A list of the best defenses to draft for the 2013 fantasy football season.
The Seattle Seahawks run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Gus Bradley.
Injured Defensive Players:
The Seahawks were a passable option in DST leagues last season. They finished ninth overall in fantasy scoring, tied with the somewhat-disappointing Jets and the pleasantly surprising Bengals. Seattle doesn't get to the quarterback particularly well, generating just 33 sacks on the season last year. But they compensated with a big-play secondary that intercepted 22 passes and turned four of those into touchdowns. Improving that pass rush is a big priority this season, as evidenced by Seattle's draft-night decisions. First-round selection Bruce Irvin had some observers scratching their heads. A somewhat one-dimensional speed rusher that probably won't be able to play on rushing downs, Irvin was expected to have been available in a later round. But he's very good at getting to the quarterback, and clearly, that's a need. Second-rounder Bobby Wagner is more of a traditional run-stuffing ILB, who may play in a rotation with newcomer Barrett Ruud. Seattle also added depth to the defensive line rotation, signing free agent Jason Jones (3 sacks in 2011) from the Titans and drafting DT Jaye Howard in the fourth round. Punt and kick returns will be handled by Leon Washington. Washington has been a dangerous return man in his career, but his best days are probably behind him at this point.
The San Francisco 49ers run a 3-4 base defense coordinated by Vic Fangio.
Injured Defensive Players:
In just their first year running the team, Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio took an underperforming team and molded them into the most fearsome defensive unit in the league. Ball carriers would have had an easier time escaping Alcatraz Island than they did getting away from Patrick Willis and the 49er front seven; the Niners held opponents to a mere 77.2 yards on the ground per game last season. What will they do for an encore? From a fantasy perspective, there’s no reason to think they won’t be even better in 2012. San Francisco was the fifth-best fantasy DST last season, but it achieved that ranking with a relatively small number of big plays. The Niners forced 19 fumbles and picked off 23 passes, but only converted one of those turnovers into a defensive touchdown. The only teams ahead of San Francisco in last season’s DST rankings – the Lions, Bears, Ravens and Packers – had a similar number of turnovers, but converted more of them into touchdowns. Another mark in San Francisco’s favor: their PR/KR specialist, Ted Ginn Jr., is a real gamebreaker. Ginn scored on a kickoff return and a punt return last season. The Niners defense won’t have many changes heading into the season opener. The team’s top defensive draft pick, OLB Darius Fleming out of Notre Dame, tore an ACL during minicamp and will be sidelined for the year.
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