The NFL season is almost here and as a fantasy owner, you need to have an accurate list of fantasy football sleepers.
NFL trade rumors are still swirling, but we feel we have determined an accurate listing of this season’s fantasy football stars. In our latest rankings there has been a bit of a shake up, but most names are where you would expect.
We have scoured the news wires and training camps, while creating accurate 2011 NFL predictions and have determined which running backs are poised to lead you to a fantasy football championship.
Not all of us are in position to draft Pittsburgh or Green Bay, but now you can figure out who is worth reaching on and who isn’t.
1(1) Green Bay Packers
Many don’t realize this, but the Packers turned their defense in to one of the most fearsome 3-4 units in only two years. Something the Bills have been trying to do for what seems like an eternity. Some of their best defensive stars are also their youngest.
2(2) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steeler defense is a model of consistency. They routinely have the most sacks, fewest yards allowed and allow near the least amount of points. There are some concerns in the secondary that may have to be appeased by young corners Curtis Brown, Keenan Lewis or Crezdon Butler.
3(7) Philadelphia Eagles
Last year the Eagles had a surprisingly weak fantasy defense. Many in your draft may look at those numbers and pass on the Birds. Don’t be one of those guys.
The defensive line is going to wreak havoc, forcing sacks and early passes and putting what may be the league’s best secondary in a very good position.
4(3) New York Jets
Which unit will be fantasy's best in 2011?
The Jets were much better last year than their stats said. The unit had some trouble getting to the quarterback at first and Darrelle Revis was hurt early on in the season. Revis is healthy and the defense will build upon what became a formidable pass rush.
5(5) Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens are aging on defense but are still one of the premier defenses in the league. One thing has dropped them from the routine top-2 ranking we were used to seeing: a severe drop in sacks. The Ravens are going to rely on a few different guys to pick up that slack (Paul Kruger, Prescott Burgess and Jarret Johnson) but none have shown anything great in their careers.
6(4) Chicago Bears
Julius Peppers was fantastic last season, fantastic at freeing up lanes for other guys to get to the quarterback. That trend should continue, but were worried about their run defense with, what looks like on paper, a subpar interior defensive line.
7(6) New England Patriots
The Patriots allow way too many yards, but hardly any points. This year they will benefit from the return of Leigh Bodden who missed much of last season. Far too often was the secondary picked apart because of a lack of pass rush.
The Pats hoped that Jermaine Cunningham would change that, but his sub-par play has forced the Pats to focus more on the 4-3 defense this season.
8(13) Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons defense was very good on paper last year, but couldn’t live up to the hype on the field. The issue was a lack of help opposite John Abraham on the defensive line. They picked up Ray Edwards in the offseason and should be much better in fantasy, when they aren’t playing the Saints that is.
9(8) New York Giants
The Giants always have one of the best defensive lines in the game and they should continue that run with the emergence of Jason Pierre-Paul. If you have an IR spot on your team you may want to see if the Giants’ D can take that spot, however, as they seem to be dropping like flies.
10(12) New Orleans Saints
The Saints had one of the best defenses in fantasy in 2009 but came back to earth in 2010 when they couldn’t record the same number of turnovers (we called it). Some of that can be blamed on Roman Harper, the rest on the run defense.
This year the run defense has improved with Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers. Also Malcolm Jenkins is coming back from injury which should help out that secondary. The Saints’ defense could surprise a lot of people this year.
See the rest of the Fantasy Football Defense Rankings here.
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