As we inch closer to the start of the football season, people worldwide are planning for their fantasy drafts. While some leagues are moving away from the team defense position, the vast majority of fantasy managers still have to pick a defense to plug into their lineups.
Choosing which defense to play can be a weekly game of its own, more on that later, but it all starts with your draft. Who you take and who you avoid could end up being the deciding factor in your Week 1 fantasy matchup.
If your league rules allow it, every major platform outside of ESPN will let you skip the team defense position altogether. You should take advantage of this. Instead, load up on running backs and wide receivers.
Having extra players at these critical positions gives you injury insurance and trade bait heading into Week 1. Then, before the Sunday kickoff, drop your worst player or use that roster spot you opened up in trade and add the team defense with the best matchup.
My advice is always to stream the position. Work the waivers, play the best matchup every week, and you can build your own top-ranked weekly team defense, giving yourself an edge. However, if your league requires it, or you just feel better having one, here are the defenses to target and avoid in your draft.
Defenses to Target
- Indianapolis Colts
- Denver Broncos
- San Francisco 49ers
- Washington Commanders
If you must take a defense, these three are worth drafting in the 12th or 13th round instead of waiting until your last picks. All three are rated highly in the Footballguys consensus and what sets them apart is that they all have multiple great matchups to start the season.
The Colts are our consensus No. 7 defense, but they come in at No 1 in my rankings. The additions of Yannick Ngakoue and Stephon Gilmore should help 2020's best fantasy defense reclaim the top spot in 2022. Of course, it also helps that they open the season against Houston and Jacksonville.
The same can be said for the Broncos and 49ers. Denver starts the year with Seattle and Houston, while the 49ers play Chicago and Seattle in the opening weeks. Both of these defenses land in our consensus top-10 and have what I believe to be a soft opening schedule.
I am far higher on the Washington Commanders than most. They come in as my No.4 defense but are outside of the consensus Top 20. I get the hesitation after a down 2021 season, but they have talent at every level and a very nice opening schedule with Jacksonville and Detroit.
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