Simply put, the price distribution of defense/special teams units from top to bottom is narrow. Excluding the highest priced Seahawks at $4,100, the spread between the next highest (Houston) and lowest (Dallas) is $1,100. This week, that’s the difference between Drew Brees and Carson Palmer.
So do you select a defense first or last? Do you look for the best opportunity for points or do you grab whoever is left with your remaining budget? That’s up to you, both strategies are valid. Below is a quick rundown of Week 2 defenses to consider from top to bottom.
$3,500 – Texans (@ OAK) – Despite the loss of Jadeveon Clowney for 4-6 weeks, Houston still has J.J. Watt and one of the NFL’s top cover corners Johnathan Joseph. They held RG3 and the Skins to 6 points last week and there’s no reason to expect a different performance against rookie QB Derek Carr. Look for Houston to pressure Carr, force turnovers, and match their 2013 win total of 2 games.
$3,200 – Patriots (@ MIN) – The Vikings have deactivated Adrian Peterson. With no proven backup running back threat, the Pats will key in on Cordarrelle Patterson while Darrelle Revis frustrates Greg Jennings. Underrated 6’3” cover linebacker Jamie Collins will likely draw the Kyle Rudolph assignment with help from the secondary. In his first game against his former team, Matt Cassel may be forced to hold the ball too long as he checks through his options, leaving the door open for Chandler Jones to enjoy a multi-sack day. This should be a low scoring game, for the Vikings. Julian Edelman is also a threat to return a punt for a TD.
$3,200 – Buccaneers (vs. STL) – The Bucs are coming off of a poor defensive performance at home vs. the Cam-less Panthers. Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy was the only Buc to take down veteran QB Derek Anderson, who managed the game well throwing for 230 yards and 2 scores with no turnovers. Tampa looks to bounce back this week against a shaky Rams offense that is struggling to find their identity on both sides of the ball. Who will lead the Rams on Sunday, Shaun Hill or Austin Davis? I don’t think it matters. Defensive minded Head Coach Lovie Smith and Coordinator Leslie Frazier should have their unit ready to play, and hopefully reward fantasy owners.
$3,200 – Packers (vs. NYJ) – We all watched Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, and the Seahawks dominate the Packers during the season opener last Thursday. It was ugly, but the Hawks seem to throw all opponents off their game when visiting CenturyLink Field. With 3 extra days to reflect and game-plan, the Pack should be ready to prove they are a playoff team when they host the Jets in their home opener. Led by Clay Matthews and newcomer Julius Peppers, Green Bay looks to have Geno Smith scrambling for his life and forcing throws. As a bonus, Randall Cobb is one of the best there is returning punts, he’s a threat to score any time he touches the ball.
$2,900 – Panthers (vs. DET) – Carolina finished 2013 as one of the top scoring defenses, and became only the second team since 1935 to not allow a first-half touchdown through its first seven games. That was last year; but still lead by one of best linebackers in the game, Luke Kuechly, the Panthers look to win again on Sunday against a Lions team that loves to throw the ball. That translates into plenty of opportunity for the front-seven to get after Matthew Stafford and chances for the secondary to make some big plays.
$2,500 – Jaguars (@ WAS) – Jacksonville put on a respectable fantasy performance against the Eagles last week despite giving up 34 points. Led by Captain Paul Posluszny, the Jags sacked Nick Foles 5 times, picked him once, and forced 2 fumbles. Let’s see what happens when they play Washington, who failed to record an offensive score last week against Houston.
$2,400 – Cowboys (@ TEN) – Dallas is the cheapest defense on DraftKings this week. They surrendered 28 points to the 49ers last Sunday with no turnovers and just 1 sack courtesy of UNC product Bruce Carter. This week they draw Tennessee on the road against suddenly hyped Jake Locker who finds himself priced the same as Russell Wilson. If you don’t believe in Jake, then Dallas at this price is worth a look.