Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Matt Bryant
- Sean Koerner makes the case for his fantasy draft strategy of passing on kickers and defenses.
Ever reach the final rounds of a draft and feel compelled to fill out your roster with a kicker and a defense?
Ignore that instinct.
When you waste picks on a kicker and defense — both of which you can successfully stream in-season (more on that later) — you’re passing on potential sleepers with league-winning upside.
Passing on a kicker and defense allows you to add two more RBs to the end of your bench. The types of RBs I draft to stash in the final rounds have the potential to become an RB2 (or better) if their team’s starter were to miss extended time.
You can read more about the types of high-upside RBs I target in my Tiers and Upside Value Ratings, but for context, the two players I targeted the most last season were Chris Ivory and James Conner. LeSean McCoy’s and Le’Veon Bell’s situations were very volatile at the time, so I wanted to have the two players who would directly benefit if either starting back were to miss time. And we all know how the Bell situation shook out. (Hint: Conner ended up being a league-winner.)
But not drafting a kicker doesn’t mean it’s not an important position in-season.
While I’m advocating to not draft kickers or defenses, we of course aren’t going to just take two zeros from their roster slots once the regular season starts. I typically add my kicker and defense a day or two before Week 1 starts to maximize the chances of my two RB stashes hitting the lottery.
I also want to stress just how serious I take the kicker and defense positions in-season: I stream both each week to take advantage of the best available options.
I’ve been incredibly successful using this strategy year-in and year-out. I’m often able to stream what would equal a top-three kicker or defense when you combine the total output I get from these two slots. A lot of that has to do with the attention I give to projecting both positions on a weekly basis.
>> Create custom cheat sheets using Sean Koerner’s latest fantasy football rankings with our Draft Kit.
I always try to ensure I’m making the most accurate projections as possible for kickers and defenses, as demonstrated by my first-place finish for both positions in expert accuracy on FantasyPros last season.
Be sure to check out my weekly projections in-season in order to best stream these positions, but for now, remember to pass on drafting either in favor of stashing potential league winners.