Daily Fantasy Football Basic Strategy: Part 9

Our final look at positions in daily fantasy football will focus on defense and special teams. Just like with the kicker position, there will be no separation in strategy between cash games and GPPs in this Building Blocks article. We’re simply just going to look at the position as a whole.

All Types of Games

Low Scoring Games and Bad Offenses

It seems obvious, but we’ll state it anyway: do not take defenses going up against top tier offenses. Even a defense as talented as the 2014 Seahawks can have a tough day versus a top offense.

We should also avoid defenses facing teams with big projected scores. Our goal is to start with the defenses facing the teams with the lowest expected scores and work our way from there. Trying to accurately predict touchdowns from our defense/special teams is very difficult, hence why we’re focusing more on what we expect the opposing team to do.

Connor Barwin (flickr.com/keithallison)
Connor Barwin (flickr.com/keithallison)

Typically we will take defenses that are facing the bottom of the barrel offenses, while also trying not to invest too much of our salary cap. If we have reason to believe that a potential defense/special teams could have a huge day, we might invest a bit more than usual. Defenses that are adept at forcing turnovers coming up against an offense that is turnover prone is one of the instances where it can be correct to invest more. Often we should consider this kind of situation as an added bonus, however, and we shouldn’t necessarily go out of our way to roster defenses even in these kinds of situations. Overall, we should be taking a similar strategy with defense/special teams that we take with kickers. That is, we should seek as much value as possible without investing too heavily.

Special Teams Are a Bonus, Not the Focus

Similar to the concept of not hunting touchdowns with your defense, the same holds true for your special teams. There are going to be some teams with prolific returners capable of scoring multiple touchdowns in a season, but this should also be viewed as a bonus rather than our first consideration when picking a defense/special teams.

Past Production

In the Daily Fantasy Football Research edition of Building Blocks, we emphasized how important it is to use websites with reliable data. The Football Outsiders efficiency ratings page for team defense is a great place to specifically research the defense you’re interested in. Doing so will allow you to see how a particular defense has performed this season and in past seasons. The further you go back, the less useful or reliable the data will be for the current season, of course. There is also data on special teams.

That’s it for our look at defense and special teams. We’ve successfully taken a look at every NFL DFS position in Building Blocks, but the series isn’t over yet. Next up is our two-part finale on lineup construction. If you have any questions or want to discuss anything in this article, please post in our Building Blocks: Defense/Special Teams discussion topic. General questions, comments, or ideas for future articles in the Building Blocks series should be posted in our daily fantasy football forum.


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