Defensive Team by Waiver Wire (DTBWW): Week 1

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor) on Sep 2, 2012

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 season, finished as runner-up in 2011 and 4th in 2012 for an unprecedented three straight top 5 finishes. Cumulatively, John was the most accurate expert from 2010-13 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate preseason rankings. 

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For those of you new to Defensive Team By Waiver Wire (DTBWW), the strategy goes like this: Each week, you target a mediocre defense on the waiver wire, looking for a good matchup, preferably at home. You will typically get good defensive production without having to burn a semi-valuable pick on draft day. Or if you do draft a DT and they start to disappoint, you can use DTBWW the rest of the way.

I have been writing this feature for three years and in 2009, my top three weekly picks averaged DT5 numbers. In 2010, they averaged DT6 numbers. Last year, they averaged DT7 numbers. So the system works pretty well.

Generally, defenses have to be available on the waiver wire in at least 40% of ESPN fantasy leagues to be eligible. This ensures that we are talking about defenses that are readily available.

In a previous article, Using Defensive Team by Waiver Wire (DTBWW) on Draft Day, I recommended that owners draft the Bills, Lions, Bengals or Vikings with an eye on the first few weeks of the season. The Bengals Week 1 matchup (Baltimore) is not a good one, but here are my thoughts on the other three defenses:

Minnesota Vikings (vs. JAX)
The Vikings should be able to post some fantasy points in their Week 1 matchup at home against Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars, especially with Maurice Jones-Drew playing a limited role.

Detroit Lions (vs. STL)
The Lions finished DT4 last season and open with the Rams at home in Week 1. The Rams don't have a lot going for them other than Steven Jackson.

Buffalo Bills (@ NYJ)
The arrival of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson could take this unit from below average to solid. The Bills also used the 10th overall pick on CB Stephon Gilmore to shore up the secondary. The Jets were a very nice matchup for fantasy defenses last year.

Remember, if you have a roster size of 18 or larger it's not a bad idea to play Defensive Team by Committee (DTBC). This year, my optimal pairing is the Bills and the Lions:

 

DEF W1 W2 W3 W4 W5 W6 W7 W8 W9 W10 W11 W12 W13 W14 W15 W16 W17
Lions
DEF-6
26
STL
12
@SF
15
@TEN
30
MIN
BYE 17
@PHI
19
@CHI
23
SEA
32
@JAX
30
@MIN
1
GB
5
HOU
25
IND
1
@GB
27
@ARI
7
ATL
19
CHI
Bills
DEF-16
21
@NYJ
24
KC
31
@CLE
3
NE
12
@SF
27
@ARI
15
TEN
BYE 5
@HOU
3
@NE
29
MIA
25
@IND
32
JAX
26
STL
23
SEA
29
@MIA
21
NYJ

Schedule difficulty based on opponent's offensive matchup ranking. Top offense = 1, bottom offense = 32.

 
The Lions have what look like great matchups (MIN, JAX and then MIN again) when the Bills play the Patriots and Texans, and the worst matchup this duo has is the 49ers in Week 5. Unless one of these units falls well short of expectations, they should make a fine DTBC in 2012.
 

For more information about DT strength of schedule, check out our Team Defense Hot Spots.

Filed Under: w1, 2012