Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Can the Panthers play fantasy defense?

Unfortunately as a fantasy owner you don't get to actively work to destroy your opponents' defenses, unless you are Maurice Jones Drew, and even then it's debatable. No, our adversary is going to field a team and the best we can hope to do is field a better one - which is why a fantasy defense is literally just another facet of the offense.

Defenses get the short shrift at the draft, most players waiting until well into the 9th or 10th round to take one. Though every year someone will reach up and grab a Steelers or a Ravens D in an earlier round - depending on who is looking more trendy.

Certainly the Steelers were the trendy pick this year, generally followed by Green Bay, Philly and the Jets. In retrospect the only member of that group worth their salt so far has been the Jets. That the Jets are strong on D is no surprise, that the others are so weak is, frankly, weird. If you took one of the formerly stout defenses that has yet to coalesce, you might just be getting ready to hop onto the Defense Carousel. I know I am.

Having taken the Patriots D at a reasonable position I was excited about their prospects. Two games later I am more excited about catching the clap. The Patriots defense is brilliant in terms of allowing the actual Patriots to win actual games, but less well-versed in helping fantasy teams win imaginary games.

If you are like me you will have no compunction about quickly dropping a struggling D in favor of a stronger option. But what if a long-term stronger option doesn't really exist? Welcome to the Carousel. Last week the Patriots faced the Chargers and only a great fool starts a D against the Chargers, so I picked up the Browns adhering to my new philosophy that any defense that plays the Colts is a good defense. And it worked. This week the Browns face a Miami team more inclined to care about winning so back to the drawing board.

Against all common sense I've selected the Panthers. Certainly not because the Panthers have demonstrated they can shut anyone down, but simply because the Panthers are playing the Jaguars who will either start a McKown (fantasy gold for a defense) or a rookie who's never seen a snap in the pros and will probably not respond the way Cam did to his opening day. This might be the best fantasy matchup the Panthers see for a while, so I'm on board.

The only problem with this approach is that once you get on the carousel it's hard to get off. Picking the D of the week isn't necessarily a problem unless your league is filled with owners doing the same thing - the pickings can get pretty slim pretty fast and eventually you are going to run into a week where you are forced to start a bad D against a good O. But matchups are everything and I think there is more value in shopping the wires each week instead of marrying yourself to a Defense. And of course, the Colts, the Chiefs and the Seahawks each have to play someone every week. Which is a solid starting point.


Jeremy said...

Loved the clap line. Keep it up.