Fantasy DEF/ST is often viewed as the 2nd least important position in fantasy football, behind only the lowly kicker. In my 25 stats article, you may find that there is quite a bit of value to be had from the guys on the other side of the ball. While I will never advocate drafting a defense if you can avoid it, finding and starting the correct defense can prove just as important as getting the right RB1 or WR1…and they can be had a whole lot cheaper. The best fantasy defense in 2017 was the Jacksonville Jaguars, they were drafted so few times and so low, their ADP didn’t even register. But they made a huge impact on the 2017 fantasy landscape. My guess before writing this article is that I mention the 1st place Jaguars in 13 of these stats.
1. The Jaguars and Eagles finished tied for most top 12 finishes (11) despite Jacksonville scoring 2 more fantasy points per game than Philadelphia.
2. The Jaguars led the league in top 5 finishes with 7.
3. All 7 of those top 5 finishes came in the fantasy regular season. Jacksonville did not crack the top 5 one time in the fantasy playoffs (Weeks 14-16).
4. The Cleveland Browns offense gave up 10 top 10 performances last season, most of any team.
5. The Cleveland Browns defense only had 3 top 10 performances.
6. But that terrible Browns defense did hold DeAndre Hopkins to his worst performance of the year.
7. Cleveland still scored 6 more points than the last place Jets.
8. The Jets also had 3 top 10 finishes. Those 3 games made up 48% of their entire season total.
9. There were 48 times last year that a fantasy DEF/ST “scored” 0 or negative points.
10. The Jaguars managed this feat just once, in Week 2. The Texans led the league with 5 games at 0 or negative.
11. If you take the best 4 games of any of the top 5 teams this season (Jaguars, Eagles, Ravens, Chargers, Rams), the total would be more than the season total of any of the bottom 5 teams (Browns, Texans, Raiders, 49ers, Jets). Effectively, the top 5 teams accomplished more in their best 1/4 season than the worst 5 did all season long.
13. The #1 drafted defense, the Broncos, finished #20 overall. Houston’s defense, who was drafted as the 3rd defense overall in the 10th round, finished 28th!
14. Of the 160 top 10 DEF/ST performances last season (Weeks 1-16) only 55 were accomplished by those top 10 drafted defenses.
15. That 34% success rate for the top drafted defense is down 12% from 2016. The highest drafted defenses in 2017 only finished in the weekly top 10 one of every 3 weeks! The Jaguars were more likely to be top 5 than the defense you drafted was to be top 10.
16. Of the final top 5 teams; the Jaguars (#1), the Rams (#3), and the Chargers (#5) weren’t even drafted enough to have an ADP.
17. The 30 TDs scored by the final top 5 fantasy defenses were only 2 less than the total TDs scored by the top 5 overall drafted players last year.
18. Last season, 30 of the league’s 32 teams scored a defensive or special teams touchdown.
19. There were 100 total touchdowns scored on defense and special teams last season.
20. Jacksonville led the league in DEF/ST TDs with 8. That is tied for the most since the Eagles scored 11 DEF/ST touchdowns in 2014.
21. While that was the only category they led the league in, the Jags also finished top 5 in sacks, interceptions, fumble recoveries, and fewest points allowed last season.
22. Baltimore was the only other defense to lead the league in a major category and finish in the top 5 overall.
23. Despite leading the league in fewest total yards allowed and few points allowed (and being last year’s #1 fantasy defense), the Minnesota Vikings finished 14th in fantasy in 2017.
24. At the end of the season, Jacksonville had enough fantasy points to make them the #22 fantasy QB, the #10 RB, the #7 WR, and the #1 fantasy TE. While unpredictable, the right fantasy defense can change your whole season and win you a #FootClanTitle!
25. In the last 15 years, no defense has repeated as the #1 at season’s end.
In case you were wondering, I only mentioned the Jaguars in 10 of the statistics.