What separates a rookie from a vet? The winners from the losers? During your fantasy football draft you'll need two things to make that difference. Solid projections based on your league configuration and the ability to pivot as the draft unfolds. You'll need to pivot when players you desire are taken. You'll need to pivot when there is a position run. Being able to pivot means you have multiple strategies. When it comes to team defense the two draft strategies I have in mind are either a streaming or committee approach. In rare cases, when no one drafts a top 3 before the final 3 rounds, I'll pounce in the 3rd to last round for one of those top 3. But this is a rare opportunity.
|Draft a Top 3 DST||Easiest to manage, less DST anxiety.||Requires a valuable pick.|
|DST Committee Approach||Easier to manage. More work than top 3.||Eats a bench spot.|
|DST Streaming Approach||Fair to manage, most work.||Need to be a waiver wire hawk.|
Committee versus Streaming Team Defense
Starting with the end in mind, what does is look like to manage a streaming or committee approach. Once the season begins you can leverage the waiver wire to grab a streamer week by week based on match-up, this is called streaming. On the flip side you can take a committee approach. A committee approach is easier to manage but will require you draft within the top 8 teams.
- A committee is when you have two team defenses and lean on them based on match-up. I like to hold one of the team defenses anticipated to finish top 8, as the top 3 DST are usually gone before the final 3 rounds. Your other defense is going to come from the final 2 rounds and will have a schedule that compliments your primary DST.
- Streaming means you use your waiver wire to find the best team defense based on match-up. Sometimes I'll hold 2 team defenses each complimenting the other for the next 3 or 4 week. But as the season unfolds, say by week 4 or 5, you'll be able to just hold one and play the waiver wire each week based on match-up.
Pivot Points: Top 3, Committee or Streaming
How do you decide which team defense to draft? When do you pivot based on the flow of your draft?
- Draft a top 3 DST if they fall to the 3rd round (rare). If you really want a top DST for the ease of management then I recommend the 4th round at the earliest. This is because skill position players that make a difference on your fantasy team are hard to come by. I'd rather see you roll the dice on a skill position than roll the dice on DST, make sense?
- Now, here we are in the 3rd to last round. The top 3 DST have already been drafted. You can use your 3rd to last pick for the 4th to 8th ranked DST, you can now make the choice to be a committee guy or a streaming guy. I prefer committee if given the chance in the 3rd to last round.
- Otherwise, you're in the 3rd to last round and the top 8 DST have already been drafted. You've been forced to pivot to streaming. Which is fine because you have a list to work off of below.
Your Top 3 Team Defense
See note #1 above in "pivot points" before drafting a top 3. Your top 3 team defenses for 2019 are as follows.
- Chicago Bears DST
- LA Rams DST
- Jacksonville DST
The Best DST Committees in 2019
Based on ADP (average draft position) you should be able to snag these defenses toward the end of your draft and have a positive return on investment throughout the 2019 season.
- 3rd to last round you draft one of the following: LAC, BAL, MIN, CLE, DAL or HOU.
- In the 2nd to last round you draft one of the follow: TEN, CAR, NO
- OBVIOUSLY the last round is reserved for kicker, but if you league doesn't draft kicker you could choose DST here if you're picking early in the last round.
- The pairing mentioned above gives you flexibility when looking at the team schedules in 4 week strength of schedule blocks. The most optimal appears to be BAL paired with CAR or TEN.
The Best Streaming DST Options in 2019
Green=Good, Orange=Okay, Red=Bad matchup.
Listed in weekly groupings as follows: Team - week X matchup.
- CAR - LAR, TB, AZ, HOU, JAC
- NE - PIT, MIA, NYJ, BUF, WAS
- TEN - CLE, IND, JAC, ATL, BUF
- CAR - TB, BYE, SF, TEN, GB
- SEA - CLE, BAL, ATL, TB, SF
- NO - JAC, CHI, AZ, BYE, ATL
- TEN - BYE, JAC, IND, OAK, HOU
- NO - TB, CAR, ATL, SF, IND
Who knows how this will play out. But it seems fairly safe to pick NE or TEN as your streaming DST pick headed into the 2019 season. You're going to be looking for weak rookie quarterbacks and/or offensive lines giving up a lot of pressure when NE or TEN faces a tough match-up. Simply put, you want a weak offensive line versus any average defense. On the plus side, if you're able to snap NE or TEN you could end up with a solid "most weeks" type starter.