Fantasy Football Rankings- Team Defenses
By Staff Writer John Belaska
Defense is the key to winning championships. That is what every football coach will tell you. Believe it or not, the idea transfers to fantasy football pretty easily. Team defense is one of those positions that you need consistent play out of. They usually will make around the same number of points each week. Then all of a sudden they have a break out game.
Defenses can put up huge numbers of points sometimes because of the team aspect of the position. Unlike other fantasy position, it is the only one where you are actually drafting multiple players. Typically, when one guy does something big, it sparks a fire in the rest of the team. Suddenly the defense just sacked the quarterback on three straight plays and you just won your game.
10. Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns played very good defense last year mostly due to a stellar secondary. Unfortunately they lost T.J. Ward over the offseason, but they did a good job replacing him with Dashon Goldson. They do not give up many points which mean they are consistent, but they do not do too much in the other statistical categories. If you wait on a defense and are looking for a pick that will shock some other owners, the Browns are a good choice.
9. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos were a middle of the road defense in 2013. With all the major acquisitions on the defensive side of the ball, there is just no way to ignore the Broncos’ defense in fantasy football. They really upgraded their pass rushers which will help not only increase the number of turnovers, but also lower the number of points they will allow. The problem last season was that they were not getting enough pressure on the quarterback. That problem is fixed and it should pay good dividends in fantasy land.
8. Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals just barely missed the playoffs last season. There above average season was mostly due to great play on the defensive side of the ball. They were a strong fantasy option last season and are still a good choice in 2014. The only problem is they are facing a much tougher schedule this season. Not only are some of the offenses in the NFC West better, but having to face the Broncos, Chargers, and Chiefs does not make for a home run fantasy defense.
7. St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams are pretty much in the same boat the Cardinals are. They have a better front seven than the Cardinals which is why they just barely outrank them. The Rams also have more depth on the defensive line than the Cardinals do, which will definitely help them be able to get pressure on some top notch quarterbacks.
6. New England Patriots
Drafting the New England Patriots’ defense is never a bad option. They are always a top ten defense, and normally rank in the better half of it. This season they added Darrell Revis who will perform much better in New England than he did in Tampa. Also getting Vince Wilfork back in the middle will greatly help them get to the quarterback. It could be argued that the reason they were not a top five fantasy defense in 2013 was because of Wilfork’s injury.
5. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals probably have the best set of linebackers in the AFC. Best of all, they have depth at that positions. This is a big reason why they do not give up many points. Their linebackers are fast enough to rush the passer and drop back in coverage. Outside linebacker, Vontaze Burflict, may be one of the best undrafted players in the NFL today. It will also be interesting to see who wins the position battle for middle linebacker. Rey Maualuga has the experience, but the Bengals played much better when Vincent Rey was starting.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Out of all the top five fantasy defenses, the Kansas City Chiefs are the most risky one to pick. For the first half of the 2013 season, they were the absolute best in the league. Then they dropped off. They had more defensive and special team touchdowns than any other team. This was why they were so explosive. However, they lost Dexter McCluster, so it is hard to see them scoring on as many kick or punt returns. Still they are a top tier defense. They are just a little harder to trust for the more conservative fantasy football owners.
3. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are probably the safest pick out of any defense. They are always a top three to top five team. They have no holes anywhere on that roster. Even with NaVorro Bowman injured, they still have enough depth to through anyone they want in there and have them perform well. They even upgraded some positions in their secondary. The only reason they have to be number three on the list is because we all know exactly what to expect from them. The 49ers just do not have the same upside that the other two top three defenses have.
2. Seattle Seahawks
The Seattle Seahawks were the best defense in fantasy football last season. It is hard to see that happening again, but not impossible. Their schedule is much tougher this season, so more than likely their number of points allowed will increase. They allowed to fewest points out of any team last year which is why they were so valuable.
1. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have such a strong defense. They have no holes at any position. Their coach knows exactly what to do to get the guys to perform. They are the best fantasy defense for 2014. Best of all they probably will not be the first defense taken.