Fantasy Football 2013: 5 Defenses Worthy of an Early Selection
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Defenses are more of an afterthought in fantasy football. They're saved for picks usually in the last two rounds. That will not be the case this season if you want some of the elite defenses in fantasy football.
The elite defenses are starting to fly of the board in the seventh round.
Yes, the seventh round.
The top five defenses, according to the ESPN.com average draft position data (ADP), are being snapped up before the 105th overall pick.
So who's worth reaching for and who's overrated? Start the slideshow below and find out who to reach for in your draft.
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Richard Sherman (pictured) and the Seattle Seahawks are a defense worth reaching for. Their ADP is currently 70.0 which has them going right at the end of the sixth round or start of the seventh.
Seattle allowed the fewest points per game in the league last season. It was also the fourth best in terms of yardage allowed. The Seahawks recorded eight games with double-digit fantasy points last season. Their biggest game was a 39-point explosion against the Arizona Cardinals.
They have the same core on defense, and they added key new players as well. They added Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett on the defensive line. Chris Clemons should be ready to go for the season, and he had 11.5 sacks last year before suffering a torn ACL.
Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor make the secondary one of the best in the league.
If you want the best defense this year, it's going to take a long reach to grab it.
San Francisco 49ers
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The San Francisco 49ers are another defensive unit that's worth reaching for. The unit's current ADP is 73.7, which has it going in the early part of the seventh round.
The 49ers' staunch defense finished in the top four in each of rushing and passing yards against. It allowed the second-fewest points against in 2013. It made life a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks last season. Aldon Smith (pictured) wreaked havoc with 19.5 sacks last season.
San Francisco had a stretch of six games with double-digit fantasy points in an eight-game run. It let down fantasy owners in the playoffs, scoring a total of four points in Week 15 and 16 combined.
It's worth the reach to get a defense that has been consistently one of the better units in the league.
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The Houston Texans are worth the reach to get them in the eighth round. Houston's defense currently has an ADP of 87.5 and is the third one of the board in most leagues.
J.J. Watt is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive line. Ed Reed came over from Baltimore to patrol the secondary, and linebacker Brian Cushing looks to have recovered from a torn ACL.
Once they get through that rough stretch, they should perform at a higher level. They take on the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals. The Texans also have a pair of games with divisional rivals in both the Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars between Week 7 and Week 15.
The talent is there as is the potential for the Houston defense to rack up big points late in the season. It's worth the reach to the middle of the eighth round to snag this defense.
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The Chicago Bears are the defensive unit worth the reach into the ninth round if you want it. Their current ADP is 91.6.
The Bears led the league with 10 defensive touchdowns last season and 44 takeaways. The big-name players are back in 2013 with Tim Jennings and his league-best nine interceptions. Julius Peppers racked up 11.5 sacks, while Charles Tillman forced 10 fumbles last season.
Chicago might have a different look on defense this season. Marc Trestman is calling the shots instead of Lovie Smith. Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher retired after 13 seasons. While that position might be up for grabs in training camp, the rest of the defense is solid.
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The Baltimore defense is the fifth and final defense worth the reach. The current ADP of the Ravens' unit is at 139.1, so it's not a big reach to take it.
This is a unit that lost Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, Ed Reed and Paul Kruger after last season. Yet it's still going to produce. Elvis Dumervil landed in Baltimore from Denver, and Chris Canty joined the front seven as well. Lardarius Webb is still back as the top coverage corner for the team.
The Ravens should be able to perform at a high level thanks to a depleted AFC North. The AFC East will offer little challenge, and the Ravens should be able to capitalize. Jacoby Jones is one of the better kick returners in the league and will add points to your fantasy team.
Honorable Mention: Denver Broncos
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Denver (ADP 104.5) is one of our honorable mentions. The team is likely to win the AFC West as there is little competition for the Broncos in the division.
Denver will be without linebacker Von Miller for the first six games of the season. According to Mike Klis of The Denver Post, Miller violated the league's substance-abuse policy. It will force him out of the lineup until the Broncos take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7.
The Broncos might also be a little more easy-going on defense with all of the offensive weapons the team has. Trindon Holliday adds a punch as a kick returner.
Honorable Mention: St Louis Rams
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The St. Louis defense (ADP 140.4) tied with Denver for the league lead in sacks with 52 last season. The Rams will be playing several games against mobile quarterbacks, so the chances for sacks are high. But that's where the value ends.
The downside is the Rams allowed 18 rushing touchdowns last season. Their pass coverage was good but not great despite all of the pass rush. The Rams scored five touchdowns last season from this unit.
It's still not enough to make them worth a reach.