NFL

3 FanDuel Defenses to Target in Week 3

Selecting a defense is never the most glamorous part of fantasy football. It often goes overlooked for the more fun positions that people want to watch and root for during the game. The good news is that if our opponents aren’t putting too much thought into their defense, we can gain an advantage with some research. So let’s dig in and try to identify some defenses that could be in a good position to score fantasy points this week.

Week 3 has some defenses that are going up against anemic offenses. Let's see where the best matchups we can exploit are from a defensive perspective.

Pittsburgh Steelers

FanDuel Salary: $4,700

The Pittsburgh D/ST is off to a great start, picking up from where they left off last season. In 2019, the Pittsburgh Steelers had the most sacks in the league and the highest adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders. This season, their 10 sacks are the second-most in the league, and their adjusted sack rate is fourth. They've also recorded two takeaways in each of the first two games. The matchup in Week 3 sets them up to continue to put pressure on the opposing quarterback.

The Steelers will face the Houston Texans at home and are four-point favorites. The Texans might not be the first team you would think of as a team you want to go after because of their talented offensive players. Where the Texans have struggled over the past few years is on the offensive line. Since 2018, the Texans have taken 119 sacks, the most in the league. That includes eight sacks allowed this season at an 11.2 adjusted sack rate, both the worst marks in the league.

With a ferocious pass rush, the Steelers should be able to cause problems for Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense all game long. Watson has already thrown 2 interceptions this season and threw 12 last year, and he should be forced to throw a lot if Houston is trailing. That will set up perfectly for the Steelers to rack up sacks and interceptions, making them very viable for all roster builds this week.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

FanDuel Salary: $3,800

While the offense got all the attention this offseason with their new acquisitions, it was the Tampa Bay D/ST that quietly made a big leap forward. Third-year cornerback Carlton Davis has established himself as one of the best young defensive backs in football. Shaquil Barrett led the league in sacks last season with 19.5. The removal of Jameis Winston at quarterback also benefits the defense, as his constant interception barrage would put the defense in bad field position. Last week, Tampa's defense showed that they can dominate a game, and they could easily do the same this week.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Denver Broncos on the road. The Broncos have had horrible injury luck to start this season. They've already lost starting quarterback Drew Lock, a number one wide receiver who was coming off a second-year breakout in Courtland Sutton, and running back Phillip Lindsay. They'll be starting Jeff Driskel at quarterback, and Driskel has taken sacks at a 9.5% clip in his career, according to Pro Football Reference. For context, that rate would have been the third-worst in the league last season.

The Bucs defense had a tough matchup in the Superdome against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1 but delivered in Week 2. They sacked Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater five times and forced four turnovers. Our projections at numberFire expect them to build on that performance, as they are the highest-projected defense across the board. This makes them a great value play, as they come in at just $3,800, $1,200 less than the most expensive defense on the slate.

Atlanta Falcons

FanDuel Salary: $3,200

If you want a punt at defense this week, you could do worse than picking the Atlanta D/ST. The last two games won't inspire a lot of confidence if you were to click the green plus sign to add them to your lineup on FanDuel this week, but there are reasons to believe this contest could fare better. In those games, they faced the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys, two offenses that are among the best in the league. This week's matchup is against an offense that doesn't have the same capabilities.

The Atlanta Falcons return home to play the Chicago Bears. Despite the Falcons being 0-2 and the Bears being 2-0, the Falcons are currently three-point favorites on FanDuel Sportsbook. Even in a winning effort for Chicago last week, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw two interceptions against a New York Giants defense that is nothing to write home about. The Bears offense lacks a high ceiling that would scare you off from playing a defense against them, and they have the potential for turnovers in every game.

Atlanta's defense projects as our third-best value on the slate. Paying down at defense makes sense if you can find one that fits the bill -- one that is home and favored makes for a more reasonable play. If you're trying to jam in a lot of the expensive players on this slate, the Atlanta defense may be necessary.


Nicholas Vazquez is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Nicholas Vazquez also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username hbyanksman. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his/her personal views, he/she may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his/her personal account. The views expressed in his/her articles are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.