3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 16

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've seen some offenses play poorly in the second half of the season, so let's see which defenses we can use to exploit them.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

FanDuel Salary: $4,700

The Tampa Bay D/ST goes under the radar compared to the stars on the Bucs' offense. In truth, the defense was a strength all season last year and has been solid this year, as well. This week, they'll face a dysfunctional offense that they can dominate.

We mostly have thought of this defense as stronger against the run than the pass, but that isn't necessarily the case. According to numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics, Tampa Bay is 6th against the pass and 15th against the run. This week, they shouldn't have much of a problem shutting down either avenue of moving the ball.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Carolina Panthers in Week 16. The Panthers haven't scored more than 21 points in a game since Week 6. They've been rotating quarterbacks, but when Cam Newton has been in, he's been making mistakes. He has four interceptions and four fumbles across his last three games. Sam Darnold is expected to mix in at quarterback this week, and the last time he started, he threw three interceptions.

Tampa also has an advantage in the trenches. They have the seventh-best adjusted sack rate in the league, while Carolina has allowed the ninth-highest adjusted sack rate. Tampa also ranks third in pressure rate, which could force turnovers from either turnover-prone quarterback on Carolina.

Tampa ranks second among D/STs in our projections and has a ton of upside for sacks and turnovers in this matchup.

Kansas City Chiefs

FanDuel Salary: $4,300

The Kansas City Chiefs have had to go through an identity change midway through the season. With the offense not producing as they had in previous seasons, the defense needed to step up. They have done just that and have become a strength of this team.

Before a tough game against the Los Angeles Chargers last week, the Kansas City D/ST was on a great run. They had five straight games with more than seven FanDuel points, and four of those games were double-digit performances. They have forced a turnover in nine consecutive games, with a whopping 20 turnovers in that stretch.

The Chiefs will face the Pittsburgh Steelers' anemic offense this week. The Steelers have struggled to move the ball all season, ranking 24th on offense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. Pittsburgh's implied team total is just 18.50 points, and going away to Arrowhead is always a tough task for any offense.

The Chiefs' D/ST is projecting well, as they are in the top five in both raw points and point-per-dollar value rating. They should be a fairly safe option against the Steelers at home, putting them in play in all formats at their mid-range salary.

Cincinnati Bengals

FanDuel Salary: $3,500

Some were expecting the Cincinnati Bengals to be improved this season -- but maybe not like this. They had spent a lot of draft capital on improving their offense, but the unit that has really taken a leap is the defense. They have Cincy leading the AFC North heading into a crucial game in which they could have lots of success again.

The Cincinnati D/ST has been getting to the quarterback this season, ranking third in sacks with 40. This includes 15 in their last four games.

The Bengals will face the Baltimore Ravens in a key divisional game where the winner will be in first place. In the first meeting between these two, the Bengals had five sacks and allowed just 17 points. That was with Lamar Jackson at quarterback, and his status is still in question this week (as of Thursday morning) after he missed last week.

The Ravens might have to turn back to Tyler Huntley. Huntley has done a decent job in Jackson's stead, but he still has taken sacks at a 7.4% clip and fumbled three times in his three starts. It could be tough for him to stay upright against the Bengals' pass rush, especially behind an offensive line that has not played well this season.

The Bengals are a great value option at defense, coming in at just $3,500. A lot of times when looking for a D/ST this low in salary, we are making the case for defenses that haven't been good. This Bengals defense has played well, and now they are a home favorite -- possibly against a backup quarterback. These are all factors in their projection, as we have them as the best point-per-dollar value at the position this week.

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.