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
- 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.
OL Rankings – Week 1
- Jaguars – LT Cam Robinson is suspended for the first four games of the season.
- Patriots – RT Riley Reiff is on short-term injured reserve.
- Panthers – RG Austin Corbett is on short-term injured reserve.
- Dolphins – LT Terron Armstead missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday.
- Texans – RT Tytus Howard and C Juice Scruggs are on short-term injured reserve. LG Kenyon Green is on season-ending injured reserve.
- Bears – LG Teven Jenkins is on short-term injured reserve. RG Nate Davis missed practice on Thursday.
- Titans – RT Nicolas Petit-Frere is suspended for the first six games of the season.
Biggest Week 1 DL > OL Mismatches
- Commanders DL (6th) > Cardinals OL (29th)
- 49ers DL (2nd) > Steelers OL (28th)
- Cowboys DL (1st) > Giants OL (21st)
- Packers DL (9th) > Bears OL (26th)
- Chargers DL (11th) > Dolphins OL (23rd)
- Eagles DL (4th) > Patriots OL (15th)
Biggest Week 1 OL > DL Mismatches
- Packers OL (7th) > Bears DL (31st)
DL > OL
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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