Fantasy Football Draft 2014: Top 10 Team Defense (D/ST) Rankings
Taking a Look at the Top 10 Defense/Special Teams in the 2014 Fantasy Football Draft
August 8, 2014
All this week, we’ve been celebrating the return of the fantasy football season by taking a position-by-position look at the top draft picks. Today we’re finishing things up with team defense/special teams, which are an often overlooked aspect of a championship fantasy team.
As usual, there are a handful of reliable squads at the top of the rankings, then things get a little riskier as we go further down. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at our picks for the top 10 team D/ST.
1. Seattle Seahawks: As with most of the No. 1 picks at each position, there’s little dissention among pundits with this one. The Seahawks come into 2014 as the consensus top pick as kings of the mountain after their dominant Super Bowl win over the most dynamic offense in the league. They’ll be first off the board pretty much everywhere.
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2. San Francisco 49ers: Coming in at the No. 2 slot (and with little argument as to their place) are the 49ers, who came within a Richard Sherman pass deflection of going to the Super Bowl themselves last year. The defense will enter 2014 as the backbone of their team once again, and you can expect more fireworks here.
3. St. Louis Rams: The Rams may look a little out of place in the top three, but trust us, they deserve to be here. Hopes--and expectations--are high in St. Louis, now that the team has hired Gregg Williams as their defensive coordinator. This team may hit the 50-sack mark and will be a tough out in the most competitive division in football.
4. Arizona Cardinals: You know what? Let’s just go ahead and finish things off in the NFC West by putting the Cardinals at No. 4. They deserve their spot here too, as they’ll likely post 40-plus sacks with around 20 picks themselves. As far as defense, you can’t go wrong in this division; It should be fun to watch.
5. Carolina Panthers: You’ll see the Panthers ranked all over the place, and admittedly this is on the higher side. That said, they’ll be good this season. They almost have to be; There have been all sorts of question marks on the offensive side of the football, so the team will rely on their defense to carry the load at times. They’ve got a very nice pass rush which should yield plenty of sacks.
6. New England Patriots: Speaking of a good pass rush, the Patriots have that as well. The team as a whole had plenty of problems with injuries last season, but still managed to win the division with relative ease. That will happen again this year, as none of the other teams in the AFC East should pose much of a problem, at least offensively. 40-ish sacks; 20 or so interceptions seems realistic.
7. Denver Broncos: Denver’s defense got a bit of unfair criticism last season, and admittedly some of it was deserved. That said, any squad would look comparatively silly next to their dominant offense, and with the improvements they’ve made the D should be able to keep pace much better this season. The sacks will be there, as most teams will be throwing to catch up to Peyton and the gang.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers: Over the past couple of years, the Steelers defense simply hasn’t been living up to their usual dominant billing. They should take a step forward this season, however, as they get back to basics. The offense should be able to keep pace on the other side as well, which will give the aging vets some much-needed breather time on the sidelines.
9. Houston Texans: After the debacle of last season, it’s a wonder the Texans are showing up in anyone’s top 10, but we’re a little more optimistic than some. There’s really nowhere to go but up, and we see a nice bounce-back season from the defense (who honestly held their own in a lot of the lost games in 2013). We’re not ready to call Houston a playoff team--especially with all the issues they’ve got on offense--but the D should be fine as a low-end play.
10. New Orleans Saints: Rounding out our top 10 we have the Saints, who should be able to make some waves in their division once again this year. Here’s another team that will bag a lot of sacks, especially in garbage time as teams toss to catch up with the Saints offense. We see 45-ish sacks with 18 or so interceptions; nice round numbers for this level.
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