I was majorly bummed in the North American Internet Fantasy Football League (NAIFFL), as managed by my mate Lord Zola, when I went to make my ninth round pick, tried to grab the Seattle Seahawks, and discovered the Tequila Party Gnomes had already nabbed them three picks earlier.
NAIFFL is pretty much a standard league that allows for the freezing of three players, meaning the ninth round is really the sixth round of the draft, and truth is I love grabbing the Seattle defense right about when the Gnomes nabbed them for a lot of reasons.
For one, they do score more points and make more tackles and picks then any other team, at least over the past couple of years.
It is interesting in that in the five #MockDraftArmy trials, run by Howard Bender (@rotobuzzguy), I bagged the Seattle "D" four times, three in the eighth, and once with the first pick of the ninth round, and pretty much each time my pick was followed by comments about selecting defense so early.
But, in truth, was it really early, and is it a mistake to jump at defense so seemingly early in a draft? Well, of course "early" is a relative term for the size, point format, and roster requirements of your league, but most of my leagues have 12 teams with standard defense.
However, the Seattle defense averaged 9.6 points a game last year, and according to the ESPN rankings, the Hawks are generally the first defense taken, and usually around the fifth round (though I don't know how many teams the average ESPN league has) or on average as the 60.3 pick per league.
However, it is that 9.6 points that is important to me, for Brandon Marshall is the wide receiver drafted closest to that slot at 60.5, and he averaged 7.1 points last year, while Joseph Randle tops running backs as a parallel, also at 60.3 but having averaged just 2.4 points last season.
In a different format, my bud Zach Kweller grabbed J.J. Watt right out from what I thought was under me, also in the eighth round, in a league where we take three defensive players instead of a defensive squad. The scoring gives credit for catches and TDs, both of which Watt can get, but also sacks, tackles, fumbles forced and recovered and again, Watt averaged over 10 points a week last season doing this which is pretty good.
I did grab Luke Kuechly, who averaged 7.25 points a week last year two rounds later, right between rookie Marcus Mariota and Nick Foles, who was injured the last half of 2014. In fairness, this league allows a super-flex play, meaning two active quarterbacks can be a good thing, but unless something breaks in Kuechly's leg, since we have to play three of these defenders, it makes sense to grab the guys who seem like the productive ones.
For in the league, a big week (meaning a sack, a couple of tackles, and a fumble recovery with a score) is worth 20-plus points, just as good as a big week from Foles.