Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Defense of Defense

I was going to write a post about different things I've learned in this, my first season of playing fantasy football. But then I went off on a rant on the number one thing I've learned--that IDP blows team defense out of the water--and I decided I needed to devote a whole post to it.

I cannot fathom why it's more popular to draft team defenses than Individual Defensive Players. Well, OK, I know why: it's easier. However, the small amount of work that goes into drafting and then keeping track of defensive players is far more than worth it.

Playing IDP is much more rewarding, because you can't predict how a team defense will perform. A stat you can hear from any fantasy advice professional is that top-drafted defenses never finish at the top of the stats at the end of a season. Drafting individual players instead of team defenses rewards knowledge and research instead of luck.

Playing IDP is less risky, because there are smaller point swings from week to week. A team defense only takes up one of your roster spots, but it can bring your entire team down. Maybe it'll score 15, maybe it will score -10. (Oh by the way, thanks a lot for last week, Chiefs D.) DeAngelo Hall isn't going to score you 29 points every week (like he did that one time), but he's never going to wipe out the points scored by your other players.

Playing IDP is more educational, because it makes you learn about the guys on the less-glamorous side of the ball. A few weeks ago, Peter King in his Monday Morning Quarterback column wrote that he liked "Cleveland defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (bet you didn't know Ahtyba) beating a Pro Bowl-caliber guard, Stephen Neal, for a sack of Tom Brady." Au contraire, Peter. I both know and adore Ahtyba Rubin, because he's on my team and he's a stud.

Most of all, playing IDP is more in keeping with the spirit of fantasy football. With a team defense, your fantasy team's performance hinges on how well a real-life team plays. And who cares about that?! I care about individual guys making great plays and racking up the best numbers they can! If I benefit from Carson Palmer throwing for a ton of yards even if the Bengals lose, why shouldn't I benefit from Clay Matthews sacking the QB over and over, even if the Packers lose? Fantasy football is about celebrating the achievements and stats of Individual Players. Case closed.


  1. Well into my first season playing IDP, I am against it. Statistically, defense is boring. Everyone is scoring < 10 points, especially the D-line. Also, unless you really want to invest a lot of time in your team, which I don't, all most people will do is look at which defensive players have the highest season scoring totals (since projections are worthless) and play them. Maybe having 3 IDP would be OK (1 LB, 1 DB, one DL), but more than that is not fun.

  2. I find it rather fitting that this was posted the week before the A&M-Nebraska game.

  3. Well, there are probably too many defensive roster spots in our league, but playing team defense is just awful. Awful. Also, I don't know how you can complain about people scoring less than 10 points when you own DeAngelo Hall. How could that have been any less exciting than owning a WR who had a really big game?

  4. Like an NFL groupie, I guess I'd rather just focus of the offense.