Featured Image by: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press
Written by Ben Pfeifer
In most fantasy leagues, defenses are very undervalued. When used correctly, D/ST can rack up tons of points and win you games. If you can get your hands on any of these teams, they could be the difference between a win and a loss.
The Cardinals defense is absolutely stacked. They have arguably the best safety in the NFL in Tyrann Mathieu and other superstars such as Patrick Peterson, Deone Bucannon, Calais Campbell, and plenty more. Plus, they added star edge rusher Chandler Jones and top three talent Robert Nkemdiche to their already star-studded defense. With top defenses last season losing important pieces such as the Panthers and Broncos, expect the Cardinals to be the defense everyone will want.
Every year Seattle has one of the top defenses in the league and has the luxury of the Legion of Boom, the best secondary in the NFL. This group featuring Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas will likely continue to give opposing offensive coordinators fits. Seattle was second to last in yards per game allowed with 291.8. This was thanks in part to the LOB and standouts Bobby Wagner and Michael Bennett. Look out for Seattle next year.
Even with the loss of all pro corner Josh Norman, the Carolina Panthers still have an incredible defense. Their secondary is now a clear weakness, but their front 7 should make up for it. Led by the elite linebacker duo of Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis and defensive lineman Star Lotuleli, Charles Johnson, and Kawann Short wrecking havoc in the trenches, the Carolina defense shouldn’t slow down too much. Also, the explosive Ted Ginn is sure to provide points on special teams.
The Broncos defense carried their team to a Super Bowl victory last season. The Broncos by far had the best statistical defense last year, leading all teams in total yards, yards per game, total pass yards, and pass yards allowed per game. Even though the Broncos lost some key pieces in Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson, they are still star studded. Expect Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, and Von Miller to have another sensational season.
5.Kansas City Chiefs
Every year Kansas City seems to keep a solid defense. The only major player they lost was Sean Smith, but they still have Reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Marcus Peters who had eighth picks last year, Eric Berry, Justin Houston, and more. The Chiefs are known for pick-sixes or returning an interception for a touchdown, so this adds tremendous value. Look for Kansas City’s defense to have another great season.
6. Cincinnati Bengals
Last season the Bengals had an incredible defense, allowing a meager 17.4 points per game which was second in the NFL. The Bengals have all pro DT Geno Atkins bossing the trenches, and retained hard hitting safety George Iloka. Cincy also drafted William Jackson III who has the best ball skills out of all the players in the draft. With the Bengals losing out on offense, expect the defense to carry them in 2016.
The Raiders made huge strides on the defensive side of the ball this season. Along with all pro linebacker/defensive end Khalil Mack, the Raiders signed pro bowl linebacker Bruce Irvin, safety Reggie Nelson, cornerback Sean Smith, and drafted hard hitting safety Karl Joseph in the first round. These new additions have made the Raiders a top ten defense.
When your team has the best defensive player in the league, three time Defensive Player of the Year winner JJ Watt, you know your defense is going to be good. Former first round pick Jadeveon Clowney is due to break out sometime, and the young players on this defense such as cornerback Kevin Johnson are sure to make offenses struggle.
The Buffalo Bills always seem to have a solid defense. Led by their young and promising secondary duo of Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore, the Bills defense always gives quarterbacks a hard time. The defensive line led by Marcell Dareus and rookie star Shaq Lawson should make the Bills a popular sleeper choice in fantasy leagues.
10.New York Jets
The Jets defense has been a longtime member of this list. Darrelle Revis is still an All-Pro defensive back and last year the Jets were fourth in yards per game allowed with 318.6. The defensive line of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams is sure to give opposing quarterbacks and offensive lines nightmares.
St. Louis Rams