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2024 DST Position Discussion

averagejoe

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Was reading some articles and was reviewing various defensive rankings.
Many of them point to (what I'll call the Tier 1 DST) for 2024, which are BAL, CLE, KC, NYJ, SF.
The next Tier (2) includes BUF, CHI, DAL, LV, PIT.

These articles are basing their rankings on who they drafted and/or signed or lost in free agency.
Admittedly, some DST have some very good players on their roster.

The issue I have with this is that this does not factor in the offensive strengths of the teams that these DST will be facing.

So that's what I compiled. I looked at points scored, yards gained, sacks allowed and offensive turnovers and ranked all 32 NFL teams and then bounced this off of the 2024 NFL schedule. Boom!

This chart is the result.
The Colts DST plays against some of the worst (easiest) offenses. Cincy's DST plays against the 2nd-easiest offenses.
Conversely, the highly touted Browns DST plays against the 3rd-most efficient offenses. So the Cleveland's DST better be good. That goes for the Jets and Chiefs DST too. It won't be a cakewalk for the defense.

While this chart didn't include time-of-possession, it may be worth noting that the Colts DST was on the field the 6th-longest. Similarly, the Jets DST were on the field the 5th-longest. I mention this since both offenses were with out their QB (Richardson and Rodgers). Getting the QB back and having their offense on the field longer could take some pressure off of the DST.

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TREFF

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As cool as all this is. I do believe that with the new kick return rules, a ton of the 'value' of DST's is going to be the 'ST' part of the equation.

A great D is a great D, and a bad D is a bad D, but those kick returns, they're gonna even out the playing feild outside of the extremes on both ends
 

averagejoe

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That is a great point @TREFF and someone should look into those kick return numbers.

But unless your league scores "return yardage," the only impact for DST scoring will be for TD scored. How many "return TD" could be a baseline heading into this season.
 

eaglesnut

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When looking at opponents what's more important is when they face them. That's easier to evaluate week to week than here in July, due to things like injuries, coaching changes, and player development, to name a few. But at draft time I'm looking at the early part of the schedule. I'll have a different defense by the end.
 

averagejoe

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There were only 12 TD scored on returns last year. 8 punt TD and 4 kickoff TD.
 

averagejoe

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Even defensive TD is a tough barometer to carry over for a DST. And there are historically more defensive TD than return TD.

That said, it might be good to see which teams have been aggressive with returns (since many teams take the fair catch or touchback). Which teams were more likely to actually return a kick?

 
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averagejoe

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Here's the opposite of that.
This might be kick to the head...

Teams that ALLOWED the most return yards include many of the Tier 1 DST for 2024, namely CLE, SF, BAL and BUF.


Feel like I'm talking to myself. :sigh:
 

eaglesnut

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Here's the opposite of that.
This might be kick to the head...

Teams that ALLOWED the most return yards include many of the Tier 1 DST for 2024, namely CLE, SF, BAL and BUF.


Feel like I'm talking to myself. :sigh:
The teams with good offenses kick off more.

I don't think I'll try to factor in the new kickoff rules at all. I'll learn how they work for Fantasy as the teams learn how they work IRL.
 

averagejoe

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The teams with good offenses kick off more.
It's worth looking up. I'd like to think it evens out between kickoffs and punts for both teams since time-of-possession is generally 30 minutes for both teams, regardless of how good or bad the offense is.

Bears offense, for instance, was 5th-worst but i know their time of possession was in the top 5. Doesnt make sense.
 

eaglesnut

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It's worth looking up. I'd like to think it evens out between kickoffs and punts for both teams since time-of-possession is generally 30 minutes for both teams, regardless of how good or bad the offense is.

Bears offense, for instance, was 5th-worst but i know their time of possession was in the top 5. Doesnt make sense.
Yeah but punts aren't effected by the new rules.
 

averagejoe

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Yeah but punts aren't effected by the new rules.
:doh: What you say is true.

Seems a little contradictory tho. Do we want a DST that allows good offenses to score so as to benefit from kickoffs to said DST?

:think: Unless i'm misunderstanding your point?
 

leftypower

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As cool as all this is. I do believe that with the new kick return rules, a ton of the 'value' of DST's is going to be the 'ST' part of the equation.

A great D is a great D, and a bad D is a bad D, but those kick returns, they're gonna even out the playing feild outside of the extremes on both ends
There were only 12 TD scored on returns last year. 8 punt TD and 4 kickoff TD.
Personally, DST discussions don't move the needle for me much since I only play 1 league that uses it. But The obvious take away (and always has been) is that good TEAMS (i.e. personnel/coaching/scheme) generally have successful DST stats - especially when playing bad teams. Either by keeping the oppositions offense off the field, superior coaching, or just plan player for player domination. So, the correlation to playing bad offenses certainly lends itself to nice defensive stats.
As for the new kickoff rules, there will be added scores and better field position for most every team - - but the teams that have the superior players and coaching staffs will still be the best of the bunch since they will prepare better. ....
 

averagejoe

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I get it. I can see the advantage to streaming a DST too. (When matchups actually prove fruitful.) And in the grand scheme of things the best DST was only 52 points better than the 12th DST, which is only a couple points difference per week.
 

leftypower

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I get it. I can see the advantage to streaming a DST too. (When matchups actually prove fruitful.) And in the grand scheme of things the best DST was only 52 points better than the 12th DST, which is only a couple points difference per week.
The same can likely be said of kickers - but yet there are times when that 2pts is the difference between winning and losing. .. .
 

averagejoe

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The same can likely be said of kickers - but yet there are times when that 2pts is the difference between winning and losing. .. .
And because of the kickoff rule changes, i feel that teams that already have a tendancy to run back kickoffs will have an advantage.

Not to mention the advantage that excellent kick coverage teams will have.
 

eaglesnut

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:doh: What you say is true.

Seems a little contradictory tho. Do we want a DST that allows good offenses to score so as to benefit from kickoffs to said DST?

:think: Unless i'm misunderstanding your point?
Haha I think we're both just "arguing against" @TREFF 's point.

I don't want to factor in randomness that's based on a new variable too strongly.
 

leftypower

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And because of the kickoff rule changes, i feel that teams that already have a tendancy to run back kickoffs will have an advantage.

Not to mention the advantage that excellent kick coverage teams will have.
Saw an article from KC's workouts - - they are already talking about NOT using Butkler on kicks offs and using the DB Reid (guess he can kick) just to get the extra tackler on the field. ...
 

averagejoe

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One source said there were nearly 2700 kickoffs last season. Only 27% were returned.

With the new rules, a touchback (ball spotted at the 20) sacrifices what is almost a given of better field position.
 

TREFF

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I haven't had time to dig into the possibilities/ projections of kickoff returns this year.

All I know for certain is that nothing that happened in the NFL last year is relevant.
And that touch backs are at the 30, and kicks that land inside the 20 to the goaline MUST be returned, and kicks that don't make the 20 will be spotted at the 40. Only time the touch back is at the 20, is if the kick lands in the landing zone, and rolls into the end zone, and is not returned.

I do plan on doing a deep dive into what the other league did and what the analysts projections are later today
 

averagejoe

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I do plan on doing a deep dive into what the other league did
Please share what you find.

I have this hunch that there will be some coaches who - perhaps for the risk of injury - buck the new NFL rules and take a knee, or let the ball roll into the endzone (especially since the kicking team cannot run downfield until the ball hits the ground). Think there will be a learning curve.

On the other hand, the young or innovative coaches (like what @leftypower mentioned about KC) are probably strategizing ways to get optimal field position. Imagine starting at the 40 pr 50 on a possession?!!

Bottom line, i think this has a bigger impact on the game, but also on the fantasy DST position. Think this rule change is gonna create a gap from those that embraced the rule change and those teams that dont see a difference.
 
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