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Fantasy Football: Two cheap DSTs with massive upside ahead of 2021

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.

Fantasy football would probably be better off without defenses or kickers. Obviously, these positions are incredibly important to the real-life goal of, you know, winning games, but it’s annoying and tilting to have fantasy matchups decided by often-confusing scoring from these non-offensive players.

The reality that any given field goal earns a kicker at least 75% as many fantasy points as a quarterback receives for throwing a TD is absolute malpractice from the industry as a whole.

This article won’t be about those half-breeds known as placekickers. We’ll instead focus on what makes a great fantasy defense and which defense/special teams (D/ST) investors should look to target in 2021.

More of PFF's 2021 Fantasy Football tools here: 
Fantasy Football Draft Kit | Rankings & Tiers | Draft Guide | Cheat Sheets
Projections | Strength of Schedule | Expected Points Weekly Finishes

Scoring

Defenses can earn fantasy points by accomplishing the following tasks:

  • Sacks: 1 point
  • Interceptions: 2 points
  • Fumbles Recovered: 2 points
  • Safeties: 2 points
  • Defensive Touchdowns: 6 points
  • Kick and Punt Return Touchdowns: 6 points
  • 2-Point Conversion Returns: 2 points

Additionally, a lump sum of fantasy points is awarded for allowing the following point totals:

  • Points Allowed (0): 10 points
  • Points Allowed (1-6): 7 points
  • Points Allowed (7-13): 4 points
  • Points Allowed (14-20): 1 points
  • Points Allowed (21-27): 0 points
  • Points Allowed (28-34): -1 points
  • Points Allowed (35+): -4 points

Trying to predict these rare point-heavy occurrences with any sort of accuracy would largely be a useless endeavor. The overwhelming majority of fantasy point situations for defenses to rack up production comes from sacks, interceptions and recovered fumbles.

Enter: Havoc.

Havoc is one of the best stats for identifying great fantasy defenses

A featured stat for college football sharps, Havoc is incredibly helpful in determining which defenses live in the offense’s backfield:

  • Havoc = (tackles for a loss + forced fumbles + interceptions + pass deflections + pressures) / plays

The top 10 defenses in havoc last season were as follows:

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