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CFL DFS Strategy: We Talkin ‘Bout Team Defenses?
Chris Kay
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CFL DFS Strategy: We Talkin ‘Bout Team Defenses?

We’re sittin’ here, and I’m supposed to be the best CFL writer and we’re talking about defense. I mean listen, we’re sitting here talking about defense, not a quarterback, not a running back, but we’re talking about defense. Not the strategy article that I go out there and die for and research for like it’s my last, but we’re talking about defense, man. How silly is that?

There are only seven positions in CFL DFS and one of them is a team’s defense. How silly is it that we haven’t done any deep research to figure out if it’s worth paying up for a defense? After compiling the data from every game through week seven, I have the numbers that’ll help us discover the answer to everything we want to know about team defenses in the CFL.

How Do They Score?

It should come as no surprise that the majority of points accumulated by team defenses in the CFL is from turnovers and sacks. These two statistics account for 71% of the points scored so far this season.

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We should always be focusing on these two categories specifically, but if the potential for an extremely high scoring game is there then we must avoid. Of the 11 teams that have given up 35+ points this season (the amount of points that results in -4 Fantasy points), only two have generated double digit Fantasy points and together they average 1.64 Fantasy points per game. Even when you look at the nine times where a defense has given up 28-34 points (good for -1 Fantasy point), those defenses have averaged just 4.78 Fantasy points per game. Both of those numbers are significantly lower than the average output generated by team defenses this season (8.07).

This isn’t shocking news, but it provides us with a good understanding of how we want to look at defenses from here on out.

Does Cost Matter?

The most shocking finding from this experiment is that cost doesn’t matter. In fact, it has actually been beneficial this season to spend down at the position and use your cost savings on the other roster spots.

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17 team defenses have been priced at $5,000 or higher on DraftKings. Those defenses resulted in 7.06 Fantasy points per game. Just five of those times has paying up resulted in double digit Fantasy points (29.4% of the time). 39 times the defense has been priced at $4,900 or cheaper and those defenses have generated 8.51 Fantasy points per game and 16 double-digit performances (41% of the time).

Paying down has been a beneficial strategy, but what about punting the position? 10 times has a defense been $4,500 or cheaper. In those instances, we’ve seen them average a whopping 10.6 Fantasy points per game and six double-digit Fantasy point performances.

Who Should We Target?

After seven weeks of the CFL season, we have a large enough sample size to see which offenses are ones we want to target with our team defense selections. For the most part, the numbers are as expected, with Hamilton (12.7 Fantasy points per game against) and Montreal (11.5) being the two teams we want to target every week. Hamilton’s current quarterback, Jeremiah Masoli, is a turnover machine while Montreal has seen major injuries to multiple skill position players (including their quarterback).

Calgary is by far the team we want to avoid most, as team defenses are only averaging 3.3 Fantasy points per game against them. This can be attributed to their quarterback, Bo Levi Mitchell, being safe with the football and their great offensive line. Mike Reilly of Edmonton has been great with the football as well, which is why you see them having the second lowest number on the chart with just five Fantasy points per game against.

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In Conclusion

Going into week eight and throughout the rest of the season, we should be targeting defenses that cause a high amount of turnovers (Winnipeg and Toronto) and get to the quarterback at high rates (Hamilton and BC). We should also be looking at who is playing Montreal and Hamilton. And when it comes down to pricing, avoid the high priced defenses, as there is no proof that they’ll outperform your cheap defenses. If fact, just the opposite with the data we have today.

Have a query you would like me to run? Shoot it my way!