Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football 2014: Defense wins Championships... right?


Defense wins championships. An old NFL and NBA adage that’s no different in Fantasy Football. But unpredictability still reigns as Dan Salem and Todd Salem debate in part two of this week’s TD Sports Debate. Two brothers from New York yell, scream and debate the NFL and sports.

[Part one - Defenses win, Kickers lose]



Attempting to predict defensive touchdowns is a shaky proposition. It is one of the most fluid stats season to season. And while I admire your desire to stick with tried and true defensive juggernauts, things change too quickly in the NFL for that to be a wise strategy either.

Baltimore and Pittsburgh used to be two of the very best. Neither unit is anything other than average these days though. They both got old and slow almost overnight. And while teams like the Jets have good real-life defenses, it doesn’t always translate to fantasy. ESPN has the J-E-T-S ranked as just the 26th defense heading into 2014…yes, behind even the Giants.

The reason I usually wait until my last few dollars to bid on a team defense is that unpredictability. It is just too hard to know for sure who’s actually going to be good at scoring fantasy points on defense. Last year, the Chiefs, Panthers and Bengals all came out of nowhere to have huge seasons. Would they have been good, early picks last year? Yes, of course, but no one knew that prior to the season.

With kickers, there is little difference between the best and the 10th best at the position. That is not the case with defenses. Often, the 10th best defense is droppable depending on the matchup. However, it’s just so hard to know who those top defenses will be.

Many folks used big money on the San Francisco defense in 2013. While they were a good unit, the 49ers didn’t finish in the top five at the position and were bested by two other teams in their own division. The Jets, Eagles, Steelers and Packers were all highly thought of and were all terrible. You just don’t know.

The Seattle Seahawks are the only team ranked inside the overall top 100 right now. They squeaked in at 98th. The next D/ST doesn’t come around again though until three rounds later, the Panthers at pick 137. Is it plausible that Seattle will be that much better than every other defense in the NFL this season? Yeah sure, but I wouldn’t stake MY draft on it.



There’s lots of truth to all of that, but you’re playing mind games again. Not one solid piece of advice in that entire statement of fact. Have you decided which defense you’ll be drafting, or who you want to target? Winging it is totally my style, not yours. I know you’re technically right, but somewhere in that mind is a real plan of attack. You manage to win fantasy A LOT, so fine, keep your secrets to yourself.

I know it’s an unpopular fantasy wrinkle, but we’d toyed with the idea of adding defensive players to our rosters a season ago. It sounds awesome on paper, but when you start to break it down the notion quickly falls to pieces. There are a ton of fun defensive players to own, like Richard Sherman, but only a select few who would actually score significant points. Interceptions, fumbles, and sacks can be somewhat predicted, but touchdowns are still an elusive stat. Add to that the difficulty in separating positions and I’m at a loss.

I would want to draft one, maybe two defensive players. But I wouldn’t want to be required to pick a linebacker and a cornerback, for example. I’d want it open to ALL defensive players, which gets really convoluted really quickly. I only mention this because of how unpredictable drafting a defensive squad can be. Picking players is more fun and more reliable, but adding too many more players to a roster makes fantasy football too much like fantasy baseball.

I really enjoy fantasy baseball, don’t get me wrong. But its a more involved game, one that requires a lot more due diligence and planning to win. Fantasy football is more hands off, just the way I like it. I’m inclined to keep it that way.

[If you missed Part one - Defenses win, Kickers lose]

Tags: 2014 Fantasy Football Baltimore Ravens Defense Fantasy Football New York Jets NFL Pittsburgh Steelers Richard Sherman Seattle Seahawks Sports Debate

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