Welcome back to the 2015 Last Word on Sports Fantasy Football Guide. Over the next several weeks we will be releasing player profiles, projections, position rankings, and a number of other articles that will help you dominate your fantasy league this season. Whether you have a standard draft, a snake or an auction league, and whether it’s keeper league or a one-year deal; we have all the fantasy information you need.
For the rest of our fantasy football profiles and articles, please check out our Fantasy Football Guide Page.
NFL Fantasy Defense Profiles
Seattle Seahawks: Last season was the tale of two halves. The first six games Seattle defense was giving up over 20 points per game and got beat up on by the Cowboys at home. From that point on they allowed just over 10 points per game and lead the organization back to the Super Bowl. Sure they might take a step back this year with losing some parts and still do not have the Legion of Boom back yet. This is the type of group will still be a defense to fear and add the 12th man to the mix anything is possible. Safest play at defense is this team but they might not be the best.
Buffalo Bills: The Bills were the number one defense a year ago and could do even better. They bring in Rex Ryan attacking style and have a front seven most should dread playing. Three of their front seven combined for 34 sacks last season (Mario Williams, Marcel Dareus, and Jerry Hughes). The corners are not the best but are better this year. If that front seven play to potential it will not matter what the corners are capable of. They have all the pieces in place to repeat as best fantasy defense and that is not easy to do. That hasn’t been done in the century, just saying.
Houston Texans: You always have to keep in mind any team that has a player like J.J. Watt. He literally can out score a positional player by himself. He scored touchdowns on both sides of the ball last year and looks to be in better shape (impossible right?!?!?). They have a strong unit and have everyone back from injury, including Jadaveon Clowney the number one draft pick a year ago. They get pressure on the quarterback and they are ball hawks. That combo normally leads to turnovers and points for a defense. Oh did I mention they have J.J. Watt?!?!? That is all you need to know.
St. Louis Rams: Jeff Fisher has slowly built a strong defense for the Rams. They are deep and have studs in multiple positions. They might have the best defensive line in the entire NFL. They finished top 10 a year ago with all the injuries and slow start. They also survived one of the worst offenses every seen in the NFL to this point. They have a steady quarterback that shouldn’t turn the ball over as much as last year. This will give them time to rest and be even better this year. They should be a top five defense this year.
New York Jets: They brought back their shut down corners (Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie) and bring in another defensive minded coach in Todd Bowles. This defense was miserable last year finishing in the bottom half and only having one double digit scoring game all year. They couldn’t turn other teams over and got roasted in the air. The additions should change that around quickly and the new blood on the team will help with that. Add that to the young talent this team already has and it’s a dangerous combination for any team they face.
Miami Dolphins: This team’s defense was already solid before any additions. What do they do? They go out and get one of the best defensive players in the game in Ndamukong Suh. Add him with Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon and it will be hunting quarterback season. Suh should also help to stop the run, which this team did not do well a year ago. They want to take that hot start from a year ago and make it last the year.
Baltimore Ravens: This is not the Ravens of old and Ray Lewis is not coming back. But this team is different; it’s fast, athletic and mean. They finished tied for 6th best fantasy defense a year ago and should be able to compete for the same spot this year. They are typical new Ravens, pretty quiet but still effective. They go for the take away but at the same point follow the bend but do not break model. Having a ball control offense helps as well and gives this defense a good break when needed. Sure they do not have those guys that made Ravens defense famous but they are still good.
Denver Broncos: I know they were not a top 10 defense a year ago, finishing at the 11 spot but they should be better. They got healthy, which is a big deal. They have no suspensions to start this year. They also have a more controlled offense in place to give them more rest time during the season. Fantasy wise they weren’t a top 10 but only the Seahawks gave up less yards per play. They should get to the quarterback more and cause more turnovers, which boost fantasy value.
Arizona Cardinals: Yes this team lost tons of talent including the defensive coordinator but this will show the depth of this team’s defense. They still have great playmakers and are still a force to be messed with. They do not cause many sacks even though they are very aggressive during the games. The strength of this defense is they do not give up many points and they have one of the best secondary’s in the game. They should be a solid defense for any fantasy roster.
Minnesota Vikings: Coach Mike Zimmer took this team from one of the worse defenses in the league to a top 15 defense in one year. His guidance and improved talent has this defense set to make an impact on the field and in fantasy football. The biggest weakness was creating turnovers where they ranked in the bottom 10 last year. The emergence of young talent and an offseason to improve you can count on this defense to be a great surprise to fantasy owners this year.
Detroit Lions: The Lions were a top five defense a year ago but that is the past. They lost plenty of talent and depth and none bigger than Suh. This defense will take a couple steps backward this year and that’s best case scenario. They were good at stopping the run but key word is they were. Last year’s numbers really mean nothing in this case and this defense is a wild card. They could be but they will not be what they were.
New England Patriots: This is another team that lost some special talent but they always find a way to compete. They have a bunch of players that are unproven but have great upside. They are athletic and Super Bowl champs. They will play hard and with pride. They have a strong linebacker core and one of the best safeties in the game. It is easy to look past this defense but they have top 10 potential written all over them this year. Fantasy owners should be excited about this team’s defense because they are going very late in draft and sometimes undrafted.
Carolina Panthers: The defense wasn’t the same defense it was last year as it was in 2013. Losing Hardy really threw this team for a loop for most of the beginning of last season. This year there is no distraction. The front seven is scary and Luke Kuechly is the best middle linebacker in the game. They added some experience and talent across the defense with free agent signings and the draft. This could be a huge bounce back year for this squad and is a great play week one.
Philadelphia Eagles: Every year that Chip Kelly has been the head coach of the Eagles I have been scared to have any part of their defense but every year they are solid. So solid that last year they came in the top three defenses in almost every format. They score points on special teams and they cause turnovers on defense. Those are keys to being a successful fantasy defense. The problem is it’s hard to determine touchdowns in the NFL and that makes the Eagles less of an attractive play. We are sure they will take a step back this year as a fantasy defense but still a good play at points.
Green Bay Packers: The Packers being healthy is really the biggest positive to point out this year. They have great veteran playmakers. They attack the quarterback early and often. The way the offense scores points it forces other offenses to throw the ball more often. This makes it easier for the defense to tee off on the other team’s offensive line and blockers. It is a great strategy and works often. This team stays healthy you are looking at a top 10 defense for the 2015 season.
Cleveland Browns: This team has the ability, depth and talent to be a top 10 defense without a question. Here comes the BUT. The offense is so piss poor and turnover prone it puts the defense in a horrible position game after game. The more that happens the more likely this defense will fail. They have the potential but they need the other side of the ball to help them out just a little. They cause the second most interceptions last year and have Haden, one of the best shut down corners in the game. They need to do a better job of stopping the run this year but the rest is on the offense to see how high this defense can go.
Kansas City Chiefs: This team took a step back last year on this side of the ball. They still finished in the top half of the league. The real reason behind the drop off was due to all the injuries on the defensive side including Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry. Well both are back and the defense is even better with depth this year. They should compete for a top 10 defense this year but are more of a wait and see type of team. They do not have the best schedule either, this might turn them to more of stream play.
San Francisco 49ers: This might have been the worst off-season in the history of the franchise and we are not kidding. They lost good players on both sides of the ball and a good head coach. It is tough to gauge a team that lost as much as this team did. They still have some talent and will carry that underdog spirit into games but that is not enough to trust on a roster to start a season. This is another team that you could keep an eye on but shouldn’t be trusted to start the season. Let’s see what they do before we trust them on the roster.
Cincinnati Bengals: A top five defense in 2013 to not even top 20 in 2014. The biggest reason was lack of talent. That changed this year so much so that some starters from last year didn’t even make the 53 man roster. This shows us that defense was a focus for this team. They also lost Zimmer as defensive coordinator, which is tough to replace. The added talent and finding their new identity should make this defense better but still not an every week play. Look for great matchups but other than that let them be.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Lovie Smith was supposed to bring that feared Bears defense to the south but that didn’t happen his first year. They have plenty of young talent and some elite defensive players but it didn’t turn into defensive success. They were awful versus the pass and even worse getting to the quarterback, which added to the problem. They have the players to turn it around but we have to see they are willing to execute the plan in order to do so. This is another wait and see project but has potential (the most over used word in sports).
Indianapolis Colts: The Colts biggest weakness a year ago is the same it is this very year. They did not do enough to address this side of the ball and it appears they will have to score 30 points per game to win. The rollercoaster ride known as the Colts defense had some great games and had some negative games throughout the year. This makes them a tough play in any league because you do not want to lose because your defense got you negative points this week. They didn’t address the concerns enough and will suffer the same fate this year.
New York Giants: Not a single defense in the NFL gave up more yards per carry than the Giants did at 4.9 yards. They were the worst against the run in the entire league. Linebacker Steve Beason’s injury tradition held true and the rest crumbled with his ailing body. They know how to rush the passer but will Jason Pierre-Paul and his missing finger hinder that this year. They have a so called fresh start but that doesn’t mean it will be a good race. If they are fantasy relevant it will be a shock to us all.
Dallas Cowboys: Here is a sleeper for you if you need one. They were average last year and the biggest weakness was getting to the quarterback. So what did they do? They went out and signed Greg Hardy one of the best pass rushers in the game fresh off a year off and something to prove. They also got Sean Lee back to anchor the defense and be the leader he is. They might have been average last year but they have a chance this year to improve slightly. Keep an eye out for this team; they might be that bye week replacement you need.
Atlanta Falcons: Last year this team was the worst defensive team on a week to week basis other than a 30=plus point outing week three versus Tampa Bay. They bring in one of the best defensive minds in the game in Dan Quinn to turn this around. I have faith he will do just that but fantasy games might not be won on faith. They could swing this in the right direction but let’s play the wait and see game before we buy them up. Also they play Philadelphia week one, not a good matchup.
Pittsburgh Steelers: This is a sinking ship and it’s only getting worse. They are not even a skeleton of the once feared defense they were a short three years ago. One of their best players decided at the age of 27 to retire (Jason Worilds). They have many young pieces but no one knows what they are capable of together. This defense is a fill in at best but should stay off your roster.
New Orleans Saints: This team appears to be ready to struggle again. They were bad on the pass rush front and even worse against the run. They were the second worst team in the NFL when it cam to yards per carry and only have 34 sacks a year ago. The Saints didn’t really address either of those issues this offseason but they did lose their best corner for some time. The outlook does not look any better this year and it is hard for us to say play them ever or even own them at this point.
Jacksonville Jaguars: They are going in the right direction but still have construction to do before we say play them. They were top 10 in sacks last year and should be around that again this year. They have a great mix of veteran savvy and young potential. This is another team we feel could be a sleeper for this year but it definitely a wait and see before we play them ever. They have the potential to be a good matchup play in most formats.
Tennessee Titans: They only had 16 takeaways last year and gave up almost 28 points per game. So what they do in the draft? Well they drafted a quarterback and a running back and other players that cannot help that side of the ball out. This might have gone from bad to worse. They are not worth being talked about when it comes to fantasy period.
San Diego Chargers: This team was in the bottom of the bottom half in takeaways and sacks last year. There is no reason for hope when it comes to this team, at least this side of the ball for the Chargers.
SEATTLE, WA – JANUARY 10: Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks reacts after a play against the Carolina Panthers during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game at CenturyLink Field on January 10, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)