I had a scheduled laid out for the preseason where I would write four different streaming columns on quarterbacks, tight ends, defenses and kickers.  To be honest, though, if I were to write about just defense or kickers, it would be about 150 words total, which isn’t even enough to get the article picked up on Google News.  Kickers and defenses just don’t make good streamers.

So instead, let’s combine the two positions that mean nothing and put them into one article.  If you can’t tell by the headline, I hate playing in leagues that use team defenses and kickers.  It’s 2015, bro.  Get rid of them in your league.  It’s the old-school thought that we don’t want to venture into unknown territory.  That’s why you see resistance to auctions at first, or even two-QB leagues.  Team defenses and kickers have been a part of fantasy forever, and leagues continue to keep them around.


They are positions that are hard to quantify, and it’s basically a shot in the dark each week, especially with kickers.  At least with defenses you can look at trends and matchups, but do you really want an interception thrown by Russell Wilson taken to the 5-yard-line resulting in a score to lose you your week if you have the Seattle defense?

I know I don’t.

Same goes for kickers, too.  At least now they have to actually try for their extra-points, but do we really expect much difference?

In my favorite league I’m in, it’s a 12-team PPR auction league, with no team defense and three flex positions.  The league is deeper, and we are actually getting points from spots that actually mean something.  I was hoping the commissioner would go all in and abolish kickers too, but he instead is subtracting points for missed extra points.  Oh well, can’t win them all, I suppose.

But if you aren’t in a super cool league that is catching up with the modern times, you’re going to stream your defense and kickers all year.  Seriously.  You’re not drafting one earlier than the third-to-last round.

Seattle is there in Round 10, what do you do?  Pass.  St. Louis and Buffalo in Round 11?  Nah, I’m good, bro.

Play it week by week, unless a team has an unreal stretch of games that warrants a third-to-last round selection.  So much can fluctuate each year with team defenses and offenses from season to season.  When you draft, see who has a nice stretch of games early on, such as the Jets or the Browns.

Do it for the rest of the season.  If you invest a high draft pick in a defense or a kicker, what are you going to do when they go on bye?  Carry two of them?

As for kickers, I’ll let you in on my strategy.  Don’t tell anyone who doesn’t read Razzball though, OK?

In the last round, I sort by kicker, and I take one who plays for a high-scoring team or is indoors.

Mind.  Blown.  Right?

There have been some studies that show kickers indoors do better, which makes sense on the surface.  If there’s one there, cool.  If not, I’ll grab whoever sucks the least.

Unless there is horrible weather or a bye week on the horizon, I’m keeping the kicker I drafted until they’re out of a job or until someone drops Stephen Gostkowski or Steven Hauschka on their bye week as a lower waiver priority.

If your league doesn’t have a mandate that you must fill your roster in full with the draft, skip drafting a kicker and defense all together.  Now you aren’t going to take zeros for it, but if you have drafts now, take an extra running back or a wide receiver.  See what happens in the preseason and right as Week 1 begins, cut the worst players on your team and pick up whatever is available at defense or kicker.

Rally your league to ban both positions, but they won’t listen, let them fall victim to prioritizing positions that mean nothing.



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  1. RotoLance

    RotoLance says:

    I “abolished” kickers in my league like 7 years ago. This year I’ve added a “Super Flex” spot. I’ve never really given much thought to getting rid of team defenses though. I actually think I would like to get rid of them but I doubt my league mates would.

    Also, I don’t get PPR. While it’s true that fantasy football doesn’t need to precisely reflect what happens on the football field, I think it should at least value the same things even if to a different degree. A reception in and of itself has no value. Only the yards that come with it have value. I really can’t wrap my head around a 0 yard reception in PPR being worth the same as a 10 yard rush.

    But while I only sort of approve of your ideal league settings, I wholeheartedly approve of your team defense and kick strategy. It’s just so hard to tell not only which defenses are going to be good but also which ones are going to be bad.

    “If you invest a high draft pick in a defense or a kicker, what are you going to do when they go on bye? Carry two of them?” You hit the mark there too.

    • waterloo

      waterloo says:

      @RotoLance: Thanks, Lance! Appreciate it, man. Super Flex leagues are so much fun. More points and make it more challenging for owners, too.
      It’s hard to propose getting rid of either to the members of your league. They are used to it and as a society, we don’t like change. I’m not an IDP guy, but I’d even prefer them to DST.
      I think PPR has the same value as flex – people want points. While true that it doesn’t mirror what happens on the football field as far as points, taking away kickers does that, too. You don’t get those three points anymore.
      I play in both standard and PPR, but enjoy the PPR leagues much more, as I see a lot of people in my leagues do, too.
      Predicting what defenses and kickers will do each week is maddening. I’d prefer to leave it up to my skill players to win or lose me a week. Fantasy football already has enough luck in it. Defenses and kickers only add to that.

  2. Chicken Dinner says:

    All positions’ points accumulated are a shot in the dark. It’s all random and unpredictable. If not, everyone would know they outcome, leaving it incapable of being entertaining.

    • waterloo

      waterloo says:

      @Chicken Dinner: Sure they are. But can you better predict the outcome for Aarond Rodgers or Stephen Gostkowski? Jamaal Charles or the Bills DST? We keep these positions in our league because that’s what we grew up with and that’s what we’ve always done. Would much rather make the league more challenging by introducing other flex positions to take over the DST and K.

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