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The goal of a real-life NFL defense is to prevent the other team from scoring points. When we select a defense to roster, we’re trying to score the most fantasy points. It’s a subtle shift in thinking, but an important one.

The optimal way to select a defense in DFS is to think in terms of big events, not points allowed. Just 2.3% of games last season ended in a shutout and only 9.7% ended with one team being held to six points or fewer. In other words, targeting the “points allowed” category is a fool’s errand.

The real fantasy points come from sacks, forced fumbles, interceptions, and defensive touchdowns. These events are by far most likely to happen when a quarterback is under pressure. The best possible outcome on a single play for our defense is a strip sack which results in a defensive touchdown, as we get one DraftKings point for the sack, two for the fumble recovery, and six for the touchdown.

With that in mind, below you’ll find the biggest mismatches between defensive and offensive lines for Week 1. The objective is to project QB pressure through film study, injuries, scheme, coaching, and talent.


Week 1 Bye Week: None


DL Rankings – Week 1

  1. Cowboys
  2. 49ers
  3. Steelers
  4. Eagles
  5. Jets
  6. Commanders
  7. Titans
  8. Giants
  9. Packers
  10. Browns
  11. Chargers
  12. Bills
  13. Falcons
  14. Patriots
  15. Raiders
  16. Dolphins
  17. Bucs
  18. Saints
  19. Lions
  20. Broncos
  21. Bengals
  22. Colts
  23. Panthers
  24. Vikings
  25. Seahawks
  26. Texans
  27. Chiefs – DT Chris Jones is holding out for a new contract and sat out Week 1. DL Charles Omenihu is suspended for the first six games of the season.
  28. Ravens
  29. Jaguars
  30. Rams
  31. Bears
  32. Cardinals


OL Rankings – Week 1

  1. Eagles
  2. Lions
  3. Browns
  4. Chiefs
  5. Chargers
  6. Cowboys
  7. Packers
  8. Ravens
  9. Seahawks
  10. Saints
  11. Falcons
  12. Bengals
  13. Jets
  14. Jaguars – LT Cam Robinson is suspended for the first four games of the season.
  15. Patriots – RT Riley Reiff is on short-term injured reserve.
  16. Vikings
  17. Panthers – RG Austin Corbett is on short-term injured reserve.
  18. Bills
  19. 49ers
  20. Broncos
  21. Giants
  22. Colts
  23. Dolphins – LT Terron Armstead missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
  24. Texans – RT Tytus Howard and C Juice Scruggs are on short-term injured reserve. LG Kenyon Green is on season-ending injured reserve.
  25. Bucs
  26. Bears – LG Teven Jenkins is on short-term injured reserve. RG Nate Davis missed practice on Thursday.
  27. Raiders
  28. Steelers
  29. Cardinals
  30. Commanders
  31. Rams
  32. Titans – RT Nicolas Petit-Frere is suspended for the first six games of the season.


Biggest Week 1 DL > OL Mismatches

  1. Commanders DL (6th) > Cardinals OL (29th)
  2. 49ers DL (2nd) > Steelers OL (28th)
  3. Cowboys DL (1st) > Giants OL (21st)
  4. Packers DL (9th) > Bears OL (26th)
  5. Chargers DL (11th) > Dolphins OL (23rd)
  6. Eagles DL (4th) > Patriots OL (15th)


Biggest Week 1 OL > DL Mismatches

  1. Packers OL (7th) > Bears DL (31st)




1.   Commanders DL > Cardinals OL

Key matchups: DTs Jon Allen & Daron Payne vs. Arizona’s interior OL, DE Montez Sweat vs. RT Paris Johnson

The Commanders have the NFL’s best interior tandem in Jon Allen and Daron Payne, while the Cardinals have a collection of journeymen across their interior with their best player being RG Will Hernandez, who is adequate at best. Add in rookie RT Paris Johnson making his first start against the explosive, long, and productive Montez Sweat and the Cardinals lack options to combat the number of mismatches they are facing up front. Oh, and they also have Joshua Dobbs making his third career start at quarterback to exacerbate the issue.


2.  49ers DL > Steelers OL

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