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Why are defenses drafted so low?

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Postby bagobonez » Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:44 am

Plindsey88 wrote:Because most of your league-mates will ignore the position and only carry (1) defense, which means there are PLENTY of defenses available on the wire week-to-week... Because of this, it is relatively easy to play match-ups on defense every week, and by playing the right match-ups you can easily outscore the top defense over the course of the season...

Keep an eye out for my weekly match-up rankings in the waiver wire forum beginning in week 4... Over the course of three seasons, I've developed a formula that has proven to be remarkably accurate at predicting the week's top defenses week in and week out...


This is only true if you have two good defenses at your disposal. I once did research two find out which two defenses had the most favorable matchups for a season, and figured I'd play the matchups. It didn't work out all that well. A bad defense is a bad defense. Now for example, I would rather have Jacksonville's and Seattle's defenses and play the best matchups than have Chicago's defense, but the point is both JAX and SEA have good D's.
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Postby Gibbs_Wagon » Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:54 am

lmcjaho wrote:
Vixtor wrote:The best defense and 10th best defense will only have about 35 point difference

in my league the difference from last years #1 and #10 was over 70 points... #1 to #5 was 35 points...
.


I play in a league that strongly favors defenses (chicago outscored Alexander) BUT you still have to note positional scarcity - see how the bottom falls out on RB's?

1: S. Alexander: 351
2: L. Johnson: 315
10th: M. Anderson: 185
25th: J. Lewis: 110

1: Chicago: 374
2: Carolina: 358
10th: Denver: 304
25th: Philly: 272

granted, the guy that won the league had chicago.
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Postby josebach » Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:58 am

Plindsey88 wrote:Because most of your league-mates will ignore the position and only carry (1) defense, which means there are PLENTY of defenses available on the wire week-to-week... Because of this, it is relatively easy to play match-ups on defense every week, and by playing the right match-ups you can easily outscore the top defense over the course of the season...

Keep an eye out for my weekly match-up rankings in the waiver wire forum beginning in week 4... Over the course of three seasons, I've developed a formula that has proven to be remarkably accurate at predicting the week's top defenses week in and week out...


Assuming of course it doesn't cost you 3 bucks per roster move like it does in my money league. :-/

As was already mentioned, things like fumble recoveries, interceptions, defensive touchdowns and special teams touchdowns either vary a great deal or are completley unpredictable.

To give you an idea.
In 2004, the 5 top scoring defenses (fantasy points) were:
Baltimore
Buffalo
New England
Pittsburgh
Atlanta

In 2005, the 5 top scoring defenses were:
Chicago
Carolina
Indianapolis
Seattle
NYG

Not one team repeated.
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Postby Turnip » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:05 am

In a lot of leagues, there *is* a big difference between the top defenses and the baseline defenses at the end of the season, unlike with kickers. The thing is, these defenses are almost never as drafted. Unpredictability is the main reason people wait on defenses. It is also true that in most leagues you can play matchups and come out better than a lot of teams that stick with one defense. This plan works great if you are the only one with that idea, if more people start thinking that way then it becomes a giant crapshoot.
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Re: Why are defenses drafted so low?

Postby Matthias » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:36 am

bellings wrote:Are defenses draft low because they are unpredictable? I was doing a spreadsheet to get my pre-draft rankings, and I tabulated the points above replacement. As a rough estimate, I simply took the expected number of points earned and subtracted the points earned by best option that wouldn't be starting. (For example, 10-team league, 2 QB's, then I would substract off the 21st QB's points.)

Everything looked pretty normal, until some defenses popped up in the 40's, which would correspond to the 5th round of the draft. From what I understand, nobody EVER drafts a defense in the 5th.

So here's the question: If a defense is expected to give you 5th round value, why does nobody take one there? Only thing I can think of is that they are unpredictable.


I'd say there's a few factors (most of which have already been mentioned).

1) Matchups: to an extent, a great defense is any defense playing the 49ers.

2) Unpredictability I think is overrated. My take on it is that individual players are much more unpredictable than a team defense. A player can break a leg, get demoted, or get arrested for a DUI and lost their entire value. But if that happens to any individual members of a defense, someone else steps in and you normally don't lose a step.

3) Depth at other positions: even if your league starts 20 RBs, the correct comparison for VBD isn't the 21st RB but rather probably the 36th which is the one that won't get drafted. In the fifth round people are still drafting players who are starting or adding depth at the skill positions.

4) Common wisdom: nobody drafts a defense before the 8th round so nobody drafts a defense before the 8th round. If you've done the VBD analysis and think that defenses are being underrated, pick one before anyone else.
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Postby KoopaTroopa211 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:52 am

There's also one more thing: injuries. A defense is comprised of a couple dozen people, so when injuries occur, you won't have a sudden plummet in value. Brian Urlacher goes down, you might make 5-10 less points with your D for the season. Shaun Alexander or Steve Smith goes down, your whole season may have just gone down the toilet.
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Postby swyck » Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:09 pm

Some people say to wait till the end of the draft to pick a D or a K. I agree about waiting on the K, but based some of the numbers I've seen tossed around here, and from what I've seen in my leagues, D should be picked higher then that.

How high? Well you're not getting CHI at 10, but I certainly wouldnt go 5 for them. This year I'm trying to grab a D around 9-11.

Last year I was stuck in a 14 team league when I waited real late. The Ds available there or on the fa list are real dogs, matchups or no. You give away points every week to the better teams. Considering that 9-11 is sleeper territory I think that's a good place to draft for a starting position.
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Postby Infidel » Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:05 pm

Didn't read the entire thread but here is why I don't:

1. The difference between the top 2-3 D's and the middle D's isn't much.

2. It's not very predicatable who the top D's will be, given that sacks, int's and ST scores are really unpredicatable.

3. Some team always seems to come from nowhere and be good, at least FF wise. The last 3 years, I have picked up D's from the WW that led my league in scoring.

4. They are not a difference maker for your team like a breakout RB or WR can be. They score 6 for TD's plus yardage. If you draft a guy like CMart in '04 or S Smith in "05 in the middle RD's, he can take you to a SB. That simply is not a option for a D.
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Postby maddog60 » Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:48 pm

Even in the 9-11 rounds I would not jump on a DEF. 9-11 is where you can build some serious WR and RB depth. Top notch DEFs tend to fall, or at least decent ones. Last year Chicago was a waiver wire pickup in most leagues, Indy was not highly drafted, yet these two dominated.

This year I see the Bengals slipping to the end of the draft often. With the return of Madieu Williams, signing of Dexter Jackson, upgrades at DT, plus all the young talent they added via draft, this defense seems primed.

Arizona, yes Arizona. They go undrafted and have spent the past several years loading up on some excellent young talent on defense. LB Dansby is a playmaker, DE Berry can rush the passer, and Adrian Wilson might be the most productive SS in the league. This team has lots of potential stars in the making.

Basically, lets look at defenses which stand a good chance of being solid picks:

DEN, SD, MIA, NE, IND, JAX, CIN, BAL, PIT, the entire NFC East, SEA, CHI, ATL, CAR. More than half the league, over 16 defenses that could end up in the top 5, any of them. There are other defenses like ARI, HOU, BUF, that have the potential to get into the mix as well. Even in a 12 teamer, there is no pressure to be part of a run on DEFs.
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Postby My team is injured » Fri Sep 01, 2006 12:14 am

I haven't drafted a defense early this year or last, but I have in the past... baltimore warranted a high pick in the past IMO, and I drafted them as high as a pick in the 30s (4th round in a 10 team league) back in 2004... might have been a round high looking back on it, but I remember it paying big dividends that year as the Defense/ST scored 8 TDs and single-handedly won some weeks for me and helped me win one of my leagues (a league I actually picked them at the end of the 3rd round in a 12 team league)... I've seen baltimore's 2005 season mentioned as a reason against picking a defense early, but no mention of baltimore's run of success for a number of years prior to that...

with that being said, people have already mentioned the reasons against it and I don't see myself drafting a defense high again for years to come.. another thing is baltimore's defense used to go much earlier than other defenses in ff drafts, and you had to reach early to get them as the 5th round was probably their ADP... if you have a strong feeling about a defense like chi or car this year and feel that they will outscore what your weekly output would be otherwise, then just check their ADP, guess when they will most likely be selected in your league, and pick them a round before that if you feel the value is there over other players available..
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