Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Top 10 Defenses/ ST and Kickers

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Aug 20, 2021; Landover, Maryland, USA; Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Jonah Williams (73) blocks Washington Football Team defensive end Chase Young (99) during the first quarter at FedExField. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The old saying is that defense wins championships…And while this is very true in real-life football, it could also be carried over to your fantasy football draft strategy as well. I have personally been on the losing side of a week where your opponent’s D/ST has gone for 20+ points and outright won them the week. I’ll go over my top defenses to consider for this fantasy football season. I will also give my top 10 kickers to focus on as you round out your fantasy football drafts this week!

Defense/ Special Teams fantasy football draft strategy

Washington Football Team– The WFT has really established themselves as a hard-nosed team with a very strong defense that is led by a tough defensive coordinator in Jack Del Rio. The Washington Football defense allowed 20.6 points per game and allowed 304.6 per game which was the second-fewest points in the league last year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs really showed that they were a complete team and part of that was the emergence of their defense down the stretch and into the playoffs. They really showed how dominant their front seven was as they only allowed 80.6 rushing yards per game and were able to get after Patrick Mahomes in the Super Bowl.

draft strategy
Jan 3, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald (99) battles Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Justin Murray (71) at the line of scrimmage during the third quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams – As long as the Rams have Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey on their defense, they will continue to grade out as one of the top defenses in the league. They allowed the fewest yards per game in 2020 as they held opposing teams to just 281.9 yards per game and finished with the second-most sacks in the season.

Baltimore Ravens – A constant of the Ravens throughout the years is that they have always had a great reliable defense and that trend continues into 2021. In 2020, they allowed 18.9 points per game which was the second-fewest point per game total in the league.

San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers had an interesting season in 2020 as they allowed 24.4 points per game which was near the middle of the pack in the league but also held opponents to just 207 passing yards per game and 106.4 yards per game on the ground. They will get a big boost by having a healthy Nick Bosa returning to the defensive line which should increase the overall pass rush and sack total for 2021.

Denver Broncos – The Broncos really improved on the defensive side of the ball and having Von Miller back in the lineup only pushes them to another level. Denver went out and added to their secondary by getting Kyle Fuller and drafting Patrick Surtain so look to this group to emerge as a top defensive unit in 2021.

Indianapolis Colts – The Colts had a very solid defense in 2020 as they finished second in the league in rushing yards allowed (90.5 ypg) and were in the top 10 in points allowed as they held opponents to just 22.6 points per game. Outside of the Titans, the AFC South division is rather weak offensively and the Colts defense could have some monster weeks against the Jags and Texans.

New England Patriots – A staple of a Bill Belichick team is having a good firm defense and that is what they have again in 2021. The Patriots were tied for the most interceptions in 2021 with 18 total picks and benefit from playing in the AFC East which is a slightly weaker offensive division when compared to other divisions in the AFC.

draft strategy
Jul 30, 2021; Eagan, MN, United States; Minnesota Vikings defensive back Patrick Peterson (7) participates in drills at training camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings could be a much improved defensive unit as they added in Dalvin Tomlinson upfront and Patrick Peterson in the secondary. The Vikings had a down year in 2020 but with newer additions, they do have the upside to finish as a top 10 defensive unit.

Cleveland Browns – The Browns went out and added to their defensive unit in free agency by adding Jadeveon Clowney into the mix and they look to have one of the best edge-rushing duos in the league with him and Myles Garrett getting after the QB. The Browns were very good at forcing fumbles in 2020 as they led the league with 12 forced fumbles and that is where we could benefit by having them on our team in 2021.

Kickers draft strategy

When it comes to kickers, there are several factors that you should focus on when drafting them in the late rounds of your fantasy draft. You want your kicker to be accurate, have a strong leg, be featured in a solid kicking environment (either in a dome or in warm weather), and have a good offense in front of them so they can rack up extra point opportunities or at least get you into field goal range. Below are my rankings when it comes to kickers in the 2021 season

draft strategy
Jan 16, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) practices field goals with punter Sam Koch (4) as his holder before a divisional round playoff game against the Buffalo Bills at Bills Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Harrison Butker
Justin Tucker
Greg Zuerlein
Matt Prater
Rodrigo Blankenship
Robbie Gould
Ryan Succop
Younghoe Koo
Brandon McManus
Jason Sanders