Your team defense scheme can be like wearing plaid jerseys. Feel free to put on mash-ups of multi-checkered tops to shore up your injury or bye-week deprived roster. These fill-in squads can make great last-minute wardrobe fixes when your best outfit is in the lineup wash.
There are several factors that can go into making an otherwise unappealing defensive squad look serviceable. Nathan Peterman tops that list, but I don’t see that scenario happening again. Each week you can look at matchups, a team’s overall health, schedules with home-and-away quirks and weather conditions. You have heard NFL stands for ‘Not For Long.’ That also can pertain to team defense values over the course of a fantasy season.
So here’s an early guide for certain spots on the schedule where picking up a defense from the bottom-half of the rankings may prove a smart move. These aren’t ones you pick up and let linger, it’s a love ’em and leave ’em list if you want to plan ahead!
Draft Oakland last and start them first.
Week 1: Oakland Raiders
Last year’s Oakland opener was a 33-13 spanking by the Los Angeles Rams. This year, Oakland opens at home against Denver. While the hype during Oakland’s offseason was acquiring Antonio Brown and drafting fresh-legged Josh Jacobs, it should be noted three of the top-four of Oakland’s picks went to the defensive side. Also, I am sure that Joe Flacco, the new Denver quarterback, won’t be visiting any single-digit draft rounds in your league. The Oakland defense may get some lucky bounces to start their last (maybe) Oakland season, and cap off a nice start for your team on Monday night.
If you drafted the Chicago Bears consider..
Week 6: Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta heads to Arizona for a Week 6 tilt and makes for a nice subtle substitute if you own Chicago’s defensive team who has a bye Week 6. Atlanta lost both of their starting safeties (Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen) save for three games last season. Defensive minded head coach Dan Quinn expects to have a stronger back-end with those starters on the field. Atlanta should own the game script with young Arizona offensive players getting their feet wet, allowing the Atlanta defense to fly you to victory.
If you drafted the Baltimore Ravens consider..
Week 8: San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco hosts Carolina in Week 8. San Francisco treats are good for fantasy owners who need to slide by without Baltimore’s defense. A better offense may make for a better defense in San Francisco, as Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon return to action. Second overall draft pick Nick Bosa is supposed to be a difference maker, and if he is, he can shine against a team like Carolina, which expects to feature a lot of Christian McCaffrey.
If you drafted the L.A. Chargers consider..
Week 12: Detroit Lions
A lot of ink regarding Detroit’s fantasy talent is used on newcomer tight end T.J. Hockenson and sophomore back Kerryon Johnson. This leads to fantasy owners forgetting head coach Matt Patricia’s defensive bent, put on display with four of the first five of Detroit’s draft picks spent on defense. Detroit may not be playing for much in Week 12, but neither will their opponent, Washington. Detroit is a great add if you own the baby blue, bye-idled, Los Angeles Chargers defense, especially if the Detroit players get you to the money rounds.
Fantasy football is a lot like chess in regards to thinking several moves ahead. Allocating time to diagnosing your defensive needs in advance provides another edge in your 2019 campaign.