Take an offensive approach to defense for fantasy football playoffs
The fantasy football playoffs are here, and that means each and every lineup decision must be made with the utmost care. Its not about overthinking each matchup, but more about finding an edge wherever you can.
After watching the Raiders defense put up 25 points Thursday night, picking a team defense/special teams is going to be a hot-button issue for many. So, if youve been streaming them all season, finding the right one for the playoffs is going to be key.
Most people, when streaming a defense, try to pick out which teams they believe will keep the opposition scoreless. In many leagues, your team-defense may start with 10 points for the shutout, so people look to hold on tight to those points. Either that or they simply chase defensive touchdowns, hoping to land those extra points on a pick-six or some fluky play.
Though both warrant some consideration, you should actually start your search with turnovers and sacks. As we saw with the Raiders, even with their two defensive touchdowns, their point total greatly diminished as they allowed 21 points. Three sacks, four fumble recoveries and one interception are what led to those touchdowns, and thus established the baseline points for them.
Heading into Week 15, you should be studying sack totals and takeaways. Yes, the matchups themselves are also a part of it, but teams who sack the quarterback and create turnovers are the ones who score the most points each week.
Defensive tackle John Jenkins #95 of the Las Vegas Raiders scores a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers. Getty ImagesBoth the Ravens, who lead the league in sacks and have the sixth-highest number of takeaways, and the Colts, who have the third-highest sack total and fourth-highest in takeaways, make for solid plays this week. The Ravens will have their hands full with Trevor Lawrence, but the Colts get a very turnover-prone Mitch Trubisky, which could lead to extra points.
If youre in search of a team facing a struggling or inexperienced quarterback like the Raiders did, then turn your attention to the Saints. Tommy DeVito has been a fun story for New York, but the Saints have the third-highest number of takeaways and have 14 interceptions on the year. With a stout run defense looking to lock up Saquon Barkley, we may see DeVito sling the rock a little more, and we all know how good the Saints can be in the Superdome.
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Choosing a team defense is more than just hoping to cling to that shut-out bonus, and chasing defensive tuchdowns can be difficult. Find those teams with high sack totals and takeaways first, then see who matches up with the shakiest offense.
Howard Bender is the head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on X @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning Fantasy Alarm Radio Show on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 p.m. Go to Fantasy-Alarm.com for all your fantasy football advice.
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