Fantasy Football Preview: Defense/Special Teams and Kickers

Today will be my last installment of the Fantasy Football Preview as I round out the last of the positions. As you can tell by the headline, today I will focus on the two least important positions: D/ST and K. These get you the least amount of points every week and aren’t a huge part of the game (unless the defense gets like 3 interceptions). I won’t be saying as much as I have been in the past about each defense and I’m not going to say anything about the kickers except their projections, last year stats, and bye week because there’s not much to say except “he’s accurate” or “he can kick really far” or “he’s good in clutch situations” or “he’s really good looking”. That’s really about all you can say.

In most leagues, you don’t pick specific defensive players (you can in some, which is fun, but it’s not the norm) So for the Defense and Special Teams, you use an entire team’s defense to get you points. There’s 4 main ways to get points: turnovers by the defense, safety, sacks, and keeping the opponent’s score low. I don’t know the exact scale but it’s something like if the defense keeps the score under 13, you get 5 points, under 21 you get 3 points, over 33 it’s minus 2 points. Something like that. And then the ST gets points for punt and kick-off returns, blocked kicks and punts, and turnovers.

Top 5 Defenses:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers
Projections: 199 points
Bye Week: 11

I hate to say it but for your fantasy sake, I will. When you have James Harrison and Troy Polamalu on the team getting sacks and forcing turnovers, they’ll score you a lot of points on defense.

3. Green Bay Packers
Projections: 192 points
Bye Week: 8

Not much to say. They have play-makers who will score points. The end.

3. New York Jets
Projections: 168 points
Bye Week: 8

Look at the drop-down in points from Packers to Jets. That just shows you how dominant those two defenses are. Jets D is still very good.

4. Baltimore Ravesn
Projections: 144 points
Bye Week: 5

Another pretty big drop-down on points but that’s because they ranked 27th in sacks, which is a big way to get points. Hopefully, with Chuck Pagano’s aggressiveness, that changes and the Ravens D scores more fantasy points. You can always count on Ed Reed to gets tons of picks and thus tons of points for you.

5. Philadelphia Eagles
Projections: 142 points
Bye Week: 7

You’d think of having Asomugha and DRC would mean those receivers just wouldn’t be thrown to (Asomugha had 3 picks last year and was only thrown to 18 times) but they also have Asante Samuel so you know someone is going to get a pick like every game probably.

Top 3 Defenses to Avoid:

For here, I’ll just do the bottom 3 ranked defenses.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
Projections: 67 points
Bye Week: 9

Maybe the game the Ravens play against them will finally be Flacco’s chance to have a blow-out.

2. Carolina Panthers
Projections: 88 points
Bye Week: 9

We all know the type of re-building this team is in. And to top it all off, they have the number one hardest schedule in the league this season. Sorry Panthers fans.

3. Arizona Cardinals
Projections: 70 points
Bye Week: 6

I don’t think I could name one defensive player they have.

I’m not even going to do sleepers for either of these positions because it’s not a big deal. I do think the Lions D will be a sleeper even though they lost Nick Fairley. If the top 5 are gone when you go to draft a D/ST, just take the next highest-ranked one and you’ll be good.

As for kickers, I’m going to give you the top 5 and that’s it. They’re REALLY unimportant. Draft the K in the very last round and only draft one. You don’t need a bench kicker. When it’s the kickers bye-week, either release him and add another one off waivers for a week then pick your old kicker up again or just let him sit out and don’t have a kicker for a week. It’ll lose you like 1-5 points.

Top 5 Kickers:

1. Nate Kaeding, San Diego Chargers
Projections: 148 points
Bye Week: 6

2. Neil Rackers, Houston Texans
Projections: 141 points
Bye Week: 11

3. Josh Brown, St. Louis Rams
Projections: 130 points
Bye Week: 5

4. Rob Bironas, Tennessee Titans
Projections: 131 points
Bye Week: 7

5. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
Projections: 129 points
Bye Week: 6

There you have it! Your 2011 Fantasy Football Preview! Happy Drafting!

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