WalterFootball.com - Detailed NFL Mock Drafts, Player Prospect Rankings, and One of the Largest Mock Draft Databases on the Web

2011 Fantasy Football: Fantasy Defense Strategy




Aug. 2, 2010.

In many of my 2011 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts, I've stated that I plan on taking my starting defense in the final round of my fantasy drafts. Here I'll explain why.


Fantasy Defenses Are Unpredictable

Looking at last year's results, defense was the toughest position to project in fantasy football. Pittsburgh, the consensus No. 1 fantasy defense, finished 15th. The Giants and Titans, consensus top-five units, were 21st and 22nd, respectively.

Some defenses like the Eagles and Vikings lived up to the hype, but as you can see by the chart below, only five of ESPN's top 12 projected defenses actually concluded the year in the top 12.

Fantasy Defense
ESPN Projection
2009 Finish
Steelers
1
15
Giants
2
21
Titans
3
22
Ravens
4
9
Vikings
5
6
Eagles
6
1
Jets
7
5
Panthers
8
14
Dolphins
9
25
Cowboys
10
8
Bears
11
20
Patriots
12
16




As for the other positions, quarterbacks (9/12) were the most predictable. After that it went tight ends (7/12), running backs (6/12), kickers (6/12) and wide receivers (5/12).

This is a one-year sample size, but based on what I've experienced, this is far from an isolated incident. Defenses are so volatile because an injured player or two could really disrupt the entire unit. Take the Steelers for example. Troy Polamalu and Aaron Smith were injured last year. Those were only two of 11 starters, but their absence really played a big factor in the decline of their defense.

ESPN projects the Jets as its top fantasy defense. The Jets are also in my top five, but what if one or two of their key defenders goes down? Sure, if a running back you draft gets hurt you're screwed there too, but with a defensive unit you're counting on 7-9 key players to stay healthy.


Crappy Offenses Are Predictable

I think it's easier to go the other way. Instead of trying to find the best fantasy defense, perhaps picking up the team that plays the worst offense each week is the more lucrative solution.

I tracked the following teams to see how opposing fantasy defenses scored against them in 2009:

  • Washington Redskins (horrible offensive line)
  • Detroit Lions (horrible offensive line, rookie quarterback)
  • Carolina Panthers (Jake Delhomme is a disaster)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (horrible offensive line, rookie quarterback)
  • Seattle Seahawks (horrible offensive line)
  • St. Louis Rams (horrible offensive line, bottom-five quarterback)
  • Buffalo Bills (horrible offensive line, bottom-five quarterback)
  • New York Jets (rookie quarterback)
  • Cleveland Browns (miserable team)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (horrible offensive line)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (horrible offensive line)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (horrible offensive line, bottom-five quarterback)
  • Oakland Raiders (horrible offensive line)

    Going week by week, I tallied the number of points opposing fantasy defenses scored against each of these teams (yes, this took a long time), and I compared them against the top fantasy defenses from 2009.

    Here are the results, with the poor offensive teams in red:

    Fantasy Defense or Faded Offense
    2009 Fantasy Points
    Vs. Rams
    292
    Eagles
    256
    Vs. Raiders
    255
    Vs. Bills
    251
    49ers
    245
    Vs. Lions
    243
    Vs. Redskins
    241
    Vs. Chiefs
    240
    Packers
    239
    Vs. Steelers
    231
    Saints
    224
    Vs. Panthers
    222
    Vs. Jaguars
    221
    Jets
    218
    Vs. Buccaneers
    218
    Vikings
    215
    Vs. Seahawks
    214
    Vs. Browns
    214
    Broncos
    213
    Cowboys
    212
    Ravens
    210
    Cardinals
    205
    Chargers
    203
    Bills
    200
    Vs. Jets
    199






    Amazingly, a fade of the Rams each week would have netted a better result than playing the top fantasy defense for all 16 games.

    Now, I know what you're thinking - the top defenses probably did all of the damage against these pathetic offenses, right? That's actually not true. The Seahawks and Texans enjoyed big outings against the Rams. And as for the Redskins, Kansas City (23 points), Carolina (21) and Tampa Bay (19) really teed off on that miserable offensive line. Seattle and St. Louis even scored 30 and 18 points, respectively, against the Jaguars. Those are just a few examples.


    2010 Crappy Offenses

    This year, I plan on exclusively playing matchups - finding the best possible defense going against the worst offense. These are the teams I'll be fading:

  • Chicago Bears (Mike Martz is an idiot)
  • Detroit Lions (horrible offensive line)
  • Arizona Cardinals (horrible offensive line, bottom-five quarterback)
  • Seattle Seahawks (horrible offensive line, bottom-five quarterback)
  • St. Louis Rams (horrible offensive line, rookie quarterback)
  • Buffalo Bills (horrible offensive line, bottom-five quarterback)
  • Cleveland Browns (Jake Delhomme is a disaster)
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (horrible offensive line)
  • Jacksonville Jaguars (horrible offensive line)
  • Kansas City Chiefs (horrible offensive line, bottom-five quarterback)

    That's just a preliminary list. If a quarterback goes down and his backup sucks, that team will obviously be added.


    As for Your Fantasy Draft...

    If you plan on employing the same strategy this season, I recommend selecting the Dolphins or the Cardinals in the final round of your fantasy draft. Miami plays Buffalo and Arizona goes up against St. Louis in Week 1, so both fantasy defenses should post lucrative point totals.

    The following week, you can drop the Dolphins/Cardinals and pick up the Raiders, who should be able to beat up on the Rams. In Week 3, the Redskins should also have their way with St. Louis. You get the picture.

    Picking up and dropping these defenses each week may sound cumbersome, but it's worth it if you want to use that 10th- to 13th-round fantasy pick on a valuable sleeper instead of an unpredictable fantasy defense.






    More 2011 Fantasy Football Articles:
    2011 Fantasy Football: Home

    2011 Fantasy Football Rankings:
    2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterbacks - 9/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Running Backs - 9/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Wide Receivers - 9/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Tight Ends - 9/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defenses - 9/1 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Rankings: Kickers - 6/26 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Downloadable Spreadsheets - 9/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Dynasty Rookie Rankings - 8/27 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Auction Values - 8/27 (Walt)

    2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets:
    2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 150 Traditional - 9/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 150 PPR - 9/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet: Top 150 Touchdown - 9/8 (Walt)

    2011 Fantasy Football Mock Drafts:
    2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Real League Draft - 8/31 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Fake Mock - 8/25 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Experts Draft - 8/25 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Forum 2-QB Mock - 7/21 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Mock Draft Scenarios - 7/17 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Auction: Mock PPR Auction - 7/14 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Forum PPR Mock - 7/7 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Forum Mock - 7/3 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Four-Man PPR Draft - 6/19 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Draft: Fox Sports - 5/5 (Walt)

    2011 Fantasy Football Articles:
    2011 Fantasy Football Injury Reports: Week 2 - 9/18 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Weekly Rankings: Week 2 - 9/18 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Week 2 Add/Drop - 9/13 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Training Camp Stock - 9/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Start Em, Sit Em - 9/6 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Preseason Stock - 9/3 (Walt)
    2011 Preseason Recap and Fantasy Football Notes - 9/3 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Preseason Targets - 9/3 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Late-Round Sleepers - 9/1 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Round-by-Round Strategy - 9/1 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Value Comparison - 9/1
    2011 Fantasy Football: Must-Have Players - 8/24 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Busts, Players to Avoid - 7/25 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 7/24 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Sleepers - 7/23 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Various League Strategy - 7/18 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Three-Dimensional Running Backs - 7/16 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: ADP Analysis - 7/15 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: First-Round Bust History - 7/10 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 7/9 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 7/4 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mock Draft Analysis - 7/1 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 6/18 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 6/12 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football Mailbag - 6/5 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Stock Up (Draft) - 5/6 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Stock Down (Draft) - 5/6 (Walt)
    2010 Fantasy Football: Buy Low - 4/8 (Walt)
    2011 Fantasy Football: Defense Strategy - 4/8 (Walt)
    Running Backs with Most Carries - 4/8 (Walt)




    NFL Picks - Oct. 31


    2015 NFL Mock Draft - Oct. 29


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 5


    2016 NFL Mock Draft - July 24


    2015 NBA Mock Draft - July 1


    NFL Free Agents



  • © 1999-2014 Walter Cherepinsky : all rights reserved
    Privacy Policy
    2 5 9
    Google
















    WalterFootball.com Now on Twitter:

    WalterFootball.com Twitter

    Subscribe to the WalterFootball.com RSS Feed:

    Walterfootball.com RSS Feed






















































    Support Walt's Other Site:

    Sales Tips and Sales Advice - Tons of sales tips, sales techniques and sales advice, including a Sales Mock Draft: The 32 Worst Things You Can Do in Sales.