When it comes to season long fantasy football, defense is the last position chosen. There's no reason why. You must start a defense on every NFL DraftKings DFS team. You also must start a defense every week in your season long leagues.
Don't shy away from taking an excellent defense in Round 4 or Round 5. If you can get one of the Top 5 defenses available, you must considering grabbing it. Like tight-end, defense is one of those positions where stars don't often emerge. That's not the same as RB or WR, where you can pick someone up on the waiver wire after the fist couple of weeks.
This is a way too early list of my Top 5 defenses in the NFL. The list is bound to change after training camps.
1. Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos yielded 316.1 total yards per game. But, here's the thing, the Broncos yielded those yards playing against Oakland, San Diego, and Kansas City twice last season. Not only that, but because they were the defending Super Bowl Champions, they also took on New England and teams from the NFC South: Atlanta, New Orleans, Carolina, and Tampa Bay. That's a lot of great quarterbacks that the Broncos played in 2016.
How many passing yards did Denver's opponents average versus the Broncos? Try 185.8. That's fantastic. On the bad side, Denver allowed over 130 rushing yards per game on average. The Broncos must become stout against the rush this season. I think Shane Ray, in his third season, steps it up at outside linebacker to help Denver reach it's run stopping goals.
2. New England Patriots
The Pats don't have a fancy defense. They're not going to make a ton of highlight reels with amazing sacks and incredible interceptions. All they do is keep teams out of the end zone. New England yielded 15.6 points on average per game last season. The unit could be better this season because Buffalo corner Stephon Gilmore joins the fold.
Opponents rushed for less than 89 yards per game against the Patriots in 2016. Teams passed for a ton of yards, but, again, once those opponents got into the red zone, the Patriots' D stepped it up. New England may not win you a ton of games as a season long fantasy football owner. But, you can expect a solid performance every week. Most of the time, that's good enough!
3. Seattle Seahawks
I was worried about Seattle's defense before this past April's Draft. But, as always, Pete Carroll and the management team in the Emerald City knows what it takes to keep their fearsome D playing at a high-level. The Seahawks have the seventh oldest defense in the NFL.
No worries. They spent 4 of their first 5 draft picks on defense. Grabbing a DT like Malik McDowell from Michigan in Round 2 was a stroke of genius. I thought McDowell was a solid Round 1 pick. Then, they drafted UCF corner Shaquill Griffin, safety Delano Hill from Michigan, and DT Nazair Jones from North Carolina.
Seattle is the one place in the NFL where the defensive system makes the stars. If you don't believe me, think about how guys perform after leaving Seattle's system. They never perform as well. Never.
4. New York Giants
The Giants might have the best defense in the NFL this season when it's all said and done. They resigned Jason Pierre-Paul. They acquired Olivier Vernon. They drafted Alabama DT Dalvin Tomlinson in Round 2. Say what you want, but the D was almost the best unit in 2016.
The Giants yielded 17.6 points per game on average. That ranked second in the NFL behind the New England Patriots' defense. I think the Giants are right there at the end of 2017.
5. Baltimore Ravens
I wasn't as high on Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey going into the NFL Draft as everyone else. But, I'm not a defensive coordinator in the NFL. If the Ravens thought it was a good idea to draft Humphrey in Round 1, who am I to argue?
Baltimore's D grew up during the 2016 season. By the end of the season, the Ravens yielded 89.4 rushing yards per game. Opponents only scored 20.1 points per game versus the Ravens D by Week 17. If Humphrey is that missing piece in the secondary, Baltimore, like the New York Giants, could have the best defense in the NFL.