It certainly feels like we’re limping into Week 7 a bit, aren’t we? Week 6 knocked down the two remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL. We had another dud of a game in primetime between the Buffalo Bills and New York Giants. Even the Monday Night Football game was rather tame between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers. We had plenty of injuries come our way as well. Week 6 allows us to segue perfectly into Week 7 because holy moly, this is one of the worst main slates I’ve ever seen. We have six teams on bye and offenses like the Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Minnesota Vikings are not on the main slate. As of Tuesday afternoon, six of the 10 games on the main slate had implied totals under 43 points. So while there will be plenty of popular options in the late window of this main slate, the earlier games could be horrendous. But that should give us plenty of defensive options to consider for this week so let’s dig in and take a look at the best D/ST’s for Sunday’s action.
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NFL DFS D/ST TOP TIER PICKS
We’re truly grasping at the low hanging fruit right here. Do I have some reservations here? Perhaps. It’s a road game for Buffalo and it’s a divisional matchup. The Bills held the Giants to just nine points last week, but given the injuries to Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano, and DaQuan Jones led to this defense collecting just three sacks and zero takeaways against the Giants who didn’t have their starting left tackle and rolled out a backup quarterback. The Bills are not a $4,200 defense. However, they’re playing the New England Patriots who are just downright bad on the offensive side of the ball. Last week even the Las Vegas Raiders kept the New England Patriots in check with four sacks and a takeaway but the Pats still put up 17 points. A late safety got the Raiders to nine fantasy points. But in a divisional game, I imagine the Bills want to embarrass New England even if the defensive personnel has taken their fair share of licks. This game has a 41.5-point implied total and the Bills are favored by 8.5 points.
I was off the Raiders last week against the Patriots. Sure, they got nine fantasy points but at the same time they needed a late safety to get there, and they didn’t break the slate by any means with an inflated price tag. I’m more inclined to play them this week against the Chicago Bears when they’re $100 cheaper than they were in Week 6. The Bears will likely be without Justin Fields, which means they’ll start Tyson Bagent. In relief of Fields in Week 6, Bagent completed 71.4% of his passes but also threw a pick and lost a fumble. The Bears won’t have Khalil Herbert and I doubt Roschon Johnson plays, but he’s questionable as of Tuesday afternoon. So this group is pretty beat up on the offensive side and the offensive line has regressed as well. The Bears have given up 25 sacks through six games and four opposing D/ST’s have scored a touchdown. That’s a very fluky stat and likely one we can’t rely on for this matchup. However, this is a backup quarterback and the Raiders have four interceptions in their last two games. This game has the lowest implied total on the slate at 37.5 points and the Raiders are favored by a field goal.
NFL DFS D/ST MID-TIER PICKS
This is an odd price on the Cleveland Browns this week. They haven’t been a D/ST that’s really hit their ceiling in fantasy football, but they get the job done on the field. Last week they limited the San Francisco 49ers to just 17 points and 215 yards of offense. Granted, they did lose Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey in that game so that likely helped. But the Browns get one of their easiest matchups to date against the Indianapolis Colts. Gardner Minshew likely gets the start again this week after he had four turnovers last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars despite throwing for 329 yards. The Jags also sacked Minshew three times and that’s a number the Browns can easily top. Despite being on the road the Browns are still favored by two points and the implied total is right around 39 points.
I actually like both defenses in this game, but the Commanders at $3,500 on DraftKings are an option I’d rather re-visit closer to Sunday if we hear more on Daniel Jones’ status. The Commanders have given up 34 sacks through six games while turning the ball over 10 times. Now granted, this Giants defense is soft. I don’t have a ton of faith in them and it’s possible Sam Howell throws for over 300 yards against this group. But four-of-six D/ST’s have returned at least eight fantasy points against Washington so this is an offense we can target a little bit. This is another game with a very low projected total at 39.5 points, but the Giants are currently two-point underdogs. If you don’t love the Giants for Tournaments, that’s totally fine. We have some other options that’ll save us some salary, but the G-Men did just limit the Bills to 14 points and 297 yards of offense last week.
NFL DFS D/ST VALUE PICKS
The Ravens are priced way down simply because the Detroit Lions come to town. That’s right, opposing defenses are now priced down when facing the Lions. Welcome to the 2023 NFL season. At this $2,500 price tag on DraftKings you really only need five or six points and you’ll be happy with that performance. The Lions have a solid offensive line and they’ve only allowed 10 sacks through six games. But the Ravens still have a defensive front that can generate pressure. They have 24 sacks through four games and have allowed 34 points total in their last three games despite the excess travel. The implied total is right around 42 points as of Tuesday morning and the Ravens are favored by a field goal and playing at home. This could be a great value play if Jared Goff struggles away from Ford Field once again. However, last week he looked pretty damn good down in Tampa. If you need another value option I don’t mind the Lions on the other side of the ball. That defense has been pretty good, but they have just two sacks in their last two games and I’m a little more partial to the home favorites that are a little cheaper.
NFL DFS D/ST FADE
There’s really no hard “fade” for me this week except maybe some of the teams in the later window and that’s because many project some of those games to be competitive and see some offensive output. This slate is fairly cut & dry. We don’t need to get exposure to D/ST’s in the later window with higher implied totals. I’m mostly recommending the Bucs as a fade because I don’t like the price tag at $3,600 on DraftKings. They were torched last week by Jared Goff who is normally not that great on the road. And yet, the Lions aired it out for 340 yards and 20 points. I will say that Tampa is good at stopping the run unless they’re playing the Philadelphia Eagles. However, we’ve seen Arthur Smith allow Desmond Ridder to throw the ball more as he’s gone for over 300 passing yards in back-to-back games. He is still a risk for turnovers and that benefits the Buccaneers. By all accounts I should be in on the Bucs with a low total of 38.5 points and they’re favored by roughly a field goal. But they looked flat last week and I don’t like how they’re trending heading into this matchup. I’ll provide an update and a potential “pivot” as a fade if I change my tune this weekend, but you might be able to find a cheaper option in this range.