You are likely here to determine what defense to target against, or are trying to find a stingy defense worthy of deploying for fantasy purposes. Defenses might be strong against one aspect of an offense, or both, or even none. Reading through last year's defensive stats can help you grasp on where you should be looking to exploit a defense. For example, New Orleans ranked as the worst defense in 2015.
|Totals Allowed||Passing Allowed||Rushing Allowed||Takeaways & Penalties|
|Rank||Team||Points||Yards||FPTS / Gm||Yds||TD||Y/A||Yds||TD||Y/A||TO Forced||Int||
|3||Kansas City Chiefs||287||5269||65||3698||25||5.7||1571||7||4.1||29||22||7||941|
|9||New York Jets||314||5098||65||3763||25||5.9||1335||4||3.6||30||18||12||767|
|10||New England Patriots||315||5430||69||3852||24||6||1578||8||4||21||12||9||1013|
|12||Green Bay Packers||323||5547||68||3642||20||6.1||1905||13||4.5||22||16||6||1107|
|13||Los Angeles Rams||330||5885||70||4065||21||6.4||1820||7||4||26||13||13||992|
|18||San Francisco 49ers||387||6199||78||4179||21||7.2||2020||20||4||12||9||3||920|
|21||San Diego Chargers||398||5791||74||3786||22||7||2005||17||4.8||20||11||9||976|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||417||5446||76||3840||31||6.6||1606||12||3.4||23||11||12||862|
|30||New York Giants||442||6725||86||4783||31||7.2||1942||15||4.4||28||15||13||1077|
|32||New Orleans Saints||476||6615||93||4544||45||7.9||2071||12||4.9||22||9||13||887|
You may notice a theme here, but the top eight ranked defensive teams all made the postseason. Defensive stats may often be just a small pitstop in your research, but keeping this info locked in will come in handy. There were extremes in 2015, such as targeting against a team like the New Orleans Saints every chance you had. They allowed a 4.9 yards per attempt (Y/A) to opposing running backs, which had fantasy owners gushing when their running backs played the Saints. They also allowed the most fantasy points per game to opposing teams, and were in the bottom as a pass defense too. This stayed consistent for 2015, and will have some stock when 2016 gets going. While there is turnover in the NFL that will cause bottom offense to become a bit more average, there will only be a handful that truly turn tides.
For the most part, fantasy points allowed will stem from bad defenses. On some occasions it will not. A lot has to due to time of possession, and overall play style. Atlanta had a very average defense at best last season, but allowed the 9th fewest fantasy points per game to opposing teams. Pittsburgh on the other hand ranked 11th in defense, yet allowed a healthy 74 fantasy points per game to opposing teams, which was in the middle of the league. Quick scoring and shootouts were a trend with the Steelers, which was why fantasy points were at a premium against Pittsburgh in 2015.
Passing and rushing stats on an individual basis is good measure for opposing running backs and quarterbacks. Yards per attempt is a good stat to get a gauge of how a team moves the ball against their defense. New Orleans allowed 7.9 yards per attempt, which went hand-in-hand in their passing defense. Denver allowed just 5.1 yards per attempt, as they boasted the best pass defense in the league. The same goes for running backs, and seeing how efficient they can be against a rush defense. We will stop picking on the Saints, and look at San Diego, who allowed 4.8 (Y/A). This is a great prediction for opposing backs, especially if they can meet that number. These are all in addition to overall touchdowns allowed, which is standard by position.
If you are looking for a fantasy defense, you are searching for two things — turnovers and points allowed. Carolina and Arizona led the league in turnovers, and were among the highest scoring fantasy defenses. Teams that feast on turnovers also give their offense more shots to produce points, which is good for you. A team like the Jets benefitted from collecting 30 interceptions + fumble recoveries, as it pushed their offense into scoring more points. Given opposing points count against you, the standard points allowed is a base for a fantasy defense. The turnovers look to give you that extra upside.
Overall a team defense can give you a glimpse of possible game strategy for opponents, as well as overall game-flow. Tough run defenses might force a team to throw more, or vice versa. Turnover opportunistic defenses can give their offense a few extra positions. There is a lot more to it than just simple defensive stats.