Though not close enough, Fantasy Football season is finally looming on us. Everyone’s offseason topics are riddled with deep sleepers and stat projections as well as bust or breakout season stats, but one thing I haven’t heard much about is the Defensive team strategy.
Many people, play without even thinking about a defense to pick, or pick all high-end players first and then pick the defense based on the scraps that are leftover. Before I began joining the rank of playing DFS with my Dad, this is how he was playing. He never gave much thought about the defense, because the defense doesn’t score. But I beg to differ. The difference in a winning lineup and one that needs help is the importance of the role of defense.
Since standard Fantasy Football scoring focuses on the offensive side of the ball, the defense tends to get washed away as irrelevant. But that is far from the truth. Though the defense is all grouped together as one pick, it needs to be treated as a high value player. Where many people wouldn’t think twice about choosing O’Dell Beckham Jr, Antonio Brown, or Julio Jones high on their list (even with a high price tag) they don’t think enough about their defensive team in their lineups. Often, especially if there are tough matchups that Football week, I even choose my defense first and build around it.
Why should I pay attention to Defense in Fantasy Lineups?
The simple answer is because defense wins championships. I’m sure you have heard this over and over again on TV, but have you heard it in the Fantasy Football perspective? Probably not. The key is choosing a defense that scores. Some defenses are better at others than scoring on the defensive side of the ball. Many know that Denver is known for it’s “No-Fly Zone” defense, if they are playing a pass heavy team, Denver would be the defense to choose. However, what happens when the team is a run first offense? Chances are you will want to go with the Texans who was number one in the league only allowing 301 yards per game. The problem I have with choosing these teams as a utility defense is that neither of these teams are known as a Scoring Defense.
Standard Scoring of defenses give and take away Fantasy Points depending on how many points the defense allows in the game. With so many teams being a high scoring offense, you already are working against yourself. It is important to choose a defensive team that is able to full our stop the ball or turn the tide by scoring. Below you will see my choices for the best Fantasy Defenses.
The Texans have always been known for having a high performing defense. Most thought the Texans would fall off defensively with the loss of veteran DE JJ Watt with a back injury. The truth was far from it. With players like DE Jadeveon Clowney and OLB Whitney Mercilus stepping up the Texans stayed true to form and ranked among the top defenses in the league. With 301 total yards per game allowed, there is no wonder that this defense is one to be reckoned with. All core players make an impact on the Texans defense, and that can only assist in your Fantasy lineup.
Houston has the 2nd most interceptions in the league by the SS Quinton Demps with six, however, the CB Kareem Jackson is the one to pay attention to, as he is the only defender who was able to score for the Texans. Others to mention here is the ILB Benardrick McKinney with 129 combined tackles and 5 sacks. Though tackles don’t count for anything Fantasy-wise, the sacks do. With just these players named here, there is a total of 25 Fantasy points. Though all the fun stuff probably didn’t happen in one game, with their ability to stop the run and pick off the deep ball, there isn’t a team that will stomp out the Texans.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Kansas City’s defense emerged as one of the toughest in the league that often made opposing teams think, “There’s no place like home.” But the real value here is they are largely a scoring defense. While all the guys are not productive, the ones that do produce do so in a huge way. Just as Demps, Marcus Peters had 6 interceptions and a number four in the league pass deflection performance with 26. The real value of KC defense is SS Eric Berry. This man sees any opportunity as a chance to score and will do so. Berry has two touchdowns as a defender in the 2016, season. Seeing a defender be able to score must have ignited a fire because Daniel Sorenson also scored a touchdown as a defender against the Saints. Dee Ford is also a sack monster claiming 10 in the 2016, season.
Many a lineup was saved with Kansas City running the defense. However, one other aspect of defense, is the special team’s points are worked into the defensive points. In the example of the Chiefs, this is another area where they shine. With their WR Tyreek Hill being the kick return specialist, he is known to run the entire field and claim a touchdown. Being his rookie year, he pulled in 14 returns for 384 yards and one touchdown. Yet another score to add to the Chiefs Fantasy Defense scoring. Not too many teams have a clear offensive plan how to attack the Chiefs which makes it a top ranking Fantasy Defense.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Though I can already see people cringing their face at this last one, the truth of the matter is, this defense can score as good if not better than some of their RBs on the roster. With a brand new electrifying stadium complete with Viking horn, this defense also boasts electrifying players.
At the top of the charts is Xavier Rhodes with five interceptions and one touchdown. This scoring CB’s skillset doesn’t end with the turnovers, he is also able to get into the head of WR superstars like O’Dell Beckham Jr. In this defensive scheme, the secondary doesn’t have all the fun, MLB Erick Kendricks gets in on the action as well with 109 combined tackles one interception which turned into a 77-yard touchdown. While DEs don’t normally score, they contribute to your total fantasy points when they get to the QB, and Danielle Hunter was no exception to that fact with 12.5 sacks for the year and one safety. Others helped with that sack stat as well like Everson Griffen with eight sacks and Brian Robison with 7.5 sacks.
With all pieces in place defensively and staying healthy these guys surely can score, the seemingly hard thing for them to do is stop the other team from scoring. Depending on who they are playing against, if the opposing team scores high, the points the defenders just scored won’t matter because the opposing team diminishes your Defensive scoring.
No defenses are that consistent at scoring to be able to do it every game, however, if playing DFS there are weeks you can pick and choose your best opportunities for these defenses. A run-first offense would be best to use Houston while a pass-heavy offense would best be defended with Kansas City.
**All stat information in this article was found here.** Get in there and play with some stats to see who will best fit your lineup.