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2019 Fantasy Team Defenses


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For what it's worth, turnover differential is a great metric in helping find value at defense each year.  Sometimes Ds have years where the ball just bounces their way.  It happens every single year.  One glaring overvalued defense is Houston.  They had a ratio of +5 in '15, -7 in '16, -12 in '17 but improved 25 points to +13 in '18.  They faced a ton of bad QBs in '18 and their defense was completely healthy all year!  This was the knock on their D the last few years before heading into last year.  I'm not sure they will sustain all that luck with their health and they did lose a lot of key pieces in their secondary.  They now face the NFC South and AFC West.  Watson will be in many shootout games.  They're not worth one of the top ten defenses off the board in my opinion.  Some other ones I hate this year is Seattle.  They lost the legion of boom and still had the best turnover differential in football at +15.  Jarran Reed is out to start the year and they lost Frank Clark.  That number is not sustainable.  Cleveland is another one that jumped up 35+ points last year and while I think they're talented, the ball bounced their way a lot on D a lot of the year before the offense figured it out.  They face a lot of firepower in their schedule and the Saints also face a lot of high scoring teams. (Houston, Rams, Dallas, Tampa) within their first five games.  Although I'm intrigued by Carolina D, I'm staying away from the NFC South.  The Rams also don't interest me as a top five pick.  The Niners & Arizona have so much better offensive situations in the NFC West.  

I love Buffalo this year.  They are my value pick to jump in the top 3 ('17 Jags, '18 Bears).  Jets, Giants, Cincy, Titans, Dolphins in 5 out of their first 6 games (and the other game is vs a 42 year old QB who just lost his biggest receiving target to retirement).  They got studs all over their D and play a ground and pound style with a HC who used to coach that style with Carolina.  They moved down 14 last year in turnover differential due to an ineffective offense and injuries but there will be major progression.  I also like the Jags to bounce back (Telvin Smith would've made this D so nasty).  They had a huge playoff hangover last year and will have extra fire this year.   The Bears & Chargers are the other elite defenses who have staying power in the top 5 providing they stay healthy.  Other value picks I'm intrigued by.  The Steelers.  They go back to a balanced ground attack and will be so much better with Devin Bush and that -11 turnover differential should improve into the positive numbers.  I'm also intrigued by the Broncos.  That coaching staff with Vic Fangio and the assistants he brought in his miles better than Vance Joseph and that clown show.  You can get Denver late and with Fangio and those defensive ends and other good pieces around that D, definitely worth a value pick.    The Jets are another late value pick with an easy schedule like the Bills and now have CJ Mosely with the Williams guys up front and Adams in the backfield.  I'm also intrigued by the Niners as a streamer and their front seven adding Nick Bosa and with everyone healthy seeing some improvement in that turnover differential after diving 22 points last year to -25.  I think they could surprise.

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For what it's worth, turnover differential is a great metric in helping find value at defense each year.  Sometimes Ds have years where the ball just bounces their way.  It happens every single year. 

Cowboys get giants redskins dolphins to start the year.... uhhhhhhhhhh. Yes. Please. 

Take the Cowboys.   Underrated and have a soft schedule to start the season.

On 7/19/2019 at 3:10 AM, CORTEz said:

I'll speak from experience, as last year I took the JAX defense 103rd overall (8th round)..

And I can honestly say I will never do that again. I missed out on guys like Mahomes, Sony Michel, Marlon Mack and others.

Reaching for a defense that you really like isn't necessarily a bad thing....unless you do it wayyyyy to early.

And last year, I did it wayyyyyy to early...

 

 

Speaking from experience, I did the same thing in an 18 round draft last year.  Luckily I also took Chicago late but used the Jags week 1 and during Chicago's bye week and never used them again.  I ended up dropping them before the fantasy playoffs.  Someone picked them up, started them in RD 1 (the Derrick Henry game) and had an early exit. 

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6 hours ago, CooL said:

FFC right now has Chicago D at 104.  Sandwiched between MVS/Shady McCoy and Goff, Dede Westbrook, and N'Keal Harry.

Assuming you don't want Goff, then would you rather take a chance rostering the Bears D or any of those four other guys?

However, of the top 5 defenses over the past 5 years, only 6 of them made it back into the top 5 the next year, assuming standard scoring.  Only 9 made it into the top 10.  So the track record isn't great.  But the track record for round 8 guys is surely much worse as well, we just don't hear about it because there's too many guys to analyze.

 

 

I'm finding, at least while looking at the draft boards right now, that there are a number of players who have great upside that you can get between ADP 100 - 140.

 

Jameis Winston, Vance McDonald, Anthony Miller, Austin Eckler, Marquez Valdez Scantling, DOnte Foreman just to name a quick few...

 

DEF is so difficult to predict, and a lot of times, the #1 ranked defenses going into the season were primarily ranked #1 because they scored the most TDs...CHI, JAX etc...

 

I won't be selecting a DEF until at least Pick 150, and possibly even later than that.

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I get it the Jags should have a good defense, but are you really going to start them week 1 against Kansas City?  The Bears play Green Bay.  The Vikings play Atlanta.  The Saints play Houston.  The Chargers play Indy.  There isn’t a lot of good week 1 matchups with the higher drafted fantasy defenses.  Defense is almost as replaceable as Kicker.  Take your defense in the 2nd to last round and keep streaming.

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As mentioned I like to stream and a few DEFs I'm looking to draft late and start Week 1:

NY Jets at home against Buffalo (258 ADP)

Philly at home against Washington (195 ADP)

Cleveland at home against Tennessee (179 ADP)

Seattle at home against Cincinnati (233 ADP)

Dallas at home against NY Giants (185 ADP)

 

Especially targeting Dallas.  Love the talent on that defense, and the opening few weeks: home against NY Giants, @ Redskins, home against Dolphins.  Really nice 3 game slate to start the season.  Week 4 they travel to NO to take on the Saints so you might have to find a new DEF then, but at least you can set and forget the first 3 weeks.

 

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2 hours ago, Fort4242 said:

As mentioned I like to stream and a few DEFs I'm looking to draft late and start Week 1:

Denver vs the Raiders

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I like having Defenses in my leagues. We have bumped the points they can get especially by delivering low scores, so they actually matter now in my leagues. There is something very satisfying about picking up some unheralded D sitting in the waiver dumpster and winning your matchup because of it.

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I think the Ravens defense is being slept on. Yes, they lost a few guys especially at LB, but they added Earl Thomas to what I already considered the best secondary in the league, Onwuasor’s gonna come from out of nowhere to become a stud just like Zadarius Smith did, and they’ve still got Brandon Williams who is key to them stopping the run.

But more important than all that, their style of play on offense should be very conducive to an excellent fantasy defense. I expect time of possession will favor the Ravens by quite a bit; last year they topped the league at 32:05 but averaged 35:47 after Jackson took over. They also averaged more than 70 plays per game, the first team to do that in five years and it’s not like they were trying to hurry up like the last team to do it, Chip Kelly’s Eagles. And of course time of possession is one of the key stats to a defense’s success. (They improved slightly in 2018 when Jackson took over, but they also had to play some good offenses... Chiefs, Chargers, etc... who they shut down better than anyone else had, to that point).

Plus, and this is an exceedingly specious and unresearched point, but once every five years or so the Ravens seem to come out of the pack to become the #1 fantasy defense. Maybe it’s just their year to get the turnovers, I don’t know but given the system they want to run on offense, this feels to me like it could be that year. Again, specious, unresearched. Gut thing.

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13 minutes ago, Fierylady said:

I think the Ravens defense is being slept on. Yes, they lost a few guys especially at LB, but they added Earl Thomas to what I already considered the best secondary in the league, Onwuasor’s gonna come from out of nowhere to become a stud just like Zadarius Smith did, and they’ve still got Brandon Williams who is key to them stopping the run.

But more important than all that, their style of play on offense should be very conducive to an excellent fantasy defense. I expect time of possession will favor the Ravens by quite a bit; last year they topped the league at 32:05 but averaged 35:47 after Jackson took over. They also averaged more than 70 plays per game, the first team to do that in five years and it’s not like they were trying to hurry up like the last team to do it, Chip Kelly’s Eagles. And of course time of possession is one of the key stats to a defense’s success. (They improved slightly in 2018 when Jackson took over, but they also had to play some good offenses... Chiefs, Chargers, etc... who they shut down better than anyone else had, to that point).

Plus, and this is an exceedingly specious and unresearched point, but once every five years or so the Ravens seem to come out of the pack to become the #1 fantasy defense. Maybe it’s just their year to get the turnovers, I don’t know but given the system they want to run on offense, this feels to me like it could be that year. Again, specious, unresearched. Gut thing.

 

According to FantasyPros they're the 3rd DST off the board on average, just behind Bears and Rams.  So not sure they are being slept on.  Although I do agree they look like a solid DST, there isn't much room to return value when you draft them as DST3 (in the 9th or 10th round!).

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19 minutes ago, handyandy86 said:

 

According to FantasyPros they're the 3rd DST off the board on average, just behind Bears and Rams.  So not sure they are being slept on.  Although I do agree they look like a solid DST, there isn't much room to return value when you draft them as DST3 (in the 9th or 10th round!).

Wow, I didn’t know that. I’ve done a couple of drafts and snagged them at the back end of the defense run.

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31 minutes ago, Fierylady said:

Wow, I didn’t know that. I’ve done a couple of drafts and snagged them at the back end of the defense run.

 

Yeah, not sure how accurate the DST ADP's are (especially at this early point in the year).  I'm guessing there is a pretty big variance on where they're being taken.  For instance, they're ADP of 2nd DST taken on CBS, but 14th on ESPN.  So right now it's probably heavily influenced by the default rankings on each site, depending where you draft.

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On 7/18/2019 at 11:10 AM, dudewithabadcat said:

Here are my thoughts - get rid of defenses and kickers in your league and add a flex spot.  Boom!  Thread is over!

Patriots should be a sneaky pick this year.  I like the Browns as a sneaky pick too. 

I agree. I spend all my time with regard to defenses and kickers in trying to convince my league mates just to abolish those positions entirely.   Abolishing the kicker is usually easy. But for some reason people insist on keeping these infernal defenses.

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Usually wait until the top 3 are drafted...then I'll start gauging other talent and comparing it to the defenses ranked between 4-8. Definitely grab one before a kicker, but our league starts defense off with a 24, so if you have a top defense...getting 15+ every week and 25+ a few times is a huge advantage..

 

Seems like it never fails that I ended up streaming match ups at the end of the season anyway, so I can see your points.

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5 hours ago, tpat30 said:

Usually wait until the top 3 are drafted...then I'll start gauging other talent and comparing it to the defenses ranked between 4-8. Definitely grab one before a kicker, but our league starts defense off with a 24, so if you have a top defense...getting 15+ every week and 25+ a few times is a huge advantage..

 

Seems like it never fails that I ended up streaming match ups at the end of the season anyway, so I can see your points.

 

Do QBs get 10 points per passing TD?

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10 hours ago, KennyWoo said:

I agree. I spend all my time with regard to defenses and kickers in trying to convince my league mates just to abolish those positions entirely.   Abolishing the kicker is usually easy. But for some reason people insist on keeping these infernal defenses.

 

It's awesome to have K and Def when you strike gold and get a team and a kicker that are hot and consistent.  I just convinced my last league to abolish it.  I'm completely K and Def free now. 

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11 hours ago, KennyWoo said:

I agree. I spend all my time with regard to defenses and kickers in trying to convince my league mates just to abolish those positions entirely.   Abolishing the kicker is usually easy. But for some reason people insist on keeping these infernal defenses.

I understand kicker, but defense is half the game. I know it’s ‘fantasy’ football, but I like for it to be an approximation, at least, of real football, and defenses are important. That’s why I like IDP (and superflex too, as it puts the value back in the QBs, which is as it should be, as the QB is the most important player on the field). I will agree that having a good chunk of the league simply streaming defenses against the best matchups kinda goes against the spirit of the thing and is basically a whole lotta work we could do without, so I present a different solution: limit your waiver moves. It eliminates streaming, puts more importance on the draft (but not so much you get stuck with the team you drafted), and encourages trading. One of my leagues instigated five or so years ago and despite hating the idea at the time, turns out I loved it so much I’ve introduced it to a couple of my other leagues.

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15 minutes ago, Fierylady said:

I understand kicker, but defense is half the game. I know it’s ‘fantasy’ football, but I like for it to be an approximation, at least, of real football, and defenses are important. That’s why I like IDP (and superflex too, as it puts the value back in the QBs, which is as it should be, as the QB is the most important player on the field). I will agree that having a good chunk of the league simply streaming defenses against the best matchups kinda goes against the spirit of the thing and is basically a whole lotta work we could do without, so I present a different solution: limit your waiver moves. It eliminates streaming, puts more importance on the draft (but not so much you get stuck with the team you drafted), and encourages trading. One of my leagues instigated five or so years ago and despite hating the idea at the time, turns out I loved it so much I’ve introduced it to a couple of my other leagues.

 

Not to go too far off topic, but if 'realism' is what you're going for in fantasy football, kickers regularly score more points than even the best position players "in real life".  So in terms of realism, they are a very important part of a real football game too.

Overall I don't see fantasy sports at all as though they should be mimicking the real life sport, but for those that do, I don't see how you toss out PK's.

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19 hours ago, handyandy86 said:

 

 

Overall I don't see fantasy sports at all as though they should be mimicking the real life sport, but for those that do, I don't see how you toss out PK's.

Agreed,it's also the reason we don't use HTH records to qualify for our playoffs,we use a point scale of 11(high) and 0(low) that are added together week to week based on how our teams do points wise.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I drafted the Bears D. But I’m also carrying a second D to start the season. 

 

And thats the Dallas D. They completely mauled the Texans in week 3 preseason. Sometimes you can just see it. 

 

They came on strong last last year too. Opens vs NYG, at Miami, then VS Washington. Incredible opening schedule. 

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I have been streaming defenses many years before the "experts" started pushing that narrative...

In my league defenses actually matter & can score a ton of points with a monster game...

Fully expected to stream this year too as in the past 8 years or so I didn't even draft a defense or kicker & just picked one up the night before game day...

This year however we were in our 20th & final round when my pick came up..

Noticed everyone pretty much skipped over the Ravens D who were ranked 3rd so I felt almost obligated to grab them and see what's up...

I will resume streaming asap but as someone who never drafts a defense sometimes you have to adapt to your draft situation..

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