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:
- Seattle Seahawks: $3,300 DraftKings; $4,200 FanDuel
- Baltimore Ravens: $3,000 DraftKings; $5,000 FanDuel
The Seahawks are an interesting tournament option with an 86% Leverage Rating on DraftKings. Their pass-rush is slightly below average, ranking 20th in pressure rate and 18th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, but they’ll be up against a 49ers offensive line that ranks 24th in adjusted sack rate. The Seahawks’ 2.7 sack projection is the second-highest mark on the main slate while the 49ers are implied for just 19.75 points.
Historically, defenses against teams that are implied for 21 or fewer points have averaged a +1.03 DraftKings Plus/Minus.
The Ravens will square off against a turnover-prone Jameis Winston, who currently has a 4.4% interception rate, the highest of his career. But since he was benched against the Giants, he’s thrown just one interception over the past three games. Still, the Bucs are implied for a paltry 19.25 points, and they’ll be up against a Ravens defense that ranks fifth in pressure rate and is allowing a league-low 4.7 yards per play.
The Ravens are the most expensive defense on FanDuel, but they’re only $3,000 on DraftKings, resulting in a 94% Bargain Rating.
Shoot the Gap
Atlanta Falcons ($2,700 DraftKings; $4,000 FanDuel): The Falcons have a non-existent pass rush, ranking 24th in adjusted sack rate and 30th in pressure rate, but they could be a viable punt option if you need the salary on DraftKings. Their +1.81 Projected Plus/Minus on DraftKings leads all defenses, and they’ll be facing an Arizona team that boasts a +6.9 Opponent Plus/Minus — another slate-high mark. Home favorite defenses with comparable salaries have historically averaged a +1.78 Plus/Minus on DraftKings (per our Trends tool).
Jacksonville Jaguars ($3,400 DraftKings; $4,800 FanDuel): The Jaguars will take on a Redskins team that’s implied for an absurdly low 14.25 points. Per our Trends tool, defenses that are squaring off against offenses with comparable implied team totals have averaged 12.49 DraftKings points per game with a high +3.26 Plus/Minus.
Minnesota Vikings ($3,100 DraftKings; $3,900 FanDuel): The Vikings match-up well with the Dolphins since Minnesota ranks eighth in pressure rate and second in adjusted sack rate. Meanwhile, the Dolphins have the sixth-lowest scoring rate, and their offensive line ranks 28th in adjusted sack rate. Historically, home favorite defenses with comparable 7-point spreads have averaged a +1.44 FanDuel Plus/Minus. The Vikings are a better value on FanDuel where they have an 82% Bargain Rating.
Chicago Bears ($2,900 DraftKings; $3,700 FanDuel): The Bears’ pressure rate (34%) and sacks per game (3.08) are top seven marks in the field. They’re set up well as 6-point home favorites against the Packers (see live odds here), and they’re the only defense on the main slate with a sack projection above 3.0. Historically, home favorite defenses with comparable sack projections have averaged a solid +1.86 Plus/Minus on FanDuel.
Buffalo Bills ($2,800 DraftKings; $4,200 FanDuel): The Bills are in play as a salary-relief option against a Lions team implied for just 18 points in Buffalo. While the Bills have a mediocre pass-rush, they’ve been incredibly stingy on defense, allowing just 4.8 yards per play — a mark that trails only the Ravens and is tied with the Bears. Meanwhile, the Lions have just four offensive touchdowns over the past three games.
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Pictured above: Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter
Photo credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports