Wednesday - May 22, 2019

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Fantasy Defense or Fantasy Gold?

The only thing I hate more than drafting a kicker before the 16th round in a fantasy football draft is when owners draft a defense before the 15th round. Defenses are too much of a wild card during the fantasy season. Last year’s highest drafted defense,

San Diego
, didn’t even crack the top five total defenses for the season. The wise owner should wait until the 15th round to grab a defense, pick up another skill player earlier in the draft and sit back and beat the system.

You are probably saying to yourself, “This guy is nuts. I am going to end up with garbage for a defense by the 15th round.” But, I never said you need to keep that defense the whole year. Instead you should use the waiver wire to pick up the defense with the best matchup each week. Of course this only works if your league does not put a limit to waiver wire pickups.

Last season the top five fantasy football defenses were
Baltimore (182 pts),
Pittsburgh (176),
Philadelphia (167),
Tennessee (166) and

Tampa
Bay
(142). Over the course of an average 16-week season that is averages of 11.4, 11, 10.4, 10.4, and 8.9 points per week respectively.

Let’s take a look at how well you could do if you managed to pick up the highest scoring defense each week off of the waiver wire. Since most owners probably kept the top five defenses on their teams for the whole season, I omitted them from this.  A defense in the top five only scored the most points in any given week two times anyway. If you did manage to pick up the highest-scoring defense each week you would have scored 333 points for the season. That is an average of 20.8 points per week over the course of a 16-week season. That is a 151-point advantage over the highest scoring defense from last season. Even if you could only hit half of them for the year, that is still 167 points for the season. That is an average of 10.4 points per week. All you would have wasted was a 15th-round pick.

The average draft position for each of the top five defenses was
Baltimore (145),
Pittsburgh (113),
Philadelphia (155),
Tennessee (161) and

Tampa
Bay
(152). That is an average draft position of 143. You could have drafted the likes of Steve Slaton (142), Pierre Thomas (157) and Eddie Royal (166) around that same time, and would have had a skill player that produced more down the stretch than any one of the top five defenses could have. Plus, you would have been hitting on the actual top defense each week if you played your cards right.

I hope I convinced you to resist the urge to go for the big-name defense early and sit back until the 15th round. Take that extra skill player and give yourself a chance to hit fantasy gold. If nothing else, please don’t take a backup defense … you can always pick one up.

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