Season-ending injuries to quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Adrian Peterson were supposed to derail the Minnesota Vikings’ very real Super Bowl aspirations and contention. Instead, the Vikings defense has become a seemingly unstoppable and undefeated force, guiding the team to the NFC’s sole perfect record by touching every defensive category.
Unfortunately for DraftKings, FanDuel, and other daily fantasy football league players, the Vikings defense (D/ST) will get much-needed rest on their bye in Week 6.
The Vikings were providing the kind of security DFS players crave but rarely get. Through five weeks, Minnesota’s D/ST is the 14th highest scoring of any play in fantasy football and average nearly three more fantasy points per week than the next highest-scoring D/ST, according to FantasyData.com. The Vikings are sixth in total yards allowed, first in points allowed (12.6) and yards per pass attempt, eighth overall against the pass, fourth against the run, and tied for first with 19.0 sacks.
Alas, all that fantasy production and points will have to wait until Minnesota returns in Week 7.
But never fear. Instead, check out our three top D/ST picks for Week 6 below and our quick kicker rankings, which can be the difference between a win and a loss.
1. Detroit Lions (FanDuel $4,500; DraftKings $3,000)
With one of the stronger matchups of Week 6 and sporting a much cheaper salary cap figure than almost half of the league, the Lions represent a huge value and sleeper pick. Especially if top defensive end Ezekiel Ansah can return to the lineup.
First, Detroit plays host to a Rams offense allowing the fifth-most points per week to D/STs, according to Yahoo. Los Angeles is 29th in the NFL in total offensive yards and tied for dead last with 16.4 points score per game, both being examples of how limited its offense is outside or running back Todd Gurley.
And Gurley being the Rams only consistent weapon is a huge plus for Detroit and anyone who picks up their D/ST. The Lions are presently first in the NFL with zero rushing touchdowns allowed.
2. New York Giants (FanDuel $4,300; DraftKings $3,000)
No one’s denying the Giants have serious issues on offense, but their defense has played quite strong through the first five weeks and is capable of racking up fantasy points in several categories against a very limited Ravens offense.
New York’s specifically, and overall, done a good job keeping teams out of the end zone. It’s ninth and 10th in passing and rushing touchdowns allowed, respectively. One drawback is the Giants are last in sacks and turnovers forced, but the Ravens are ranked in the bottom of the league in almost every offensive category.
Baltimore’s allowing D/STs to average 8.4 points per week, and only eight D/STs in fantasy are currently averaging better than that. Minnesota, Buffalo, Arizona, Denver, Los Angeles, New England, Philadelphia, and Kansas City. All are far more expensive than the Giants this week.
3. Indianapolis Colts (FanDuel $4,400; DraftKings $2,200 )
The Colts D/ST is this cheap for a reason, and should really only be considered by DFS players who like to take big risks that can promise even bigger rewards. Across the board, Indy’s near the bottom of the NFL in turnovers, sacks, passing and rushing yardage, and points allowed per game (29.6).
But similar to the Lions, the Colts have a very favorable matchup against Houston’s 32nd-ranked offense and struggling quarterback Brock Osweiler. The former Bronco owns the third-worst passer rating in the league, is tied for third with seven interceptions, and at times has looked frantic in the pocket.
Bonus: Kicker Rankings
1. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
2. Jason Myers, Jacksonville Jaguars
3. Connor Barth, Chicago Bears
4. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
5. Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
Vinatieri is in the zone as the highest-scoring kicker in fantasy, and he’s a safe pick even if he faces a Houston D that’s smack in the middle against kickers this season. Myers, who’s only gone 7-for-9 on field goals this year, has the best matchup of the week with Chicago allowing 12.6 points a week to kickers. Barth’s struggled significantly, but he does have a great matchup with Jacksonville the fourth-worst vs. kickers, and Barth does have the support of his coaching staff. Tucker, meanwhile, might be the only Raven to score this week, and Bailey meets a Packers D that’s fifth-worst against kickers.