It never fails, inevitably at round eight the defenses start coming off the board. This year you can bet that Denver, Seattle and Carolina will probably be the first three picked. Then starting in round nine a bunch of kickers start to go. Now you’re going to feel really pressured to do the same. After all, you don’t want all the good defenses and kickers to be gone by the time it comes back to your turn. I’m here to beg you to buck the trend and keep picking offensive players during these critical two rounds!
In 2015, the top defenses that came of the board were: Seattle, Buffalo, Houston, Philly and St. Louis (now LA). It wasn’t surprising that these were the top picks as they were all the top fantasy defenses in 2014. However, of that group only the Seattle defense was able to finish last season in the top 5. In the meantime, some of the best defenses last season like Denver, Carolina and Kansas City were either lightly drafted (Denver was the 11th defense picked, ADP #134) or not drafted at all. Seattle has been the only defense that's been a top 3 pick and turned in a top 5 performance each of the past three seasons but their defensive coordinator is now coaching Atlanta, do you still want to take a chance on that?
Kickers are even worse as there is virtually no point differential between the #1 kicker and the #10 kicker each season. Of course, Stephen Gostkowski is a rock, but over the course of the season he only scores about 30 points more than the #10 kicker, which averages out to less than 2 points per week! It’s just not enough of a difference to make it worth a 9th round pick!
Here’s some of the players that were still sitting on the draftboard in 2015 when the run of defenses started: Cam Newton (#83), Larry Fitzgerald (#86), John Brown (#90), Delanie Walker (#92), Martavis Bryant (#93), and Giovani Bernard (#94). I'm pretty sure you'd be very happy to have any of these players on your team intead of the Buffalo Bills defensive unit in 2015.
This season is no different as you can get players like: Marvin Jones (#84), Gary Barnidge (#85), Tony Romo (#85), Tyler Lockett (#86), Chris Ivory (#88), Michael Crabtree (#94), and Eli Manning (#96) during these two rounds! All of these guys are at least flex worth on your roster and you'd be a fool to pass them up.
The pool of quality offensive players shrinks substantially when you get into the 14th round. The I’m sure we can agree that players like Isaiah Crowell (#131), Martellus Bennett (#132), Tavon Austin (#133), Matthew Stafford (#141) and Nelson Agholor (#146) don’t exactly light the world on fire as potential every week starters for your fantasy team.
On the flipside, there will still be upwards of 23 defenses and 23 kickers still available to choose from. The risk is next to nothing if they don’t work out (unlike your teammate who will stubbornly start Denver every week, even if they suck). Last season defenses like Kansas City, Carolina, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh were barely drafted and they turned out a top 10 performance by season end.
If you want to rule your league, follow my advice and take a defense and a kicker last! Your team will be all the better for it!
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