DFS Roundtable: On the Defensive

Which DST unit(s) will dominate your portfolio and why? How much are you looking to diversify from them?

Week 17 can be a treasure trove for defensive units feasting on opposing quarterbacks. And that's magnified here in 2017, what with so many backup and otherwise unqualified passers under center for the final week. Which DST unit(s) will dominate your portfolio and why? How much are you looking to diversify from them?

Jason Wood: It's hard to fade the Steelers ($5,400 FD/$3,900 DK), even though they're the top-priced unit. They’re at home, against a winless division opponent, with plenty to play for because they need to win (and hope New England loses) to secure the No. 1 seed throughout the playoffs. The Vikings ($5,400 FD/$3,900 DK) are identically-priced and still have something to play for, because their No. 2 seed (and bye) is not guaranteed. I prefer the Steelers though because the Bears, while hardly world-beaters, have shown more effectiveness of late than the Browns. I'm going to have some shares of the Broncos ($4,500 FD/$2,900 DK) because I expect the unit to be ignored after a forgettable season. Yet they're a prideful, veteran group and will most likely be facing the Chiefs B-Team and possibly a first-time rookie starter in Patrick Mahomes II II.

Justin Bonnema: Most of my exposure will be to the Steelers and Vikings for all the reasons Jason mentioned. As a contrarian option, I'm also intrigued by the Lions. The Packers offense is just terrible with Brett Hundley under center. He ranks fourth in interception percentage and ninth in sack percentage. The Lions pass rush hasn't generated a lot of sacks, but they are tied for fourth in interceptions, rank fourth in total turnovers, and check in with the sixth-most fantasy points among all teams in both DraftKings and FanDuel scoring.

Dan Hindery: I agree that Minnesota and Pittsburgh are the cream of the crop this week and top cash-game options. Both are huge home favorites facing rookie quarterbacks and like to get after the passer.

Seattle and New England are also in great spots. Both are big home favorites (which correlates highly to big DST scoring) and facing shaky quarterbacks. Drew Stanton and Bryce Petty trying to keep pace with Russell Wilson and Tom Brady is a recipe for interceptions.

Washington is an interesting under-the-radar option, especially if Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram are out for the Giants. There is nobody left for Eli Manning to throw to and the Giants can't run the ball. Plus, there is talk that rookie Davis Webb may get his first playing time, as the Giants look to see what they have in the third-rounder.

James Brimacombe: I get why the Steelers and Vikings are locked in as the top two defenses this week, but part of me sees them letting off the gas in the second halves of their games and both the Browns and Bears scoring some garbage points.

I am looking at the L.A. Chargers or Buffalo Bills this week for my defensive plays. I think the ownership will be down on both, and with both in must-win games, they’ll be looking to make big plays on defense which could possibly lead to touchdowns. I also really like the 49ers with all the Rams’ star players slated to sit. The 49ers are playing at a high level right now and I see no scenario where they don't continue that in Week 17.

Chris Feery: There are three teams locked into my defensive portfolio this week: Steelers, Vikings, and Seahawks. Of the three, I’ll be heaviest on the Seahawks, as it looks like this will be a week in which most players click on the high-priced defenses and call it a day. Beyond pivoting away from the highly-owned teams of the week, the Seahawks are in a great spot to wreak some havoc against a Cardinals team that could be looking at some big changes in the offseason. The Vikings will fill the majority of the spots that I don’t reserve for the Seahawks, but I’ll definitely have some exposure to the Steelers as they face off against the hapless Browns.

Justin Howe: My colleagues wore this territory pretty well; my ownership will be concentrated on the Steelers in cash games (only 1-2 lineups) and Washington/L.A. Chargers in tournaments. The Steelers are just in gorgeous shape DFS-wise: they don’t need to score much to win, so they’ll be fine slowing and shortening the game. And DeShone Kizer’s ineptitude allows for defensive splash plays at such a rate that it easily makes up for the volume drop. That combination makes this game a prime candidate – though this is really not projectable with much sharpness – for a 24-6 type of score that combines low scoring (not what we should chase, but most helpful) with splash-play opportunity (what we should chase to begin with).


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