3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 15
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.
Los Angeles Rams
FanDuel Salary: $5,000
The Los Angeles Rams D/ST could be in the best spot of any defense all season long. They have been great in 2020, ranking first in overall defense by our schedule-adjusted metrics, including first against the pass and second against the run. With a star defensive lineman like Aaron Donald, the Rams are able to get to the quarterback often. They have the third most sacks in the NFL and rank sixth in adjusted sack rate. The matchup they get this week could not be any better.
The Los Angeles Rams will host the winless New York Jets. The Rams are massive 17.5-point favorites, with the Jets implied to score a measly 13.0 points. The Jets are making their second straight trip to the west coast, having just lost 40-3 to the Seattle Seahawks last week. Their offensive line has not been able to protect the quarterback this season, allowing the third worst adjusted sack rate. This huge mismatch in the trenches is likely to lead to a few sacks and could easily result in a few turnovers, as well.
The Rams are projected for 10.9 points, the most of any defense this week. The salaries for D/STs on FanDuel are capped at $5,000, which is what the Rams are, but you could argue they are worth more this week. Our projections have them as the best point-per-dollar value despite the Rams carrying the highest salary. They are in such a good spot this week that they are worth spending up for in any lineup construction, which is rare for a defense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
FanDuel Salary: $4,000
While the average football fan focuses on Tom Brady and the offense, the Tampa Bay D/ST has been a driving force for the team's success this season. They've shown real improvement this year and rank fourth in overall schedule-adjusted defense.
People might have a bad taste in their mouth regarding this defense via some bad showings in high-profile games against the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs, but this has been a good unit most of the season. While they haven't recorded a lot of sacks, their pressure rate is the second best in the league. This means they could be due to get more sacks, and they should force some passes under pressure, which could lead to turnovers.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are road favorites to the Atlanta Falcons this week. The Falcons' offense has not been the same high-flying attack this season, especially when they've been without Julio Jones, who could sit again this week. They've allowed a below average adjusted sack rate this campaign. Another thing that is good for defenses facing Atlanta is that the Falcons love to pass, with a 1.53 pass-to-run ratio. This could lead to sacks and interceptions, especially if the Bucs are able to get pressure at the same rate they have this season.
In addition to all of that, the Bucs have a ton to play for while Atlanta doesn't. The motivation factor is always in play this time of the year, and that's the case in this game.
Tampa Bay is a solid play at a fair salary.
FanDuel Salary: $3,600
The Dallas D/ST came through for us last week, so let's go back to them. They are not in quite as good of a spot this week, but they are a reasonable play at the lower end of the salary range. Earlier in the season, the defense was horrible and a laughing stock of the league. They've really gotten it together recently and have forced nine takeaways in their last six games. They should have a chance at getting more turnovers this week.
The Dallas Cowboys are at home against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 15. Dallas is a 3.0-point underdog in this game, but the defense has a chance to play well. The game has the fourth lowest total on the main slate, so neither team is expected to score too much. The Cowboys will be facing backup quarterback Nick Mullens, who has multiple turnovers in four of seven starts this season. Mullens also could be forced to throw down the field more often with short-yardage specialist Deebo Samuel out for the season. This could lead to more risky throws by Mullens, which is exactly what we want if we are going to roster a defense against him.
According to our algorithm, the Cowboys' defense projects for 6.2 points, making them a decent value for their salary. There aren't a ton of good plays at defense below $4,000 this week, and with the Rams being such a good option, you might not need to go this low. But if you do, the Cowboys make 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.