It's the end of the road when it comes to the fantasy football previews here at Pride of Detroit. So far, POD has talked about a number of things. It all started with the basics of FF, which was basically things you should or shouldn't do when trying to run a successful team. From then on, POD looked at the quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and kickers. Now, last but not least, POD will take a look at the defense/special teams from around the league.
Unlike all of the other spots on a roster, the defense/special teams (D/ST) isn't just one player, but an entire unit instead. One player could still make a huge impact in a good or bad way, but in the end the stats are from the output from the entire defense and special teams. Most scoring systems go on the basis of how many points or yards are given up by the defense, then also how many fumbles and interceptions are accumulated in the game. For the special teams portion, it is usually a kick or punt return that would give you a great amount of points.
When selecting a D/ST to go with you should look more towards the actual defense as your measuring stick. Special teams can give you some points here and there, but not as much as a defense. Choosing a good defense is especially important due to the fact that you can earn lots of points from just the amount of yards or points they give up, or don't give up. Getting stuck with a second-tier defense can leave a down spot on your roster each week.
BEST OF THE REST - These D/ST can do what the phrase says: win a championship.
**Carolina Panthers Led by all-pro Julius Peppers, the Panthers have built a great defense over the last few years. They have players at each position that can stop any high-powered offense. They were considered as one of the best last year, and if it weren't for the Chicago Bears' (see below) breakout season, then they probably would've been the best. The Panthers are predicted to reach the Super Bowl by many, and the defense is what will allow them to do that.
**Chicago Bears 12.6 was the average number of points given up last year by the Bears defense. That is an astounding number. That's only two touchdowns, or four field goals. Look at it whatever way you want to, but it doesn't change the fact that you wouldn't be scoring if you faced Chicago. When a team that doesn't have much of an offense can have such a successful season, the only place you can look towards is the defense. Chicago will be just as strong again in 2006.
**Pittsburgh Steelers How can you go against the defending Super Bowl champions? Sure, they have players like Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward, but the main reason for that title was a defense that nobody could get past. Just ask MVP Shaun Alexander. The main difference between finishing first or second in the league was a defense that only allowed ten points to one of the best offenses in the league (Seattle).
SLEEPERS - Slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with.
**Indianapolis Colts Okay, well maybe they're not that big of a sleeper after a season like last year, but they're a great choice. Bob Sanders provided the hard-hitting, in your face image of the Colts defense last season, and will do that again in 2006. The Colts are best known for the high-scoring heroics of Peyton Manning and company, but the defense will continue to make a name for themselves.
**Washington Redskins When only totaling 120 yards of offense, how do you manage to win a playoff game? Well, of course, the defense. Even though a net gain of only 120 yards was accumulated during last year's wild card playoff game with Tampa Bay, Washington still managed to come out on top. If that doesn't make a statement, then I don't know what else does. The departure of LaVar Arrington may hamper the defense a little bit, but not enough to take them away from being a great bunch of players.
**Kansas City Chiefs Just as the Colts, the Chiefs defense has been overshadowed by an explosive offense. They haven't been that successful in recent years, but with the signing of free agent Ty Law they now can be. He may be the final piece of a puzzle that can be very good. I wouldn't use a draft pick on the Chiefs D/ST early on, but if it's late and you still need that position, then go for it.
Although the previews of fantasy football 2006 may be over, talk of fantasy football isn't. Tomorrow, I will provide a recap of how my draft went, along with analysis on each pick. Also, throughout the season there will be talk of fantasy football each week with who's hot and who's not.