3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 13

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.

We should have a good idea about which defenses are good for fantasy by Week 13. We can also use what we know about opposing offenses to make our choice on defenses to roster. It could be picking on a backup quarterback or a shaky offensive line. Let’s take a look at three defenses this week.

Miami Dolphins

FanDuel Salary: $4,900

One of the more surprising developments of the season is how good the Miami D/ST has been -- both in real life and in fantasy. They are the seventh best schedule-adjusted defense and third best against the pass, per numberFire's metrics. They rank in the top half of the league in terms of sacks and adjusted sack rate.

This week, they have a great matchup that should lead to fantasy points.

The Miami Dolphins are at home and facing the Cincinnati Bengals. The Dolphins are 11.5-point favorites in this game, the biggest on the main slate. That's partially because Cincy will be starting backup quarterback Brandon Allen, who has not had much success at the NFL level. In four career starts, he has four turnovers and has taken sacks for an 8.9% sack rate, according to Pro Football Reference. For context, that would be the third worst rate in the league this season. It won't help that the Bengals' offensive line has allowed 38 sacks this season, the second most in the league. Most of those were with Joe Burrow under center, and Burrow at least has some mobility in the pocket. If Allen can't get rid of the ball quickly, it could be a long day for him.

Miami's defense is at the top of our projections this week, projected for 10.3 points. The Bengals have the lowest implied team total on the slate, sitting at a meager 15.0 points. Miami shouldn't give up many points, and they also have upside for sacks and turnovers -- both of which are keys we should look for when spending up for defense.

Green Bay Packers

FanDuel Salary: $4,100

The Green Bay D/ST hasn't been as strong this season as it was last year. This season, it's been more of Aaron Rodgers getting back to his best than the defense carrying the load. The defense does have some positive elements, though, with the 11th best adjusted sack rate in the league. They'll have a great chance to get more sacks this week.

The Green Bay Packers are at home against the Philadelphia Eagles and are 8.0-point favorites. The Eagles are coming off a short week after a game in which Carson Wentz took six sacks and threw an interception. That's been a theme for Wentz all season, as he leads the NFL in sacks taken and interceptions.

The poor performance on Monday night was against the Seahawks' 25th-ranked pass defense, per our metrics. So, while the Packers' are below average against the pass (18th), that shouldn't stop them from having success against Philadelphia. With Green Bay an 8.0-point favorite, we should see plenty of Wentz drop backs.

The Packers' defense is a play you can make based on the matchup and being at home. Our projections have them as the best point-per-dollar value at the position, making them a strong play for any lineup build.

Atlanta Falcons

FanDuel Salary: $3,500

The Atlanta D/ST is a punt play you can make, as you can't reasonably go any lower and have expectations for points. This defense is nothing to write home about, but they do have some things going in their favor. They have 22 sacks on the season, which isn't a ton but is more than the Chicago Bears and the Los Angeles Chargers, two teams we think of as being able to get after the quarterback. The defense is coming off a huge performance last week, and there are reasons to believe they can at least be respectable this week.

The Atlanta Falcons get their second look at Taysom Hill and the New Orleans Saints. Hill had a solid game against the Falcons last time out, but he still took three sacks and lost a fumble. Last week against the Denver Broncos, Hill showed he still has a long way to go as a passer, throwing for just 78 yards and had an interception. It should help Atlanta that there is now two games of film on Hill under center.

If the Falcons can keep the game close or get a lead, that would be ideal as they could rack up sacks and picks if Hill is forced to throw a lot of passes. Atlanta's defense was able to get to five sacks last week and also had five takeaways. While that was an outlier performance, it showed they can capitalize on a quarterback making mistakes.

The Falcons' defense is the fifth best point-per-dollar play on the slate, per our algorithm. You could do worse at defense, so if you're trying to save salary, Atlanta makes 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.