Are kickers and defenses worth the trouble?

I’ve been daydreaming today about suggesting to the keeper league I commish that we just eliminate kickers and defenses altogether next season. There’s very little that’s compelling or interesting about them to me, and winning or losing a match because a defense had a couple of fumble recoveries for touchdowns just feels kind of random and empty. If your QB, RB, WR or TE has a huge game, you’re happy not just because of this week’s win, but also because it’s an indication that you’ve got an explosive player on your roster. If your defense or kicker has a big game – well, that’s great for this week, but there’s little reason to believe it’ll happen on a consistent basis.

Fantasy football is great in part because it strikes a good balance between luck and skill. I’ve often compared fantasy football to poker for a variety of reasons, and the analogy works here as well – both games are easy enough to learn that a newbie can get lucky and win, but players who know what they’re doing tend to come out on top most of the time. Adding the K and DST to the mix swings the pendulum in favor of the newbie, since there’s so much more luck involved. How many of us have lost to some deadbeat with a horrible team on the week that their defense had a randomly ridiculous game?

Another issue with K/DST is that, in most leagues with 5 or 6 bench spots, you usually only keep one at a time. When the bye weeks roll around, you’re often left scrambling to figure out which of your reserves you can drop – and if you’re like me, you often come to the conclusion that you might as well just drop your defense or kicker (even if they’re “good”) and pick up a new one rather than drop the promising player you’re holding onto in case he blows up at some point.

Perhaps the best argument in favor of getting rid of these positions is the way most people talk about their K or DST:

“Who’s your kicker?”

“Who cares?”

If we don’t care about these positions, why are we wasting any time at all on them?

I’m not saying there’s nothing redeeming about them at all – both require you to consider opponents, field conditions and so on – but they’re just not all that much fun, are they? I say the heck with them. Now I’ve just got to convince my league.