NFL Daily Fantasy D/ST: Week 15

Defense? Yes, we are talking about defense. Everyone’s favorite DFS position (other than kicker on some sites of course), where we all scroll to the bottom of the draft list and find the cheapest defense that has a decent matchup. Welcome to the weekly defense/special teams column where I will try to highlight some of the top defense/special teams plays for the week. I know defense tends to be an afterthought for some as they can be very boom or bust, but when you look at the final standings of these top heavy GPPs, often the choice at defense can be the difference in A LOT of money.

Defenses can make a huge difference in GPPs, but even in cash games, you do not want to spot your opponent points at any position by making “lazy” choices. You can certainly go cheap at defense many weeks, but I also think there are weeks where paying up for a top defense in the right matchup is the best play, especially in cash games. Defense and special team touchdowns can be unpredictable, but I also think you can put yourself in good situations to capitalize on those opportunities.

Week 14 2016 Recap

NOTE: The numbers below reflect an average of defensive fantasy points from the start of the 2014 season through Week 14 2016. Top plays and secondary plays only started in Week 7 2016 as a way to breakout defense that fit the criteria into two separate categories.

All Defenses that Fit the Criteria: 8.68
Top Plays (Defense that Fit the Criteria): 7.83
Secondary Plays (Defense that Fit the Criteria): 8.11
Other Defenses to Target: 8.18
All Favorites: 8.14
All Home Teams: 7.29
All Teams: 6.87

The defenses that fit the criteria did not have a very strong week. I know I saw in the comments section that several people mentioned how it was the first week where they really did not like any of the teams. The Lions as the top play only produced five fantasy points, while the Patriots produced six and the Colts produced four. The only play that you could argue worked out was the 49ers. They produced eight fantasy points, but at a bargain bin price point, this play could have worked out. That being said, if you did not have the Falcons, it was tough to finish real high in GPPs this week. I ended up on one share of the Falcons for the week. For some reason I decided to put together a cash team last, and with already having shares of the Lions, Vikings, and 49ers in my GPPs, the Falcons price just fit in that team.

Defenses that Fit the Criteria

At Home, Favored and Opponent Team Total of 21 points or less

Before we get into the picks this week, I just wanted to point out the Seahawks, who play on Thursday night. I do not highlight Thursday games in this article, but this game has the lowest team total I have ever seen by 3-4 points. The Rams are projected to score under 12 points in this game. They also are giving up the most fantasy points in the NFL to opposing defenses. If you are playing the slate that includes this game, it’s hard to not try to jam the Seahawks into your lineup. That being said, there are a lot of other good options this week.

Top Plays

Buffalo Bills ($5,100 FD, $3,700 DK)
Opponent: Cleveland at Home
Spread: -10
Team Total: 15.75
Fantasy Pts Allowed: 10.69 (third highest)

There are a lot of options this week so I will try to keep this shorter. The Bills defense has been pretty mediocre in terms of total defense and total offense but they are tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks. The main reason to like them this week is their opponent, Cleveland, who is giving up the third most fantasy points to opposing defenses. The Browns are in the bottom three in the league in both total offense and scoring offense, while giving up by far the most sacks in the NFL, and turning the ball over almost two times per game. The Bills are one of my favorite cash game and GPP plays this week.

Houston Texans ($5,000 FD, $3,800 DK)
Opponent: Jacksonville at Home
Spread: -6
Team Total: 16.75
Fantasy Pts Allowed: 8.92 (sixth highest)

The Houston defense currently ranks sixth in the NFL in total defense and 13th in scoring defense. But the reason they are a top play this week is their opponent, Jacksonville. The Jaguars are currently giving up the sixth most points per game to opposing defenses, at just under nine points per game. Jacksonville is in the bottom third of the league in both total offense and scoring offense while turning the ball over the third most in the NFL, with 25 turnovers. Blake Bortles has accounted for 19 of those and is always a good target for opposing defenses. This is a situation where I would probably take Houston on FanDuel and Buffalo on DraftKings for the slight discount.

Secondary Options

Baltimore Ravens ($4,700 FD, $3,100 DK)
Opponent: Philadelphia at Home
Spread: -6
Team Total: 17.75
Fantasy Pts Allowed: 6.38 (19th highest)

Baltimore is a top four defense this year in both total defense and scoring defense. They also are tied for the NFL lead with 25 takeaways. Their opponent this week, Philadelphia, was very stingy to defenses earlier in the year. This is why they currently are ranked 19th in giving up fantasy points to opposing defenses. That has changed over the last four games where Carson Wentz has turned the ball over eight times and has been sacked 11 times. I think Baltimore makes a strong play this week, and could even be in cash game consideration of their price on DraftKings.

Kansas City Chiefs ($4,500 FD, $3,400 DK)
Opponent: Tennessee at Home
Spread: -5.5
Team Total: 18.25
Fantasy Pts Allowed: 6.92 (15th highest)

The Chiefs defense has had a bend but don’t break mentality this season, giving up a lot of yards, but ranking eighth best in scoring defense. This is mainly because they are tied for the league lead in takeaways with 25. They are extremely hot right now scoring double digit fantasy points in 9 of their last 11 games. The reason they are not a top play this week is that their matchup this week is a neutral one, as Tennessee is giving up the 15th most fantasy points to opposing defenses. That being said, I think you can ride the hot hand in GPPs this week.

New York Giants ($4,600 FD, $2,900 DK)
Opponent: Detroit at Home
Spread: -4
Team Total: 18.5
Fantasy Pts Allowed: 5.00 (25th highest)

The Giants defense struggled a little bit the first six weeks of the season, but they have come on strong since then. They have averaged 12 fantasy points per game over their last seven weeks. Even more impressive, over their last three weeks they have 12 sacks and eight turnovers, and they just held a strong Dallas offense to seven points scored on Monday night. The Lions are not the best matchup, but they also rank in the bottom half of the league in both total offense and scoring offense, while giving up over two sacks per game. The Giants make a nice GPP play this week, especially on DraftKings.

Atlanta Falcons ($4,900 FD, $3,900 DK)
Opponent: San Francisco at Home
Spread: -13.5
Team Total: 19.00
Fantasy Pts Allowed: 7.62 (10th highest)

I originally thought the Falcons might be very popular this week coming off a week where they scored 26 fantasy points and now facing the 49ers. But it looks like both sites priced them up this week which is why I consider them a secondary play. The Falcons have also been average to below average in most defensive categories this season. This play is mostly just going against the 49ers offense and riding the hot hand of the Falcons. The 49ers are giving up the tenth most fantasy points to opposing defenses and are a bottom ten offense in most categories. I will likely not have many shares of Atlanta considering the price, but they are a GPP play this week.

Dallas Cowboys ($4,800 FD, $2,700 DK)
Opponent: Tampa Bay at Home
Spread: -7
Team Total: 19.50
Fantasy Pts Allowed: 6.77 (17th highest)

The Cowboys come in as my least favorite option of the week that “fit the criteria.” Dallas does have a top five scoring defense this year and have created four turnovers over the last two weeks. But their opponent this week, Tampa, has been pretty stingy to opposing defenses, giving up only the 17th most fantasy points to opposing defenses. I will likely look elsewhere but Dallas is at home as pretty healthy favorites here.

Minnesota Vikings ($4,500 FD, $3,500 DK)
Opponent: Indianapolis at Home
Spread: -4
Team Total: 20.25
Fantasy Pts Allowed: 6.92 (13th highest)

The Vikings defense continues to lead the NFL in scoring defense and they also are second in total defense. The Vikings are also currently third in the NFL in sacks and they’ve picked up 13 of those sacks in the last 4 weeks. Their opponent this week, Indianapolis, is tied for second in the NFL for the most sacks allowed. So this matchup has one of the best pass rushes in the NFL against an offensive line giving up a lot of sacks. For this reason, I think Minnesota makes an interesting GPP play this week, and they should be low owned.

Other Defense to Target

The defenses that fit the criteria already touched on eight teams above who fit my favorite defenses for the week. I do not expect to have shares of any other teams in GPP’s this week at this time but will update the article later as needed.

About the Author

  • Craig Snyder (Stewburtx8)

  • Craig “Stewburtx8” Snyder is a long-time Daily Fantasy player and RotoGrinders member. Craig grinds all major sports, including College Basketball and College Football. Stewburtx8 is a 2012 FanDuel DFBC Finalist.

  • telestraightshooter

    The best Value again, and for the last 4 weeks…. is what a Pirate would sell corn for – BuckAnEar

  • Kleppy12

    @telestraightshooter said...

    The best Value again, and for the last 4 weeks…. is what a Pirate would sell corn for – BuckAnEar

    Possibly on DK but not on FD, Dallas has the third best O-line in adjusted sack rate and the Bucs are 20th in D-line adjusted sack rate so there most likely won’t be a lot of sacks. Dallas is also 7th in turnovers on the year, the Bucs are first in takeaways but that still means Dallas will limit their chances of getting a turnover. I think Minnesota is clearly the best value on FD, in my opinion, being only $200 more than the Bucs and going against one of the worst O-lines in football with one of the better D-lines in football and a team in Minnesota that is 8th in takeaways and Indy is league average in giveaways. Again on DK you’re probably right since the Bucs are dirt cheap over there.

  • darkknight007

    • Blogger of the Month

    my sleeper defense this week is the steelers. my research has opened my eyes to them. they have allowed the least points (50) in the past 4 weeks along with 18 sacks, 6 interceptions and have scored about 10 DK points per week. their $2,800 price on DK is beautiful and the ownership report from chris gimino has them around 3% owned. like clockwork and a little abracadabra, they were in my lineup.

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