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Daily Fantasy Football Articles

NFL DFS: Defense Strategy

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Daily Fantasy Football is all about offensive players right? Nope! You would be surprised how impactful the defense that you roster in your lineup has on your overall output. Especially when it comes to your GPP lineups. So what is the best way to select one when it comes to cash and GPP games? In this article, we will discuss when to pay up or save when it comes to defense and what factors you need to consider when selecting which one to start in your lineup.

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Defense Wins Championships

It often times is vastly overlooked, but the defense plays an integral role in taking down a GPP. The reason for this is because the scoring is extremely volatile and can create a significant edge. With the scoring so touchdown-dependent the top performing defense is often the result of some fluky plays.

There are two major factors you want to consider. A defense that is playing a very bad offense is a great place to start. One that may be starting a backup quarterback, for example, is a great option even if that defense is statistically poor. The other option is selecting a defense that is playing an offense that projects a game script with high passing volume. The more dropbacks and passing attempts a team has, that will result in more opportunities for turnovers and sacks.

Those two factors can be applied to both cash and GPP games. However, with cash games, you do not need to avoid the real chalky defenses, whereas with GPPs you should avoid them. Anything over 20% projected ownership is definitely a fade for GPPs. When in doubt save salary at defense. Do not ever swap out a player you like in a specific slate, to select a defense that your projection has higher ranked. Chances are the change will not benefit you.

DraftKings Millionaire Maker

In the DraftKings Millionaire Maker contest in 2018 here were the main takeaways from winning lineups when it came to defensive selections. I have listed out the approaches from both ownership and salary perspectives.

  • 30% used lineups where defenses were $3000 or more.
  • The other 70% all used lineups that were under $3000.
  • Of the lineups above $3000 as well, 80% of those were over $3500

This means that you should tend to save salary at defense or pay up all the way if that top defense is in a smashing spot. Smashing spots would include a backup quarterback playing an elite defense on the road. For ownership projections, it’s the middle-tiered ownership that was used most frequently.

  • 70% were between 5% – 20% owned.
  • 30% were under 5% or over 20%

With defense, it is not necessarily about going super chalky or super contrarian. Just try to find value with price and potential output in mind. For the most part, you are playing defenses in cash and GPPs similarly except when it comes to ownership projections. The other strategy to point out is you can actually stack when it comes to defenses. You can learn more about NFL DFS stacking here.

Defensive Stacking

There are two strategies in which you can stack defensively. One is stacking a defense with their respective lead running back. The idea here is that the team’s defense will play well and the offense will complement the defense by running the ball a ton. These are great stacks to use, especially in cash games where you are looking for average production for your defense. You are paying up at running back anyway in cash games so it makes selecting your defense pretty simple.

The other stacking strategy with defense is with a WR/RB that is used on special teams as a kick returner or punt returner. On some Daily Fantasy sites like DraftKings, you can often “double-dip” if a special teams touchdown is scored by an offensive player. For example, if your roster Tyler Lockett and the Seattle Seahawks defense/special teams, you would score 12 points for a special teams touchdown instead of just six. Again the idea behind winning GPPs is finishing extremely high so you are looking to maximize the upside.

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