in Week 11.
Washington Football Team
FanDuel Salary: $4,100
For a team with only two wins, the Washington D/ST comes into play a lot more often than other bad teams. That's because of their defensive front that has added talent over the past few seasons. This has vaulted them up to second in the league in adjusted sack rate. They've been able to feast on weak offensive lines this season, and this week they should be able to do the same.
The Washington Football Team host the Cincinnati Bengals and are favorites, for a change. While Joe Burrow and the Bengals offense have impressed, there are a few areas in which they can be exploited. The offensive line has allowed the second-most sacks this season. That's partially because the Bengals love to pass the ball, with the sixth-highest pass-to-run ratio in the NFL. This is good news for Washington defense fantasy managers because we can score more fantasy points against drop backs than runs. If the Bengals get into a negative game script, we can expect the Washington defensive line to cause disruption against Burrow.
At just $4,100, our projections have Washington as the best value defense of the week. They are a fine play in the middle of the pack of the defenses available in Week 11.
FanDuel Salary: $3,200
The complete punt of the week would be the Atlanta D/ST. There aren't many redeeming qualities about this defense from a real-life perspective. They are right in the middle in terms of sacks with 19 on the season. The thing they do well is stop the run, with the fifth-best schedule-adjusted rush defense, according to numberFire's metrics. This leads to teams wanting to throw against them, as their defense has seen the second-highest pass-to-run ratio against them this season. This week, they'll face a quarterback who they'll want to see drop back a ton.
The Atlanta Falcons are on the road against the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are typically one of the worst offenses to use defenses against, as they don't make many mistakes. However, with Drew Brees missing this game, it appears that Jameis Winston will take over at quarterback. [Editor's note: The New Orleans Saints named Taysom Hill their starting quarterback for the week.] Jameis famously threw 30 interceptions last season, including four against a Falcons defense that was also bad last season. In his relief appearance last week, Winston didn't throw an interception but took 2 sacks in just 12 drop backs. If the Falcons are able to stop the run, Winston could be forced to throw a lot, and the mistakes could be coming.
The Falcons defense ranks as the best value play under $4,000. If you really need to save money, you can use them and hope for a turnover or two, which would pay off this low salary.
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.