This is a list of the top Defense targets for NFL games based on potential production and price. The teams are split into three tiers based on likelihood of success. Remember that these rankings take potential production and price into account, so some teams may be higher up on the list despite having a lower projected score if the price point is favorable. Here are some options to consider.
CREAM OF THE CROP
Pittsburgh Steelers ($3100) – Pittsburgh’s defense has been it’s achillies heel all season long. They are stout against the run, but teams have passed all over them in 2015. You might think that makes zero sense that they would be up on the top rung of the rankings ladder, but that just shows you how bad the Ravens have been. Matt Schaub is every DBs wet dream. He has been in the Christmas spirit for weeks as he has gift wrapped four pick 6s since taking over the starting role a few weeks ago. The lone bright spot remaining for the Ravens was Javorious “Buck” Allen. He was also benched last week as well, so that only goes to show how big of a mess this team is on offense right now. Pittsburgh should throw it all over the Ravens, so they will likely be playing with a lead. Give a good defense a lead and the ability to make the opposition one dimensional and that should lead to some increased sack numbers and rushed throws. Rushed throws turn into turnovers and potential scores, so their is no reason shy away from a team that is allowing fantasy opponents to put up double digits on a weekly basis at this points in the year.
Seattle Seahawks ($4300) – The Seahawks are playing much better football and have one of the toughest home stadiums in the league. They are a huge 13 point favorite in a game with only 40 points expected by Vegas, which is one of the lowest totals we have seen all season. It makes sense as well, because St. Louis wants to pound the run with Gurley. That is all good and well, but they have struggled when forced to throw the ball in predictable situations this year. Seattle’s offense is clicking and the chances they can force the Rams to give up on the run late in a game are real. If that happens, they have a great pass rush and ball hawking defenders behind them. It could lead to an absolutely horrible game from the Rams offense in this one.
Kansas City Chiefs ($4200) – This is the hottest defense we have in the league right now. In fact they have been playing better since Smith returned from suspension in week 5. He and the rookie Peters have done a great job on the outside. KC is a blitz happy defense as well, but they have the personnel to do it successfully. They have 52 fantasy points over the last three weeks and now welcome in a Cleveland Browns team that allowed the second most points all season to fantasy defenses. When you take one of the highest scoring defenses that are on a roll and match them up with an offense that has underperformed all year, you get the recipe for a nice fantasy upside game, so matter who the QB for this Browns team is.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
Denver Broncos ($3400) – If you told me two weeks ago I would be taking the Broncos against this Cincy offense, I would not have believed you. Fast forward from a Dalton thumb injury and put AJ McCarron under center on the road and we got something to discuss now. Cincy played San Fran last week and relied heavily on the ground game in order to get that victory. I do not think they will have an easy time beating Denver at Denver with just a ground attack. The Broncos have been good in all aspects of the defensive game this season, and the backup Cincy offense mustered under 250 yards total in the last game. All the WRs take a hit, Eifert is questionable, and the two headed running attack seems to be split with one guy getting TD chances near the goal line and the other being a bigger part of the offense and seeing more snaps from 20 to 20 now. The Broncos are favored, home, and desperate for a win. None of that is bad for them in fantasy terms.
Houston Texans ($2800) – Marcus Marriota is injured and Zach Mettenberger is going to get the start. Mettenberger has played a few times this year and has thrown 5 interceptions already for an average of 1 every 16 pass attempts. He has been efficient with a completion percentage close to 70, but the interceptions are a real concern for Titans fans and have owners of the Texans defense salivating. These two teams met early in the season and the Texans D put up a monster stat line in that one. They only allowed 211 total yards with 7 sacks, one interception, and 2 fumble recoveries. Mettenberger was the QB for that game as well, so we have some precedent to look for a good game here.
BEST OF THE REST
Miami Dolphins ($2700) – Miami has not played very well lately overall, but they have a good setup in this game. The Miami D has been getting toasted in the secondary, but I’m not sure Indy can do that to them here. They stubbornly want to keep rolling out a banged up Matt Hasselback who is clearly playing hurt. He is barely completing 50% of his passes over the last two weeks and the offense looks horrendous. Any pass over ten yards is a serious contender to be picked off. It almost feels like nothing but the short passing game is going to work at all for Indy. That severly limits the playbook and the plays they can run. It also makes TY Hilton basically ineffective. Miami does have some pass rushers, so they could wind up getting a few sacks and picks at a cheap price.
Detroit Lions ($2800) – This is my low owned sneaky play for this week. Nothing about the numbers really stands out to point to the Lions D, but they are favored, at home, and playing better lately. The real reason I like them has more to do with their opponents lack of ability to move the ball. The 49ers look bad right now. Gabbert has not thrown for more than one TD in any of his recent starts, the offense is not putting up points or moving the ball, and the completion percentage is below 60. The Lions have found some more success on offense recently, so they should have a lead here against a 49ers D that stinks away from home. That should lead to the 49ers having to abandon the run and if so, the Lions D should be able to pressure Gabbert and force some sacks and interceptions.