Kicker and Defense Strategy and Rankings
Updated: Sep 5, 2020
Stream, stream, stream
These are the positions with the most volatility week-to-week and in the standings at the end of the year based on ADP.
Kicker performance is all over the place. Throughout the season occasionally a strong weekly option will emerge, but often it is best to play the matchups and stream the position weekly. If that is a little more active than you want to be as a manager (as you will be looking for injury/bye week/COVID replacements) then I would suggest grabbing a kicker off of one of the best offenses in the league.
We have finally reached the point where about 80% of the league is willing to wait until the final two rounds to grab their kicker, so it can be sound to beat them to it, especially if you do not want to play the weekly game.
Again, target kickers from good offenses, especially if they play their home games in domes.
Defense is also particularly lopsided because so much of what makes a good defense comes from turnovers and turnovers are not a particularly sticky stat from year to year, or even throughout the season.
For defenses the general strategy is to target teams with a good pass rush who win a lot of games. By leading in the third and fourth quarter the other team will have to start to push and air it out more. This leads to sacks, interceptions and if we are lucky: pick sixes. Even if they give a lot of points/ yards, the sacks and interceptions is what we are after.
Defense even more than kicker we should be streaming based on matchup. Every year there are a few teams that are just bad, and by picking up the defense playing these teams, we can create an advantage for ourselves. We know who the bad quarterbacks and coordinators are and we should be exploiting those matchups whenever possible. If you don’t want to play the every week streaming game, then feel free to target one of the defenses in the same way I advised targeting a kicker: two rounds before the end of the draft. If everyone else is taking their kicker/defense in those final rounds, then your final sleeper will still be there after you grab yours a round earlier.
Taking either a kicker or defense before the final five rounds of your draft is an easy mistake to avoid. The top drafted each year rarely are the top scoring and sometimes fall out of the top ten. Plan to stream as the most ideal strategy, but wait until the final rounds no matter what.
Updated Sept 5
Defense/Special Teams Ranks
Target (o) - A player we are targeting at their current ADP.
League-Winner - A player whose potential range of outcomes could swing your chances at a championship.
Riser - Someone climbing the ranks or someone I have ranked ahead of consensus.
Faller - A player who has moved down the ranks or someone I have ranked below consensus.