The Defenses and Kickers Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s main NFL slate. For more of our weekly football content, visit our NFL homepage.
2 1.5 Defenses
Seattle is the highest-priced defense on FanDuel but third-most expensive on DraftKings. Pittsburgh is the highest-priced defense on DraftKings but fourth-highest on FanDuel. The New York Giants are the second-highest priced team on DraftKings but are the fourth-cheapest defense on FanDuel. Pricing on defenses this week is wild. Per the Trends tool, so far this season defenses with a salary of at least $3,500 on DraftKings (25 teams) have averaged 8.20 points with a +1.68 Plus/Minus, while defenses with a salary of at least $4,800 on FanDuel (25 teams) have averaged 7.32 points with a +0.01 Plus/Minus. Early in the season, paying up for defenses has been much more valuable on DraftKings.
- Seattle ($3,500 DraftKings, $5,100 FanDuel)
- Pittsburgh ($3,900 DraftKings, $4,800 FanDuel)
Let’s swim move.
Legion of Boom
Hump has been to several Seattle Seahawks home games, and I can report that the stadium is abnormally loud when the opposing team has the football. That’s awesome and all, but the Seahawks’ defense plays in Los Angeles against the Rams as one-point underdogs in one of our Games of the Week this week. According to the Trends tool, Seattle’s defense has actually been good when playing as road dogs: They’ve averaged a +0.75 Plus/Minus on DraftKings and a +1.34 Plus/Minus on FanDuel. In a limited number of division games played as road dogs, they have crushed, averaging 15.67 points with a +7.06 Plus/Minus on DraftKings and 15.67 points with a +7.84 Plus/Minus on FanDuel. The Seahawks currently have the highest projected sack total (3.4) in our NFL Models.
Per Pro Football Reference, through the first four games of the season, 34.0 percent of opponent drives have resulted in a score (tied for 13th) against Seattle, while just 8.5 percent of drives have ended in an offensive turnover (18th). The Seahawks have compiled three interceptions and nine sacks so far this season. With the Rams’ offense gaining 384 yards per game (fifth-best) and leading the league in points scored (35.5 points per game), Seattle will need to create some turnovers to return value in this game.
The Steel Curtain
Per our Models, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the highest sack percentage (9.56 percent), eighth-best touchdown allowed percentage (3.77 percent), and ninth-highest interception percentage (2.79 percent) in the main slate. Pittsburgh is currently a slate-high 8.5-point favorite at home against the Jaguars and Blake Bortles, who has thrown three interceptions and been sacked just three times through four games this season. Per the Trends tool, when favored by seven to 10 points at home, the Steelers have averaged 10.0 points with a +2.64 Plus/Minus on DraftKings and 10.0 points with a +2.71 Plus/Minus on FanDuel.
The Jaguars have allowed the seventh-most DraftKings (29.1) and third-most FanDuel points per game (25.9) to RBs this season, so pairing the resurgent Le’Veon Bell with the Steelers defense could be a sharp move this week according to our NFL Correlations page.
Bump and Run
Jam ’em at the line.
New York Jets ($3,000 DraftKings, $4,300 FanDuel): The No. 1 rated defense in the Adam Levitan Model for FanDuel, the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets currently have the sixth-highest points projection (7.4) and 10th-highest projected ceiling (13.8) on the slate. They’re at home in a pick’em game against Cleveland — who has allowed the third-highest Plus/Minus to opposing defenses (+3.9) on the slate — playing in a game with a ridiculously-low total of 39 points.
Philadelphia Eagles ($3,100 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel): Philadelphia currently has the highest projected ceiling on both DraftKings (14.2) and FanDuel (15.3), where they are the top-rated defense in the Bales Model. Projected for a very reasonable five to eight percent ownership on both sites, the Eagles are favored by 6.5 points (second-most) and have the seventh-best takeaway percentage (1.67 percent) on the slate.
Buffalo Bills ($2,600 DraftKings, $4,600 FanDuel): The sixth-cheapest defense on DraftKings’ main slate, the Bills are three-point underdogs at Cincinnati. Buffalo is tied for the sixth-highest sack projection (3.0), they have the seventh-best interception percentage (2.93 percent), and they lay claim to a 96 percent Bargain Rating. Defenses playing as one to five point road dogs have not been great, averaging a +0.08 Plus/Minus on DraftKings and a -0.17 Plus/Minus on FanDuel, but they have historically averaged less than two percent ownership in large guaranteed prize pools (GPPs), which potentially makes the Bills D/ST a sneaky tournament play this week.
The One Big Kicker
Let’s put it through the uprights.
The most-expensive kicker on FanDuel, Greg Zuerlein ($5,300) is playing for the league’s highest-scoring offense, currently implied to score 24.3 points (fifth-best). That said, his 10.7-point projection is less than the projections of 11 other kickers this week. Per the Trends tool, kickers priced at $5,000 or higher and playing at home with implied team totals between 22 and 26.6 points have produced 8.22 FanDuel points and a -0.14 Plus/Minus with 45.9 percent Consistency. In only two games that meet those parameters, Zuerlein has averaged 4.0 points with a -4.27 Plus/Minus.
The Onside Kick
Get the hands team out there.
Robbie Gould ($4,500): Priced $800 less than Zuerlein is Gould, who has perfect Consistency in 15 games over the past calendar year. The 44-point over/under in the 49ers game is currently tied for the sixth-highest total on the slate, and Gould is tied for fourth with his 11.2 projected points. Gould is projected for less than five percent ownership in GPPs.
Chris Boswell ($4,700): The No. 1 rated kicker in the CSURAM88 Model, Boswell is priced $600 less than Zuerlein this week. The Steelers are implied to score the second-most points (26.0) on the slate, and Boswell currently checks in with the seventh-highest Projected Plus/Minus (+2.89) this week. In five games playing at home as a seven to 10 point favorite, Boswell has averaged 12.20 points and a +4.18 Plus/Minus with 80.0 percent Consistency. Stacking Boswell with his Pittsburgh defense is an intriguing play this week.