When Should You Start Taking Defenses And Kickers In Fantasy Football?

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When people start racking and stacking their draft boards for fantasy football leagues, the kickers and team defenses are a bit of an afterthought, and with good reason. . .the big points are, obviously, going to come from your running backs and wide receivers and quarterbacks, and defenses and kickers are generally afterthoughts.

When one looks at the team defensive rankings from CBS Sports, one sees that the New York Jets are projected to be the best defense in terms of scoring points in our league's point system, as they're projected to bring in 226 total points.  At the other end of the spectrum sits the St. Louis Rams, who are only expected to bring in 120 total points.  If we figure that, in a 12-team league such as the Daily Norseman league that we've set up with CBSSports.com Fantasy Football Commissioner, one of the 12 best defenses will start every week.  The difference between the Jets and the Chicago Bears (who the rankings show as be 12th) is 70 points over the course of a season.

If you figure that each of those defenses plays 15 times (16 weeks for the regular season, minus the one week they won't play due to a bye), the Jets should average about 15.1 points/game, while the Bears should average about 10.4 points/game.  That's an average of less than five points per week.  If there's a defense that you absolutely positively have to have on your roster for whatever reason, you might want to grab them early, but by and large you should be alright to hold off on taking a defense until a little later on.  In the DN league, the first defense (that wasn't taken by an auto-picking team) was taken in the eighth round, which is a bit early for my liking, but hey. . .I haven't won a fantasy football championship in a while, so my advice might not be the best to take.  I'm just saying is all.

Also, in most cases, you should only take one defense.  The byes don't start until Week 4, and if you have a defense that's taking that week off (like the Vikings, for example), by Week four you should be able to pinpoint a player or two on your roster that's expendable enough to drop and take a replacement defense with a favorable match-up.

The difference between kickers is even more negligible.  The difference between the top-ranked kicker in the CBS Sports Rankings, Garrett Hartley of New Orleans, and the kicker rated number 12, is 24 points over the course of the season.  That's a difference of 1.6 points/week.  Just like the defenses, you should only draft one kicker (for the same reasons), and there's really no reason for you to draft a kicker before the last round of your draft.  Worry about filling out the rest of your roster first, and then just tack the kicker on to the end.

What about you folks?  Do you have any preferences for drafting defenses and kickers in your fantasy drafts?  Talk about that, and or any other fantasy football-related stuff, right here. . .even trash talking, if you so desire.

CBSSports.com is an SB Nation partner and paying sponsor of the SB Nation football communities. This post is one of a series of sponsor endorsed posts relating to the CBSSports.com Fantasy Football Commissioner League.

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