Learning to Chase Defense

by Chris Foster

I wrote this article a year ago to explain what the concept of Chasing Defenses was, after a very successful campaign doing that, we are back for more. So, if you are new to this read about how it works and stay tuned for our “Chasing Defense: Week 1” article later in the week.

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.

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 league 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.
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.

We did this a season ago and if you add up all the games that we played and the points that we earned in those games, our team would have ended up as the third best defense in the league. Meaning you didn’t have to spend a higher draft pick and would have still ended up with one of the best defenses in the league. Last year, instead of spending a 10th to 12th round pick on a defense you could have drafted a player like Jay Ajayi, Jimmy Graham, Michael Thomas, or Tyreek Hill! Check out all of last years results and a full list of players you could have drafted here!


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