While most people wait until the last round to draft a fantasy football DEF/ST, there are some defenses worth reaching for. One of the underrated defenses to target this season is the Carolina Panthers DE/ST.
Carolina was sixth in the league last year in passing yards against (214.3 yards/game) and second in rushing yards against (86.9 rushing yards). They also ranked fifth in the league with 20 interceptions and will luckily be bringing back almost the entire unit back for the 2014 season.
Even better, Carolina led the NFL with 60 sacks in 2013 and they easily have the best line in all of football. DE Greg Hardy led the team with 15 sacks, while fellow bookend Charles Johnson impressively added 11 sacks of his own. The duo is one of the most formidable pass rushing combos in the league.
Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the unit. The backer had 156 tackles last season with two sacks and four interceptions. Not only is he a natural playmaker, but he is above average in containing the run and pass as well. Kuechly is truly a fantasy owner’s best friend.
While he had a career season in 2013, Hardy continues to complain more and more about his contract. He is threatening to hold out again and the team is preparing as if the All-Star end is going to holdout. If Hardy is removed from the lineup through a holdout or a trade, it would instantly drops the value of this defensive unit.
While Carolina is pretty sound at each position, the team has a brutal schedule in 2014. They automatically must play divisional opponents, the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints, twice in the upcoming season. Both teams have elite offenses and will be firing on all cylinders now that they are healthy. Unfortunately, Carolina’s defense will also have to face off against the equally dangerous offenses of the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Chicago Bears. These are eight games against top-tier offenses and the team will have a tough time containing these elite units.
Carolina does everything well. They get to the quarterback, have an aggrieve secondary, and they never gives up yards. They will be an amazing find after the big name defenses come off the board and will add a handful of sacks each game. If you miss out on a top-tier defense, don’t mind settling for Carolina a few rounds later.
Bye Week: 12
Projected Round: 14
Auction Value: $3