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.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
CREAM OF THE CROP
Broncos $3000 – Indianapolis has not been great this year and a lot of that has to do with Andrew Luck not being as great as people expected. The Broncos D on the other hand has been great. I do not care who they play, $3000 is way too cheap. They absolutely shut down the high powered Packers offense last week. They were able to hold Rodgers to only 50 yards passing. Go ahead and check the game logs, I almost did not believe it myself, but after watching the game rewind, it was clear that this defense is something special. They are only allowing 13 points a game, limited opponents to 179 passing yards in the process. They have 29 sacks and 17 takeaways in 7 games so far and are averaging 16 fantasy points per contest. They are mispriced here with 9 teams ahead of them in terms of salary and when you get a gift like that, you have to take it.
Falcons $3400 – Atlanta is favored in a game with a low total here. More importantly, they are playing an offense in shambles. Kaepernick was benched for Blaine Gabbert. Hyde, Bush, and Mike Davis are all hurt which leaves San Fran with Kendall Gaskins as the only healthy back left. They went out and signed both Rueben Draughns and Pierre Thomas and both may actually have to play this week too. Anquan Boldin is banged up and may be out, which weakens the WR crew. Oh, and they traded TE Vernon Davis to the Broncos as well. Torrey Smith is now the only skill player on the field who has seen any decent amount of snaps so far this season. It’s not like Atlanta has been the best defense in the world. In fact you can almost make a case for the opposite, but with this much turnover on San Fran, they are in a great spot to take advantage of the 9ers and put this game away early. If they get a lead and force Gabbert to throw, we could see multiple sacks and picks which could add up pretty quickly.
Bengals $3200 – One of the big theme’s after the injury barrage we saw last week is going to be picking on back up QBs. Johnny Manziel is one of those guys we should look to target against. Cincy is a big favorite at home in this one. Their defense has been pretty solid as it is in the middle to the bottom part of the league for fantasy points allowed to every position. Cleveland has been unable to really get the run game going, which has led to the success in the passing game they have seen recently. That success was with McCown back there, so we will have to see if it carries over to Manziel. Cincy is favored and should get the lead. Manziel had a lot of turnovers in week 1 against the Jets when he came on in relief and I could see that happening again here.
MIDDLE OF THE PACK
Jaguars $2800 – It pains me to say this, but the Jags are in a great spot this week against my New York Jets. Brandon Marshall is banged up and doubtful. Both Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick also picked up knocks on Sunday. The Jets may actually have to start former Baylor QB and NFL rookie Bryce Petty in this one. Even if Fitz plays, he has a finger issue that makes it tough for him to grip the ball and he may be without his #1 WR option. Sure he still has Decker, but the rest of the WR core is weak so teams will look to bracket Decker and force whoever is throwing the passes to go elsewhere. The Jets D looked bad last weekend too, so if the Jags can get a score or two early and force the Jets to give up the run, it could get really ugly if you ask Petty or a banged up Fitz to throw 40 times. The Jags are coming off a 4 sack, 4 turnover game as well and the defense is playing as well as they have all year. It’s strictly a GPP play for me, but one that has more upside than the Jet fan in me wants to admit.
Giants ($2700) – Seeing the Giants this high up after the spanking New Orleans gave them last week might seem crazy, but Jameis Winston is no Drew Brees and this Tampa Offense is really hurting. Vincent Jackson is likely out, Mike Evans is banged up but will likely play, and we are looking for Austin Sefarian-Jenkins to go, but he is not 100% yet either. That means every starting pass catcher for Winston is not playing at 100%. Winston has been better lately, but they are protecting him and limiting him more. After throwing an average of 34 times over the first four games, he has now thrown it an average of 26 over the last three. If the Giants can get a lead and force them to have to throw, we could see him revert to the guy throwing multiple picks a game as he tries to lead his team back with a banged up group of pass catchers.
Patriots ($3300) – I want to start this by saying I do not think the Patriots have a very good defense, but that doesn’t really matter here. What matters is whether or not they can score fantasy points and this defense is always in a position to do that. The ideal situation for a fantasy defense is having a lead, so they can force the other team to be in predictable passing situations. That allows a defense to bring pressure and hopefully force a sack or a turnover. Sacks and Turnovers are the bread and butter of big fantasy scores, so this is what we look for. The Patriots offense is so good at putting up points and getting the defense into these situations that they are always going to be worth considering. This is especially true when they play a QB like Cousins who has been interception prone. If New England gets a lead and Cousins has to drop back 40-50 times, they will have a ton of chances to make some plays and rack up some fantasy points.
REST OF THE FIELD
Jets ($3100) – Some might think this is a little bit low for the Jets, but maybe that is just the cynical Jets fan in me. After the beating Oakland put on them through the air and on the ground I can not move them much higher up the list. They are home, they are favored, and they are still one of the better defenses based on statistical evidence, but they looked bad last week. They did not stop the run, they could not defend the pass and I am just a little worried about the field position battle if the injuries force a lot of the offensive starters to miss this one. I know they are showing up as a top option and a good match up, but I would be very worried if they were my cash game pay. Save the $100 and take the Broncos and you will feel much better about your chances.
Saints ($2200) – We have six teams on bye this week and some tough match ups for some of the better defenses, so it’s not easy to pick good upside plays after the top 4 or 5 here. The Saints got torched last week against the Giants, but are a big favorite at home here against a much weaker Tennessee offense. At full strength I would still not love the titans offensive weapons, but with Douglas and Wright likely out and Marriota banged up, the prospects for the Saints do improve. Mettenberger is solid so I’m not worried there and many think Green-Beckham is the most talented WR anyway and an upgrade over Douglas. I do think the Saints get a lead and force the Titans into predictable passing situations though and that could lead to some fantasy points. The $2200 price tag is one of the lowest on the day too, so there is reason to be optimistic that they can pay it off.