Every football season seems to bring with it a new annoying term de rigueur. A few years ago it was the term, "pick-six." Joe Montana probably threw one or two during his long career, but you never heard them called that when he played. Now the term is nearly ubiquitous. But the fantasy defense/special teams (DST) rankings for Week 11 seem like the perfect place to bring up the newest addition to our football lexicon: the "pass-funnel defense" and "run-funnel defense."
Personally I think they're stupid terms. The idea behind them is that a defense is so strong in one area and so weak in another that it forces, or "funnels" the opposing offense into going heavy into that type of play selection. A good example is Tampa Bay, who is a "pass-funnel defense." To put it into a fantasy context, Tampa Bay has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs. Conversely, the Buccaneers have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers in the league.
Todd Bowles is the defensive coordinator for Tampa Bay. Do you think he intentionally tries to "funnel" what opposing offenses do? No way. All he cares about is stopping opposing offenses. He wants to stop both the run AND the pass. A team like Tennessee is average against both the run and the pass. Does that make them "neutral-funnel?"
Can we stop the use of "funnel" when describing a defense? Leave funnels to physics classes, kitchens, and the artery-clogging but delightful confections found at your local carnival.
Teams on bye: Green Bay, New York Giants, Seattle, Tennessee
NFL DST Rankings: Week 11
— Rankings by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.
(Top photo courtesy of buccaneers.com)