By Des Boodam
I’m totally comfortable heading into uncharted fantasy waters as you won’t find too many people willing to analyze fantasy defenses that aren’t part of major fantasy sports engines that will output gobs of fantasy content throughout the year. First lets address the why – Let’s assume the top 75% of your league all knows what they are doing and are active.
Everyone will have a good first three rounds… and everyone will have 2-3 players that exceed expectations. Everyone will have injuries as well, but at the end of the day, the difference between 1 thru 6 isn’t that great… and that’s where extracting value from the non core positions like Kicker, Defense and Tight End becomes imperative.
You don’t have to kill it, but you can’t ignore it.
There’s two predominant strategies you could employ… #1 – Every Week Spot Start… This is simply where you look at the available defenses every week, and spot start the one you think will do the best. Looking solely at matchups.
Pickings may be slim, but it’s proven to be effective. #2 – Big Two… This is where you over pay for the defense of your choice and also draft a second defense and mix and match both those defenses throughout the season. This is where you factor in return men, weather in December, QB strength, division strength etc… My favorite thing to do, is predict who the worst offenses are going to be (usually based on the QB) and look ahead to weeks 14-16, and choose a defense that has favorable matchups in the playoffs.
I will draft any defense that is going up against one of the worst offenses, and most years a certain defense may have two great playoff matchups, I almost always will get a jump on those defenses and sit on them throughout the season. At times defenses will digress throughout the season, and you will have to cut bait.
The Daily game is of extreme importance to me. I put a lot of time into analyzing the QB position and defense. A lot of times it has more to do with the offenses a defense is facing and not the playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. I will have more on this as the season gets closer and we get in the weeds of the week to week. Here are FIVE to consider drafting.
#1 – Philadelphia Eagles – this is the best all around unit in the league, and when the weather gets cold they are even better. Alex Smith, Dak Prescott and Eli Manning, I’ll take it.
#2 – Minnesota Vikings – this unit is great, and their offense is even better now. I’m not crazy about their divisional matchups, but I do like their schedule otherwise.
#3 – Pittsburgh Steelers – super weak division here. The defense is young and aggressive and deep and the offense can crush the souls of opposing teams.
#4 – Houston Texans – another week division as it pertains to QB play and a healthy J.J. Watt. We don’t know what we’re going to get from Andrew Luck or Mariota or Bortles for that matter… but we know Houston’s defense will be locked in.
#5 – Los Angeles Rams – I’m not buying the hype on this defense… they are primed to win now, but they are not a defensive unit. They made some great signings with Suh, and Talib, and others, but we’ve seen this go badly before with other teams who have stocked up. The potential in an improving division is noteworthy.