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 2. The objective is to project QB pressure through film study, injuries, scheme, coaching, and talent.
Week 2 Bye Week: None
DL Rankings – Week 2
- Chargers – DE Joey Bosa missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a hamstring injury.
OL Rankings – Week 2
- Jaguars – LT Cam Robinson is suspended for the first four games of the season. C Luke Fortner and RG Brandon Scherff missed practice on Wednesday with ankle injuries and were limited on Thursday.
- Vikings – C Garrett Bradbury has been ruled out this week with a back injury.
- Panthers – RG Austin Corbett is on short-term I.R.
- Ravens – LT Ronnie Stanley and C Tyler Linderbaum missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with injuries.
- Dolphins – LT Terron Armstead returned to practice in full on Thursday after missing last week with injuries.
- Texans – RT Tytus Howard and C Juice Scruggs are on short-term I.R. LG Kenyon Green is on season-ending I.R.
- Seahawks – RT Abraham Lucas was placed on short-term I.R. and LT Charles Cross is likely out this week with a toe injury. 41-year-old and likely future Hall of Fame LT Jason Peters was signed to start at a tackle spot.
- Bears – LG Teven Jenkins is on short-term I.R.
- Patriots – RT Riley Reiff is on short-term I.R. LT Trent Brown missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday with a concussion.
- Titans – RT Nicolas Petit-Frere is suspended for the first six games of the season.
Biggest Week 2 DL > OL Mismatches
- 49ers DL (2nd) > Rams OL (28th)
- Browns DL (7th) > Steelers OL (31st)
- Cowboys DL (1st) > Jets OL (20th)
- Giants DL (9th) > Cardinals OL (27th)
- Dolphins DL (14th) > Patriots OL (29th)
Biggest Week 2 OL > DL Mismatches
- Lions OL (2nd) > Seahawks DL (29th)
DL > OL
1. 49ers DL > Rams OL
Key matchups: DTs Javon Hargrave & Arik Armstead vs. OGs Steve Avila & Joe Noteboom, DE Nick Bosa vs. LT Alaric Jackson
Notes: The 49ers’ DL ranks second in pressure percentage, first in QB hurry percentage, 16th in pass-rush win rate, and ninth in sacks per pass attempt. The Rams’ OL ranks 23rd in pass-block win rate and second in pressure percentage given up.
The 49ers expectedly blew the doors off of the Steelers’ offensive line in Week 1 and get to face a similarly overmatched unit this week. While L.A. is coming off of an impressive performance against Seattle’s defensive front, they have a juggernaut in front of them this week with an inexperienced, overmatched group of blockers that will need to be schemed out of one-on-one matchups as often as possible. Rams head coach Sean McVay flexed his play-design and play-calling muscle last week, but it will be exceedingly difficult to replicate that success this week. Look out for the Rams’ young interior to struggle against Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead, and for Nick Bosa to dominate all drop-back passing downs whenever he isn’t doubled.
2. Browns DL > Steelers OL
Key matchups: Edge rushers Myles Garrett & Za’Darius Smith vs. all five starters
Notes: The Browns’ DL ranks second in pass-rush win rate, ninth in pressure percentage, and first in QB knockdown percentage. The Steelers’ OL ranks 17th in pass-block win rate, 31st in pressure percentage given up, and 24th in sacks given up per pass attempt.
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