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Why Kickers and Defenses Should Be Eliminated in Fantasy Football

Updated on July 18, 2012

Neither Ks or DEFs are really valuable

The Kicker and Defense positions in fantasy football need to be eliminated. While it is true that winning or losing to one often provides the most exhilarating or heart-breaking stories, they really add little to a league but for those tales. In fact, in most leagues, they are drafted almost exclusively in the last two rounds or bid on almost exclusively for $1. That alone demonstrates how little value they have relative to the other positions.

Rather than rely exclusively on anecdotal evidence to show their scant worth, let's look at numbers to demonstrate how irrelevant Kickers and Defenses truly are. We'll use the ESPN stats for fantasy football totals last year in 2011. Let's assume a twelve-team league with one starting QB, two starting RBs, three starting WRs, one starting TE, one starting K and one starting DEF. Of course, leagues vary, but you will see at the end how the results of this exercise replicate themselves in any league structure.

Given those parameters, we need to look at the point differential at each position. There are, of course, twelve starting QBs, TEs, Ks and DEFs; twenty-four starting RBs; and thirty-six starting WRs. The following chart shows the differential from the high scorer at each of those positions to the lowest scorer of the starter at each position.

Point Diffential among Positions

Number of starting players
Point Differential
Running back
Wide Receiver
Tight End

This table shows that there is next to no value in finding the best Kicker or Defense compared to finding the best value at any other position, and that is true by a wide margin. Since the point differential between the best and worst starting Kicker and Defense is so low, you have little reason to spend your draft picks or auction money on the best. You're just as likely to do well on the waiver wire! In fact, the point differential from the #1 to the #32 Kicker is 115 points (and that is with one of them not even playing the entire year!). Similarly, the point differential from the #1 to the #32 Defense is 123 points. In other words, you're better off taking the WORST Kicker and Defense in all the league -- not just on the waiver wire -- and trying to lock in to better QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs than you are taking the best K or DEF and going fishing at the other positions.

Of course, in fantasy football, it is not either-or. Nonetheless, what should be pointedly clear is that the waiver wire Kickers and Defenses lose little relative to the top at their position. Thus, they can be essentially an after-thought. Having the best one each week would gain you 2-3 points. But, you're much better off spending those picks and dollars going after the other position players whose point differential from the waiver wire will be much higher.

With that being the case (not to mention the extreme volatility in Defenses scoring with TDs), these two positions add little to the fantasy football world. Carefully looking at Kicker and Defense players and match-ups will undoubtedly help you win games and win the championship. But, their relative scant worth only adds an unnecessarily volatile luck factor into a fantasy sport which has enough of that already. When give the option, I'll take the league measured by the strength of the true skill positions instead of the "traditional" league including Kickers and Defenses any and every time.


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