Denver Broncos – Denver’s the most expensive D/ST I want to pay up for this week. I’ll pass on New England and Tampa Bay in this price range, but won’t look at them as a complete fade. This game opened at 41.5 points and has surprisingly been bet down to roughly 39.5 on several sportsbooks. It’s arguably a pick ‘em but the Broncos are easily one of the five best D/ST’s this season for fantasy football. Additionally, the Steelers are a complete mess on the offensive side of the ball. The offensive line is still terrible and if it weren’t for a ton of volume, Najee Harris wouldn’t be having that great of a season. He’s involved heavy in all aspects of the offense and rarely does he come off the field. But this just isn’t an efficient offense. I do expect them to struggle mightily against a defense that knows what it’s doing. Pressure should be applied consistently on Ben Roethlisberger and we should see plenty of sacks and turnovers for Denver.
Carolina Panthers – I’m okay with the price on DraftKings, but love the price tag on FanDuel. You have to admire the Carolina’s efforts. They’re going all in on defense. They lost Jaycee Horn, but went out and got C.J. Henderson from Jacksonville and they just traded for Stephon Gilmore earlier this week. We saw the Panthers defense explode a few weeks ago with easier matchups. They were a bit exposed last week by Kansas City, but the Chiefs do that to everyone. This is a good test for Carolina. They’re three-point favorites and the over/under is around 44.5 points. That’s good, not great for targeting D/ST’s in DFS. The Eagles can move the ball down the field, but they don’t finish drives as well as you’d like them to. The Eagles offensive line has taken some hits lately. Lane Johnson is away from the team for personal reasons and there’s no update on when he could return. Jason Kelce missed Thursday’s practice, but it sounded like a rest day. Jordan Mailata was also limited with a knee injury. These players will be worth monitoring heading into Sunday. Obviously, the matchup against Jalen Hurts isn’t ideal because Hurts can beat opposing defenses in numerous ways. But it’s a home game for the Panthers with a young defense that can be disruptive. I’m very intrigued with how things shake out come Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings are not a great defense by any means, but I think they offer some upside here. The Lions offensive line is a little beat up and could be without two of their starters come Sunday. Frank Ragnow was placed on IR with a toe injury. Considering he played through a fractured throat previously, it must be serious if it’s taking him off the field for a few weeks. Additionally, Taylor Decker likely won’t play and Anthony Lynn noted that they’re preparing as if they won’t have Penei Sewell on Sunday either. The Vikings are a team with a decent pass rush. They have 13 sacks through four games so pressure on Jared Goff could very well be there this week. They even kept the Browns in check last week as well. The over/under is a little high at around 49.5 points, but the Vikings are heavy favorites and if they can get ample pressure on Goff then sacks and turnovers will boost their value.
Los Angeles Chargers – This is strictly a GPP only recommendation. Baker Mayfield is dealing with a partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder. Based on comments from teammates, the coaching staff, and beat writers it doesn’t sound like it’s affecting him too much. Believe whatever you want, but he did have a bad game last week against Minnesota. Left tackle is a bit of a concern right now for the Browns. Jedrick Wills Jr. is dealing with an ankle injury and Chris Hubbard has a triceps injury. Neither player practiced on Thursday. Plus, JC Tretter is dealing with a back injury. The Chargers D/ST can bleed yards and points, but they also do enough in terms of sacks and turnovers to balance that out. Could the Browns lean more on the run this week? Yes, and as we saw against Dallas and Kansas City, the Chargers can be run on. As a low-owned GPP target, the Chargers could pay off if they take advantage of the injuries on the other side of the ball.
The Washington Football Team – There are plenty of reasons to be nervous about Washington this week. They haven’t looked as dominant as they did a year ago and as much hype as the defensive line gets, the Football Team has just seven sacks through four games. It’s disappointing. And due to the underwhelming nature of this defense, they’re priced down this week. They need just seven points for 3X value on DraftKings. The Saints average the fifth-fewest yards per game on offense (276.8), the fifth fewest offensive plays per game (57.5), and they’re 17th in scoring (23.5 points per game). So far the Saints haven’t utilized Alvin Kamara in the passing game as much as we’re used to seeing. And it’s also worth monitoring the injury status of Terron Armstead and Erik McCoy for the offensive line. Both missed practice on Thursday and if they’re inactive for this matchup then we might finally be able to witness this defensive line feast.
Houston Texans – I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’m adding Houston to the mix as a cheap punt. Mike Reiss, who covers the Patriots for ESPN, tweeted that at the start of practice on Friday Isaiah Wynn (COVID list), Michael Onwenu (COVID list), Shaq Mason (abdominal), and Trent Brown (calf) were all missing. They may be getting work in on an individual basis, but this is noteworthy. The Patriots are potentially looking at being down four starting offensive linemen. I don’t have a ton of faith in the Texans defense, but this could be a spot where they take advantage of a broken offensive line and make a rookie quarterback fairly uncomfortable.
Tennessee Titans – The Titans were a fade a week ago and they’re once again appearing as an easy fade this week. The Titans returned just three points on DraftKings last week when they were priced up. I don’t get the price tag once again and they’re not worth paying for. The matchup is an “easy” one again this week, but we should still see the Jaguars put up a fight against the Titans. Tennessee does not have a good defense. Their secondary is awful. Even if Jacksonville doesn’t win, they’ll be able to put up points on this dumpster fire of a defense. Tennessee has returned eight TOTAL points on DraftKings. They basically need that in one week. Can it be done? Sure. But this is just a bad defense against a young, promising quarterback (similar to last week), and he has weapons at his disposal. Tennessee makes for an easy fade once again in Week 5.