Fantasy Football 2013: You Don't Need An Elite Defense

By Adam Pfeifer
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports


We saw what the Chicago Bears defense did for fantasy owners a season ago. Interception after interception. Fumble after fumble. Touchdown after touchdown. After 212 points in 2012 (via ESPN) ,owners were thrilled at the fact that they selected this unit in the 10th round or so.

Fast forward to 2013 and a few more defenses have fantasy owners buzzing. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have stout, elite defensive units that warrant attention on draft day, sure. And while a handful of fantasy footballers are interested in grabbing a top-notch defense as early as round eight (trust me, I’ve seen it happen), it shouldn’t happen. If you are serious in your attempts of taking home the fantasy gold this season, do yourself a favor and pass on these elite defenses. Instead, try something that many are beginning to do.


Streaming defenses is becoming more and more of a popular strategy when it comes to fantasy football. You can stream anything, really. Quarterbacks, tight ends, you name it. However, defenses makes more sense. Oh, yeah. Some of you might actually be wondering what the heck I am talking about. Streaming is a method many people use where rather than consistently keeping your starting defensive unit in your lineup, fantasy owners instead search the waiver wire for the opposing defense with the best matchup each week of the season. It makes sense too. It’s not a rare occurrence when a fantasy defense actually hurts fantasy owners, rather than helping them. Despite how good your defense can be, there will always be a bad week or two, resulting in negative fantasy points. Now is the time for fantasy owners to plug and play defenses who match up against some of the worst offense in the league. Let’s recap some of the worst offenses in football from a season ago, shall we?

1) Arizona Cardinals:

Passing yards per game: 187.8

Rushing yards per game: 75.3

Points per game: 15.6

Sacks: 58

Sack yards lost: 378

Yards per game: 263.1

2) New York Jets:

Passing yards per game: 180.7

Rushing yards per game: 118.5

Points per game: 17.6

Sacks: 47

Sack yards lost: 287

Yards per game: 299.2

3) San Diego Chargers:

Passing yards per game: 205.9

Rushing yards per game: 91.3

Points per game: 21.9

Sacks: 49

Sack yards lost: 311

Yards per game: 297.3

4) Jacksonville Jaguars:

Passing yards per game: 213.7

Rushing yards per game: 85.6

Points per game: 15.9

Sacks: 50

Sack yards lost: 327

Yards per game: 299.3

Trust me, it’s not a coincidence that the worst offenses in football also have some of the worst offensive lines in the league. Fantasy owners should pretty much target any defenses playing offenses like this, as well as teams like the Raiders and Chiefs. Boy, outside of the Broncos the AFC West really stinks, no?

Again, try passing on the elite fantasy defenses this year. Instead, wait until your second-to-last pick of the draft and select a defense that has a very enticing Week 1 matchup. That way, you can feel good about your matchup leading all the way up to kickoff, but more importantly, you can continue to stockpile running backs and wide receiver, something that is very crucial to success this season. Here are a few defenses that come to mind:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@NYJ): The Bucs added big time playmakers on defense including former Jet Darrelle Revis and hard-hitting safety, Dashon Goldson. Add that combination to a stout run defense against a team with basically one threat on the offense (a running back) and possibly Mark Sanchez under center? Shoot, I’m convinced.

Kansas City Chiefs (@JAC): In 2012, the Chiefs defense was better than you think. They finished 20th in yards allowed per game, which isn’t terrific, but they have a great matchup against the Jaguars in Week 1 … especially if Blaine Gabbert is under center.

Washington Redskins (vs PHI): The Redskins added another tackling machine in Nick Barnett this offseason, but they also get both Brian Orakpo and safety Brandon Meriweather back from injury. I think the dominating forces all over the Redskins defensive unit will attack a questionable Eagles offensive line. Also, no Jeremy Maclin for the Eagles, and if Michael Vick is under center, there will clearly be some turnover potential.

Feel free to draft these units towards the end of your draft and then just mix and match which defense play some of the league’s worst offenses. Monitor injuries to opposing offenses to create better matchups for yourself. Streaming is taking over fantasy football, and it’s time you give it a try.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

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