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Fantasy Football 2013: Power Ranking Most Dominant Defenses

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Fantasy Football 2013: Power Ranking Most Dominant Defenses
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Imagine having two of the top fantasy tight ends on one team—legally.

Last season, the defenses of the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals put up points comparable to the top tight ends in the league, per NFL.com's standard scoring. 

In the NFL, defense wins championships, but in fantasy football, offense reigns supreme.

Thankfully, there are some defenses that are so good they might as well be considered offensive weapons for your fantasy football team.

Here's a look at my top-10 fantasy football defenses heading into the 2013 NFL season.

 

1. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle's defense is stacked. 

Absolutely stacked. 

With the ability to stuff the run and rush the passer, the Seahawks' front four makes life tough for opposing offensive lines. Linebacker Bobby Wagner leads an imposing group of athletic linebackers, and the back end is protected by the "Legion of Boom" secondary.

Turnovers will be a problem for offenses facing the Seahawks from week to week, and if Cliff Avril, Chris Clemons and Michael Bennett can stay healthy this year, then sacks will be abundant.

 

2. Cincinnati Bengals

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The Bengals featured one of the most dangerous defenses in the NFL last season, and the unit only got better this summer.

Second-year safety George Iloka brings a nasty attitude and the ability to play strong in coverage and at the line of scrimmage, and NFL bad boy James Harrison has looked terrific playing in the team's 4-3 scheme.

Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, Carlos Dunlap and the rest of the team's defensive linemen are relentless workers capable of wrecking offensive lines, too. 

 

3. San Francisco 49ers

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If not for the revamped secondary of the 49ers, which has yet to be weighed and measured in real games, it would be hard to argue against San Francisco as the top fantasy defense in the league.

With the best front seven in football, the 49ers control the line of scrimmage and get after the passer more often than not.

Opposing offenses won't be able to conquer this unit very often. 

 

4. Houston Texans

Jared Crick looks ready to become Robin to J.J. Watt as Batman this year, and Whitney Mercilus will get a chance to emerge as a top pass-rusher off the edge now that Connor Barwin is playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Having Brian Cushing back healthy in the middle will solidify the front seven, and if Ed Reed can come back and play at a high level, then Houston's secondary should be much improved this season. 

 

5. New England Patriots

Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower were both impressive as rookies last year. They are ready to emerge as true superstars for the Patriots in 2013, playing with Vince Wilfork, Brandon Spikes and the rest of the front seven.

The back end of the Patriots defense is where the questions arise. 

The secondary came to life last season when Aqib Talib arrived from Tampa Bay, but even after he came the team was susceptible to getting torched by deep passes.

 

6. Chicago Bears

Even though Brian Urlacher was a shell of himself last season even when he was healthy enough to play, it's going to feel awfully strange watching the Bears on defense without him leading the charge. 

That said, it's hard to make the argument that the Bears are worse off without the future Hall of Famer.

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Rookie linebacker Jon Bostic has played so well this preseason that Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com believed "it's going to be difficult" for the Bears to start veteran D.J. Williams over the impressive young man out of Florida.

With Julius Peppers and Henry Melton terrorizing opposing offensive lines and star cornerbacks Charles "Peanut" Tillman and Tim Jennings still playing at a high level, Chicago will be a force to be reckoned with on defense all year long.

 

7. St. Louis Rams

The front line of Chris Long, Kendall Langford, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn will keep opposing quarterbacks up in the middle of the night before game day. 

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The Rams tied the Denver Broncos for the top mark in the league last season with 52 sacks. Based on what we've seen from this unit during preseason play, there's no reason to believe there will be a drop off in production this year.

Oh, and don't forget about rookie linebacker Alec Ogletree, who looks faster and meaner than ever. He will be a key player for this burgeoning defense—one of the fastest units in the league.

 

8. Green Bay Packers

Clay Matthews and Nick Perry—who looks good in his second year—will wreak havoc in the backfield of opposing offenses this year. Datone Jones, B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett will be more formidable up front than last year's unit, too.

Provided the team's young defensive backs continue to improve this year, Green Bay's defense looks poised to once again be one of the most opportunistic in the NFL after a slump in 2012. 

 

9. Baltimore Ravens

My hat is off to Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, who was a miracle worker with his roster this past offseason. 

No Ed Reed, no Ray Lewis?

No problem.

With Elvis Dumervil playing opposite Terrell Suggs, the Ravens will get after opposing quarterbacks, and the front line of Haloti Ngata, Arthur Jones and Chris Canty, they'll be able to stop the run, too.

Highly underrated cornerback Lardarius Webb is back and healthy, and he's a legitimate cover corner who can shut down the top receivers on most teams. 

 

10. New York Jets

No matter how bad the circus atmosphere gets with the Jets, you can always count on Rex Ryan to have his defense ready to play. The biggest difference from this year to last is the team's overall level of talent on the defensive side of the ball.

Rookies Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson have looked like starters this summer, and they'll both be difference-makers. If Quinton Coples ever lives up to his potential, then the Jets could have the best front line in the NFL . 

 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78

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