This past weekend yielded some high pay lines despite DFS stalwarts like Drew Brees, Leonard Fournette, Odell Beckham and Rob Gronkowski underperforming. As bye weeks continue and our main slate options start to shrink from shipping games overseas, we will have to nail the positions we don’t get multiple players at. Let’s examine one of those positions by talking about D/ST to avoid in week five. Also, all statistical rankings do not include the results of Monday Night Football.
Los Angeles Chargers: $4,400
OAK Points/Game: 13th OAK Pass Yards/Game: 4th OAK Rush Yards/Game: 15th
This will seem like an obvious D/ST to avoid in week five. However, it’s tied with the Panthers for the third most expensive defense on the Sunday main slate. The Chargers have significant talent on their defense, but, they are missing two key contributors. Joey Bosa gets most of the attention in his absence, but missing Corey Liguet has left them particularly vulnerable. Missing two starters on the defensive line will hurt any team. And when you combine that fact with the loss of Jason Verrett in the preseason, it’s no surprise how this unit has struggled. While Liguet is on track to play this week, it’s doubtful he’ll immediately fix this unit’s problems.
As you can see from the rankings above, the Raiders are a capable opponent offensively. Only the Los Angeles Rams average more total yards per game. While I’m not an advocate for Jon Gruden, he’s definitely improved this offense. Derek Carr, after getting off to a slow start, is averaging 8.12 yards per attempt (7th in NFL) and is playing behind an improving offensive line. Swapping Kolton Miller and Donald Penn at the tackle positions resulted in some early season struggles. Even though the Raiders don’t have an edge when it comes to an individual matchup, they won’t have issues moving the football.
Cincinnati Bengals: $3,900
MIA Points/Game: T-25th MIA Pass Yards/Game: 28th MIA Rush Yards/Game: T-25th
At first glance, you’re probably wondering why I’m not touting the Bengals as a defense to use this Sunday. Well, Miami is a tricky team to project. While they are near the bottom of the league in the categories above, it’s because they are 31st in plays per game. This offense, on average, is only on the field for 50 plays a game.
So, their total production is not an accurate snapshot of who they are. If you look at their yards per play, they average 5.7 yards, which is the 16th in the league. Then, when you look at Ryan Tannehill’s yards per attempt, he’s top ten with 8.37. While their per play metrics aren’t everything, it does indicate that their yardage totals are not accurate reflections of their output. When you combine these numbers with the fact that the Bengals are surrendering 7.1 yards per attempt to opposing quarterbacks, it creates an opportunity for Tannehill and Kenny Stills to connect for a long score. That connection is especially interesting given Dre Kirkpatrick’s susceptibility to double moves.
Buffalo Bills: $3,500
Points/Game: 28th Pass Yards/Game: 26th Rush Yards/Game: 14th
The third defense on my lists week in and week out is usually a reminder to not get cute with your D/ST selection. While the Bills will be hosting the Titans, and the statistical ranks above are not anything special, they don’t accurately reflect who they are. The Titans opened week one with the longest game in NFL history and then proceeded to start Blaine Gabbert in weeks two and three. Then, at home against a ferocious Eagles front, Marcus Mariota threw for over 340 yards. Tennessee is too unpredictable to risk playing the Bills’ defense in a cash game.
Featured Image Courtesy of San Francisco Examiner
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