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
Seattle Seahawks ($4100) – The Seahawks are the most expensive defense on the day, but they also have the best matchup. Sure Adrian Peterson is a beast, but the Seattle run D has been very good this year. Seattle has allowed the least amount of fantasy points to opposing running backs, the second fewest to opposing quarterbacks, and the third fewest to opposing wide receivers. Minnesota has a very weak passing game, so if the Seahawks can slow down Peterson, this could be a very easy game for them to win. Their offense is cruising along right now too and putting up some big scores. If they get a lead and force the Vikings to throw, it is likely to be game over for Teddy Bridgewater and company. Seattle has been easier to throw on this year, but they still do have a solid pass rush and Minnesota will struggle to move the ball on the ground where they will be matching their offensive strength against the defensive strength of the Seahawks. The Seahawks pass D is far superior to the Vikings passing offense and that is likely to be the key to this matchup. Seattle is in for a big day if they can get a lead, which Vegas and I both think is highly likely.
Kansas City Chiefs ($4000) – KC played Houston already this year in week 1. They were without Sean Smith who really improved this defense when he came back, yet they still managed 3 sacks, 2 turnovers, and a double digit fantasy score at a time when they were struggling on the defensive end. They are a much improved defense now and have been putting up some absolutely sick fantasy scores down the stretch. This defense is aggressive, attacking, and blitz happy. The corners and linebackers all cover well, so there is no real easy way to attack them. Through the last four weeks of the season they averaged 15 fantasy points per game, while also limiting their opponents to no more than 14 real life points scored in any of those contests. Houston will be forced to pass against them as they have a very weak run game. This one has the lowest total on the board for a reason, and this defense is a big part of that reason. KC should have a lead in this one, despite being on the road. Houston likes to throw it a ton anyway, and that plays right into the hands of this ball hawking defense. I would expect some sacks here and an interception or two. $4000 is not cheap, but can you really argue against paying up with how good this defense has been in 2015?
Middle of the Pack
Pittsburgh Steelers ($3700) – The Steelers are on the road in the highest total game on the board. They have not been great on the defensive side of the ball this year, but they were good in both games against the Bengals this year. They only allowed 16 and 20 points in those 2 contests. They gave up about 540 yards through the air and only 140 on the ground. The passing game is where Cincy did the most damage, but they are likely to be playing without their starting QB ANDY Dalton in this one too. They scored 26 fantasy points in those two games, returning double digits in both. They came away with six sacks and five interceptions which are both really solid numbers here. The Steelers offense is pretty high powered, which forces other teams to have to throw to match them on the scoreboard. The Steelers are favored, so if they can get a lead and force Cincy to be one dimensional, I think they could put up some good numbers against a young QB in a big game. McCarron started against them last time and was forced to throw it more then he was in any other game. The Results were two interceptions and a Pittsbrgh win, so the recent history is squarely in Pittsburgh’s favor.
Cincinnati Bengals ($3200) – The Bengals defense has been really solid all year. The problem is they have not been great for fantasy purposes. They averaged about 2.5 sacks and 1.5 turnovers per game. They looked really good in the first matchup against the Steelers as they limited Pittsburgh to 10 points and picked off Big Ben three times. In the recent matchup, Big Ben picked them apart. He was 30 of 39 for 280 yards. They relied heavily on the run that game, but might not be able to do that this week if DeAngelo Williams is indeed out. Big Ben could be forced to pass more, but is that really a good thing for the Bengals? It will help them have a higher floor and ceiling because of potential sacks and interceptions, but it may also allow the high powered pass attack of the Steelers to gain some ground here. I can honestly see this game going either way. Cincy’s pass D has been good, but so has Pittsburgh’s pass offense. The probable game script does call for a good amount of passing from both teams, so I think they both have a chance to put up a decent score here.
Rest of the Field
Houston Texans ($3900) – The Texans D is playing much better than they were in week 1 when KC hung up 27 on them and they finished with a whopping 2 fantasy points. While they are much better now, they do not have a good game script on their side. KC likes to run the ball and will try to do that early and often. Running plays very rarely generate points for opposing defenses, so this is not the spot we would want to roll them out. Houston is at home, which is a positive, but they still are the underdogs here. If KC has success running the ball and gets a lead, they will continue to do so late in the game to milk the clock. Alex Smith may not be a top 5 QB, but he is very efficient and rarely ever turns the ball over. No Turnovers and a run heavy game plan severely limits any potential upside the Texans may have. Other than being home and having that JJ Watt guy, I can not make much of an argument about why you should roll them out this weekend. They probably will not even be that low owned, so where is the upside? They are expensive and have one of the worst game scripts to go on here.
Minnesota Vikings ($3000) – The Vikings defense is one of the more disrespected ones in all of football. Yes they are a run heavy team and that helps keep the defense fresh, but the defense has actually carried the offense for much of this season. This is especially true of what has happened down the stretch here. The defense had 14 sacks and 7 turnovers in the last 3 weeks of the season for a huge 46 fantasy points. Those numbers need to be respected from any defense. The problem here is that they have also been lit up a few times for big games and one of those happened to be against this same Seattle team. In week 13, we saw Seattle hand over 400 yards of offense and 38 points up against the Vikings and the offense is playing even better now than they did in that game. Again here the Vikings do have home field advantage, which is a plus for any defense. The Total is somewhat low though and they are an underdog, so they may be trailing late. Russ Wilson has the confidence of a good game against this defense already under his belt, and he also has the confidence of playing like the best QB in the game over the last few weeks of the season. With Marshawn Lynch also expected back, the Seahawks offense will be at full strength and that is not a good sign for this Vikings D.
Washington Redskins ($3300) – The Redskins do not have a dominate defense by any stretch of the imagination. They have the worst record of any team in the playoffs and only made it because the rest of their division wanted to win even less than they did. They have the lowest number of sacks of any team playing this weekend with only 38, so they are not likely to pick up fantasy points that way. Aaron Rodgers has thrown a few more picks this year, but he is not a guy who throws a lot of them with only 8 in 572 attempts this year. In fact he only had one game all year with more than one, so you really can not count on those either. This game could go either way, so they are not guaranteed to be leading and forcing the Packers to throw it late. Green Bay also has one of the higher team totals on the day, so they are no locks to get bonus points for keeping the oppositions points scored low. It is tough to make any kind of upside case for them here, so I can not see them being the top scoring defense on the day. It would take a fluky TD return from the defense or the special teams in order to have them be the top scoring fantasy defense and you really can not count on that for anything other than a flyer in a GPP.
Green Bay Packers ($2900) – they are the cheapest defense on the day which is probably the best thing you can say about them. They are currently a 1 point dog and on the road, neither of which is good for their fantasy upside. Washington’s offense has come alive lately too, so this is no easy matchup for them. Green Bay generated the least amount of turnovers of any team left alive in the NFL. When the offense is humming, they were able to pin their ears back and finish games, but the offense is not as high powered as it has been in years past. Others are much higher on them then I am this week. The argument for using them centers around Kirk Cousins turnover prone past, but he has now thrown 14 touchdowns and only one pick in his last six games started. Washington will also continue to rely heavily on the run here, so that will limit the scoring chances for this fantasy defense. Throw in the fact this offense has been putting up really good numbers and scoring a lot of points recently and it is tough to see where the upside will come from here. As stated with the Washington D, this game can go either way and you really can not count on either team to be the top scoring defense on this slate.