The defense of the San Francesco 49ers has been one of the top whole defenses grabbed in every fantasy football draft. Recently, though, more and more fantasy owners are starting to reach for that elite defensive unit, and pass on the 49ers.
San Fran’s defense was fifth in yards against (316.9 yards/game) in 2013, third in points against (17 points/game), fourth in rushing yards against (95.9 yards/game), and seventh in passing yards against (221 yards/game). They were literally above average in every facet of the game.
The team has two of the best linebackers in the game in Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. The elite linebackers will be able to keep the play in front of them and constantly contain the running game. Needless to say, there won’t be many 100-yard rushing performances against the 49ers anytime soon.
The unit was in the middle of the road in sacks (18th – 38) and interceptions (10th – 18) last season. The team was arguably one of the top defenses off the board last summer, but they shockingly finished in the middle of the pack in the two most important defensive stats in fantasy.
A major reason for the unit’s lack of sacks was the loss of OLB Aldon Smith. The pass rush specialist has racked up 42 sacks over his first 43 professional games, but the 24-year-old has suffered numerous encounters with the law in the last 12 months. Now facing three felony weapons charges, the former All-Pro linebacker will likely see a lengthy suspension very soon, which will once again leave a big hole on the outside in San Fran.
If there is one thing that the 49ers know how to do, it is play defense. The team still has the majority of their All-Pros coming back and they will be just as dominant in 2014. Don’t grab them first overall this summer, but make sure they are drafted inside the top-three defenses.
Bye Week: 8
Projected Round: 10
Auction Value: $4