Defensive Dominance: How to Evaluate and Select Fantasy Football Defenses

Fantasy football isn’t always about the skill positions that can help you win your respective league. Defense, as the adage goes, does win championships and fantasy is no different. It can be difficult to decipher which defenses in the NFL are going to be good on a constant basis.

The fact of the matter is there are a couple of ways to assess a good defense for your fantasy team. Let’s take a look into some key factors selecting the right defense.

Defense that can create the most turnovers

Defenses can get you some quality points in the same way wide receivers or quarterbacks can. Interceptions, sacks, and fumble recoveries are ways a defense can you get some big-time points. For example, fantasy owners who had the 49ers, Cowboys or the Patriots defense last season did pretty well because they created turnovers.

All three were atop the league in that category in the 2022 season. An interception and fumble recovery are each worth 2 points. However, should a defensive player score on an interception or fumble, it can be worth up to 6 points. When games get close, every point matters in fantasy.

Check out each defense’s opponent that season

This one here might take a bit more work but could yield long-term success. Every great offense in the NFL can struggle against a certain defense. Matchups matter as a great defense’s job is to limit the opponent’s offense from scoring and getting excess yards.

Some defenses struggle against the run, meaning an offense will pound the ball on the ground more. In turn, a defense who cannot stop the pass might see more passing attempts. How is this fantasy relevant? The less points or yards a defense allows the better the chance of getting more points fantasy-wise.

There are multiple tools also available that one can use to evaluate the defenses for trade or to finalize who to start. For example, If you want to decide who to start: Travis Kelce or Drake London, then tools like Start/Sit optimizers can be used and that will tell you who you should start for that week

Find defenses with multiple great players

Here, if you play in an IDP (Individual Defensive Players) league, this can be of help as well. Teams like the 49ers have defensive end Nick Bosa, cornerback Charvarius Ward, or linebacker Fred Warner. Each of these players represents the three levels of a defense and each is the leader at those levels.

What’s the Steelers defense has one of the best defensive players in all of the NFL in lineback T.J. Watt. Watt’s presence on the field can help your fantasy team as he’s all over field, but mostly getting those sacks. Free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick is patrolling the secondary looking to make a play on the football.

Pick a defense with stability

Drafting a defense is no walk in the park but make it one that you can rely throughout the season. Taking a second defense is a major risk as it could leave you without a kep defensive piece down the road. Your fantasy team is all about maximizing the points on a weekly basis, especially on defense.

Every defense you start may struggle because NFL offenses have evolved, and it’s reflected in the points. Make sure that whatever defense is stable to weather through some down weeks but can lift your team up when needed. Should you get another defense, just be careful that it doesn’t clash with your main one.

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