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Top 10 Fantasy Football Defenses 2014

 DeShawn Shead

(Getty)

Football season is just around the corner and that means Fantasy Football Drafts are happening now.

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 NFL defenses for the upcoming season based on an average of rankings from the top Fantasy Football writers in the business.

The rankings averaged are a combination of ESPN, Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports, Fox Sports and NFL.com‘s to create the most accurate list of QBs you want on your Fantasy team.

Here’s what you need to know about the best defensive teams in the NFL:


1. Seattle Seahawks

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK (Sacks)- 44
INT (Interceptions)- 28
FR (Fumble Recoveries)- 11
TD (Touchdowns)- 4

AS the 2013 Super Bowl Champions, the Seahawks dominated on all aspects of the field and of the game in general. Not only was their offense unstoppable, but there defense was almost impossible to get around. Last season, Seattle were top in the league in nearly every defensive statistic there is including allowing the fewest amount of yards at 4,378, the fewest average yards per play with 4.4, the fewest passing yards at 2,752 and the lowest red zone scoring from the opposing team at a low 36 percent.

There isn’t much to counter the Seahawks’ No. 1 ranking going into this year despite a few changes in the lineup. The 2014 season will be a little different without Chris Clemons and Red Bryant who will be defending the Jaguars this year. Those two were positioned on the front line while Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner on the secondary line have turned their loyalties to the Redskins in 2014. However, the remainder of the reigning champions’ defense will be present on the defensive line to defend the title and unbelievable stats from last year.

David Hsu of SB Nation said:

…The Seahawks focus on turnovers, limiting explosive plays, and limiting points. Pete and his staff want the opponent to “earn everything, with nothing deep and nothing cheap.”


2. San Francisco 49ers

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 38
INT- 18
FR- 11
TD- 5

San Francisco is hurting a bit with Navorro Bowman on the IR due to a knee injury which will end at about midseason, but they still have Patrick Willis healthy and ready to go. Those two alone lead the 49ers’ defense and have been rated two best linebackers in the NFL.

With the trusty skills of Bowman and Willis supporting them, both Justin Smith and Aldon Smith will be key players in SF’s defense and present and extremely strong front as pass rushers. According to ESPN via training camp, Aldon Smith is in the “best shape” ever.

James Brady of Niners Nation said:

The San Francisco 49ers have the two best middle linebackers in the NFL. Once again, I’m not just saying they have the best overall group of middle linebackers, I’m saying they have, individually, the best and second-best middle linebackers in the league in Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman.

Frankly, it’s not even close.


3. Carolina Panthers

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 60
INT- 20
FR- 10
TD- 4

The Carolina Panthers’s defense are going to haunt the dreams of opposing teams’ offenses. With Star Lotulelei, Kawann Short and Luke Kuechyly on the inside front and Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy filling the defensive end positions, the Panthers are deadly. In the 2013 season, the Panthers were No. 1 in the league in regards to sacks with a whopping 60.

Despite the fact that the secondary line isn’t very strong and Hardy isn’t banned from too many games due to an altercation with his former girlfriend in May, the front line will be a force strong enough to make up for any faults within the Panthers’ defensive scheme.

BJ Kissel of Bleacher Report said:

One of the many reasons the Panthers have been successful on defense has been their ability to create turnovers. They are plus-10 in that category, and it’s been the front seven that has really set the tone.


4. St. Louis Rams

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 53
INT- 14
FR- 15
TD- 6

The Rams have a slew of players that will rack up one sack after another under Gregg Williams as the new offensive coordinator, namely Robert Quinn newby Alex Carrington and Chris Long. With a primary line that strong, the secondary’s lack of skill aside from Janoris Jenkins who is their top corner back along with Alec Ogletree (ranked as a top 5 linebacker in the league) shouldn’t be an issue.

Robert Quinn ended the 2013 season with 19 sacks to claim fourth place in the league while Gregg Williams is one of the top blitzers out there. If they are able to improve their passing yard (they were ranked 19th last year), they will be a great investment.

Fox Sports via the Associated Press said of Quinn:

The defensive end was second overall in the NFL, a half-sack behind the Colts’ Robert Mathis, and also was second in the league with seven forced fumbles. He has a number in mind for 2014, but is keeping it private. The challenge this season is to do even better.

The Rams view the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Quinn as still ascending. Though he’s entering his fourth season, he’s only 24 after leaving North Carolina early.


5. Arizona Cardinals

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 47
INT- 20
FR- 10
TD- 5

The Cardinals’ strengths are not in their pass rush players, but in their defensive liners that are able to stop runs cold time after time. Darnell Dockett is the team’s best defensive end and accounts for a ton of run-stuffing by the defensive. Supporting players includes Dan Williams and Matt Shaughnessy who contributed to Arizona’s top status in regards to rushing yards allowed.

Calais Campbell had 9 sacks last season and Patrick Peterson which strengthens the back line along with Cromartie as an addition, but the back end is hindered by Tyrann Mathieu’s ACL recovery period, however camp reports his ACL should be good to go very soon.

ESPN Arizona Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss said:

When all told – and when all healthy – the Cardinals may have one of the best overall secondaries in the league. During camp, Tony Jefferson will give Bucannon a run for the strong safety job while Johnson will try to prove that Arizona doesn’t need to wait for Mathieu to return.


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6. Denver Broncos

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 41
INT- 17
FR- 9
TD- 5

Denver has anted way up this year after a $60 million deal that got them some of the best defensive players in the league. The money allowed them to add on T.J. Ward, DeMarcus Ware and Aqib Talib while the draft got them Bradley Roby. Where they gained talent, they also lost. The Broncos released Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Shaun Phillips, Robert Ayers and Champ Bailey, but positives still out weigh the negatives.

The question is whether or not Chris Harris and Von Miller (who had 35 tackles in 40 games last season) will be able to stay healthy after ACL troubles as huge contributor to the sacks stats for Denver. According to reports from training camp, the Broncos are looking healthy and dangerous.

Tim Lynch of Mile High Report via SB Nation said:

With Von Miller definitely on pace to be in game shape for the regular season, the Broncos defense has a chance to shut the Seattle Seahawks big fat mouths and show the world what the Super Bowl could have looked like had half this defense not been on injured reserve.


7. Cincinnati Bengals

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 43
INT- 20
FR- 11
TD- 7

The Bengals are losing two of their best defensive players for this upcoming season, Michael Johnson and Mike Zimmer (who is moving on to coach the Vikings) which is a huge blow. However, the losses will be spotted by Geno Atkins return from an ACL injury and Vontaze Burfict at linebacker. While this doesn’t completely fill the void, there is a lot of promise for the Bengals who also added Darqueze Dennard, a first round rookie who they need to step up immediately

There are also questions in regards to injuries on the back end as Leon Hall is recovering from a torn Achilles and Terence Newman and Pacman Jones have come to a decline in their careers. Again, depending on health and the ability for these name to step up, the Bengals could be a solid pick.

Coley Harvey of ESPN reported:

When I asked third-year safety George Iloka what the defense wanted to be known as this season, he brought up a statement defensive coordinator Paul Guenther made during a meeting at the start of training camp. Clearly, Iloka was paying attention.

“We want to be smart bullies. Our mentality is to go out there and play aggressive and physical, but we’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to know when to take chances. We’ve got to know if it’s third-and-1, we’ve got to know if it’s fourth-and-1, we’ve got to know if we’re backed up that they’re going to try to give you a hard count. Little things like that. You don’t want to be too aggressive where you’re hurting yourself.”


8. New England Patriots

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 48
INT- 17
FR- 12
TD- 3

With the loss Aqib Talib, they actually gained more with the addition of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to the defense. Free safety Devin McCourty, Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones will be staying there this year too to hold their secondary at a solid status.

How they perform is a matter of how well Vince Wilfork who is recovering from an Achilles injury and Jerod Mayo who had a torn pectoral last season can perform.

Doug Kyed of NESN said:

Darrelle Revis was signed to give the New England Patriots’ pass defense a boost, but his presence on the practice field already has improved the offense, as well. Revis beat quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman twice on Saturday, when the All-Pro cornerback intercepted two passes.


9. Kansas City Chiefs

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 47
INT- 21
FR- 15
TD- 11

With Tamba Hali and Justin Houston as the linebackers, the Chiefs, the defense couldn’t be more solid. With Hali and Houston hurt, the Chiefs are about as solid as a noodle which was shown after both were hurt in Week 12 last season. In their absence, the Chiefs record went from 9-1 to 11-5.

Fortunately for KC, the two are back and healthy as ever and just in case, rookie Dee Ford joined the lineup to help support. However, aside from those three the lineup is pretty shallow so whoever owns KC just has to pray none of them or injured or else they could go downhill fast.

Bucky Brooks of NFL.com said:

With two No. 1 pass rushers and an intriguing rookie prospect in the rotation (first-rounder Dee Ford), the Chiefs boast a devastating pass rush that should wreak havoc on foes this season.


10. Houston Texans

DEFENSIVE STATS

2013 Regular Season:
SCK- 32
INT- 7
FR- 4
TD- 2

The trio made up of J.J. Watt who is arguably the best defensive player in the league, first round overall picked rookie Jadeveon Clowney and Brian Cushing (assuming he stays healthy) is reason for opposing teams to fear the Texans.

The Texans are weaker in the secondary though with mishaps concerning Brooks Reed and Whitney Mercilius not fulfilling their expected potentials, although according to ESPN training camp reports Mercilius is finally stepping it up.

John Harris of HoustanTexans.com said:

It was the first opportunity for the Houston public to see Jadeveon Clowney up close. He didn’t disappoint. On his first rep during 9-on-7, he drove TE Ryan Griffin back into the ball closing down an open hole. On the second, he ran down the RB from behind. On the third, he was so fast off the ball that he nearly created another 2013 Outback Bowl moment, although he pulled off on the hit on RB Dennis Johnson(luckily) at the last minute. The burst off the ball is what we’ve all wanted to see and we didn’t have to wait long to see it.


To see the full list of rankings from the cited sources, click the links below:

ESPN

Yahoo Sports

CBS Sports

<Fox Sports

NFL.com


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We've compiled a list of the top 10 NFL rookies for the upcoming season based on an average of rankings from the top Fantasy Football writers.

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