DEFENSES: ** Now Keep in mind that unless you are truly smitten with a defense, I'm of the opinion that you can completely ignore the position and instead play matchups. I know I know, you won't have an elite bone crushing squad, but then say when you draft the consensus No.1 defense (San Francisco) and they play Green Bay week one, you'll actually have a better score - imagine that.
1. Houston Texans - - Average Draft Position: 12th round (2nd DEF overall) / Yahoo: 7th
One of the reasons that San Francisco was able to post such great numbers last year was half talent-scheme and the other half cakeeasy schedule. The NFC West was offensively poor in terms of offensive production last year. This year the stake to weakest offensive division in my mind goes to the AFC South. You got 3 first or second year quarterbacks, a major runningback holdout and Donald Brown as a starter. Houston will be a week in week out terror
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2. Philadelphia Eagles - - Average Draft Position: 13th round (2nd DEF overa) / Yahoo: 4th
When drafting defenses, if the matchups aren't to my liking - or I decide I definitely want to draft one early - I look for two of the primary point scoring categories: sacks and interceptions. Philadelphia was at the top of this category and just watching Phillip Hunt and Brandon Graham shine as backups- it's clear they can force wave after wave of pressure and therefore turnovers and points in fantasy.
3. Chicago Bears - - Average Draft Position: 15th round (7th DEF overall) / Yahoo: 2nd
Another way to look at D/ST is to value special teams. Devin Hester is the best return man any of our eyes have ever seen. And even though Chicago is getting a little old on defense, great coaching and veteran leadership will keep them a consistent play. And despite playing in a division with elite offenses, keep in mind this division rival will be the most prepared of any team to matchup the best with them.
4. San Francisco 49ers - - Average Draft Position: 10th round (1st DEF ov) / Yahoo: 1st
I'm knocking San Fran down a few pegs. I don't think Ted Gin Jr. will score as many return touchdowns. I don't think they'll have that historic run of 13 games without a rushing touchdown. Aldon Smith, their lights out rookie, was stabbed and doesn't seem the same so far this year. And plus the rest of the division appears to have each gotten better on their offensive sides of the ball. I'll let someone else waste a high pick on San Fran
Worthy of a high pick: Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers
Sleepers:Detroit Lions, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks
Avoid: San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins
KICKERS: ** In leagues like Yahoo that allow you to play with an empty slot,I don't draft or even start a kicker unless the projected points elude to a sizable loss. In most cases you can pick up a monday night kicker or sunday night for that matter. This appears reckless but it's an ingenious method in my eyes because it affords me another roster spot. Plus kickers are the most sporadic and hard to predict of all the fantasy teams. People love to draft Gostowski because New England's offense is so potent, but then he'll end up with only 4 pts in a 28-7 blow out. Extra points don't get it done. I want field goals and I want them long so that's why I draft guys will nukes on their kneecaps who play on average to poor offenses. Here's my top 10 below but I won't waste the time explaining much because as mentioned before you really should either not draft a kicker or do it with your last pick
1. Sebastian Janikowski - Raiders
2. Dan Carpenter - Dolphins
3. Rob Bironas - Titans
4. Dan Bailey - Cowboys
5. Billy Cundiff - Redskins
6. Josh Scobee - Jaguars
7. Nate Keading - Chargers
8. Justin Medlock - Panthers
9. Connor Barth - Buccaneers
10. Jason Hanson - Lions
IDP: You know that you're a true junkie if you're playing in a league that features individual defensive players. I salute you if you are. Here the best in my ranks of each position - I've determined these by consistent healthy premium play. With so many options in the defensive categories, you don't need a star - but you should aim for consistent points.
DE: Jason Pierre Paul - Calaias Campbell - Jared Allen
DT: Justin Smith - Geno Atkins - Haloti Ngata
LB: D'Qwell Jackson - Stephen Tullock - Mike Peterson
CB: Patrick Peterson - LaDarius Webb - Jason McCourty
S: Tyvon Branch - Antoine Bethea - Kam Chancelor