Defenses

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars

This writer had the foresight to draft the Jags defense last year. He also had the brilliant idea of dropping them for their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Of course, the unit scored 26 points in that matchup and finished the season with a whopping 208 fantasy points. It’s safe to say that this squad, comprised of young stars like Jalen Ramsey, Myles Jack, and Yannick Ngakoue, is for real.

  1. Los Angeles Chargers

With studs like Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, and Casey Hayward, the 2017 Chargers were fantasy’s fifth-ranked defense. With Jason Verrett returning and rookie Derwin James added to the mix, they will be even better in 2018.

  1. Los Angeles Rams

On paper, the Rams might have the best defense in football. Last year’s fourth-best fantasy defense added Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Ndamukong Suh to their roster. However, the linebacking corps is still a bit thin, and I’m always skeptical of how ‘super-teams’ on paper will perform in reality. This skepticism is further elevated when mercurial personalities like the aforementioned three are added to the mix.

  1. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have their 2017 roster basically intact, and added veteran D-tackle Sheldon Richardson and rookie corner Mike Hughes to the depth chart. They have elite players at every level of the defense, and their core group of starters has been jelling for several seasons now. With several of those guys up for new contracts next offseason, the 2018 Vikings are poised for at least one more year as an elite defensive unit.

  1. Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens aren’t rich with big names or flashy playmakers on the defensive side of the ball, but they’re an experienced, fundamentally sound group. Oh, and here’s a dirty secret: they were almost as good as the Jaguars last year, fantasy-wise.

  1. Houston Texans

Jadeveon Clowney’s growth as a player has helped keep the Texans ‘D’ on their feet in J.J. Watt’s two injury-plagued seasons. With new safety Tyrann Mathieu in the mix, the Texans have a chance to be among fantasy’s elite units if Watt can return to even 75% of his former self.

  1. Philadelphia Eagles

The Super Bowl 52 champs got the job done with a ball-hawking secondary and a relentless pass rush. That same group still looks to be intact in 2018. Fantasy players can worry about a Super Bowl hangover all they want, but the truth is that the Eagles are the rare reigning champion that looks like they could be even better this year.

  1. New England Patriots

The Patriots’ defense was nowhere to be seen in Super Bowl 52 (to be fair, neither was the Eagles’, until the last few minutes). That being said, they did add some pieces in the offseason, including Adrian Clayborn, Danny Shelton, and Jason McCourty. Belichick’s group will always be disciplined and well-coached, though it will be interesting to see the transition from Matt Patricia at coordinator. Proceed with caution.

  1. Denver Broncos

While they’re no longer the buzzsaw they once were, the Broncos can still pack a punch. Von Miller and Chris Harris, Jr. are among the premier players at their respective positions. Derek Wolfe, Brandon Marshall, and Bradley Roby are nice complementary players as well. They also drafted the best defensive player in Bradley Chubb.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers

Young stars like T.J. Watt and Artie Burns appear to be ushering in a new era of defensive dominance for the Steelers. Pittsburgh was solid on defense last season, and there’s no reason that this relatively young unit can’t be better in 2018.

  1. Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs aren’t the most consistent defense, but they still have some elite players and one of the best punt returners in the league in Tyreek Hill. They’re more of a good-matchup gamble than an every-week plug.

  1. Chicago Bears

The Bears are my sleeper team of 2018. Despite the fact that they play in a really tough division (and conference), I really think Chicago could make the playoffs this season. Their defense is loaded with youthful skill, with future stars like RoQuan Smith, Leonard Floyd, and Eddie Jackson.

“The Rest”

  1. Detroit Lions
  2. Carolina Panthers
  3. New Orleans Saints
  4. New York Giants

 

Kickers (not worthy of blurbs)

  1. Greg Zuerlein
  2. Stephen Gostkowski
  3. Harrison Butker
  4. Justin Tucker
  5. Jake Elliott
  6. Will Lutz
  7. Robbie Gould
  8. Dan Bailey
  9. Chris Boswell
  10. Matt Bryant
  11. Matt Prater
  12. Adam Vinatieri
  13. Graham Gano
  14. Mason Crosby
  15. Ryan Succop
  16. Brandon McManus

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Author Details
I’m Andrew Cabatingan, and I only know three things for sure. One, any NFL kicker not named Stephen Gostkowski (GOATkowski) is absolute garbage and cannot be trusted. Two, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback there ever was or ever will be. Three, I am prone to outbursts of Patriots homerism and any hyperbolic statements I make should be taken as sarcasm. If you’re looking for real facts about me, I suppose I would start by saying I am a sophomore at Northeastern University, I love all Boston sports, everything Game of Thrones (kudos to you if you can find the reference I made earlier), reading, singing, and arguing with strangers on the Internet. I hope that any preexisting bias due to any of this does not begin to seep into my writing, but if it does, I have the peace of mind of knowing that some snarky commenter will probably point it out.
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I’m Andrew Cabatingan, and I only know three things for sure. One, any NFL kicker not named Stephen Gostkowski (GOATkowski) is absolute garbage and cannot be trusted. Two, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback there ever was or ever will be. Three, I am prone to outbursts of Patriots homerism and any hyperbolic statements I make should be taken as sarcasm. If you’re looking for real facts about me, I suppose I would start by saying I am a sophomore at Northeastern University, I love all Boston sports, everything Game of Thrones (kudos to you if you can find the reference I made earlier), reading, singing, and arguing with strangers on the Internet. I hope that any preexisting bias due to any of this does not begin to seep into my writing, but if it does, I have the peace of mind of knowing that some snarky commenter will probably point it out.

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