Matchups Vs. Turnovers: How To Make Your Own Fantasy Football Defense Rankings

Andrew NortonCorrespondent IIINovember 13, 2010

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 31:  The Oakland Raiders defense tackles Leon Washington #33 of the Seattle Seahawks at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 31, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I know I’m not the first to use this strategy. But I'm the author of an ego-inflating self-aggrandizing fantasy blog...So I will write about it like it is the most groundbreaking idea in Fantasy Football since PPR. I am a visionary.

I’m in four leagues; this is mostly due to my lack of a social life and inability to fall asleep before 4 a.m.

I’ve never been much into video games, so I instead opt to spend my time gambling on how successfully large men will perform their jobs one week at a time. I first employed the shuffling defense strategy (SDS) three years ago in one of my leagues.

The results were less than spectacular, but I knew I was on to something. Since becoming far nerdier in my interpretation of football statistics, the outcome of SDS has improved drastically and I have adopted it into three of my current leagues.

The premise is simple.

  • You are in a 10-team league, therefore there are nine starting defenses (excluding your own).
  • There are inevitably at least three pathetic excuses for owners who hold more than one defense; meaning 12 NFL teams are off the board, leaving 20 in Free Agency.
  • Any given year, there are at least 10 teams, usually up to 15, with offenses that are suspect at best.
  • Meaning that in all likelihood, it is safe to assume that an unowned FA defense will be playing against a team with a questionable offense.

The conventional defensive strategy is to draft a defense that you think will succeed all year long.

Fantasy owners rarely shop around for a defense, because it is not a large point contributor like QB, RB, or WR. Their defense will likely sit dormant on their roster until bye week, when they grab a one-week filler.

Last season, the top 12 defenses averaged 139 points over the span of 16 games, 8.7 points per game.

By accurately using the SDS, you can potentially double the points per game. For example, in Week 1, Seattle, Arizona, Detroit, Washington and Carolina (2, 29, 2, 7, 13 % owned, respectively) were in the top seven-point scoring defenses, each scoring over 12 points.

Week 2 saw Miami, San Diego, Indy, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Kansas City (all under 50 percent owned) scoring over 12 points. The common theme among these top-scoring defenses is their opponent.

Using SDS gives you the opportunity to bump your defensive Points Per Game from 8 to 13+ by simply doing a little research and finding the best matchup sitting unused in Free Agency.

With a little practice, and expert advice from the greatest fantasy football blog on the planet, you can increase your weekly score by five points. It’s that easy. Also, you're welcome.

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