DFS Roundtable: No Chalk Defense, Now What?

No Chalk Defense this week, so we discuss GPP options at the position.

No Chalk Defense This Week - Let's talk GPP defenses. Everyone was locking in the Jaguars and Chargers in Week 13 and although they had strong games the likes of the Dolphins, Rams, Ravens, and Packers all did much better. The early consensus while looking at Week 14, there will not be a chalky defense to lock and load. Give me your top three defenses you plan to use in GPP's this week explaining why you like them.

Justin Bonnema: The Bengals jump off the page assuming they’re healthy. The Bears have averaged just over 14 points per game in their last six. They were defeated by Robbie Gould last week. If there’s going to be a chalk play this week, it’s the Bengals and they’re worth every penny. 

I don’t typically like taking road teams, but the Vikings’ defense may be one of the best in football. They match up perfectly against the Panthers, whose offense has disappeared on many occasions this season. The Panthers aren’t giving up a ton of sacks, but they do tend to turn the ball over and this game could end up being low scoring.

And I’m going to be very tempted to load the Cowboys’ defense into every lineup, especially if Geno Smith gets the start again. He has no pocket awareness and the Cowboys have a premier pass rusher in DeMarcus Lawrence, even though he’s been quiet the last few games. Sean Lee is expected to practice this week too, so that front seven could be full strength for the first time in about a month. Combine that with the Giants’ offensive struggles, quarterback change and the fact that they just fired both their head coach and general manager, and I think we see the Cowboys absolutely dominate this game.

Phil Alexander:

  1. Packers - If you fired up the defense playing against the Browns every week this season, you would have locked in at least eight fantasy points 83% of the time. Would it be great if DraftKings hadn't jacked up Green Bay's price by nearly $1K? Sure. Would I rather this game were at Lambeau Field? Yes. And would it be nice if the Packers defense -- particularly the back end -- wasn't terrible? Absolutely. But it's DeShone Kizer. No need to overthink this.
  2. Jets - It's a little scary to recommend the Jets as short road favorites in Denver, but the Broncos have allowed the most schedule adjusted fantasy points to opposing defenses this season and New York matches up with them pretty well. All Denver can hope to do on offense is run the ball, which won't be easy against a Jets run-stopping unit that has allowed only one running back to rush for more than 62 yards since Week 4. This time of year, you want to target teams that have mailed it in on their season and Denver certainly qualifies.
  3. 49ers - This list is getting depressing, but I guess it speaks to the value of James' question. I've never considered the 49ers defense this season, however, I'll make an exception since their opponent is Tom Savage. Since Savage took over as Houston's starting quarterback, opposing defenses have scored 8, 15, 4, 9, and 10 fantasy points against the Texans, respectively. It's a fantasy floor hit rate nearly on par with Kizer's, and when it comes to a position as volatile as defense, a high floor is all you can really ask for, regardless of format.

Jason Wood: I agree, it's a difficult week for defenses. I'm going to lean toward the (lack of) quality of the opponent and focus on three defenses: Cincinnati (vs Chicago), Green Bay (vs Cleveland) and the Jets (vs Denver). The Bengals are at home against a Bears team that struggles to move the ball in any situation. The game also has the lowest implied total (37.5) of the week. The Packers are hardly a compelling unit, but face the Browns. It's hard to bet against defenses that get to face the Browns. Finally, the Jets get a Broncos team that's come apart at the seams and will reload Trevor Siemian in spite of his woeful performance in Week 13.

Dan Hindery

Cleveland Browns - The Browns stand out as a high-upside GPP option that comes cheap (just $4,000 on FanDuel) and should see low ownership. No team has given up more sacks than the Green Bay Packers (40) this season. Brett Hundley has taken a sack on 10% of his drop backs and has turned the ball over 11 times in 7 games played this season. 

Los Angeles Chargers - The Chargers standout almost every week. They have 35 sacks, 21 turnovers and 4 defensive touchdowns this year. Over the past two weeks, Washington has taken 10 sacks and turned it over 5 times. In a road game and with their season essentially over, this is a tough spot for Washington. 

Buffalo Bills - The fact that Nathan Peterman is likely to start makes me a bit nervous about field position and the defense having to be on the field too much, but the Bills are tough at home and the Colts offense is fantasy-friendly for opposing defenses. Opposing defenses have scored at least 11 FanDuel points in 5 of the last 6 games against Indianapolis. Over that 6-game stretch, the Colts have allowed a whopping 32 sacks.
Devin Knotts: On the defensive side of the ball, the only real things that are somewhat predictable are sacks and then interceptions. Anything else when picking a defense is largely non-value added as while you can gain a slight edge trying to predict a touchdown, it is often difficult to do. With that said, here are the teams that I am targeting this week. The Chargers going up against the Redskins, as the Chargers are top 10 in sacks and the Redskins are top 10 in sacks allowed with an offensive line that is a mess. The Bengals going up against Mitchell Trubisky as the Bengals are top 5 in sacks and the Bears are 13th in sacks allowed. The final defense I like this week is actually Cleveland. I really believe Cleveland contends and puts up a fight this week and we’ve seen Hundley struggle at times this season, while I like Hundley as a GPP play, I think that Cleveland has a chance to get to him as well as cover the Packers receiving group.

James Brimacombe: There usually is at least one defense that stands out each week, but this week that is not the case. The three names that I have been liking the best this week are the Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Denver Broncos. I feel like these are three solid defenses that will be playing at home and have potential to capitalize on a defensive score. The Broncos against the Jets is the one that I prefer as they have 4 turnovers, 4 sacks, and a defensive touchdown over the last 2 weeks and although the Jets have been putting up a lot of points of late, they still are prone to turn the ball over. The Bengals seem like a solid play against the Bears offense that struggles to move the ball and Carolina's defense gets the top seed in the NFC in Minnesota but the Panthers defense has quietly put together a solid season.

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