2018 Positional Rankings: Top Ten Team Defenses
Whether you play in an IDP or a standard league, a defense is a vital component to success in the fantasy world. Strategies around when to draft one vary, are you the first to take one off the board, do you wait until the last round to take one, or do you use the strategy of streaming different defenses all season long. No matter what your feelings are on defenses, they will help you win at least one week during the fantasy season.
Remember picking a defense in fantasy football is all about the matchup. On paper, some weeks your defense will look like a slam dunk to hit their projections and on other’s not so much. So whether you decide to ride one defense all season long like the Jaguars last year if you got lucky to get them, or you want to stream a different defense, just make sure you are always keeping an eye on the matchups. With that being said, let’s grab our helmet, lace up our cleats and make sure our chin strap is buckled tight because it’s time for a sack lunch. Let’s get to our Top 10 defenses of 2018!
- Jacksonville Jaguars – This team is absolutely loaded and looks to repeat as the top fantasy squad yet again. 55 sacks, 21 picks, and 8 TD’s in 2017 and had as many fantasy points as a top end RB2. All the important players return in 2018. I don’t like to reach for a defense in drafts but if for some reason the Jags are on the board in the 10th round my trigger finger will probably get itchy.
- Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings are looking to build upon their disappointing 12th place finish in points last year despite leading the league in total defense. It all comes down to stats that are hard to predict, defensive TD’s and fumble recoveries, which should see positive regression in 2018. Sacks should be plenty with Everson Griffen, Sheldon Richardson, Linval Joseph and Danielle Hunter up front. Purple people eaters reincarnate!
- Los Angeles Rams – All the Rams did in the offseason was add Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh to an already talented defensive unit that finished 4th in fantasy points in 2017. I would be slightly concerned if Aaron Donald’s holdout goes into the regular season as he truly is a difference maker. I would probably move them down two full spots in the rankings. Much respect for Aaron “Grizzly Bear” Donald!
- Los Angeles Chargers – The battle for L.A. is truly upon us! Imagine an all L.A. Super Bowl this year with both loaded offenses and defenses. That would be a fun one. The Chargers will miss Jason Verrett who tore his achilles in training camp and is out for the season. Sacks and interceptions should be commonplace for a group that includes Casey Hayward, Derwin James, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Imagine if this team had a stud linebacker or two.
- Philadelphia Eagles – The reigning Super Bowl champs (sigh) finished third in fantasy points last year despite fielding a mediocre secondary which ranked 17th and only ranking 15th in sacks. They added Michael Bennett in the offseason and Sidney Jones returns from his injury shortened rookie season so there is hope for improvement in those areas. The Eagles defensive line rivals the Vikings for best in the NFL.
- New Orleans Saints – One of 2017’s biggest surprises on defense the Saints all of a sudden field a fast, playmaking defensive unit with tons of upside. They are a dark horse candidate to lead the league in sacks after adding Marcus Davenport to a unit that includes Cameron Jordan, Alex Okafor, and Sheldon Rankins. We all know about Marshon Lattimore but look for Marcus Williams to atone for his “miracle in Minnesota” gaffe and make the jump to one of the leagues best young free safeties.
- Houston Texans – Injuries decimated the Texans last year and they failed to meet expectations for your fantasy teams. The Texans should get a fully healthy J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus back to pair with new additions Tyrann Mathieu and Aaron Colvin. The secondary was the Texans biggest area of need and they addressed it quite well in the offseason. A full season with Watt, Mercilus, and Clowney will be a lot of fun to watch!
- Denver Broncos – A once mighty unit has quickly been forgotten after losing Aqib Talib this offseason. The Broncos added pass rusher Bradley Chubb with the 5th overall pick to pair with Von Miller making them a potentially lethal pass rushing duo. The secondary is still pretty good with returning starters Chris Harris, Bradley Roby, Darian Stewart and Justin Simmons. They also added wild card Su’a Cravens to the fold. This will be one of my favorite defenses to draft in the later rounds.
- Carolina Panthers – There aren’t a lot of “sexy” names on the Panthers defense besides Luke Kuechly but year in and year out this unit gets it done in fantasy. The ageless Julius Peppers helped this unit finish with 50 sacks which ranked 3rd in the NFL last season. Thomas Davis is suspended for four games but don’t let that worry you as Shaq Thompson is a suitable replacement until Davis returns in week 5. The secondary remains a concern in terms of turnovers forced again this year after a year of only 10 interceptions in 2017. It’s a middling unit. Thank god for the front seven.
- Baltimore Ravens – Did you know the Ravens finished 2nd in fantasy points in 2017? I totally forgot to be honest. Their stats were mostly padded by a league leading 22 interceptions and 7 DST Td’s which was tied for second in the league. A regression candidate in 2018 is what drops them to the 10th spot on this list. I think they will be a solid unit led by C.J. Mosley, Terell Suggs,Eric Weddle, Jimmy Smith and Tony Jefferson but their overall depth at most of the defensive positions is concerning. Buyer beware!
That wraps up our top 10 team defenses for 2018! Remember to check out our podcast “Trophy Time,” on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher Radio and everywhere else podcasts can be found! Follow us on twitter @TFFGurus and prepare to dominate fantasy football in 2018!