Defensive Team by Committee

Finding a defensive team by committee for 2019

Over the past several seasons, there have been quite a few very popular articles that look at an interesting approach to building a fantasy team with late value picks. Based on the theory of using both Strength of Schedule ("SOS") and taking two players as a combination to build one very good starting duo, a Defensive Team by Committee ("DTBC") can be built as a standard fantasy league strategy. In general, this is usually a wise move because defensive scoring can vary widely on a week-to-week basis depending on matchups, and quite often the teams projected to have the best defenses underperform. Many years it makes a lot of sense to wait as long as possible to secure your fantasy defenses, so there is rarely (if ever) a need to pursue an elite defense in fantasy drafts.

So with this in mind, this article will apply the normal method applied to the other positions (running back, wide receiver, and tight end) for the team defense position. Let's take a look at how to go about building this committee and then we can digest and discuss the results.

HUDDLE UP

So how to begin? Defenses and quarterbacks are relatively easy to committee together. There's usually only one quarterback and certainly only one team defense per NFL club, so the approach is pretty simple as far as picking out which players/teams to try and pair up. However, you cannot expect to have every defensive team available. After all, the goal here is to wait at the position and pick up two value picks later in the draft to form our combo and serve as a solid committee. The best plan is to use the following criteria to decide which players to start with for evaluating:

CRITERIA #1 - D/ST11 AND BEYOND

This seems pretty simple. If we want to have a duo that puts up D/ST1 numbers, that means we want D/ST12 or better production - else we would just draft D/ST12 or higher and forget the whole idea. This year there is a slight cheat from the norm (D/ST13 or higher) because of a harder look at both schedules and, more importantly, ADP information. Focusing just outside the Top 10 defenses, both New England (D/ST11, ADP of 181) and Philadelphia (D/ST12, ADP of 199) should be considered, just in case they fall in drafts. Picking an arbitrary line of D/ST13 does not make sense if including D/ST11 or D/ST12 makes the result so much better. Both New England and Philadelphia have favorable schedule segments this year, and their respective ADPs are still quite low (after Round 15), so drafting either of these teams (or both) late is not that much of a reach at all. After all, ADP values tend to go out the window in the back half of most drafts anyway, so it makes a ton of sense to include but the Eagles and the Patriots as possible teams for 2019. So here is the list of teams in consideration for DTBC, listed by their Average Draft Position (ADP):

ADP Rank
Team Defense
ADP Rank
Team Defense
D/ST11
New England
D/ST22
San Francisco
D/ST12
Philadelphia
D/ST23
Indianapolis
D/ST13
Kansas City
D/ST24
Washington
D/ST14
Buffalo
D/ST25
Atlanta
D/ST15
Dallas
D/ST26
NY Giants
D/ST16
Pittsburgh
D/ST27
Carolina
D/ST17
Oakland
D/ST28
Detroit
D/ST18
Seattle
D/ST29+
Arizona
D/ST19
NY Jets
D/ST29+
Cincinnati
D/ST20
Green Bay
D/ST29+
Miami
D/ST21
Tennessee
D/ST29+
Tampa Bay

Table 1: Defensive Teams 11-32 Based on ADP

Going all the way to D/ST32 is an exercise in thoroughness, but odds are that the middle tier of teams is the most likely to comprise the defensive committee for this year. Regardless, Working through the math and considering each and every option ensures that no stone is unturned. With 22 teams under consideration for DTBC, we have a very large pool of options (231 in all), so there had better be a decent pair (or several, we hope) out of all of those couplets. Now, before we go over the method of how to match them up and the results, we need one more rule:

CRITERIA #2 - NO MORE THAN ONE DEFENSE FROM ROUND 15+ AND ONE FROM ROUND 16+

This could get tricky here, but understand the overall goal. The point of DTBC is to free up the first 13-14 rounds of your fantasy draft to pursue all of the other positions for your team. Grabbing 3-4 running backs and 4-5 receivers after grabbing a stud running back or wide receiver in Round 1 sounds like a good idea to me, followed by adding strong depth. This also gives you the flexibility of grabbing a stud tight end, depending on your personal preference, or even to get QB1 if there's a huge value play available before even considering looking towards a defense.

Here is the good news - all of the defensive teams on the list above have ADPs that are Round 16 or higher (later). The interesting part of the defensive team ADP is that only one defense (Chicago) goes before Round 10 (on average), and just the Top 10 are selected by the end of Round 15. Rounds 16-18 see a few teams finally taking a defense with the rest of the Top 12 teams off of the ADP list, which leaves several options for fantasy owners looking for a second defense. Determining when to pull the trigger on your committee options will be key, so monitor everyone's draft (ideally with the Draft Dominator) to see when 8-10 team defenses have gone off the board - then get moving on your committee.

So what is the answer for this year? There is one more thing to consider:

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