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.
Some defenses in Week 13 are in great spots; let's try to identify three of the best.
FanDuel Salary: $5,000
From a real-life perspective, the Cleveland D/ST has been massively disappointing. According to numberFire's metrics, they are the 28th-ranked defense overall. With all of the talent they have on that side of the ball, this is very surprising.
It's not all bad for the Cleveland Browns on defense. They are pretty effective at rushing the passer -- especially with Myles Garrett in the lineup. He's fifth in the league in sacks with 10, despite missing a game earlier in the year due to injury. The Browns should easily be able to get pressure on the quarterback in this game. They also should be able to force some takeaways, too, which is something they are the third-worst team at doing this season.
The reason for the optimism on the Browns' defense is their matchup against the Houston Texans. The Texans started Kyle Allen in Week 12, and things did not go well. Allen has a reputation for being mistake-prone, and he was this past Sunday. He threw two interceptions, fumbled twice, and took five sacks. Overall, the Texans rank 26th in adjusted sack rate, and it will be tough for their offensive line to slow down Garrett and company.
Cleveland is the highest-salaried defense on the slate, but if you have the salary, they really can rack up turnovers and sacks in this matchup, giving them great upside to be the defense you need to play in tournaments this week.
FanDuel Salary: $4,500
The Baltimore Ravens don't have the same dominant defense that they once had. It's still respectable though, ranking 14th in total defense by our numbers. This week, they get a matchup that we always like to target.
The Baltimore D/ST has been really good lately for fantasy purposes. They have recorded double-digit fantasy points in three of their last five games -- and five times overall. They are also tied for second in the NFL in takeaways with 20. The pass rush has been very effective as well, holding the sixth-best adjusted sack rate in the NFL. At home this week, they are in a perfect spot to dominate.
The Ravens host the Denver Broncos and the worst offense in the NFL by points per game. It's safe to say the Russell Wilson trade has not gone according to plan. He has struggled to stay upright; the Broncos are allowing an adjusted-sack rate of 8.9% and has thrown just eight touchdowns all season.
Kansas City Chiefs
FanDuel Salary: $3,800
A lot of the lower-salaried options on defense have basically no redeeming qualities to justify rostering them. So, we'll have to look at the Kansas City D/ST at a bit higher than the minimum. This defense was very popular last week in a better spot, but they still deserve consideration this week.
The Kansas City Chiefs are obviously thought of as an offensive team that struggles on defense, but that hasn't totally been true this year. They rank 18th in schedule-adjusted defense on the year. Surprisingly, they are one of the best teams at getting after the quarterback. They are third in pressure rate and also third in adjusted sack rate.
It's not a totally easy matchup for the Chiefs against the Cincinnati Bengals this week. The one thing we can point to is the matchup between the offensive line and the defensive line. The Bengals and Joe Burrow allow a lot of sacks. 35 on the season is the fourth-most allowed in the league. Burrow also can sometimes be careless with the ball; we saw him throw four interceptions in Week 1.
Targeting defenses in high-scoring games makes more sense than people think because that should mean more passing plays and more opportunities for the defenses to score fantasy points. Kansas City is a fun value option that you can use in Week 13.
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.