3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 13

Riley Thomas
Riley Thomas_riley8

Picking a defense can be an overlooked part of playing daily fantasy football on FanDuel. It makes sense, too, as D/STs rarely produce huge outputs.

However, we still need to give a lot of thought to which defense we roster, and there's definitely an edge to be had if you hit on a D/ST.

With that in mind, here are three defenses to have on your radar for this week's main slate.

All betting odds come from the NFL odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Miami D/ST

FanDuel Salary: $5,000

The Miami Dolphins' defense has ramped it up over the last two weeks with back-to-back finishes in the top four of fantasy D/STs. The unit finished as the top defense last week -- led by seven sacks, two interceptions, and one touchdown.

It's safe to say that Jalen Ramsey's return has made a big impact. He generated two picks in Week 11 and earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.

The Fins are the highest-salaried D/ST of the week at $5,000. Considering their recent success and this week's opponent, the Washington Commanders, Miami should be a safe fantasy play.

Any defense immediately becomes more intriguing when it faces Washington. The Dallas Cowboys racked up points against Washington last week with four sacks and a pick-six. After posting seven sacks in Week 12, the Dolphins could be poised to live in the backfield once again.

Sam Howell holds onto the ball too long; this has been a knock on Howell all season as the Commanders have allowed the second-most sacks (55). Miami ranks eighth in ESPN's pass block win rate, so they should be able to take advantage.

Howell has also thrown a pick in five of his last six games. The Fins' D/ST could stack fantasy points on Sunday.

Indianapolis D/ST

FanDuel Salary: $4,500

Despite several injuries, such as Anthony Richardson's season-ending injury, the Indianapolis Colts have remained relevant with a 6-5 record.

The defense has certainly played a part as numberFire's 14th-best unit. The Colts' D/ST has recorded the seventh-most fantasy points and has finished as the second-best defense in two of its last three games. Indy will face the Tennessee Titans, who have numberFire's 15th-worst offense.

The Colts have the ninth-best run stuff win rate, which could help slow down the Titans' rushing attack (numberFire's 15th-best unit). Tennessee also ranks second-to-last in red zone TD scoring percentage.

Now, let's get into the juicy fantasy points. Indianapolis has the seventh-best pass rush win rate and is averaging five sacks per game over their previous three games. Tennessee has surrendered 3.2 sacks per game over the last six games. The Colts' pass rush should generate some points.

Indy averages the ninth-most takeaways per game, but the Titans have taken care of the ball with the sixth-fewest turnovers per game. The Colts can rely on their pass rush and red zone defense to generate another solid fantasy outing.

Arizona D/ST

FanDuel Salary: $3,100

This is simply the byproduct of the Arizona Cardinals' opponent. The Cardinals do not have a great defense by any means, sitting as numberFire's second-worst defense. However, they get the luxury of playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have numberFire's ninth-worst adjusted offense.

Rostering Arizona is certainly one of the most risky plays of the week, but that $3,100 salary is awfully appealing.

Pittsburgh averages just 16.5 points per game (PPG), the fifth-worst mark in the league. The Steelers are averaging only 13.0 PPG over their last two games. Even with Matt Canada out of the picture, this is still one of the NFL's weakest offenses.

Kenny Pickett has -0.21 expected points added per dropback (EPA/DB), which aids the Cardinals' susceptible passing defense (numberFire's second-worst schedule-adjusted pass defense).

Arizona's main concern will likely be slowing the run game as Pittsburgh averages 4.3 yards per carry (12th-best). The Cardinals have the second-worst rating in numberFire's adjusted run defense metrics.

The pass rush could yield some points as the Steelers have allowed multiple sacks in back-to-back games. Arizona has also reached three sacks in three of their last five games.

No matter what, this is going to be a risky play. There's a reason the Cardinals have a $3,100 salary. However, I'm willing to take the risk as I do not believe in Pittsburgh's offense, especially Pickett and the passing game.

Looking to build some NFL DFS lineups? Head over to FanDuel’s daily fantasy football lobby to see all the offerings for this week's slates.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.