Defense wins championships. The most true statements in all of sports. Even in fantasy sports. Sure, not every defense you draft will workout, but it’s good to know which defenses are available to you.
Much like tight ends, defense and special teams aren’t a major necessity in fantasy football during your draft, however, they’re such an important position to have.
Good ones are hard to come by, and average ones can ruin your entire season. So here’s a list of the Top 10 D/ST’s to draft in 2015.
1.) Seahawks D/ST
A lot of people were upset that the Seahawks didn’t put up the same monster numbers that they did the year before when they finished in the top two in fantasy.
After a slow start, the defense pulled through late with six straight double digit point games in fantasy, only allowing 40 points total in those last six games of the year.
They allowed the least amount of points last season and the least amount of yards in the entire NFL… by 550 yards!
It also helps when they face the 49ers twice, Rams twice, and close out the season facing six out of eight games against teams that finished 20th or lower in PPG from 2014.
2.) Bills DST
You’re looking at the best fantasy defense from 2014. They led the NFL in sacks, were sixth in interceptions, and fourth in yards allowed.
With Rex Ryan taking over, the confidence is spewing in Buffalo as a report said Bills players proclaimed they want to be the best defense in NFL history. Even with the departure of Kiko Alonso, they should be fine.
The Bills also have many favorable defensive matchups during the middle of the season: Titans (Week 5), Jaguars (Week 7), Jets (Week 10)
3.) Jets D/ST
If only their offense was better, the Jets D/ST could really flourish.
They were 6th in the league last season in yards allowed, but the offense giving the ball away 25 times didn’t help the defensive numbers that much.
Tied for 30th last season in interceptions, the Jets bring in Revis, Cromartie and Skrine to fix the turnover margin.
They should provide immediate help when the Jets play five of the worst passing teams [in terms of completion percentage] from 2014 as they face the Browns during Week 1 (32nd), Raiders Week 8 (28th), Jaguars Week 9 (26th), Texans Week 9 (22nd), and Titans Week 14 (27th)
4.) Texans D/ST
With the help from the best defensive player in the NFL last season JJ Watt, the Texans allowed only 19.2 PPG last season which was 7th in the NFL. He also accounted for 20.5 of his team’s 38 sacks, and two defensive touchdowns.
They brought in Vince Wilfork and have high hopes that Jadeveon Clowney can stay healthy. If so, they would have one of the most feared defensive line in the NFL.
Their strength of schedule is a fantasy dream, 30th in the league, facing the Titans and Jaguars twice a season, including during the final two weeks of the season, during your fantasy playoffs.
5.) Panthers D/ST
The Panthers ranked 10th last season in yards allowed per game with a relatively young squad with almost no veteran presence, mostly due to the absence of Pro Bowl Defensive End, Greg Hardy.
This is the same defense that held the Cardinals to 78 yards in a playoff game. 78 yards! The Panthers defense has ranked in the top ten in the league three years in a row, and they’re only improving.
Led by former Defensive Player of The Year, Luke Kuechly, and led by a defensive-minded head coach like Ron Rivera, the Panthers will find ways to impact the game defensively, starting in week one in Jacksonville.
6.) Dolphins D/ST
The Dolphins were a good, but mostly middle of the road defense in 2014. The team spent heavy at free agency, signing Ndamunkong Suh to help the Dolphins D-Line.
If you miss out on the first five defenses on the board, the Dolphins are a team you consider drafting based on their schedule. Their first six games: Redskins, Jaguars, Bills, Jets, Titans and Texans.
Favorable matchups make the Dolphins a safe gamble to draft and at a relatively late pick.
7.) Rams D/ST
The Rams spent the offseason signing Nick Fairley to play alongside Robert Quinn and Chris Long, making them THE most feared defensive line in football (sorry Houston).
Their defense has found ways to underachieve in fantasy two years in a row, but it’s hard to not take a risk on this team. If they don’t get drafted in your draft, scout them for their mid-season matchups during weeks 7-10 against the Browns, 49ers, Vikings, and Bears.
8.) Colts D/ST
Much like the Dolphins, the Colts have a middle of the road defense. Nothing better than average.
I’m a gambling man though. In fantasy football, it’s hard to bet against really good matchups. If I miss out on the seven talented defenses above, I’d gamble on an average defense like the Colts.
Their first five games are against the Bills, Jets, Titans, Jaguars, and Texans. Their last four games are against the Jaguars, Texans, Dolphins, and Titans.
Gamble. Gamble. Gamble!
9.) Eagles D/ST
Fantasy Football is strange. The Eagles defense last season was abysmal. But with the help of 11 D/ST touchdowns, they still finished 2nd last season among defenses, somehow.
Take away half of those fluky touchdowns and the Eagles would’ve finished 12th in points. Point being, they thrived on touchdowns last season, which isn’t good.
They were second in the NFL in sacks last season, but 28th in yards allowed, and 28th with 48 touchdowns allowed.
DeMeco Ryans and the addition of Kiko Alonso will lead this Eagles defense in 2015. They’re worth a late gamble in your draft. Their first four games are against the Falcons, Cowboys, Jets, and the Redskins.
10.) Browns D/ST
Sometimes when you’re drafting, you have to think outside of the box. The Browns defense isn’t necessarily horrible, but when your offense is so abysmal that your defense is on the field all the time, your numbers may be a little bit skewered.
The Browns defense was second last season in interceptions, but was also on the field more than any other defense. So why pick the Browns?
Their schedule. They face the Jets (32nd), Titans (22nd) and Raiders (26th) the first three weeks of the season, all with terrible offenses. You can play the matchups the first three weeks and scout defenses for future matchups off of waivers following week three.