When Should You Draft A Defense?

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When you spent an 8th round pick in 2013 on the Bears defense, you were hoping to get the Bears from 2012 who led standard fantasy defenses in scoring with 212 points. Well….. That didn’t quite happen this year. The Bears finished the fantasy season with 79 points and ranked 23rd. While playing the matchups from week to week is a viable option, it gives fantasy owners piece of mind to own a defense that averaged 13.3 fantasy points a game like the Bears did in 2012, and owning that type of defense can help take you to a championship. Here is a break down of the top 10 fantasy scoring defenses from this past year, and their average draft position in a 12 team league.

Defense Points Average Draft Position
Chiefs 192 15h round
Seahawks 189 6th round
Panthers 183 15th round
Bengals 159 10th round
49ers 154 6th round
Cardinals 153 12th round
Rams 135 12th round
Patriots 125 10th round
Bills 114 15th round
Colts 112 15th round

Some of the most staggering numbers that jump out at me from this information is that 80% of the top 10 defenses were drafted during or after the 10th round, but 60% of them were drafted during or after the 12th round. Some of these teams were probably still available on your waiver wire during the first few weeks, but if you drafted them or picked them up, you were much happier than the person who drafted the Texans in the 8th round. Only five of the top ten teams from 2012 repeated their performance as a top ten fantasy defense in 2013, so it can be a crap shoot picking a team in hopes that they will repeat themselves from a year ago. The Bengals and Seahawks appear to be on the safer side to find themselves in the top ten in 2014, but anything can change from year to year.

So what does this all mean? The data shows that you might not even have to draft a defense to end up with one finishing in the top ten, but the average drafting position of the top five picks were in the 10th round. For the majority of my teams this year, I either drafted the Bengals or picked up the Chiefs from the waiver wire. This data tells me though that I could hold off on picking a defense until the later rounds in 2014, and the odds will be in my favor to either draft a good team or picking one off the waiver wire.

Jack Delaney

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Categories: Fantasy Football

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5 replies

  1. You should never draft a defense before round 10-12. I prefer to go week to week rather then jump at a defense like Seattle or San Fran that people will often draft before their starting roster if filled.

    • Very true about people jumping too early on San Fran or Seattle. Some people were drafting the Bears and Houston in the 7th and 8th rounds, and I was picking up Josh Gordon in the 10th-12th rounds. I would much rather play a defense from week to week than use up one of my top ten picks.

      • Defenses are maybe harder than any other position to predict preseason year to year. The Bears defense is a great example. Last year they were dominate, this year bottom of league. I would rather spend my mid to late round picks taking players who have a high upside. This year Gordon, Hilton, Bernard, Jeffery, Moreno. Just to name a few. If you can hit on one of these last 5 round picks your team goes to championship level.

  2. I use a similar draft strategy. With a 10 team league (limited roster), I am confident that there will be surprisingly good defenses on the waiver wire during the season which allows me to be patient. With my draft, I will usually take a defense that is playing what I think are the worst offenses in week 1 and 2 and then look elsewhere beyond that.

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