DFS Roundtable: Your Defensive Portfolio

How do you plan to distribute your exposure to DST units for Week 15? Our only chalk option (Jacksonville) is wildly expensive; are they worth ponying up for, or fool's gold?

How do you plan to distribute your exposure to DST units for Week 15? Our only chalk option (Jacksonville) is wildly expensive; are they worth ponying up for, or fool's gold at $4,500 DraftKings / $5,900 FanDuel? If you believe the latter - or, if you just want to vary your ownership - then clue is in on your next two favorite DST plays for GPP lineups.

Danny Tuccitto: Are the Jaguars worth ponying up for? Yes. Are there other DSTs worth paying down for? Yes.

In answering both questions, my main considerations are the following that I've found analyzing DST profitability in tournaments:

Choose a DST at home.

Choose a DST going against an offense in the bottom quartile with respect to Vegas' implied points (IP).

Choose a DST going against a quarterback in the bottom quartile with respect to True Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (ANY/A).

Jacksonville meets all three of these criteria as they're at home against a Texans offense that has the lowest IP and will be quarterbacked by T.J. Yates, who has the fourth-worst True ANY/A on the slate.

If you don't want to pony up for the Jaguars, then the Saints are the way to go on DraftKings as they represent a $600 savings (i.e., $3,900 vs. $4,500). New Orleans also meets all three of the above criteria: They're at home against a Jets offense with the third-lowest IP and helmed by the worst quarterback on the slate per True ANY/A.

If you want to go even cheaper, there's Detroit ($3,400). The Lions host Chicago's offense, which has the eighth-worst IP and has a quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky that ranks third-worst per True ANY/A.

Chris Feery: I have three defenses that I’m keying on this week: Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, and Minnesota Vikings. It’s hard not to see sacks and turnovers a plenty in any of the three respective matchups. The choice simply comes down to how much you want to pay for it, as well as what kind of roster you can build around the selected club.

Using the Jaguars as an example, their salary makes it a little tougher to pay up at certain positions. However, there’s always some good value to be gleaned on a weekly basis, and there’s some nice affordable quarterback selections on both sites that will allow you to fit in the Jaguars with ease. On FanDuel, Nick Foles check in at the discounted price of $6,000, while Cam Newton costs an affordable $6,400 over on DraftKings. Both signal-callers bring a safe floor and GPP upside to the table, and there’s affordable stacking options to pair up with both of them to boot. The potential for multiple sacks and turnovers places the Jaguars in play on a weekly basis, and that’s especially true when they’re facing off with a signal caller such as T.J. Yates.

Baltimore and Minnesota bring similar upside to the table this week for their respective matchups against the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, two clubs that are merely playing out the string. For turnovers, I’ll give the nod to the Ravens for their date with DeShone Kizer, while the Vikings may have the edge when it comes to sacks. I’m fully comfortable rostering any one of these three selections, and my exposure percentages will be in the same neighborhood.

Jason Wood: I think it's unwise to fade Jacksonville completely, even at that price. However, we saw that Yates can throw a touchdown on occasion, so I don't think Yates at quarterback is a risk-free matchup. I would rather bet on Bryce Petty or Kizer blowing up with multiple turnovers.

My favorite defense this week is the Vikings. They're significantly cheaper than the Jaguars but get a fantastic matchup against the Bengals at home. I'm fading the Eagles. Going on the road in a division matchup with Wentz out for the season can be the kind of "how did that happen?" game script that makes playing the Eagles defense look foolish. It's impossible not to love the Ravens against the Browns. And although the Saints defense is erratic, they get the aforementioned Bryce Petty.

I'll mix my ownership between with Minnesota and Baltimore holding about 35% of my shares each, and then New Orleans and Jacksonville taking 15% each to round out my builds.

Dan Hindery: My two favorite GPP defenses this week are New Orleans and Minnesota.

The Saints match up against the Jets, who have been bleeding points to opposing defenses in recent weeks. Three of the last four opponents put up 14+ fantasy points when facing the Jets. With Petty in the starting lineup, things are only going to get worse. The Saints are massive 17-point home favorites and the game script is highly likely to lead to a lot of drop backs and desperation throws for Petty against the very talented and opportunistic Saints secondary.

The Vikings are always an excellent bet when playing at home. They are especially attractive this week as double-digit favorites against a fading Cincinnati Bengals team that looks like it may be packing it in for lame-duck coach Marvin Lewis. The Vikings talented pass rushers are likely too much for the Bengals’ mediocre offensive line to handle, which should lead to plenty of sacks and hurried throws from Andy Dalton.

Justin Bonnema: The Jaguars are absolutely the top play, and I don't think it's wise to fade them even at their price. Even if Yates weren't the quarterback, I'd still be all over the Jaguars.

I also love the Vikings. They burned me last week, but this week they get the Bengals at home. If you haven't noticed, the Bengals are terrible and as of this writing. Giovani Bernard is banged up and Joe Mixon has yet to clear concussion protocol. That's going to make it even easier to focus on A.J. Green and harass Dalton with constant pressure. I think the Vikings defense will be a popular choice by the time Sunday rolls around.

I think we can also look at Washington as a low-owned, low-priced option. They haven't been great lately on either side of the ball, but getting Blaine Gabbert at home and an offensive line that has allowed 15 sacks over their last 2 games is worth chasing.

Justin Howe: The Saints do look like the way to go; they’re in a similarly sexy boat as the Jaguars, and I have little interest in paying 9-10% of my salary for a defense. It seems to me that New Orleans draws a better quarterback matchup – Petty has looked awful thus far, and we may even see a whisker or two of Christian Hackenberg, while Yates is a semi-competent NFL backup. And I have more confidence in the Saints holding their -16 spread than the Jaguars’ -11.5.

I love that Bonnema brought up Washington as a GPP stab. They come cheaply for a unit facing Blaine Gabbert at home, and they’ve produced reasonably well of late. They’re allowing points in bunches, but that’s not what we chase in our DST units – we want splash-play potential first and foremost. As Bonnema points out, Gabbert has been sacked 15 times over his last 2 outings and “boasts” a rough 3.8% interception rate this season. Their last 3 opposing DSTs have posted 11, 21, and 12 points, and Washington’s defense is semi-underrated in terms of making plays.

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