Paul Charchian of LeagueSafe is the winner of the Defense category of the Fantasy Index Experts Poll, and it was the Chicago Bears who lifted him into the top spot.
The Bears had the No. 1 defense (scoring 160 points in standard scoring), and Charchian was one of only three of the 20 panelists who ranked them in his top 10. That gave Charchian a big edge over most of the field.
Only one expert ranked the Bears even higher (Michael Nease ranked them 7th) but Nease undermined that pick by being one of only three who didn’t include Kansas City in his top 20. With 52 sacks and 27 takeaways, Kansas City finished 2nd in scoring at this position, so Nease lost a ton of ground at that spot to the 17 who placed them in the top 20.
This contest is different from a regular fantasy league, with each player being placed on a roster. Here, each expert submits a top 20 at each of the six positions, and all 120 picks are graded – the higher you rank a player, the more he counts towards your score.
The Bears scored 160 points in this contest. Had you ranked them first, you would have received 4,000 points (25 x 160). Rank them 2nd would get you 3,840 (24 x 160). Rank them 3rd would generate 3,680 (23 x 160). And so on.
Most experts ranked Chicago in the teens (average finish was 14th), and Charchian generated about an extra 900 points by instead ranking them 8th.
The Bears were helped along by a late trade for Khalil Mack; that deal went down after everyone’s top 20s were submitted. But it can be argued that there’s less luck involved in this category than any of the other positions. This is the only category were each contestant is guaranteed of at least getting 16 games out of each of their 20 picks. (Injuries and lineup changes tend to be critical at the other positions.)
Regardless, Charchian is the early leader in this contest, and we’ll crown an overall champion after grading the other five positions in the coming days.
Justin Eleff of the Fantasy Index Podcast finished 2nd in this category, while Chris Liss of Rotowire took 3rd.
The Jaguars were the huge disappointment at this position, finishing 18th in scoring. That was shocking, since 19 of the analysts ranked them No. 1 overall. But they all suffered equally, at least. Eleff picked up only slight value by instead ranking them 2nd.
EXPERTS POLL -- DEFENSES