The fantasy football season is right around the corner and as owners look to draft all the best teams and players they can find, one position that often gets forgotten by team managers is the team defense and this year those points could be coming in bunches, as the San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans and Chicago Bears are the top options this year.
The best defenses in fantasy football are not always the best ranked in the NFL, as the fantasy defenses are ranked by points in the league and not the usual categories in the NFL, but this year all those teams could end up actually being ranked in the top five or top 10. Last season the Seahawks and 49ers were fantastic on defense and that should continue into 2013 as well.
The Seahawks are strong up front and will get even stronger with Cliff Avril coming in and with sacks being one of the top points categories in fantasy, the team could get that in bunches, including with Bruce Irvin, who exceeded expectations as a rookie. While Chris Clemons is coming back from an injury, the cornerbacks will help make the pass rush better, as Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner along with Antoine Winfield should be one of the best units in the league. Sherman is now considered to be the best corner in the league and if he plays as well as he did last season, the team should be ranked very high in passing yards allowed per game.
The team lost coordinator Gus Bradley to the Jags after last season, but Pete Carroll has put together a great unit and they should be one of the best in fantasy again. Last season the team ranked sixth in passing yards per game with just 203 and the team also was ranked in the top 10 in rushing yards allowed per game with just 103. The team opens the season with a tough game on the road at Carolina on the East coast before coming back to play the 49ers and that will give the defense a chance to play two fast quarterbacks in Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.
The 49ers were one of the best defensive teams in the league last season, especially against the run and this year defensive coordinator Vic Fangio will focus on shutting down the passing game. The team put up great numbers, including Aldon Smith and his 20 sacks and with names like Patrick Willis and Justin Smith as well as rookie Eric Reid, the team should be great again. The team lost Dashon Goldson in free agency, but Reid softens that blow and with Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks as the linebackers, there is no better unit in the NFL.
The cornerbacks may struggle a bit with Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown as the starters, but adding Nnamdi Asomugha should be enough depth to get by. Last season the team played much better when fully healthy and they will open with two straight tough games, as they will host the Packers before heading north to play the Seattle Seahawks. Last season the team ranked fourth in passing yards per game allowed with just over 200 and fourth in rushing allowed with under 95 and they will try to keep that up again.
The rest of the defenses in Chicago and Houston as well as Green Bay should be much improved.
Sleeper picks include the Cincinnati Bengals and the NY Giants if JPP is healthy.