by Douglas Menefee Jr. 09/02/20 7:38 PM
I’m going to start off this article with some imaginative exposition. You know something you might see a GQ magazine do before they interview some high level celebrity like Billy Dee Williams. If you are too young to know who he is look up “Lady Sings the Blue” or “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings”. Before articles journalists like to set up the scene and add some flavor to it as if their was something majestic happening on the day and time they were asking some person a bunch of questions. You might be wondering right now, “What the hell does this have to do with defensive rankings I have a draft coming up in x amount of hours please get to the good stuff”. It doesn’t but I am going to proceed. It’s a hot summers day with temperatures reaching almost desert like levels and sun blazing here in Southern California. I just got done with a dentist appointment where the set up was like the movie Outbreak amid this so called “pandemic” with stations fully concealed with their own air filter and the hygienists equipped as if they were a tactical shield unit. I have not much else to do with work being done and decided to create some Defensive rankings for your drafts when I realized its basically pretty fucking unnecessary. About as unnecessary as writing boring article exposition. Ranking defenses before the season for a draft from 1 through 32 makes as much sense as mixing together a debonair Billy Dee Williams and a low cost malt liquor beverage for a commercial. You aren’t drafting the Jets Defense so why am I ranking them. I am not. I am just instead going to give you some defenses to target in your draft. Some of which are obvious.
I am going to give you what I think the strategy should be for picking a defense in your draft.
Look at the schedule. Look up Vegas lines. Look who the low scoring teams will be. Look who you think will be behind in a game and will throw interceptions or who has a shaky line and will get sacked. Do this for the first couple games of the season.
I want to preference this piece with what my normal strategy is for defenses. I stream defenses and have been doing it for years. I try to get one or two if I have room and only if I have room to be able to just plug and play defenses throughout the year based on them playing weak teams. I try to stay one week ahead of my opponent. Meaning I will grab a defense knowing in 2 weeks they will play someone poor so I can get a discount on them especially if you have waiver dollars. If you do this already then you don’t need my help. If I am in a good position to make the playoffs then I start looking at grabbing defenses I feel will have a good playoff run about 2 weeks before the season ends and mostly ignore the last game or two of the season and instead set up for a deep run.
Another thing I may look at. Not may I do. Is Football Outsiders DVOA team defensive rankings. Opposing teams offensive line rankings and Pass rush from the defense. That is getting more intricate and data is only so much at the end of the day you should instinctively know a little bit about who to target.
Vegas line strategy
If a team is heavily favored at home for example like -7 or -8 and they have a good running back more then likely that is a team you may want to play as a defense. Unless you of course think its a “trap” game. The other correlation here even though its off subject is also playing the same running back on that same team in this type of game “script”. That is one strategy not all but one.
Now to be straight up with you although I mostly stream defenses I have a lot of things going on this year and I don’t feel like doing a bunch of movement so I am mostly drafting the Steelers Defense and hoping I can set and forget. Rare for me but I don’t feel like playing musical chairs although I am writing about it. Plus this year my bench is deeper and I don’t want to hold up a spot for another defense unless it makes sense.
Who to target
The obvious here. If you are in position and makes sense. These are top tier defenses that also happen to start off the season in a great spot for a few games. Both these teams also have a pretty good playoff Weeks 14 – 16 schedule.
49ers Defense – Cardinals Week 1 (-7) – I am a little hesitant here on the first week but still good pick. After this they play @Jets then @NYG.
Steelers Defense – @NYG Week 1 (-4) – They are at Giants and Big Ben isn’t as good on road (but he has been off and has something to prove) their defense is pretty sharp and should have some opportunity against a line that ranks in the bottom 1/3 of the league. Its not the lowest and outliers at the top and bottom matter more then the middle. After this they play the Broncos and Texans at home.
If you don’t get them then pivot to …
Now yes you can put the Ravens Defense next. They start off against the Browns at home although (even though this is biased because I am a Browns fan) I don’t know if this is a good spot for them (high hopes for a better Browns team). I like their weeks 2, 4 and 5. Texans, the Washington Generals and the Bengals.
If you don’t grab the ravens (and not in this order) i will probably go with…
Colts Defense – They go late in drafts and start off with Jags, Vikings, Jets, Bears then Bengals week 5.
Bills Defense – They start off against the Jets then Miami
Eagles Defense – They play Washington Week 1 and Bengals Week 3.
Patriots Defense – They start off against Miami
Chiefs Defense – They have the propensity to make other teams throw and make mistakes. They do start off in a high scoring affair against the Texans but are probably not a bad overall pick for week 1. Then Chargers week 2.
Chargers Defense – @Bengals
Lions Defense – vs Bears
If you missed out on the above you could go with
Raiders Defense – @Panthers (not sure if I trust this)
Denver Defense – vs Titans
Titans Defense – @Broncos
But instead I think I would probably do this.
I may grab one of the lowered tiers and or starting setting up for future weeks.
Bucs Defense – They play Panthers, Broncos, Bear, Chargers from weeks 2-5.
Browns Defense – They play Bengals and Washington weeks 2-3.
Bears Defense – They maybe fine against Detroit in week 1 and then Giants week 2.
Cardinals Defense – Week 2 against Washington.
That is your defensive strategy for your draft. Good luck and godspeed. I am going to go to the store and get some Colt 45.