My longest-running fantasy football league has been an annual treasure since 1998. Next year, for the first time, we will not have D/ST or K as part of our rosters. Here’s why:
1. The performance of defenses are almost always situational and random. That’s why no one spends more than $1 on them in an auction or a 15th-round pick. We could have the best defense all year — like the Texans — but then have to bench them against the Patriots. It’s just random luck — much more so than the rest of fantasy’s positions.
2. They score way too much. The Seahawks’ D/ST had 41 points in Yahoo standard formats yesterday. 41! Adrian Peterson had 170 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 30 points. Should a defense ever score more than a beastly day from a running back? Never! If you played the SEA D yesterday, you lost. Period. And it’s not because your opponent uncovered some gem via in-depth research or scouting. It’s because they happened to be playing Arizona at the best possible time and had some breaks go their way.
3. Most kickers’ talent level is the same. For example, if we give X NFL kicker and Y NFL kicker 30 FG attempts this season, they’ll both convert around 75-80 percent. So the only thing that we are betting on in fantasy is how many opportunities they will get. And those opportunities have nothing at all to do with their skill level — it’s just how well their offense plays (until that offense gets in the red zone, when we root for them to fail).
I’m not complaining because I played against the SEA D or Matt Prater this week. I didn’t. I just want to see the hardest-working, sharpest owners rewarded each week. Not the ones that get the luckiest via D or K.