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Week 7

Note: Mike is babysitting 45 kids on a field trip this week. Needless to say, his hands are full. Q&A will return in full Week 8.

This Week’s Question

A reader named Colin contacted me this week about the idea of using defenses defensively. His question speaks for itself, and rather than slanting responses a certain way by indicating my own thoughts here, I’ll submit it to readers just as I received it:
Would you mind asking your readers to weigh in on my league’s idea for making fantasy defenses serve an actual defensive purpose? If fantasy football teaches us anything, it’s that weak defenses make for strong performances by opposing offenses. There are defenses out there that consistently make opposing quarterbacks look like clowns. There are defenses that make marginal running backs look like stars. So why is it that no matter how good my fantasy defense is, its productivity has no effect on my fantasy opponent’s offensive score? Almost every fantasy league I know of treats defenses as if they are just another offensive skill player. You add points for what the defense does just like you add points for what the tight end does.

That makes no sense.

Wouldn’t it be more in keeping with the NFL if we adjusted offensive scores in response to defensive productivity? My league is trying out this sort of model this year. We play in a head-to-head league (obviously this wouldn’t work in a points-only league), and we don’t actually add points to any fantasy team’s score based on what that team’s defense does, but we use defensive ranking to adjust the offensive scores of opponents. We wait until all the games have been played and the rankings for the defenses have come in. Then we adjust the offensive scores according to the following formula:

If you have a top-5 defense for the week, 20% of your opponent’s offensive score is deducted. If you have a bottom-5 defense for the week, your opponent’s offensive score receives a 20% bonus. If your defense ranks 6-10, 10% of your opponent’s offensive score is deducted. If your defense is ranked 10th-worst to 6th-worst, your opponent receives a 10% bonus. All other defenses are ignored. So if you start a defense that finishes near the middle of the pack, your opponent’s score is unmodified, but his defense may affect your final score.

Anyway, this system makes a lot of sense to us, and we wonder why this sort of thing isn’t more popular?

Last Man Standing (Courtesy of Matt & Michael)

Matt’s Picks

#3: Arizona at Oakland (5-1 Season):
Is this the week that the Raiders finally win a game? I don't think so. The Cardinals are favored by 3 and I'm not so sure how many more chances you will get to use them for your pool. Matt Leinart seems to be stepping up his game and while Edge may have averaged less than 2 yards per carry against the Bears, he should fair a lot better against the 30th ranked run defense.

#2: Seattle over Minnesota (6-0 Season):
The Seahawks escaped St. Louis with a win last week but at home against the Vikings, Deion Branch will find that he is welcomed with open arms as Hasselbeck will continue to strike through the air. Minnesota might be ranked 5th in overall defense but they are 16th against the pass. If you haven't used the hawks yet, this is the week, unless of course you want to wait until they play Arizona again.

#1: Jacksonville over Houston (5-1 Season):
This game has all the makings of a big time knock out game for Survival Pool players. Houston has only one win, against an average Miami team. The Jags seem like the better team on paper, are favored by almost 10 points, and have a defense that can shut down almost anyone. This is a divisional game that I am very hesitant about picking but do so because they are such favorites. Don't look for Jacksonville to cover the spread though.


Michael’s Picks

Well the Bears avoid the Monday night upset by the Cards to keep our top two selections undefeated on the season. An exciting game to watch (the 4th quarter anyway) if you stayed up for it. Anybody else hit the bed accepting you were out of your pool only to find out Tuesday morning you had another life?

3 - (4-2) - Jags over Texans - Indianapolis against Washington might be a more popular choice, but after the near disaster the Colts had two weeks ago against the Titans, let's see how they bounce back first. Also, the Colts have probably been selected by many Survivors in earlier weeks, so let's look for some other choices we might need to start using. Jacksonville has a solid running game going for them to grind it out against Houston's weaker defense. The passing game is maturing to provide a versatile attack. The Jag D has had some injuries, but will be good enough to keep Houston in check.

2 - (6-0) - Chargers over Chiefs - San Diego is in a groove on both sides of the ball. Let's see how Phillip Rivers handles a hostile environment. But having the luxury of being able to lean on a guy named Tomlinson and one of the top defenses in the league might help a little bit. Those factors should be enough to cause problems for Kansas City.

1 - (6-0) - Eagles over Bucs - Tampa shocked the Bengals to get their first win, while the Eagles lost on a last second field goal to the Saints after the emotional victory against Dallas and TO. Philly had been cruising and I am going to believe their loss will get them to refocus and take the Bucs seriously. Tampa Bay also may not be as desperate after getting that first win.

For responses to this week's fantasy question or to share your LMS picks, please email me no later than 10 a.m. EST on Wednesdays during the football season.

Readers who want to have their fantasy questions answered live, on the air, by Mike Davis are invited to tune into FFEXradio on Friday afternoons at 5:00 p.m. EST. Archived programs are also available.