MFL10 Strategy: Why You Are Wasting Your Time Drafting a Second Defense July 19, 2016  |  Doug Shain

MFL10 Strategy: Why You Are Wasting Your Time Drafting A Second Defense

*all 2015 ADP data is from July 1, 2015 until the start of the season in MFL, PPR, 12 team leagues

*all 2016 ADP data is from July 1, 2016 until the day this article was published in MFL, PPR, 12 team leagues

In my last article I talked about why you should stack an offense you like in your MFL10 leagues. What? You didn’t read my last article. For shame, go read it here. I’ll wait.

Now that you’ve introduced yourself to my brand of crazy, let’s take the controversial strategies a little bit further. In this article I’m going to make that case that you should only draft one D/ST in your MFL10 leagues. Yes, I know that there are a lot of experts who will tell you take 3 D/ST. I think that’s nuts, and you know what? Drafting 2 D/ST is nuts, too!

Wait, Doug, what do you do on the bye week, you ask. First of all, that’s not even the right question to ask. You’re going to need to worry about a lot more than just your bye week for your S/ST. Even the top D/ST have off weeks and “in theory” you need to account for those too.  To that issue I’ll give you the same answer as I’d give about the bye weeks, I’ll take a zero (or whatever underwhelming score my defense gives me on a bad week).

Did you know that the D/ST that finished between 13th and 24th in 2015 scored 15 or more points in a week 12% of the time? Did you also know that those same teams scored IN THE NEGATIVE 8% of the time?  You’re telling me that I can draft a player that has almost as good a chance to take points away from my team as it does to score 15+ points?  Where can I sign up???

Did you know that 7 of the 12 D/ST in the top 12 ADP from 2015 actually finished in the top 12? That’s a far superior percentage that the top 12 RB drafted (3 of the top 12 RB in ADP finished in the top 12 for the season). That’s not to say that we should start drafting D/ST earlier in drafts (but, yeah, we kind of should if it’s a top flight defense), but what it does mean is that drafting D/ST is a lot more reliable than it used to be. The more reliable your D/ST, the less need there is to have a backup.



The 13th D/ST (the 1st backup) was selected in the 16th round last year. Do you want to know some players that were drafted in the 16th round or later last year? Theo Riddick, Blake Bortles, Tavon Austin, Cecil Shorts, Danny Amendola, Jeremy Langford, Ben Watson, Mohammed Sanu, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Kamar Aiken, Kirk Cousins, Philly Brown, James Jones, Christine Michael, James Starks, Karlos Williams, and Tyrod Taylor.  Do you really want to miss out on the chance at drafting this year’s Blake Bortles for a D/ST that might be in your starting lineup for 4 weeks this year? Do you want to miss out on drafting this year’s Tavon Austin so you can have a backup D/ST that scores -4 on your defense’s bye week?

“But Doug,” you scream, “that’s only 17 useful players out of the 60 players drafted in the last 5 rounds of the draft.  Those aren’t great odds. I want my backup D/ST.”

First of all, at least 12 of those 60 picks were backup D/ST, so let’s throw them out. That means that at most 17 out of 48 players (35%) drafted from the 16th round until the end of the draft were useful (and by useful, I mean guys whose names jumped out at me immediately…there may be more, I’m lazy). That doesn’t seem like a lot until you realize that you’re using 20% of your picks (1 out of the final 5) to get that probably useless 2nd D/ST. You’ve got a 35% chance of hitting a useful real player (D/ST aren’t real) and you’re risking only 20% of your picks.

Somewhere the math works in all of that but it makes my head hurt, so let’s try to explain that part another way. Because we don’t know which of those 35% of players will end up being useful, it would make sense to draft MORE of them, not less of them.  We need to INCREASE our chances of hitting on a stud like Bortles…a 20% better chance if you pass on that second D/ST.



If you end up with a top 12 D/ST (maybe it makes some sense to grab Denver or Seattle or Arizona in the 10th round), you’re really not going to benefit from that backup D/ST all that often. All of the top 8 D/ST last year finished in the top 12 in scoring for 8 or more weeks during the season. On those weeks when they didn’t, there’s no guarantee that your backup team was going to score more points. What this does mean, and I’ve alluded to this twice already, is that it probably benefits you to invest a higher than normal draft pick on a top defense. This way you can draft real players in the later round while every other team is drafting a defense that has almost as good of a chance to get negative points as it does 20 points. If you hit on a guy with that extra pick, even a mildly acceptable offensive player, he’ll make those points up with one good game. I would much rather have that extra pick to try to nab a Tavon Austin type rather than the New Orleans Saints D/ST.  It almost makes too much sense.

We can keep the conversation going over on Twitter (@bankster17). Keep an eye out for more content from me as we get closer to the Fantasy Football Season and keep coming back to read all the great articles put out by the hard-working staff at The Fake Football.

3 Responses

  1. Geoff R says:

    Interesting article, but I dunno if I’m buying it.

    You advocate drafting one good DST, but the problem is that most people in MFL10s overdraft DSTs! Forget round 16+ that you are focusing on- DSTs start going in round 12 or 13 in most of the drafts I’ve done. We all know that’s way too early, and that adding depth at the core positions is infinitely more valuable.

    On top of that, there have been numerous articles published that show drafting 3 DSTs in the last 4 rounds gives you a big advantage at that position in the best ball format. Last year, even crappy DSTs like TEN, JAX, OAK, and CHI had monster weeks here and there. With a little luck, three crappy DSTs in a best ball can give you a top 3 or 4 finish at that position, with almost no draft capital spent.

    Hope it works out for you, but I can’t see myself employing that strategy.

  2. Doug Shain says:

    Excellent point Russ. I totally goofed on that one. That’s for the correction.
    Still, I’ll gladly take my zero on a bye week just the same and still continue that hunt for real players.

  3. Russ Prentice says:

    While you make some decent points, there’s a slight hitch in your theory about getting a “-4” from your DST2 when your starter is on Bye…if that situation occurs, you still get the zero from your starter, therefore ensuring a freeroll on your DST2 during the bye week.

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