My golden rule as an avid fantasy football player has always been to take a defense in a fantasy draft as the second to last position, just ahead of kicker. Sometimes I’ll even take a kicker before a defense, like New England Patriots kicker Stephen Gostowski, who never seems to miss.
I laugh at those foolish people who reach for the Seahawks defense in the fifth and sixth rounds. Because in reality, fantasy defenses just don’t have that much value compared to even a bench wide receiver, running back or flex. You should always leave it as one of the final positions you draft.
I believe I have found a viable fantasy alternative to taking the Seahawks or Cardinals defense as the first defense overall in this year’s fantasy drafts.Just wait and take the Miami Dolphins D/ST at your leisure in one of the draft’s final rounds. In 2014, the Dolphins D/ST finished just 23 fantasy points behind the Seahawks’ D/ST, and yet is projected to be drafted number 228th overall. The value for the Dolphins’ defense is much better than the Seahawks.
The Dolphins have also gotten significantly better on the defensive side of the ball this offseason. Safety Louis Delmas is healthy again after suffering a knee injury last year against the Baltimore Ravens. The Dolphins will also have depth at the cornerback position, as they have added veterans Brice McCain and Zack Bowman to compete with Jamar Taylor and Will Davis for the starting job opposite of Brent Grimes.
The Dolphins linebackers, which was easily the team’s weakest defensive unit last season, brings back Jelani Jenkins. Jenkins, who emerges as a breakout player last year, will look to build on his first season as a starter alongside Koa Misi and Chris McCain.
Despite these important additions for the Dolphins’ defense, all of them pale in comparison to the team’s landing of defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Suh had 8.5 sacks from the inside last year with the Lions, and anchored a Lions defense that gave up just 69.3 yards on the ground, good enough to rank first in the NFL. Suh should free up Olivier Vernon and Cameron Wake on the outside, which means more sacks for the defense and more fantasy points.
Suh’s presence will also result in more interceptions as the cornerbacks will get to play tighter on opposing wide receivers as a result of the quarterbacks having less time to throw. This should increase Miami’s turnover rate.
The final kicker in why you should invest in this Dolphins defense in your fantasy league?
The explosiveness of return specialist Jarvis Landry. The Dolphins, led by Landry, finished 5th in the NFL in kickoff return yards with 1,237 yards and a touchdown. They finished 10th overall in punt return yards with 349 yards. With Landry entering his second season, expect at least a couple return touchdowns from Juice.
A revamped defense and a more experienced returner means an increased fantasy point total for this Dolphins D/ST at a fraction of the cost of one of the top tier fantasy defenses. While your fellow league members and friends jump early at the site of the Cardinals and Seahawks defense, continue to load up on skill players that can step in if need be throughout the season. Then, consider drafting the Dolphins D/ST, knowing that you may have picked the most underrated fantasy option at that position in 2015. After all that, enjoy DOMINATING your league this year.