Now that most uneventful preseason in NFL history has concluded, it’s time to bring back my daily series writing about NFL DFS on FanDuel. While only the true degenerates like myself had preseason action, everyone and their brother will throw their hat in the ring to win a life-changing amount of money this season. But before we identify which D/ST to avoid in week one, special thanks to FanDuel to for adding the Flex position in lieu of Kickers in their main contests.
Minnesota Vikings: $4,500
Before you start flogging me for buying into the Jimmy Garoppolo hype, this has nothing to do with projecting his potential success in the 49ers’ offense. While it’s a small sample, it’s all we have to work with. Below is a chart of the offensive output by the 49ers during their last five games. And for all you whiners out there who will complain about including their performance against the Rams’ second string, I included what the numbers would be without week 17.
The numbers are staggering. But let’s assume that the 49ers produce 30% less offensively and are twice as bad protecting the ball and their quarterback (using their without week 17 output). That would mean they project to produce 19.25 points, 277.73 yards, 1.5 turnovers and 4 sacks. After rounding the points down to 19 and the turnovers up to two, that would mean the Vikings’ Defense would score nine points.
While that is in theory enough for a cash game defense, we are making a lot of assumptions just to get the Vikings D/ST to nine points. Not to mention, the Vikings are a better NFL defense than a fantasy defense. They finished top three in total yards, rushing yards and passing yards per game, but were only the ninth best fantasy defense.
In addition to the statistical case, the public is going to be high on the 49ers, specifically Garoppolo and Goodwin. If you roster the Vikings defense against one of the more popular quarterback-wide receiver stacks and the stack is successful, you’re in rough shape in cash games and GPP’s.
Pittsburgh Steelers: $4,200
The Steelers were an easy D/ST to avoid in week one. There is still this misguided notion that the Steelers are a top defensive team and the Browns are completely pathetic and will have trouble completing a forward pass. In two meetings last season, the Steelers scored 18 and 16 points respectively. However, that’s because the quarterback of the Browns was Deshone Kizer, who was one of the worst quarterbacks in NFL history when it came to protecting the football. Kizer’s inability to get rid of the ball quickly also allowed the Steelers to accumulate points through sacks.
The Browns will have infinitely better quarterback play in 2018, specifically when it comes to minimizing turnovers. Since 2015, Tyrod Taylor has never had more than eight total turnovers in a season, including a career-best six total turnovers last season. Taylor will evade sacks and get the ball out quickly better than Kizer did, and will be able to extend more plays against an average at best Steelers’ secondary. And on the off chance Baker Mayfield starts week one, well, he was only the most accurate quarterback in the history of college football. The public still hasn’t caught up to how mediocre the Steelers’ pass defense is and that should work to our advantage in week one against a much-improved Browns team.
Houston Texans: $4,000
This may seem like an obvious addition to the D/ST to avoid in week one, it’s to serve as a reminder to the players considering bargain shopping at the D/ST position. The Texans, while returning J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, are going to struggle against New England. Even with the dearth of talent at the receiver position and the question marks along the offensive line, Brady gets the ball out so quickly that sack opportunities are incredibly hard to come by. For example, Brady was only sacked on 5.08 percent of his pass attempts last season according to teamrankings.com.
Another angle to consider is how heavily owned players on both sides will be. GPP lineups everywhere will be filled with Houston vs. New England game stacks, and for good reason. Conversely, you could roster the Texans at less than 5 percent ownership and win big, but it’s more probable than not that doesn’t happen. If you are dead set on paying down, consider the Redskins at the exact same price against a shaky Arizona team.
Featured Image courtesy of Daily Norseman
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