2014 Fantasy Football: The Top 10 Defenses After Week 3 of the Preseason

2014 Fantasy Football: The Top 10 Defenses After Week 3 of the Preseason

Richard Sherman Seahawks
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With Week 3 of the 2014 NFL preseason in the books, we've seen most of the key defenders in the NFL take their last snaps of the preseason in anticipation for the beginning of the regular season. With that being said, these are the top 10 defense/special teams units to keep an eye on heading into the fantasy football season.

10. New Orleans Saints

Kenny Vaccaro Saints
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10. New Orleans Saints

Kenny Vaccaro Saints
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In 2013 under new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the New Orleans Saints finished fourth overall in total defense. In fantasy, the Saints finished as the No. 16-ranked fantasy defense/special teams unit with 127 fantasy points, averaging 8.5 fantasy points per game. The Saints finished second in pass defense and fourth in both sacks and points allowed in 2013. The special teams could get a boost if rookie Brandin Cooks handles return duties.

9. Kansas City Chiefs

Justin Houston Chiefs
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9. Kansas City Chiefs

Justin Houston Chiefs
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Kansas City finished as the top-ranked defense/special teams unit in fantasy last season with 216 fantasy points, averaging 14.4 fantasy points peer game. This season, however, the Chiefs lost several key contributors as cornerback Brandon Flowers and defensive end Tyson Jackson were let go as was return ace Dexter McCluster. The Chiefs' defense ranked third in interceptions, first in kick returns and second in turnover differential in 2013.

8. New England Patriots

Darrelle Revis Patriots
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8. New England Patriots

Darrelle Revis Patriots
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The New England Patriots lost several key starters a season ago but still managed to be the No. 8-ranked defense/special teams unit in fantasy football with 145 fantasy points, averaging 9.7 fantasy points per game. This season, both Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork return and the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner will help the secondary. New England's defense ranked 10th in points allowed and fifth in sacks in 2013.

7. St. Louis Rams

Robert Quinn Rams
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7. St. Louis Rams

Robert Quinn Rams
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The defense carried the St. Louis Rams to a 7-9 finish in 2013. The Rams finished as the No. 7-ranked fantasy defense/special teams unit with 167 fantasy points, averaging 11.1 fantasy points per game. A defensive line featuring four first-round picks leads this unit, and an explosive return man in Tavon Austin gives the special teams an added jolt. The Rams' defense ranked third in sacks and sixth in total defense.

6. Carolina Panthers

Luke Kuechly Panthers
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6. Carolina Panthers

Luke Kuechly Panthers
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Led by Luke Kuechly and Greg Hardy, the Carolina Panthers finished as the No. 3-ranked fantasy defense/special teams unit in 2013 with 185 fantasy points, averaging 12.3 fantasy points per game. Carolina ranked first in sacks, second in points allowed and second in rush defense. This unit might fall back a little in 2014, however, after losing Ted Ginn Jr. on special teams and No. 1 corner Captain Munnerlyn, who had two pick-sixes last season.

5. Cincinnati Bengals

Vontaze Burfict Bengals
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5. Cincinnati Bengals

Vontaze Burfict Bengals
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Led by linebacker Vontaze Burfict and defensive tackle Geno Atkins, Cincinnati finished 2013 as the No. 6-ranked fantasy defense/special teams unit with 171 fantasy points, averaging 11.4 points per game. The loss of coach Mike Zimmer and Michael Johnson will be big, but the Bengals are filled with lots of good defenders. The Bengals' defense ranked third in total defense, fifth in interceptions and fifth in points allowed in 2013.

4. San Francisco 49ers

Patrick Willis 49ers
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4. San Francisco 49ers

Patrick Willis 49ers
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San Francisco leaned on their defense once again en route to their third consecutive NFC Championship Game appearance. The 49ers were also good in fantasy, finishing as the No. 5-ranked defense/special teams unit with 172 fantasy points and an average of 11.5 fantasy points per game. This unit should still be good in 2014, even with three-fourths of last year's secondary gone plus the potential losses of Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman.

3. Denver Broncos

Von Miller Broncos
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3. Denver Broncos

Von Miller Broncos
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In spite of their 43-8 Super Bowl loss to Seattle, Denver had a good defense last year. The Broncos were the No. 13-ranked fantasy defense/special teams unit with 133 fantasy points, averaging 8.9 points per game. This ranking came without key defenders like Von Miller and Rahim Moore for most of the season. These two are now healthy, and the team also acquired established veterans like DeMarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib.

2. Arizona Cardinals

Patrick Peterson Cardinals
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2. Arizona Cardinals

Patrick Peterson Cardinals
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Despite losing Darnell Docket for the season, Arizona's defense and special teams unit is still a top fantasy defense this season. In 2013, Arizona was the No. 4-ranked fantasy defense/special teams unit with 174 points, averaging 11.6 points per game. The Cardinals do, however, still have elite defenders like Patrick Peterson and John Abraham. Arizona's defense ranked first in run defense, fifth in interceptions and sixth in sacks in 2013.

1. Seattle Seahawks

Richard Sherman Seahawks
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1. Seattle Seahawks

Richard Sherman Seahawks
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Seattle has the top defense/special teams unit and it isn't even close. In 2013, Seattle finished as the No. 2-ranked fantasy defense/special teams unit with 197 fantasy points, averaging 13.1 points per game. Seattle has elite defenders like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, and their special teams unit gets a boost with a healthy Percy Harvin. Seattle's defense ranked first in points allowed, pass defense and turnover differential in 2013.

Brian Kalchik is a Detroit Lions writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.

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