Repos 2012 Fantasy Picks – Top 5 Defenses/Special Teams
#5) Pittsburgh Steelers – It seems like every couple of years, the Steelers completely overhaul their defense and add that next wave of stellar playmakers who carry “The Steel Curtain” back towards the top of total defense. This iteration is getting a little old in the tooth, but they still feature arguably the prettiest guy to ever knock someone out (Troy Polomalu) and the craziest son of gun in the NFL in James Harrison. They draft so well that it seems like they can pluck any one of their underrated, sneaky fast WR types and have them returns punts & kicks with typical success. A well coached, hard hitting bunch that should pile up sacks, fumbles, and DTD’s by the bunch this season. We also vote them “Most likely to end Peyton Manning’s career” this year.
Verdict: A solid, steady choice at #5. These guys have the potential to feast on some of the poor competition in the AFC (Cleveland, Jacksonville)this season and might actually be overlooked by your competition. If they fall to you after round 11, consider yourself lucky and laugh all the way to the ‘chip.
#4) Baltimore Ravens – Is this the year that age finally knocks the Ravens out of the class of top NFL defenses? Our brain says “Yes”. Ray Lewis is so old, most fans forget he once was tried for murder (’twas the case that they gave him). Ed Reed out of pads could easily be confused with somebody’s old uncle at a BBQ. Brendan Ayanbadejo – old. Terrell Suggs? 10 years in. Yet, the Ravens defense has been very quietly rebuilt and features a slew of young playmakers like 2nd rounder Courtney Upshaw (Alabama) and cornerback Jimmy Smith. The (defensively) rich keep getting richer.
Verdict: Someone always seems to reach for this squad each year, draw ridiculous stares from fellow league members, and then proceeds to reap the rewards. DTDs, picks, sacks, tackles for loss…this crew does it all. Start looking for them around round 9.
#3) New York Giants – I hate including having to include the Giants on this list. Especially as high as #3. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have any particular dislike for the G-men. In fact, they have changed the way NFL teams play defense, with their deadly combo of size and speed rushers. No, I hate including them here because the Giants defense tends to “screw the pooch” early every season before hitting their stride around mid-season. They still can’t cover, but their propensity for finding big, fast linemen with Nigerian last names to crush the QB will keep them in high demand.
Verdict: Expect huge sack numbers from this unit,as well as fumbles, some picks, and DTDs. Take these guys if your squad is loaded and can eat the average performances early on. Trust us, they will pay off huge come playoff time
#2) Chicago Bears – Urlacher, Briggs, Tillman, Peppers…all stud defenders and perrenial pro bowlers. Every year, fantasy football owners expect the Bears to drop from the ranks of the elite, and every season, Chicago surprises with an opportunistic defense that specializes in takeaways. This year, the Bears added speed rushing prospect Shea McClellin to help wreak havoc from the RE position, and coupled with stud DT Henry Melton, should once again deliver top notch fantasy play with potential for a pick-6 at any time.
Oh, did we mention all-world kick returner Devin Hester???
Grab them when you can!
#1) San Francisco 49ers – What do you get when you combine 928 tackles, 42 sacks, 38 tackles for loss, 23 interceptions, and 20 forced fumbles? You get all of the ingredients of the top fantasy football DST of 2012, the San Francisco 49ers. Anchored by hard hitting, all-world linebacker Patrick Willis, the 49ers will knock you flat on your ass and look good doing it. There really isn’t much bad you can say about these guys; they are solid from top to bottom, and will be the first defense off the board. Don’t be surprised if someone reaches for this squad as early as round 6 in most drafts. Another definite “get them as soon as you can” DST option.