The defenses I touch on are not my ranks, but my overall thoughts on the defenses I find notable. The goal of these pieces is to give you a concise, actionable rundown on defenses for the upcoming week.
Defensive order is based on their opponents implied team total, from lowest to highest. The team in parenthesis is the defenses opponent.
Defenses that are highly owned (60+ percent), or worth noting overall.
There are four highly owned NFL defenses that I will not be discussing because they cannot improve their playoff scenario and have potential to rest some of their starters. Those include the Eagles, Jaguars, Chiefs, and Rams.
Steelers (vs. Browns — 13.25-point implied team total)
The Steelers are set to face off against a Browns team that is implied for a slate-low 13.25 points on Sunday and they must win in order to keep their first-round bye. They’re massive 14-point home favorites against an offense that has the league’s worst scoring and turnover rate this season.
Vikings (vs. Bears — 14-point implied team total)
The Vikings should be rolling out their starters for the most/all of this game as they need a win in order to clinch the No. 2 seed in the NFC, along with a first-round bye. Mitch Trubisky has already taken 30 sacks this season and the Viking are allowing the fourth-lowest scoring rate to opposing offenses.
Ravens (vs. Bengals — 15.25-point implied team total)
The Ravens are at home against an abysmal Bengals team that is implied for just 15.25 points. The Bengals have the sixth-lowest scoring rate among offenses and the Ravens defense ranks sixth among scoring rate allowed to opposing offenses.
Seahawks (vs. Cardinals — 15.5-point implied team total)
The Seahawks need to win this game (among other teams losing) to make the playoffs. They’ll be at home against Drew Stanton and an Arizona team that is implied for just 15.5 points. The Seahawks are 8-point home favorites, which could force Stanton into more passing situations and create more opportunities for sacks and turnovers.
Editor’s Note: Nobody hit FanDuel’s Golden 5 jackpot this season, meaning the prize has grown to a massive $340,000. And this week, regardless of whether or not someone hits a perfect lineup, they’re giving away that $340K to whoever wins this week’s final contest. Play FREE for your shot at $340,000!
Chargers (vs. Raiders — 17.75-point implied team total)
The Chargers are 8-point home favorites against a putrid Raiders offense that is implied for just 17.75 points. They can still make the playoffs with a win, but will need some other help along the way, so they should be playing their starters here. They should garner a high floor with their solid pass rush and elite secondary.
Broncos (vs. Chiefs — 17.75-point implied team total)
The Broncos are in play as the Chiefs can’t improve their playoff scenario after they beat the Dolphins on Sunday. Denver should be facing a heavy dose of backups in this game.
Highly Owned Defenses with limited upside in the current matchup.
Panthers (@ Falcons — 25.25-point implied team total)
If you have the Panthers, I’d seek alternatives as they are 4-point road underdogs against a Falcons team that is implied for 25.25 points this week.
Patriots (vs. Jets — 14.75-point implied team total)
If the Patriots win this game they will clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They’re massive 16.5-point home favorites against the Jets. They’re my top streaming option if they’re available in your league.
Titans (vs. Jaguars — 17.5-point implied team total)
With the Jaguars unable to improve their playoff spot, they shouldn’t be playing their starters much, if it all in this game. As a result, Vegas has them implied for just 17.5 points on the road against the Titans.
Redskins (@ Giants — 17.5-point implied team total)
The main downside with the Redskins is they’re on the road, but they do face off against the Giants, who are implied for a weak 17.5 points. It’s also a boost if Evan Engram (rib) were to miss this game, leaving the Giants with even less firepower than the little firepower they had to begin with…
Lions (vs. Packers — 18-point implied team total)
If you watched the Packers play the Vikings on Saturday, then you probably saw their whole team disappear with injuries. Jordy Nelson, Aaron Jones, and Richard Rodgers all left with injuries and didn’t come back, and Aaron Rodgers was already back on IR prior to last week. The Lions are in a fine spot at home, against Brett Hundley and the Packers.
Kickers in Order of Implied Team Total
Kicker fantasy points have a strong correlation to Vegas implied team totals. Here are the top kickers who garner low-to-medium ownership (70% or lower) in order of implied team total (minimum 22-point implied team total) in order to help you find possible streamers.
Nick Rose (25.75-point implied team total)
Kai Forbath (25.5-point implied team total)
Sam Ficken (24.5-point implied team total)
Blair Walsh (23.5-point implied team total)
Stephen Hauschka (23-point implied team total)
Dan Bailey (22.75-point implied team total)
Adam Vinatieri (22.75-point implied team total)