With 2021 fantasy football drafts approaching, here are some 2021 fantasy D/ST busts and overvalued players to avoid. We’re focusing on 2021 fantasy football defensive team busts typically selected in the top 150 0r so picks.
2021 Fantasy Defense Busts: Overvalued DSTs To Avoid In Football Drafts
Pittsburgh Steelers (93.3 ADP, DST1)
If Pittsburgh and the next DST on this list finish 1-2 in defense, that would be shocking. Pittsburgh was artfully exposed by teams like the Cleveland Browns last year. The other problem is that Ben Rothlisberger gets another year older. Will the Pittsburgh offense be as effective helping the defense be on the field less (29:11 per game)?
Pittsburgh is arguably a victim of its own success. The Steelers play 10 above-average opponents in 2021. They include Cleveland and the Baltimore Ravens twice. Also, Pittsburgh goes up against the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers, Kansas City Chiefs, and Seattle Seahawks. That means as many as 10 when where fantasy football players may search for other options on waivers.
Pittsburgh lost so many players. Some will say losing Bud Dupree or several of their secondary members won’t hurt the defense much. However, not having that depth on the back end and an inside-edge pass rusher could be problematic.
Yes, T.J. Watt and the defensive front are still quite good. However, teams will be able to pass with more ease and probably run even better against Pittsburgh.
The Steelers will be a better NFL defense than a fantasy DST in 2021. They will drop out of the top five but could stay in the top 10.
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Los Angeles Rams (97.7 ADP, DST2)
The Los Angeles Rams defense is very good, but listing this unit as arguably the top Fantasy D/ST probably won’t pay off in 2021. Aaron Donald is widely regarded as one of the best players in football, and Jalen Ramsey is often put into that category among cornerbacks.
But how many losses on defense can a team absorb? Defensive coordinator Brandon Staley left to coach the Los Angeles Chargers. Defensive backs Troy Hill and John Johnson III signed in Cleveland. Morgan Fox headed to Carolina. Michael Brockers was traded to the Detroit Lions.
Raheem Morris is a sound coordinator, but he is not Staley. No matter how this is spun, Los Angeles does not have an intimidating offense that will keep the defense on the field more. Most are still expecting the Rams defense to top the NFL or be among the top three.
This defense could fall out of the top five late in the season. Expect the Rams to give up more than 20 points per game and over 300 yards per contest. That breaks down to at least 100-115 yards rushing allowed and 200-220 passing yards yielded on aveage. Los Angeles could yield as many as 4-6 more touchdowns.
Indianapolis Colts (125 ADP, DST6)
Again, let the debates begin. Indianapolis was right around the top seven or eight defenses in the league last year — and then the second half hit. The Colts allowed nearly 300 yards per game over the final seven contests. Quarterbacks showed little fear of Indy with a 102.5 passer rating.
Sacks went down, turnovers went down, and even rushing plays of 10 yards or greater started to creep up. There is ample concern that the Colts may be a middle-of-the-road defense this year. That is how much of a dropoff is feared especially for fantasy football. Xavier Rhodes can only do so much, and again, even he has health questions.
The failure to address the pass-rush issue in the offseason will hurt more and more as the season goes on. Tennessee has improved its offense, and the Colts’ schedule is tougher — especially early. Carson Wentz and his growing pains may keep the Colts defense on the field longer as the incoming quarterback adjusts to a new team and scheme.
Most predictions center the Colts around 10-7 or 9-8 and battling for a wild-card playoff berth. However, prognosticators aren’t heeding enough warning to defensive pitfalls — and a team that likely will have trouble recording sacks and takeaways shouldn’t deserve a fantasy football draft reach.
New Orleans Saints (209.7 ADP, DST12)
There are quite a few who envision New Orleans as a top-10 fantasy football defense this season. This ranking might be a little too ambitious.
New Orleans was fifth in the league in points allowed last year with 21.06 points per game. The more one looks at the Saints defense, the more some realize they may not even be the second-best defense in the division — see the Carolina Panthers.
Again, New Orleans may feature a better NFL defense as opposed to a fantasy football defense. Payton Turner is still a raw, one-dimensional pass rusher. Marcus Davenport has not lived up to the value he was projected to have. After that, New Orleans still has one of the better front sevens in the NFC. It would have also been nice if Paulson Adebo had a mentor like Richard Sherman.
It will still be a good season to roster some New Orleans players for 2021 fantasy IDP purposes, but don’t overpay on the Saints as a team defense.
For more of The Game Day’s 2021 fantasy football draft tips, listen to our Take The Points podcast with Marcus Mosher and Adam Kramer: