Learning to Chase Defenses

It’s the middle to end of your draft, and the top 3 or 4 defenses are gone. The player from your crumpled up piece of paper is still available but you feel like if you don’t choose a defense now you may not get a good one. Forget the defense. Always choose the player over a defense (or kicker). Defenses can always be picked up on the waiver wire, or you can string together a good defense by committee later in the draft. Either of those options can maximize your output for the entirety of the season, and still give you the opportunity to focus on position players at your draft.

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Defense is one of the toughest categories to predict with the exception of the top teams in the league and can change throughout the season. This season, someone in your league will spend a 10th, 11th, or even higher round pick on the Broncos, Panthers, or Cardinals. Let them. Those three defenses were good a season ago, and very likely will be again this year. Yet, if you wait and chase a few teams your “defense” could do equally as well. The Broncos scored the highest fantasy points in a typical fantasy leagues last year with 165 points (awarding points for sacks, turnovers, defensive and special teams touchdowns). Last year if you chased the 49ers, Cowboys, and Browns by using defenses ranked outside of the top 15 (which means it’s a high probability that they were available for pick up on the waiver-wire) then you would have totaled 155 fantasy points by choosing the best match up. That would have given you a top 5 defense.

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So, we are going to look at a few teams that it would be worth “chasing” throughout the fantasy season. If you are unfamiliar with the term “chasing,” allow me to explain. Chasing is a concept in which you find two to three poor offensive teams, usually as a result of poor quarterback play, and you try to pick up their opponents on a weekly basis. Thus preying on weak offenses and quarterbacks, typically resulting in great fantasy results.

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This season I believe there are going to be 4 really good teams to chase, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Minnesota, and Denver. If one of these four teams turns out to be better offensively, then simply remove them from the chase list. On the contrary, if another team not mentioned was worse off than we initially thought, add them to the chase list. Finally, if there is a QB on a particular team who is struggling and you can chase them, by all means do. Here is why I chose those four teams.

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All four of the teams have a very similar make-up. Those teams have very good running backs, below average quarterbacks, and poor supporting casts at wide receiver (except Denver). The quarterbacks alone are reason enough to chase the four teams. Case Keenum, Blaine Gabbert, Shaun Hill, and Trevor Siemian should all throw double-digit interceptions. There is also a good chance that at some point the Rams and Broncos could go with their rookie quarterbacks Jared Goff and Paxton Lynch. Which may make them even better streaming options later in the season.

Below is the best possible schedule of teams for chasing those four opponents.

          Defense to Use            Opponent
Week 1                49ers         Rams
Week 2               Colts          Broncos
Week 3                Bucs           Rams
Week 4               Bucs           Broncos
Week 5               Falcons      Broncos
Week 6               Lions          Rams
Week 7               Bucs            49ers
Week 8               Bears           Vikings
Week 9               Raiders       Broncos
Week 10              Jets             Rams
Week 11              Dolphins    Rams
Week 12              Lions          Vikings
Week 13              Jags             Broncos
Week 14              Jags             Vikings
Week 15              Falcons      49ers
Week 16              49ers          Rams

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So, when you are drafting this year and someone snags the best 3 or 4 defenses on the board, don’t waste a high draft pick by taking a middle of the road defense. Wait until your last pick of the draft, or second to last (take a kicker last), and start chasing one of these four teams and earn yourself a top 5 defense!

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