Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keeper League Confidential: The Importance of Defense

This past week, the Zombies lost a very important game, because it was against my brother David. Fantasy football is at its most important when you're playing against family, and the Zombies came up short--mostly as a result of one thing: Insufficient defense.

Even Sean Weatherspoon underperformed for my team this week.

Heading into this game, defense was a strength of my team. Through the first three games, the Zombies were averaging 43 points per game on that side of the fantasy football. But when it mattered, against my own brother, the Zombies flaked out and only scored 27 points on defense.

If my defense had just kept up its average score of 43, the Zombies would've won 108-106.5. Yay! But we didn't, so we lost 106.5-92. Ouch.

Luckily, I get to play my brother again later this year and hopefully make up for this unfortunate event. Otherwise, he'll have a year of bragging rights over me (talk about unfortunate).

Bottom line: Don't let anyone tell you that defense is not important. A good defense can win (and lose) games for a team.


Week 5 Tip: Improve Your Defense

Most keeper leagues operate with individual defensive players (or IDPs), and I've seen several owners draft a few defensive players and then leave that side of the ball alone. At the same time, they'll tinker endlessly over the offense. Don't neglect your defense. In my league, 7 of your 15 starters are defense, and that leaves a lot of opportunity for producing big-time points and/or a zero. Speaking of improving your defense...


Waiver Wire Watch: Week 5

QB: Matt Hasselbeck, Ten. I've been talking about Hass for a few weeks now, and he's still owned by barely 25% of the ESPN fantasy leagues. Heck, I even picked him up myself last week, and he threw three TDs. He's a Top 10 QB--even without Kenny Britt.

Matt Hasselbeck predicting another TD.

RB: Stevan Ridley, NE. If he's available, Ridley is a great guy to pick up. He's built to score TDs, but as he's shown in the past two weeks he can also produce yards. Many owners and commentators were higher on Vereen after the draft, but Ridley's the one proving it on the field.

WR: Victor Cruz, NYG. I didn't want to drink the Kool-Aid after one game and three receptions last week while Mario Manningham was banged up, but now Cruz has produced a second straight good performance (6 catches for 98 yards)--even with Manningham in the line up. If you're hurting at WR, this could be your guy with a ton of upside.

TE: Ed Dickson, Bal. Dickson has only found the end zone once so far this year, but he's been very quietly consistent outside of scoring TDs. He's produced three games with 4 or more receptions and 45 or more yards. That's the kind of low-end production that could produce a big fantasy day on a bye week.

DL: Antonio Smith, Car. 4 games, 4 sacks. One sack in each game. Talk about consistency, and he's apparently owned in 0.0% of the ESPN fantasy leagues.

LB: Kavell Conner, Ind. Since teams are usually running the ball on the horribly inept at tackling Colts, their LBs get a lot of opportunities to rack up tackles.

DB: Jason McCourtey, Ten. McCourtey has had four opportunities to produce big games on defense, and he's come through every single week so far. Look for him to continue producing.

Week 5 is your first bye week, so make sure your kicker isn't on vacation this week.


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