Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to Win Fantasy Football: Shuffling Defense Strategy

I’d say we’re about half way through fantasy football draft season. A lot of the questions that I have been getting on this site and on Twitter (@godhateslosers)  are about drafting a defense.
The most popular strategy for this is much like the strategy for any other position: Get the best defense available. You will see teams going out and grabbing a defense as early as round 8. If that is what they feel they must do to own the Jets or Packers or Bears or whoever, more power to them.
I have a different strategy though. This was one of my most popular posts last season and it could hold the key to catapulting you into first place. I know that I’m not the first person to think of doing this, but I like to think that I have validated it. I have been using this for years and am quite proud of it. I’m a pioneer if you will, a visionary. Prepare yourself for the most groundbreaking idea to hit fantasy football since the auction draft.
The 2011 Fantasy Football season will be my fourth year employing the system I like to call Shuffling Defensive Strategy. I’m in five leagues, this is mostly due to my lack of a social life and inability to fall asleep before 3 a.m. I’ve never been much into video games, so I instead opt to spend my time gambling on how successfully large men will perform their jobs one week at a time. My first time using it was a little less than successful, but after a significant amount of time and research, it became a strategy that I use in every one of my leagues.
The basic idea is a simple one:
1)      You are an owner in a 10-team league. Therefore, not including yourself, there are 9 starting defenses.
2)     A handful of inexperienced owners will have more than one defense, because they are morons, so, let’s say that there are 12 NFL team defenses off the board. Leaving 20 in free agency on the waivers.
3)     Every single year, there are 10-15 NFL teams with offenses that are suspect at best.
4)     So, it is safe to conclude that an unowned, free agent defense will be playing against an aforementioned NFL team with a questionable offense.
The conventional method of owning a defense is to get one in the draft. And play them every week, subbing in a free agent DEF on bye week. Defense is the most ignored position on fantasy football rosters other than the lowly Kicker. With Shuffling Defense Strategy (SDS) you are taking advantage of the other owners’ lack of attention and profiting.
The fantasy projections for this season have the top 10 defenses averaging 134 points over the year, 8.4 points per game. By accurately using SDS, you can potentially double this number every week by playing a defense based on matchup.
For example, let’s look at the first few weeks of the 2010 NFL season. In week one, Seattle, Arizona, Detroit, Washington and Carolina (2%, 29%, 2%, 7%, 13% owned, respectively) were in the top seven point scoring fantasy defenses. Each of these teams scored more than 12 points. In week two, Miami, San Diego, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Kansas City (all teams under 50% owned at the time) scored more than 12 points. The common theme among these top scoring defenses: they faced an opponent with a poor offense.
So, which strategy would you rather employ? Draft the Pittsburgh Steelers in round 8, wasting a valuable bench spot and scoring an average of nine points per game? Or switch your defense weekly with a team in free agency and potentially get 12 points per game?
By simply doing a little research, or reading the research on a site (ahem, GodHatesLosers) that does the research for you, you can find the best matchup that is sitting idly on Waivers. With a little practice, and a healthy dose of GHL advice, you can increase your scores by four points per game, and have that trophy in hand in no time. It’s that easy. Also, you’re welcome.


  1. You guys have got some really great advice that has helped me take my teams this year to the next level. I'm really happy with the way all 3 of my teams turned out this year, so thanks for everything you guys are doing. I don't know if this is something you usually help out with, but one of my leagues is also doing a Suicide Pool. I've never done one before, so I was hoping you might be able to point me in the right direction for a strategy I could use to keep me in it for a while.

  2. I'm in an auction league with a set budget for waiver transactions. Would you recommend the SDS in that situation or no?
    Thanks Kyle

  3. GHL,

    I know this isn't the place for me to post this advice, but I cannot get on Twitter while I'm at work. Here is a scenario I am running into.

    I have a draft coming up on Monday and I have the #1 overall pick. I currently have an offer on the table to move down to the #8 spot for my #1 spot and here is what the guy is proposing......he is willing to give me the quicker turn around in each round starting with 2-11. I would be moving up 7 spots in each round for 10 straight rounds.

    For example:

    I get picks = 8,17,25,41,49,65,73,89,97,113,121

    He gets picks = 1,24,32,48,56,72,80,96,104,120,128

    League Rules (QB, WR, WR, RB, RB, W/T, K, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN)

    Passing Yards 20 yards per point
    Passing Touchdowns 4
    Rushing Yards 10 yards per point
    Rushing Touchdowns 6
    Reception Yards 10 yards per point
    Reception Touchdowns 6
    Return Touchdowns 6
    2-Point Conversions 2
    Offensive Fumble Return TD 4

    Need to see if this makes sense......and if it does, what type of order would you draft in (RB/RB, RB/WR, etc.)

    Your the best man.....looking forward to your response!

  4. Well, SDS makes total sense to me for a 10-team league and I'm doing it for sure in all my 10-team leagues.
    My questions is that tomorrow night I draft in the league that I REALLY wanto to win.
    It is a 12-team league so I'm a little hesitant in playing the SDS.

    Dou you have any experience using it in bigger leagues?
    Last year that league was a 14-team and Pittsburgh defense was a huge help to win it all.
    If it remained a 14-team league I guess I would not use SDS, but since it's a smaller league now, I'm very tempted to.

    Your thoughts will be very welcome.

  5. Suicide Pool... I'm guessing that is like a Survival league? where you pick one team that you guarantee to win each week?

    We will be providing Pick'em information every week. And I have been thinking about adding my 'guarantee' to that post. I'll try to figure out a strategy post for it, that could be interesting, but that is definitely information that will be provided on this site when the NFL season starts.

    Thanks for the great feedback too! Happy to help.

  6. I probably wouldn't in that situation. It would likely be better to pick one defense and only dump them if they have a really tough week ahead of them or they are just not working out for you. This all depends on how much money you are allotted and how much the defensive teams cost. But its probably not worth the gamble to use SDS in case you are faced with a number of injuries. I'd hate for you to not have enough money left to replace them because you were buying a few extra points per week.

  7. I think this would give you a great advantage as you would be getting better picks every nearly every round. I'm not a fan of drafting first anyways, so I would definitely go for it.

    With that draft order you would have a lot more freedom with how you decide to draft. When you have a later pick it is hard to say that you should draft RB/RB or WR/RB or whatever. You should definitely shoot to have either two RBs and one WR or one RB and two WRs in the first three rounds. From there, its getting the best man at the position you need. With all the early picks, it should be pretty easy to get a great team. With this trade you are already ahead of all other players.

  8. Your the best...........I'll let you know how the draft goes!!!

  9. I have used it in a 12 team league, but that is the highest I have gone. Its really all the same premise, except there might be 2 or 3 fewer defenses to choose from. But statistically, chances are very slim that all of the defenses on Waivers will be facing difficult offenses. With a 14-team league, I would not use this strategy though. 12 teams, I think you can get away with it.

    A good test of this would be to draft a decent defense. Someone in the 6-10 range. And when the draft is over, before the first week starts, check out the waiver wire and look at how many defenses are available and maybe look into their schedules, as it is likely, that these will be the defenses available to you for the rest of the year.

    If you don't like who is available to you, then go with the defense you drafted. If you like SDS and think it could work, go ahead and use the system.

    Good luck. Hope this helped.

  10. Awesome. From the looks of it, it sounds like the same thing as a Survival League. The main rules are that you have to pick a team each week that will win, but the trick is you can't reuse that team in a later weeks pick. So if I pick the Patriots to beat the Dolphins in week one, I can't use the Patriots as my winning team the rest of the season. So, there is a little strategy involved in it, so I just wanted to hear your take on how to run these things. I look forward to those Pick'em posts.

  11. Great man. I'll start thinking about it.

  12. Thanks.
    That sounds good.
    I'll let you know how I did.

  13. I like this strategy and will be using it for this seasons draft. Thanks!
    I will be coming here (GHL) to find out what defense to put in off the waiver each week...don't let me down.


  14. Thanks for not putting any added pressure on me.

  15. can you begin a post about SDS before kickoff thursday when the team will be set?

  16. My SDS list will be included in the position rankings post, later today.

  17. Can u make this with Wordpress blog?

  18. I am confused. By both of your comments. I feel that you are spam

  19. I am confused. By both of your comments. I feel that you are spam