Patriots Defense Joins Elite Company on ESPN Fantasy Football "Can't Drop" List

Jason Schandl
New York Giants v New England Patriots
New York Giants v New England Patriots / Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Defenses are often an afterthought in fantasy football. If you've got one of the top defenses you tend to just plug them in unless they're on bye, and if you don't then you're usually just playing matchups with streaming options.

The New England Patriots defense has completely changed things, though. They've had such an incredible season that ESPN has even added them to their list of "Can't Drop" options, usually reserved for the top players at QB, RB, WR and occasionally a choice TE.

It might seem surprising for a defense to join the likes of Lamar Jackson, Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas on the list, but that's just how valuable the Patriots have been in 2019.

The Patriots D has scored the 11th-most fantasy points for a player across any position in standard-scoring leagues, and even in PPR scoring they check in at 16th. Their 19.6 fantasy points per game puts them 5.8 points ahead of any other D, which is the biggest gap between the first- and second-best scorer at any position in fantasy football this season.

For some more context on how ridiculous 19.6 points per game is, here are the league-leading averages for defenses in the last hand full of seasons: 11.9, 12.7, 10.9, 11.7, 11.7, 13.8, and 14.4.

The undroppable designation, usually used to prevent collusion or disgruntled owners dropping star players and throwing off the balance of their fantasy league, is well deserved for the Patriots D.

That being said, there are still some weeks you may want to consider leaving them on your bench. The Dallas Cowboys have allowed the fewest fantasy points per game to opposing defenses, and the Kansas City Chiefs (their Week 14 matchup) have allowed the fourth fewest. We saw that the Pats weren't matchup-proof when they took on the Baltimore Ravens (second-fewest allowed) and scored just 4.0 fantasy points.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.