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.
MORE NFL POSITIONAL TARGETS FOR WEEK 17
CREAM OF THE CROP
Cincinnati Bengals ($3300) – The Bengals need to win this game to stay in the playoff hunt. They get a great matchup against a Ravens team that we have all been targeting for the last few weeks. The Ravens have a bunch of QB options and Ryan Mallet is likely the one to get the nod here. Mallet played well last week as he broke his streak of four straight starts with an interception. That was against a Steelers defense that everyone is passing on. He will find things much tougher here today against a very solid Bengals D that has been averaging near 12 fantasy points per game lately. They are averaging 2.5 sacks and 2 takeaways per game while allowing less than 14 points over the last five games. The Bengals have something to play for here, so I can not imagine they will not be motivated to stop an offense that has been very stoppable lately. they should have a lead, which will lead to them being able to pin their ears back and go after the QB. That should lead to a big fantasy score and a solid day for them.
Carolina Panthers ($3600) – Despite having only one loss, the Panthers still have home field advantage to play for and that would require a win. They face a Tampa Bay team that has actually been pretty solid on the offensive end. This defense has been unbelievable all season long though and Tampa’s offense has been middle of the pack on it’s best days. Carolina is at home, a big favorite, and expected to give up 20 points or less. They are averaging over 2 sacks, 2 turnovers, and 10 fantasy points per game. They are going to play to win and should have a lead. Both of those things are positive for their chances to put up some fantasy points.
Kansas City ($4000) – The Chiefs D has been money in the bank since Sean smith came back from suspension in week 5. That aggressive blitzing defense has returned double digit fantasy points in 8 of their last 11 contests. In the last four weeks they have recorded 11 sacks, 7 interceptions, a fumble recovery and given up less than 13 points per game. They have scored 60 fantasy points over the last four weeks. They face an Oakland offense that is talented, but has nothing to play for here. The Chiefs are in the playoffs, but can still win the division if they get a win and a Broncos loss. The Chiefs are almost a touchdown favorite at 6.5 and the total has dropped down to 43 in this one. Those are both solid signs that the Chiefs are expected to dominate in this game and that would be great for their fantasy score.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
Denver Broncos ($4000) – The Broncos are another team that needs a win to secure their division and playoff birth. This has been a great year for them overall on the defensive side of the ball. It is no surprise that they are the highest priced defense on the day. They have averaged over 3 sacks and 1.5 turnovers per game. They have given up less than 17 points per game over the last five while also giving up less than 270 total yards per game. They do face a high upside San Diego offense that is pass happy, but that plays into the strength of this defense and their chances for fantasy points. Rivers has a suspect line and this pass defense is littered with pro bowl bound players with a lot of upside. They should be able to get sacks and picks here, which would give them a really solid score on the day.
Dallas Cowboys ($2100) – The Cowboys are one of the cheapest defenses on the day, so you might be wondering why I would choose them as an option. That has to do with their opponent and the motivation they have. Washington is in the playoffs already and can not move up in their positioning. That puts them in a position where they have nothing to play for. They are the one team that I can definitely see resting many of their starters. Sure we might see them for a few series, but by halftime I would be shocked if any of the starters on either side of the ball are still playing. That means the Cowboys starters on defense will likely be going up against the backup lineman, wide Receivers, and even QB for most if not all of this game. At $2100, I think this is a great spot to take a GPP flyer on a defense that should be in a solid spot.
BEST OF THE REST
St. Louis Rams ($3000) – St. Louis and San Francisco play a meaningless game with the lowest overall total by far at only 37.5. San Fran has actually been pretty good lately on both sides of the ball at home, but St. Louis has been pretty solid as well. They are favored by 3.5 here and should have a lead. The Rams pass D is pretty good and they tend to control the clock with the run and build on any lead they do get. That means if they get ahead, we should see them pound Gurley and rely on that stingy D to go after the QB and force some turnovers. Last week they went on the road to Seattle and held the Seahawks to 17 points. They had 4 sacks and 3 turnovers in that game too and face a much weaker offense this week in San Francisco. If they can go on the road and hang 17 on the Seahawks, I have no trouble believing they can put up a big number against the 49ers too.
Arizona Cardinals ($3300) – The Cardinals saw a pretty solid price drop this week. I know they face a Seattle team that has been good on offense lately, but this defense has been unreal too. They put up a monster 30+ fantasy point game last week and now face a team that has a suspect offensive line and has given up some huge fantasy scores to opposing defenses this year. The Seahawks may still hang up 30 real life points in this game, but the number of sacks they allow and the turnovers they give up will offset the pure scoring side of the fantasy point equation. No one is talking about the Cardinals this week, but a win and a Panthers loss would give them home field advantage. Seattle is playoff bound too, so there is also a chance they will rest some of their players, because their upside with a win is not that much better. If this game was in week 14 I would not have the Cards as high on the list, but with the importance of playoff seeding on the line, I do think they are a viable and overlooked option this week.