For Beginners Or Pros: NFL Fantasy Football Strategies, Tips, Advice, & More By SafePicks.com
For those dipping into NFL Fantasy Football for the first time, there is no need to panic! NFL Fantasy Football is easy to learn, and whether you are an NFL Fantasy beginner or pro: there is lots of information out there on the Web to help even the most timid NFL Fantasy player. We have many users who contact SafePicks.com, or they even contact me directly, asking if we have any tips or tricks or even advice when it comes to NFL Fantasy Football. The answer is yes. At SafePicks.com, we have had great past success with NFL Fantasy Football in the last few years, both in NFL Fantasy regular season and in the playoffs. See our 2013 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings Article Here for more details on our past NFL Fantasy success. So, we decided to put together this hopefully helpful piece, which is a write-up of SafePicks.com’s expert NFL Fantasy strategies, tips, advice and more for all of you to enjoy (and we really hope: use as an informative tool).
The truth is that we at SafePicks.com only participate in an annual “standard scoring” NFL Fantasy League setup, with 14 teams and a roster made up of 9 NFL Fantasy players (i.e. 1 QB, 3 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DST). Our goal is to finish as champions, or at least “in the money”, but it takes a little fantasy football understanding and most certainly, it takes some luck. On any given Sunday anything can and will happen on the field, and also on the NFL Fantasy Football scoring charts. You don’t have to be a know-it-all pro to play in an NFL Fantasy Football League, no way! All one needs to do is a) join an NFL fantasy league, b) assuming there is a draft day, attend the draft (usually online), c) draft your players to make up your NFL Fantasy team, then d) hope for the best with your NFL Fantasy team when the season kicks off!
Anyone – and I mean anyone – can win at NFL Fantasy Football! With that stated, the following is something I’m putting together for our NFL Fantasy Football fans at our Website, SafePicks.com. So, I am posting this here also in our blog, and I will also post our BONUS, BOLD, take-it-to-the-bank 2013 NFL Fantasy Sleepers here and at SafePicks.com for our members too. Enjoy.
So let’s go! So I’m joined up for an NFL Fantasy League, I have my team name, I have my NFL Fantasy draft date and time, so now here is a “MUST” list for my NFL Fantasy Football draft ambitions and high (“in the money” finish) expectations:
1) MUST-DO some Pre-Draft homework! You have your exciting draft day event set. Pre-draft homework is essential to garner long-term success in an NFL Fantasy League. It would be foolish for me to enter my draft, ready to pick my players but without knowing at least who the top fantasy picks are for each position heading into the draft? So yes, look at the NFL Fantasy rankings, for each position, heading into the current NFL season before entering any NFL Fantasy draft! There are plenty of ranking lists out there, including the simple one I posted here: 2013 NFL Fantasy Football Rankings.
We need to know which positions we will be drafting for and who it is we want to draft. As we mention later, we have a Plan A (for top 5-6 players in any given position that we hope to draft) and a Plan B (the next 5-6 players in any given position we will have to draft). So for each position we need to draft for, we will make a list, then once Plan A and Plan B desires are addressed, I may even make a Plan C list (writing those fantasy players names down that don’t make our Plan A or B list). My Plan A, B, C lists will have approximately 15-17 of my top-ranked (or “desired”) NFL Fantasy players for each position. So for Quarterback, I have my Plan A, B, and C… then for Running Back, I have my Plan A, B, and C then so on and so forth for each position that will make up my NFL Fantasy team.
Before the NFL Fantasy Football Draft, do a little research. Check out the plethora of “NFL Fantasy cheat sheets” out there, or again, the “fantasy player rankings”. Search it on Google, it’s all there! It is also nice to know the NFL Fantasy Football Glossary, see it here. So know who’s in the position, know their capability, know if they’re injury prone, know their bye week, know where they rank, simply do a little homework before draft day!
2) MUST Know that Drafting is not a science! Remember in those good old school days when you or another were selected to be team captain for a game of Dodgeball in gym class? Then the captain goes and picks their team among the eagerly awaiting classmate kids. That’s all draft day is, you are an NFL Fantasy Team owner now, your draft day allows you to select the players to make up your NFL Fantasy Team. Now, whether this is your first go -or- umpteenth go at it, anything can and will happen. No matter what happens, you have to keep at it, and look for results long-term whether you’re a champion this year or the next. Half the fun of NFL Fantasy Football is not just winning, but “the rush & excitement” of watching NFL Football as it pertains to your NFL Fantasy team. Now, perfection will only come with practice, and for NFL Fantasy Football players, this remains true. If not now, everyone inevitably gets the swing of it in NFL Fantasy Football. Remember, there are so many resources out there on the Web to help you with NFL Fantasy Football: from cheat sheets, to rankings, to much much more. Again, do a little homework before approaching your fantasy draft, and be prepared on draft day! Don’t forget to read our NFL Fantasy Football Rankings here, our NFL Fantasy Football Glossary here, and coming soon (to this blog and SafePicks.com) will be our highly successful “BOLD NFL Fantasy Breakout and Sleeper Candidates – 2013 NFL Season ALERT!”
3) MUST Know Who and What To Acquire in the Front-End Of The NFL Fantasy Draft! So I’m drafting in the first round, and I have the third pick. Or maybe I’m in the first round and I have the sixth pick? Who am I drafting and what position? And when? Well, if you go to #1 , I do have my Plan A, B, C lists ready to go for each position. But, generally, we are going for the Quarterback in the first round, a Running Back in the second round, Wide Receiver in the third round, then at this point, there is no real methodology to completing the back-end of an NFL Fantasy Draft. I may go for a tight end in the fourth round or I may go for another depth-building running back in the fourth round. Varying approaches out there have worked for us. For some, they will go look at completing their NFL Fantasy roster by acquiring their Tight End, Kicker, and Defense. Yet for some other NFL Fantasy owners, some will look at building depth at the “money” positions just drafted in the first three rounds. At SafePicks.com, I can tell you we have been successful at doing both – and ultimately, success is measured by not who is drafted, but what they do on the field for point production. For us, generally (at least 3 of the last 5 years in a 1 QB league) we like to draft backups for our Running Back, and Wide Receiver positions, building needed depth in the front-end of the draft (first 3-6 rounds or so) first. That’s just us though. Ultimately, look to draft the ‘very best’ available at the key fantasy positions (QB, RB, WR) in the front-end (i.e. first few rounds) of the draft. This year, there are lots of great Quarterbacks in the draft, almost top-heavy, so maybe drafting a top-tier Running Back in the first round is the play here – heck, maybe even in the first two rounds? Or, maybe we might solidify our top-tier RB and WR, then settle for a top 14 QB in the third round? Or, if a much desired top-tier Quarterback is available in the first round, get the QB! Do some homework, but generally, these are ways how we move in the first few rounds (front-end) of our draft.
4) MUST Know Who and What To Acquire in the Back-end of The NFL Fantasy Draft! Depending on the draft positioning and order, usually the back-end of the draft for NFL Fantasy team owners is for acquiring backups, kickers and defenses. Once I have all our main top- positions sorted out, along with the backups, then I’m taking a kicker and defense in the later rounds (back-end) of the NFL Fantasy draft. Now if you’re asking why, then I will only say this. In my experience, I have a better chance at success by building depth (backups) at my top positions, then chasing after an everyday Kicker and/or defense. So secure some solid backups! Tell you the truth, I never stick with one Kicker or Defense throughout an NFL Fantasy season anyway, I will usually switch them up from week to week depending on the pending matchup, opponent, schemes, and etc. So really, for me, the Kicker and Defense are best left for the later to last rounds. Most of the Kickers and Defenses in the Top 15 are good enough to put up points, so for me, I’m focusing on depth and point production from the producing positions in my 1 QB league (Running Back, Wide Receiver, Tight End, etc.). See Kicker position below for more details.
5) MUST Know that Prior Success Is Not An Indication Of Future Success! We always remind our users at SafePicks.com of this truth, that prior success (no matter how great) is never an indication of future success. After an NFL season closes, another one starts, with many elements changing in the offseason for every NFL team. So I intend to avoid the trap of chasing down an NFL Fantasy player(s) coming off a great year. In fact, it’s one of the most common traps that NFL Fantasy team owners fall into. For us at SafePicks.com, it’s all about the projections and the forecasting. That’s what we do for a living at SafePicks.com. We make projections. We harp and preach on it every single week: the intended or expected result is almost usually different than what we project it to be. So a stern alert goes out to those that think they will jump on any NFL Fantasy player that succeeded last season, be warned. Things “can” change from year to year, so although that projected Running Back, for example, is forecasted to hit big numbers, he may deliver – but not as expected. Player production points are always up and down year over year, whether the points incline or decline. So this year, as an example, there are many NFL Fantasy Team owners scheming to nab Calvin Johnson (a.k.a. Megatron) at Wide Receiver in their NFL Fantasy Draft. Now although that seems to be a good scheme, after all, Johnson does rack up points – I for one would probably look at drafting Larry Fitzgerald over Megatron. Why? Because I’m projecting Larry to have a much better year than last year (Sleeper and Breakout candidate for us), especially now that he has a proven deep ball long-passer to catch balls from (Palmer). Hey, if I can get Johnson, then fantastic – but I’m not sweating it. Because remember this, if it were as easy as picking all the “top rate” NFL Fantasy players, then we would have Fantasy Champions on the first night before the season even kicks off. Wrong. Take a chance on an NFL Fantasy sleeper or a potential breakout candidate. (Sometimes a gamble on one or two pays in the end – especially if you do your homework!) In the end, just be careful when reading too much into historical numbers, because past performance is never an indication of future performance.
6) MUST understand that ALL Health Matters! Whether it’s physical health, or mental health, or even contractual and financial health, or whatever type of health, the “overall” health status of an NFL Fantasy player is crucial to be aware of come season kick off. I usually shy away from any player that has offseason question marks. Maybe it’s a player undergoing cut-throat contract talks with a team, and the situation looks grim. Or it’s a player coming off of offseason surgery – will that player start? Is that player 100%? When I enter my NFL Fantasy draft, I am drafting players I know for a fact will start in Week 1, end of story. Now, we don’t have as many injuries or offseason news to deal with this time around in the 2013 NFL Offseason, (aside from ‘headline’ arrests, and surgery recoveries). Still, it’s up to NFL Fantasy team owners to make a calculated decision on the health of who they intend to draft. RG3 (Robert Griffin III) is a perfect example of a good quarterback coming off knee surgery, and expected to start in Week 1. But the questions still remain surrounding his effectiveness and/or recovery – will he be 100% or 90%? He vowed never to “push the limits” again, is this a red flag? So for me, this is not a quarterback I am chance-drafting in the first round of my NFL Fantasy draft. It’s not a right or wrong issue here, it’s just a discretionary comfort issue more so for me. Also, if there is a player or two prone to injury – it’s risky to draft them, but at least back them up with viable capable backups. Also, it’s important to know who and when your fantasy players have their bye weeks, or time off, (leisure health) so your team is not left hanging during that week (this means, it would be silly to draft 2 WRs who both have a bye week in the same week). So know the health of your players, every aspect of knowing counts in running a successful NFL Fantasy team.
7) Must Understand Some NFL Fantasy Basics: Like Sleepers, Value-Added Pick, Bench, etc. If NFL Fantasy Football was as easy as drafting all the perceived top fantasy players, then those NFL Fantasy team owners with the most would always win right? Wrong. I can tell you this from our NFL Fantasy experience at SafePicks.com, our championships wins have come from projecting & drafting “sleepers” to help take us over the top. What is a fantasy sleeper? This is someone that seems to be overlooked in an NFL Fantasy draft, and that player has a breakout season. To me, Larry Fitzgerald fits that category nicely since he is coming off his worst Fantasy season of his career. (More to come on that in another post – you won’t want to miss our projected 2013 NFL Fantasy Sleepers ALERT coming soon. The whole point of looking for and drafting sleepers is to strengthen an NFL Fantasy team with under-the-radar players that will provide a strong competitive edge. For example, everybody and their mother will draft Adrian Peterson at Running Back, whereas my plan might be to draft a solid sleeper in his place – saving the hoopla for another key fantasy pick in another round. As for the bench, this is literally what it is, a bench. This will be comprised of fantasy players that will not be starting in Week 1. They still make up your NFL Fantasy team, but will sit as a backup “on the bench” for when needed later (i.e. to cover for an unexpected injury, bye weeks, etc.). A Value-Added pick is someone I might draft in the second round, knowing if he makes it to the third round, that player might not be there. For more key terms and understandings: please visit our SafePicks.com NFL Fantasy Football Glossary.
8) Must Know What To Do Post-Draft! The draft is over, and we’re done right? It is what it is, right? Wrong! Rarely ever does an NFL Fantasy team remain the same until the end of the season? At the end of the draft, this will be the time to look at your NFL Fantasy team, and make changes (adds, drops, or trades, depending on what the league’s allowances are). Take a look at the undrafted or free agents that are available on the waiver wire. No NFL Fantasy team is set in stone (in most standard leagues) from absolute beginning to end. So let’s make sure to tweak our team if we need to. Whatever change comes about on our NFL Fantasy team, the object of this entire thing is to get the most points at the end of the NFL Fantasy season! Whatever it takes to win, do it. Use the plethora of statistics to keep track of your drafted players. Have a stud? Great, enjoy the points! Have a dud? Drop him. Keep tabs on your players and progress every week and transact (adds, drops, trades) as required. Alternatively, maybe there is a little known someone on the ‘up and up’ (i.e. sudden new great talent emerging) and could help your team – it’s time to get him then! Remember, an NFL Fantasy Champion is not made overnight on the first night. So once the draft is over, take a glance and see if needs still persist with your NFL Fantasy team, and do the needful… but don’t over-think it! The over-thinkers fail in NFL Fantasy more often than not. Also, you must have a little patience rather than an “itchy trigger finger”. There is nothing worse than dumping, let’s say, that under-achieving defense last week, only to watch that defense rack up an absolute sick ton of points the next… Let’s win the Championship!
9) MUST Know NFL Fantasy Football Positions: Tips, Strategy and a little of my Approach.. NFL Fantasy Football Position: Quarterback. The “money” position is right here folks. We like to draft a QB in the first round, this means try to get that elite quarterback first thing. By elite, we mean a top-ranked, pass-happy & mega point-production! For us, the best quarterbacks to draft in our NFL fantasy league are ones that are highly productive on the field in terms of positive yards. Do not bother chancing this pick on a rookie NFL quarterback, it’s just too risky (historically speaking anyway) if the quarterback has not proved himself in the NFL. We like to look at the overall talent that surrounds the quarterback (i.e. offensive line, receivers, and tight ends). We look at quarterbacks with good pocket discipline, ones with a great accurate release. We look at offseason activities, we look at which quarterbacks will have a returning cast, and which quarterbacks will have new faces to work with. The other thing we look for is the head coach & offensive play calling schemes.
The Saints, for example, are a type of team lead by QB Brees who can achieve 30 points a game almost weekly, simply because of the tailored play calling and a head coach who likes to put up points. Brees likes to spread the wealth around, and for us, we don’t care who he “goes-to” so long as he’s putting up the points. Whereas, a team like the Niners – they might employ a more tighter & conservative approach to their offense. One that utilizes a stronger running game along with the read option, pistol offense – this could amount to lesser production at the quarterback spot. And in fact, Colin Kaepernick did not even make our top 15 quarterbacks, and that’s simply our opinion (our fantasy picks, our way :). Another tip, we like to draft quarterbacks that will start on any given Sunday. That’s a given, yes. But for example, in our standard league we’re in, we may not want to waste our quarterback first round fantasy draft pick on let’s say RG3 (Robert Griffin III) from Washington, what with the uncertainty surrounding his surgically repaired knee. It’s not only that, but he went and got married (which is life-changing), he vowed never to “push the limit” moving forward, etc. These are all red-flag stay-away signs for us anyway. Now, by all accounts, he will be fine. But we truly won’t know how effective he will be until we hit the season. For that reason, we would rather draft the five QBs ahead of him on our list. The top five QBs in our NFL fantasy rankings list (any position), we call them our Plan A fantasy draft players, then the next five are our Plan B fantasy draft players. We like it when we’re able to go with drafting a quarterback in our Plan A scenario with an early first round pick, obviously everyone loves that. The Plan A and Plan B approach is something we religiously use for our NFL fantasy football drafting for all positions. Check out our NFL Fantasy rankings of our top quarterbacks, and draft an elite QB first round.
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Running Back. Our list of the 15 most elite running backs (NFL Fantasy Football Rankings By SP) isn’t a very complicated one to put together – chances are, our list will be similar to many others out there. This list is pretty much the same or near the same for most that are drafting their 2013 NFL fantasy team running back. These are the productive closers right now in the NFL, producing the most points. However, it may be important to note that the top tier backs are getting-on in terms of wear and age, and this might be a factor later this season. Running backs playing as 30-year-olds in 2013 are an early indicator of a possible drop off in point production: Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, and Darren Sproles for example. For us, it’s all about who are the running backs who will get the most red-zone carries, the ones that will be “heavily” relied on to “punch it through” in goal line situations. We often put more emphasis in the quarterback position, but if we’re drafting late first round, we might turn our sights on a Plan A Running Back first, if one is available.
Still, it’s no secret that the NFL is quickly becoming a pass-happy league, but backfield production is paramount to many teams’ offensive schemes in the NFL, and having a solid performing Running Back is the nucleus to having a good fantasy football team. At least, that’s what we believe. I can tell you, the key to any fantasy championship, like ones we have enjoyed, has been a result of drafting a solid running back in a standard scoring league, especially the ones that can run for BIG chunks of yards at a time. Yes, a solid running back is a crucial staple for any fantasy football team success one that can withstand the longevity of an NFL season. Our Plan A running Backs are consistent household names, fantasy studs as we like to call them, and highly productive. If you’re drafting second round for a Running Back, there will be some on the draft board that sit on this list and should be ripe for an immediate taking. One should also keep their eyes on some of the up and coming rookie backs, potentially becoming full-fledged starters this season (i.e. Packers new back Eddie Lacy). He would be a gamble, but a legit one at that. When it comes to Fantasy Running Backs, it’s okay to take a gamble on a rookie or an offseason top 25 NFL Fantasy back. There are plenty of examples of those under-estimated Running Backs raking in points last year. Doug Martin for the Bucs comes to mind. Chances are, your NFL Fantasy opponents are going for the big-ticket backs, whereas it may be better to jump on a potential sleeper or rookie who will start. We’ve got three stellar sophomores joining the top Running Back rankings, with Richardson, Doug Martin and Alfred Morris entering 2013 as one of the top Fantasy running backs.
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Wideout, Wide Receiver. Our rankings are based on receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in a standard scoring league setup. Again, the NFL has turned into a passing league. While the top quarterbacks are throwing for mega-yards almost every game, it’s not just one receiver on the team that’s reaping the rewards. Quarterbacks are throwing a lot to multiple wide receivers, and now it’s starting to be multiple tight ends, too! And let’s not forget about all the pass-catching running backs getting in on the action. With our ranking list of the 15 most elite wide receivers, this one too is not very complicated to judge negatively in terms of a standard scoring fantasy league. To us, these are the guys that will produce the most points on any given Sunday. These are the guys who have talented passers to work with. They are “catch happy” and rack up the points per reception numbers the most. When drafting the Wide Receiver, we put an emphasis more on the “consistent” “go-to” performers and we are usually drafting them in the second or third round after the Running Back and Quarterback spots are secured. There is no science to selecting our Wide Receiver. Yet, there are so many factors we look at when choosing a fantasy Wide Receiver: health, prior-year performance, relationship with the quarterback, receiver versus target status, and more. There are players out there who are intentionally utilized for one thing, receptions and the yardage produced by players in that receiving position. We again approach the draft with a Plan A and Plan B for this position. Anyone can see how the increase in passing led to more Fantasy points for more receivers over the past decade, and it’s also obvious in the decline of carries for featured running backs. Teams are leaning on the passing game, and wide receivers are obvious ‘catch-happy” beneficiaries. In this position, one needs to draft a sure points-producer rather than take a chance on a rookie wide receiver who is unproven in the NFL. Considering that many NFL teams are embracing the pass-happy approach, a solid wide receiver ranking in the top 15, or one that we know will be producing points for us is best. (See our BREAKOUT and SLEEPER candidate alert at SafePicks.com.)
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Tight End. Quarterbacks, running backs and even wide receivers make popular early round picks, while tight ends, (and flex players, kickers and defense/special teams) are typically reserved for the later rounds. This is a challenging position this year, especially when deciphering where some of these players stand now in terms of health (i.e. Gronkowski). The truth is that the Tight End position is one of the toughest offensive positions to draft, because every NFL offense is different, and utilizes their Tight Ends in different ways depending on the offensive scheme. Some teams use their Tight Ends on a more physical scale to chip and make blocks, while some teams count on their Tight End for the catch and score. Our Tight End rankings listed above is quite subjective and open to discussion, mostly based on our offseason study at SafePicks.com, along with career statistics to date. Incredible size, athleticism, and strength is what makes the leading Tight Ends in the league. In some cases, a two-tight end offensive scheme is popular amongst several NFL teams. Some Tight Ends are receiving larger roles in many offenses, which may help in the consideration for drafting a dominant tight end with an early round pick. I’m usually drafting my Tight End in the third or fourth round, although two years ago we drafted Jimmy Graham in the second round right behind Drew Brees as our first round choice. Needless to say this combination paid dividends. Sometimes, there is too good a value to pass up if we’re faced with that situation, Jimmy Graham was one of them two years ago, (again, that is for us).
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Kicker. Although of later round importance, the Kicker is an important position to consider as well. Consistency at kicking it through those uprights is what matters the most, the extra stuff is just the bonus points (i.e. an awesome 58 yard long field goal). If we’re going to be on top of our NFL fantasy game, we also need to be on top of this year’s crop of kickers. Our kicker rankings is based on a bunch of things. We base our Kicker rankings on statistics to performance to just overall consistency. We have a great idea of what the top kickers will be, based on their past history and their team’s offense. A conservative, play-it-safe type of head coach will utilize their Kicker, more often than a coach that likes to be aggressive and try to score TDs. But in truth, a Kicker, more so than any other position in fantasy football, is all over the map when it comes to weekly scoring. One week, a kicker might score 5 field goals and two point-after attempts, then the next week, that same kicker is scoring three point-after attempts only. It’s frustrating often times, but that’s fantasy football. The fact is deciding on the Kicker for us is much dependent on the kind of offense the team is running, and the kind of opponents that team will face this year. If a kicker is in the groove, we look for head coaches to capitalize on it by giving that kicker many an opportunity for points. The other thing we consider are the hot and cold trends that may (or may not) plague Kickers, the colder they get – the closer they get to being unemployed the next day! Remember, last year’s top kicker entering the season came apart undone and ended up missing an NFL-high 14 field goals, that was David Akers. Such a phenomenon only really happens with the kicker position, where fantasy football is concerned. The difference between the top kicker in any given season and the 10th best kicker in the last 4 years have been about 25-30 points, which is about 1.65 points difference each week. So yes, it’s nice to grab a good consistent kicker, but we simply don’t rake ourselves over the coals on it. Usually, we will take what is left in the later rounds, and focus on building the “top-end” of our fantasy football team.
NFL Fantasy Football Position: Defense. For our NFL Fantasy League, we combine Defense and Special Teams (DST). As a matter of fact, some scoring systems don’t even use special teams in their scoring, or they use it separately from defensive squads. So a team that scores on a kick or a punt return regularly would definitely be ranked higher than a team with a poor return game. So keep that in mind when going through these 2013 Fantasy Defense rankings. This category should be taken with a grain of salt. Scoring systems, more than any other position, affect the rankings of defense and/or special teams greatly. Because, for example, in some NFL fantasy leagues, scoring systems will include contributions from special teams whereas some do not include any special teams scoring whatsoever. In our NFL fantasy league, it’s the whole package of Defense and special teams scoring altogether (a lot easier to contend with, and we avoid the leagues that complicate the subject more). Some fantasy football leagues will have a separate category for special teams scoring too. So a team that scores on a kick or a punt return regularly would impact our fantasy league’s defensive team scoring, whereas in some other fantasy football leagues, special teams scoring is a category on its own. To do the right thing here, it’s important to know how your league will score your defense. Most fantasy football leagues don’t score defenses the exact same anyway. Some leagues value sacks more. Some systems lean toward fumble recoveries and interceptions, and some concentrate more on points allowed or yardage allowed. So it’s crucial to know which scoring your league uses. One common trait the defenses all love to have is defensive touchdowns (and special teams for the whole package in defensive scoring). For us, we look at teams with strong pass rushers, ball hawks in the secondary, solid return men, and the ability to shut offenses down frequently. By shutting teams down offensively, they keep their yardage/points allowed down, and they stay fresh to make big plays. We don’t look at defenses in what they did last year as much as what we forecast them to do this year (i.e. acquisitions, offseason developments, etc.). Last year was last year – this year is this year. Remember, schedules are different, opponents are different, the team itself is different etc. Also, what does a defense’s schedule look like this year (compared to last year)? Will they face a couple of rookie QBs, or maybe mediocre error-prone QBs? What about a mediocre offense? These all makes for games with high turnover possibilities? A high-scoring offense can put another team in a hole quickly, forcing them to throw early and often to get back into the game. Defenses are then able to relax against the run, and wait for passes with an extra defender or two downfield – less Fantasy points. An offense that has to throw is also on its heels, with a quarterback dancing under pressure. This means pass rushers looking for a sack-strip-fumble are anxious for the strike. So yes, there are so many factors to consider when choosing the defense to use in a fantasy league. But, for the most part, we will go with the candidates list above for our NFL fantasy defensive teams. Don’t Forget To Join Us At SafePicks.com For Our BANK ON Fantasy Breakout And Sleeper Candidates. You won’t want to miss this!! Also, don’t forget to see our post: 2013 NFL Fantasy Rankings, Tips, And More.