A list of the best defenses to draft for the 2014 fantasy football season.
The Seattle Seahawks run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Dan Quinn.
Injured Defensive Players:
DE Greg Scruggs - Prob, LB Bruce Irvin - Ques (Hip), S Kam Chancellor - Ques (Hip), S Jeron Johnson - Prob (Hamstring)
Pick any stat, and chances are the Seahawks led the league. The Super Bowl champs fielded a historically great defense last season, becoming the first since the 1985 Bears to lead the NFL in points allowed (14.4), yards allowed (273.6) and takeaways (39). It started up front with a deep and talented defensive line rotation that brought more pressure than perhaps its 44 sacks (T-8th) indicate (indeed, Peyton Manning faced constant pressure in the Super Bowl, though the Seahawks never put him on his back, their lone sack credited on a lost fumble). The D-Line is not as deep this season, though, after losing DEs Red Bryant and Chris Clemons and DT Clinton McDonald in free agency. The Legion of Boom’s depth also took a hit with CBs Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond leaving. But with CB Richard Sherman, FS Earl Thomas, SS Kam Chancellor, who each might be the best in the league at his respective position, and a strong linebacking corps led by MLB Bobby Wagner (120 tackles, five sacks, two INT), the Seahawks will again field an elite defense. The kick/punt return game should improve, too, with Percy Harvin returning kicks.
The Carolina Panthers run a 4-3 base defense coordinated by Sean McDermott.
Injured Defensive Players:
DE Frank Alexander - Out (Suspension), CB Charles Godfrey - Ques (Achilles)
Luke Kuechly followed his Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 2012 with the Defensive Player of the Year award last season, leading a defense that finished second in the league with 15.1 points allowed per game. The Panthers’ 60 sacks were the most in the league since 2006, as Pro Bowler Greg Hardy (15 sacks) and Charles Johnson (11 sacks) formed perhaps the league’s best DE duo. Adding second-round pick DE Kony Ealy (Missouri) strengthens what is already one of the best defensive lines in the league. The Panthers let S Mike Mitchell and CB Captain Munnerlyn go this offseason, replacing them with FS Thomas DeCoud, SS Roman Harper and CB Antoine Cason. With their strong linebacking corps – SLB Thomas Davis added 123 tackles last year – and retooled secondary, there might not be a more consistently productive fantasy defense in 2014, other than perhaps the Seahawks.
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