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NFL Week 1 DFS Defense Value Picks
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NFL Week 1: September 5 – 9, 2019

With FanDuel releasing their week 1 salaries yesterday, we’ll take a never-too-early look at matchups and provide some details and insights on some of the potential top daily fantasy defense/special team value plays for week 1.

Salary ranks are based on the main-slate Sunday only (12 games).

Betting lines are as of the time of this writing.

Updates will be made until kickoff as new info comes to light.

Defense

San Francisco 49ers – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 2200 (4.4% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 3700 (6.17% of cap). San Francisco’s salary ranks them 20th/14th on DK/FD, respectively, making them a better relative value on DK.

The betting line with the Bucs has the game total at 49 points with the 49ers as +1 point road dogs. The Bucs’ implied team total is currently at 25 points and the 49ers are currently at 24 points.

With currently the third-highest game total on the main-slate, shootout potential is in play, which should provide ample pass attempts, from both sides. Defenses need opportunities to make plays, and they should be there in this game.

Tampa Bay ranked 4th highest in pass attempts last season, averaging 39.1/gm. With the new addition of HC Arians, little should change here. Jameis Winston’s 3.7% INT ratio ranked him 3rd highest last season. Winston picks are always in play.

San Francisco’s offseason transactions should improve the defensive unit from last season. The 49ers added LB Kwon Alexander, DE Dee Ford, CB Jason Verrett in free agency, and with the second pick in the draft, added DE Nick Bosa. HC Shanahan typically runs a fast-paced offense in neutral-script situations, and with the return of Jimmy G under center, this should increase even more so.

Despite the east coast trip, it is an afternoon game. San Francisco’s defense could be a nice, cheap sleeper play out of the gate.

Detroit Lions – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 2900 (5.8% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 4100 (6.83% of cap). The Lions’ salary ranks them 11th/9th on DK/FD, respectively.

The betting line with the Cardinals has the game total at 47.5 points with the Lions as -2.5 point road favorites. The Lions’ implied team total is currently at 25 points and the Cardinals are currently at 22.5 points.

Arizona returns one of the worst O-lines in the league, despite a couple of new additions in T Marcus Gilbert and G J.R. Sweezy. Last season, Arizona’s O-line ranked 25th in Football Outsider’s adjusted line yards and 26th in adjusted sack rate metrics. Detroit’s D-line ranked 5th in adjusted sack rate last season.

Despite losing DE Ezekiel Ansah in free agency, the Lions improved their D-line with new additions DE Trey Flowers and DL Mike Daniels. Along with DT Snacks Harrison, Detroit’s D-line should be very solid this season. Detroit also spent their 2nd through 5th round draft picks all on defensive players.

Under new HC Kingsbury, Arizona’s pace in his air-raid offense projects to be a complete turn-around from last season’s plodding, dismal showing. Under Detroit HC Patricia’s defensive and ground-and-pound emphasis, Detroit’s pace projects to be slow in neutral-script situations, keeping this game from a shootout from their end.

Detroit will be facing Kingsbury and #1 pick QB Kyler Murray, both making their NFL debuts. The world awaits what beholds the new, young Arizona offense, but Patricia should have enough up his sleeve to win this defensive matchup this week.

Buffalo Bills – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 3000 (6% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 4000 (6.67% of cap). Buffalo’s salary ranks them 9th/10th on DK/FD, respectively.

The betting line with the Jets has the game total at 38.5 points (2nd lowest on the board), with the Bills as +3 point road dogs. The Jets’ implied team total is currently at 20.75 points and the Bills are currently at 17.75 points.

Last season, Buffalo’s defense ranked 1st in pass yards allowed, DVP vs. QBs, DVP vs. TEs, 2nd in yards allowed, Football Outsider’s DVOA in pass defense, and 4th in DVP vs. WRs. The Bills can expect a heavy dose of Le’Veon Bell as a three-down workhorse, but he’ll be operating behind a largely downgraded O-line from what he had in Pittsburgh.

Overall, this isn’t a good matchup for the Jets offense. If Buffalo can command a lead in this implied close game, they could force the Jets to their strength, and more positive opportunities to exploit.

Seattle Seahawks – Salaries: DraftKings (DK) – 3100 (6.2% of cap), FanDuel (FD) – 4500 (7.5% of cap). The Seahawks’ salary ranks them 7th/4th on DK/FD, respectively.

The betting line with the Bengals has the game total at 43.5 points with the Seahawks as -9.5 point (largest on the board) home favorites. The Seahawks’ implied team total is currently at 26.5 points and the Bengals are currently at 17 points.

This matchup is primarily about targeting the Bengals offense. The Bengals lost their 1st rd pick T Jonah Williams (labrum) for the season who was expected to start on the blindside. They also lost LG Clint Boling (retired). The Bengals will again field easily a bottom-three worst O-line this season.

A few hours after DK released their week 1 salaries, news broke that WR A.J. Green (ankle) suffered an injury. Green subsequently had surgery to repair torn ligaments and is now projected to miss multiple games.

Helping Seattle’s cause, the Bengals defense is even worse than their offense.

Seattle’s defense, however, is not without their own issues. The Seahawks lost FS Earl Thomas, DE Frank Clark in free-agency, and DT Jarran Reed (suspension) for 6 games. Their first-round pick DE L.J. Collier suffered a high-ankle sprain and may be questionable for week 1.

Despite this, the Seahawks as huge favorites in Seattle, should be able to impose their will this week.

Last updated: August 21, 2019 at 12:33 pm


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