The Defenses and Special Teams Breakdown offers data-driven analysis for each week’s main NFL slate. For more of our weekly football content, visit our NFL homepage.
Sky’s the Limit
Here are the top two D/STs per our median projections:
- Los Angeles Chargers: $3,400 DraftKings; $4,600 FanDuel
- Baltimore Ravens: $3,200 DraftKings; $4,200 FanDuel
The Chargers get a home game against a lackluster Broncos offense that’s implied for only 19.5 points. While the Broncos’ offensive line is average in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate (16th) and the Chargers rank 18th in pressure rate (per Sports Info Solutions), the Chargers are still averaging 2.89 sacks per game, which is the 10th-best mark in the league.
Overall, the Chargers’ 2.7 sack projection is the second-highest mark on the main slate. Teams that are favored by more than a touchdown — the Chargers are 7.5-point favorites as of writing (see live odds here) — have historically scored well, averaging a +1.18 DraftKings Plus/Minus (per our Trends tool).
With Joe Flacco (hip) uncertain for Sunday, the Bengals-Ravens matchup isn’t on the board. However, it’s hard to envision that the Bengals will have a high implied total in a road game against a formidable Ravens defense — especially since Cincinnati likely struggle with A.J. Green (toe) expected to be out again.
The Ravens are a solid cash game option if you have the salary. They rank seventh in adjusted sack rate and boasts top two median and floor projections in our models.
Shoot the Gap
Arizona Cardinals ($3,100 DraftKings; $4,000 FanDuel): The Raiders will be outmatched in the trenches with an offensive line that ranks 25th in adjusted sack rate against a Cardinals defense that ranks fourth in adjusted sack rate. The Raiders have basically given up on the season and are implied for only 18.5 points this week. Defenses facing teams with comparable implied totals have averaged a +1.12 DraftKings Plus/Minus.
Washington Redskins ($2,700 DraftKings; FanDuel $3,600): The Redskins are an underdog, which should warrant some caution. However, the Texans’ offensive line ranks 31st in adjusted sack rate and Deshaun Watson has been pressured on a league-high 44.7% of his dropbacks (among qualifying quarterbacks) per Pro Football Focus.
Pittsburgh Steelers ($2,900 DraftKings; $3,800 FanDuel): Blake Bortles could be in for a long game against a Steelers defense that loves to send pressure, ranking third in pressure rate and sixth in adjusted sack rate. To make matters worse, the Jaguars put Brandon Linder (knee) on injured reserve, who was PFF’s No. 6 center in pass blocking. He had allowed only two sacks, three hits and eight pressures this season.
Be sure to check out our industry-leading NFL News and Models, along with our Multi-Lineup Builder, Stack builder, ownership projections and more. Also, make sure to check out our other tools for the 2018 season, including the Matchups page, DFS Contests Dashboard, NFL Ownership page, and NFL Correlations page.
Pictured above: Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt
Photo credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports