You’re reading this article, so there is every chance that you don’t need me to explain to you why researching D/ST NFL DFS plays is important. Right? Even so, let’s do our due diligence together. Defense matters, just like any other roster spot matters. While it may not always be a differentiator in your lineup construction, including D/ST in your research process is a great idea.
In a world of Daily Fantasy Sports where there are a lot of sharks, fish and everywhere in between, we need to be doing all we can to gain an edge. With that said, let’s take a look into some of my favorite NFL DFS fantasy football D/ST plays for the main slate of Sunday NFL action in Week 1.
NFL DFS Week 2 D/ST Plays for DraftKings and FanDuel
New England Patriots (DK – 3700, FD – 5000)
Bill Belichick against a rookie QB. We don’t need to say any more than that, but here it goes. Zach Wilson is going to let it rip. The negative game script for the New York Jets should lead to somewhere in the range of 35-40 pass attempts for Wilson. And with that type of volume, I’m looking at a high probability for multiple turnovers. The Jets are void of playmakers, and this Patriots defense is good enough to shut down the talent that exists in the form of Corey Davis and Ty Johnson. I expect the Pats to generate pressure up the middle and force quick reads from Wilson, making for a long day for the rookie gunslinger.
New Orleans Saints (DK – 3100 FD – 4300)
Sam Darnold is still Sam Darnold, right? The New Orleans Saints are coming off of a dominant performance against the Packers in a show of impressive resilience and execution. I understand the concerns about CMC and DJ Moore. Both are true playmakers, but the Saints are coming off of shutting down Aaron Rodgers and company.
The Panthers are a home team with a low implied team total of 20.5. The public might look at what Darnold and company did against a middling New York Jets defensive unit, but don’t be concerned. The Saints racked up consistent pressure against the offensive line of Green Bay, and I anticipate more of the same against a mistake-prone QB. The downside here is that if this game stays close, as is expected, the Panthers may stay conservative in their play-calling, thus limiting turnover/sack potential. Still, it’s a good spot for a good defense against a below-average QB.
Denver Broncos (DK – 3800, FD – 4100)
This is a strong secondary, above-average run defense and a pressure-generating edge rush. This is a defense facing off against an immensely talented Trevor Lawrence. Now, I fully expect Lawrence to develop into the franchise QB that he is expected to be by most people, but he did just throw three interceptions in his first game. Two of them were misreads and one of them was a forced throw into tight coverage.
The Houston Texans did enough to confuse the young man and I expect the Denver Broncos to scheme up enough that their talent will make life difficult for the Jags on Sunday. Expect consistent pressure and a good mix of zone/man coverage to keep Lawrence and the Jags out of sync on Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals (DK – 2900, FD – 4400)
We know the Arizona Cardinals will generate pressure. Chandler Jones is coming off a game where he alone had FIVE sacks and two forced fumbles. Kirk Cousins is notoriously slow to release the football and, when he does throw it, it floats as opposed to fires. The Cardinals D/ST isn’t formidable across the board, but it is in a sneaky strong spot to generate pressure and force turnovers. I don’t expect another repeat performance as they had against Tennessee, but I fully expect consistent pressure, multiple sacks and a high likelihood for turnovers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (DK – 4100, FD – 4500)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fully expected to be an elite D/ST unit all season long, health willing. We might’ve overlooked the Eagles as a strong unit, but just look at what Philadelphia did to Matt Ryan and the Falcons. The Atlanta offensive line looked, well, to put it nicely, porous and disjointed. The Bucs can bring pressure up the middle or off the edges, and Matt Ryan is the type of QB who will take sacks instead of risking a turnover, which often leads to a higher sack count than should be.
This one might get ugly, and there may be garbage time points scored, but during the first three quarters of this game, I anticipate constant discomfort for Ryan. Somewhere in the range of four to six sacks is reasonable, with strip-sack potential.
Other Considered NFL DFS Plays
Cleveland Browns – Huge favorites at home. Edge pressure will be on Tyrod Taylor all game, but the upside is limited. Tyrod is a good decision-maker and protects the football, but they’re still a unit to consider at a reasonable NFL DFS cost.
Chicago Bears – Strong pass rush at home against a young QB. Mediocre secondary (at best), but a likely low-scoring affair should limit the pass attempts, but hurting and helping this scenario.
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