Things You Need to Know: Defensive Edition
2013-2014 Defensive Year in Review – By Brian Hobson
Looking back at 2013, the defensive story of the year was the Seattle defense. (Current 12 team ADP 8.01). They were true ball hawks, recording 28 INT’s and only 231 points allowed. However, there were other teams that were about as good fantasy-wise, such as Carolina (241 points allowed), San Francisco (272 points allowed), New Orleans (304 points allowed), and Kansas City (305 points allowed). If you look at these 5 teams, how many were on your waiver wire at the start of the season? One? Two? For a lot of people, Kansas City came out of the blue. With an easy schedule and multiple return TD’s, they scored large points for most of the season.
The moral of the story is this – you can find a good fantasy defense late if you know what to look for, and you can use that 8th round pick for something more useful. Here are a few defenses that will outplay their ADP due to offseason changes.
- Houston (ADP 13.03). The biggest knock on Houston for most of the offseason was the idea of their offense being abysmal. Ryan Fitzpatrick fails to strike fear into the hearts of opposing defenses, and his turnovers means the defense is on the field more, getting winded and finally breaking. Enter Ryan Mallett. The trade with New England will breathe new life into the Houston offense, keeping them on the field longer and taking the strain off the defense to win the game. Also add in Jadeveon Clowney opposite JJ Watt, and the pass rush of the Texans is a thing to be feared. If your league gives 2 points per sack, Houston may be your team.
- New Orleans (ADP 14.04). The Saints only allowed 304 points last year, yet are being drafted 6+ rounds after Seattle. They picked up Rob Ryan, who has installed a new defense more centered on interceptions. Their offense has even more weapons than last year, keeping their defense rested by running sustained drives. I’m a big fan of the Saints this year, and in interception-heavy leagues, they are a great pickup.
- Pittsburgh (ADP N/A). Pittsburgh used their first 2 draft picks on defense, and they couldn’t have come at a better time. Ryan Shazier will help bolster a weak linebacker corps, and Stephon Tuitt to assist on the line. I see Pittsburgh as a good pickup for the first half of the season, not unlike Kansas City last year. Their first few games are against easy opponents – they face the Browns twice in the first 6 weeks, along with Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, Carolina with an injured Cam Newton, and a Ray Rice-less Ravens. If you took a defense you’re not sure about, Pittsburgh may get you over the hump until you find something else on waivers.
- Tampa Bay (ADP 14.04). With Lovie Smith taking over the head coaching reins, the Tampa Bay defense is sure to benefit. True, Darrelle Revis left to New England, but Lovie finally has a healthy secondary with Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron. Their pass rush should be consistent, and I would feel comfortable streaming them with another defense.