All veteran fantasy football GMs know the age-old maxim: never draft a kicker or defense until the last picks of your draft. With rare exception, this is an immutable law of fantasy football; but is it sound advice?
I researched the issue, so I instructed the Sports Grumblings' computer, Mighty Max, to pull up the top 12 kickers, by season, since 2005. For this example, we're using the World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF) scoring for kickers:
Looking at the results, we see some interesting trends:
• Over the past three seasons, two kickers made the top 12 each season: Josh Brown and Shayne Graham. This is a return to the norm from last year, when four kickers made the cut.
• No kicker was in the top five all three years.
• While the top kicker's score was varied 6-8 percent in either direction, the 12th-rated kicker's score was amazingly consistent..
• On average, the 12th-rated kicker could be expected to produce close to 77 percent of the top-rated kicker's output.
The lesson: trying to determine the top-rated kicker from season to season is a crapshoot. Furthermore, unlike the other positional players, selecting a "top" kicker isn't likely to result in a top performance. Think about it: we can debate whether
Many of my readers know that I am a huge proponent of using individual defensive players (IDP) in fantasy leagues; but realizing that many leagues have not seen the light of fantasy football salvation, I'll try to provide some insight into the performance of defense/special teams selections.
Again, I imposed on Mighty Max to provide me with data on defense/special teams fantasy scoring since 2005. The results:
San Diego: 126
Again, some interesting trends are presented by the results:
• Four teams have finished in the top 12 three years running: the Bears, Seahawks, Vikings and Titans.
• No team was in the top five all three years.
• The 12th-ranked team's totals remained within 7 percent of each other..
• On average, the 12th-rated D/ST could be expected to produce about 67 percent of the top-rated D/ST.
These findings would indicate that selecting defensive teams might be a bit easier than kickers in that defensive teams seem to display a bit more consistency amongst the top performers.
OK, all this information is interesting, but does it support the theory that you should wait on kickers and defensive teams in your draft? In general, the closer the 12th-rated spot to the top-rated spot, the longer you can wait to draft that position (especially if the points produced by the position are close). Given kickers and D/ST, the numbers indicate that D/ST should be drafted ahead of kickers.
But what about when these two positions are compared to the other offensive positions? The same type of analysis indicates the following order of value: WR, RR, QB, TE -- and all four shake out ahead of the kickers and defensive teams.
Sometimes, those old age-old maxims actually deserve to be age-old maxims!