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[author image=”https://www.the3pointconversion.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/pic-copy.jpg” ]Raphael Haynes, Atlanta, GA @mrcontroversy21[/author]
In my opinion, fantasy defenses are becoming extinct to the point where kickers are becoming more valuable. Why? Because it is very rare to see a kicker give you negative points in a game where a defense can give up 25 plus points (depending on how your league point system is) and it can hurt you on a weekly basis. Any player can have a good or bad week, but it seems harder, if not impossible, to predict with defenses (Seattle Seahawks from 2015 is a great example). My draft strategy when it comes to defense (D/STs) is to wait until the later rounds and try to stack up the base of your team. Here’s my top five fantasy defenses/special teams (D/ST) and sleepers.
1.) Arizona Cardinals (Bye week 9) – The Cardinals were one of the best defenses in fantasy last year and should be again this season with the additions of linebacker Chandler Jones, defensive back Tyvon Branch, and rookie defensive end Robert Nkemdiche. Losing veteran Dwight Freeney to the Atlanta Falcons will hurt some but they’re still talented to be a top five defense this year.
2.) Denver Broncos (Bye week 11) – The defending Super Bowl champions still have their core, except losing Malik Jackson to the Jacksonville Jaguars. They should still be one of the top three defenses drafted in fantasy.
3.) Seattle Seahawks (Bye week 5) – Losing linebacker Bruce Irvin to the Oakland Raiders may hurt Seattle’s pass rush, but the “Legion of Boom” is still together and should be able to cause plenty of turnovers.
4.) Carolina Panthers (Bye week 7) – The Panthers secondary took a huge dive when All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman signed with the Washington Redskins. They still have a great front seven which will make Carolina a top fantasy defense again.
5.) Houston Texans (Bye week 9) – The Texans are a little concern about JJ Watt’s back injury and will let him rest till he feels ready to get back on the field. Houston has all the talent to be a top five defense (they were ranked 6th last season), but the million dollar question is – When will Jadeveon Clowney step up and dominate?
Here are my top five sleepers (Not in any specific order)
1.) New York Giants (Bye week 8) – The worst defense in 2015 (allowed 6,725 yards and 442 points) but spent a lot of money during the offseason on Janoris Jenkins, Oliver Vernon, and Damon Harrison. They also drafted cornerback Eli Apple and free safety Darian Thompson, which should improve their defense a little bit. (Bye week replacement D/ST depending on who they’re playing ONLY)
2.) Oakland Raiders (Bye week 10) – I like what the Raiders did during the offseason adding linebacker Bruce Irvin, cornerback Sean Smith, safety Reggie Nelson, and first round pick safety Karl Joseph. Could be a top ten defense this season.
3.) Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye week 5) – Who would have EVER thought Jacksonville would make this list??? Well this defense just might be this year’s true sleeper pick with the great additions they made during the offseason by adding defensive end Malik Jackson, defense end Dante Fowler Jr., linebacker Myles Jack, cornerback Jalen Ramsey, safety Tashaun Gipson, and Prince Amukamara. They’re still very young, but heading in the right direction.
4.) Chicago Bears (Bye week 9) – I was forced to put the Bears because my boss (Raphael Haynes aka Mr. Controversy) made me!! LOL!! Seriously, the Bears made some nice moves in the offseason by picking up linebackers Danny Trevathan, Jerrell Freeman, defensive end Akiem Hicks, and drafted a few defensive players. Depending on who they play, the Bears could be a nice bye week replacement.
5.) Washington Redskins (Bye week 9) – The Redskins were ranked 14th in fantasy last season, which surprised a lot of people, including me. They added Josh Norman, Su’a Cravens, and Kendall Fuller to the mix so they should be able to get more than 11 interceptions this season.