Table of Contents

Washington Football Team (Rank #1)

Key Additions

William Jackson III, Darryl Roberts, Bobby McCain, David Mayo, Joe Walker, Tory McTyler

Fantasy Football Starters

Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Jon Bostic, Jamin Davis, Landon Collins, Kamren Curl, Jonathan Allen in deeper leagues

The Washington Football Team added mainly depth to their defensive roster in free agency. DB William Jackson III was a top priority of Washington management, a replacement for cornerback Ronald Darby was paramount. W. Jackson III was brought in at a higher price than QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Curtis Samuel. He will be expected to shut down half of the field.

Rookie LB Jamin Davis is the other new starter to what was a stellar defense. The former Kentucky Wildcat has the advantage of having veterans around him. The 2020 1st round pick will have to learn quickly, but luckily has a 3 time pro-bowler in DB Landon Collins behind him and arguably one of the best defensive lines of the century in front of him.

Head Coach Ron Rivera and Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio form a great, defense first, approach to the game of football. Jack Del Rio had great defenses in Jacksonville and Oakland, and could have another in Washington. The lethal 4–3 defense features 4 1st round picks on their defensive line, leaving them without a weak link.

It is not an exaggeration to say defensive linemen (DL) Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Montez Sweat could be the most complete unit of the 21st century. Each of them individually can plug a defensive gap, have range to keep offensive lineman off of them, and bring intense pass rush when needed. Collectively they control the line of scrimmage, keep the offensive lineman from reaching the second level (LBs), and create a week long nightmare for opposing offensive coordinators.

The 2020 Football Team had 47 total sacks, 27 coming within their division (NFC East) alone! DL M. Sweat led the team with 9 sacks last year, and with the departure of Washington’s all time sack leader, DL Ryan Kerrigan, others will need to fill the void. M. Sweat and C. Young could combine for over 25 sacks in the 2021 season, and Chase Young has a chance to be the defensive player of the year.

Indianapolis Colts (Rank #2)

Key Additions

Andrew Brown, Malik Jefferson, Antwuan Woods, Sean Davis, Isaac Rochell

Fantasy Football Starters

DeForest Buckner, Darius Leonard, Khari Willis, Kenny Moore II, Julian Blackmon, Xavier Rhodes

The Indianapolis Colts are a serious Superbowl contender. Prior to the injuries of QB Carson Wentz and OL Quenton Nelson they were a Superbowl favorite, but have rightfully slipped as of late. The good news for Head Coach Frank Reich is the defense is in tact, and it was the defense that carried ‘Old Man Rivers’ to the playoffs last year.

It begins with back to back All-Pro selection, DL DeForest Buckner. Although he is paid and awarded as a top two DL, NFL fans largely ignore him. It is a shame as he is a phenomenal athlete and fun to watch dominate. Do not make the same mistake as fans, draft him for your IDP league(s). He is worth being the first DL in NON-DUAL designations. He is still worth a roster spot in dual leagues, but does not carry the value of an IDP with DL/LB designation. It would not be surprising if Buckner is a consecutive three time All-Pro at the conclusion of this year.

LB Darius Leonard just received a well deserved contract extension. The 26 year old has been an All-Pro every year of his career, is an amazing sideline to sideline tackler, has excellent coverage skills including catching, and is the unquestioned leader of the Colts. He is a top 5 LB with potential to be the leading IDP point scorer of 2021. Do not hesitate to draft him early.

The loss of LBs Anthony Walker and Justin Houston will be difficult to overcome, but rookie DL Kwity Paye is expected to contribute immediately. It helps with Buckner beside him and Leonard calling out the offense in the middle. Paye could have as much as 10 sacks by the end of the season. He will receive extra pass rush time from the amazing Colts secondary.

Cornerback tandem DB Kenny Moore II and DB Xavier Rhodes can run with any duo of WRs in the AFC. They will see AJ Brown and Julio Jones twice in their division, and will handle any teams they will likely see in the playoffs. Strong safety DB Khari Willis is one of the best in the league, though he gets little recognition. He quietly brings tough run defense and sneak blitzes while covering any WR, TE, or RB when needed. He is an unsung hero in the secondary. DB Julian Blackmon secures the back of the field, and is a great safety valve for anyone fortunate enough to get by Moore II and Rhodes. 

It is more than a possibility the Indianapolis Colts finish with the #1 DL (Buckner) and the #1 LB (Leonard) in the league. They are the best interior defensive tandem in the league. They will be asked to shoulder several early wins as Nelson and Wentz will likely play as they recover from surgeries. The defense is more than up to the task to carry them to the playoffs again.

Buffalo Bills (Rank #3)

Key Additions

Efe Obada

Fantasy Football Starters

Tremaine Edmunds, Matt Milano, Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Jerry Hughes

The Buffalo Bills are another team with minimal changes to their defensive roster, focusing instead on retaining their players. Head Coach Sean McDermott is a great defensive mind with a coaching staff and roster that can go the distance. The defense is primed to be a top 5 defense, adding only a 3rd string back up in DL Efe Obada.

DL Jerry Hughes, Ed Oliver, Star Lotuleli, and Mario Addison make one of the most complete 4–3 defensive line units in the AFC. They bring pass pressure, control the line of scrimmage, and free their linebackers. LB Tremaine Edmunds and LB Matt Milano are a fearsome duo in the middle of the field. They are both young and still growing. They are the core of the defense and also excel in the run and pass game. They are both worth a mid draft pick in most IDP formats.

The secondary is one of the best in the NFL. DB Tre’Davious White is regarded by some as the best cornerbacks in the league. He is without question a problem for opposing WRs and coordinators. DB Micah Hyde is entering his 9th NFL season and 5th with the Buffalo Bills. The 2017 All-Pro is a favorite of Coach McDermott, and is used all over the field. He is a sneaky mid to late draft pick for leagues requiring more than one defensive back. 

DB Jordan Poyer is the best IDP candidate on this team. The elite safety has finished as the 2nd, 6th, & 5th DB in the respective past 3 years. He is a model of consistency with a high floor and explosive big games. Outside of Budda Baker, Poyer is the most reliable DB IDP in the league. He has a crushing hit and the ability to cover elite tight ends.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Rank #4)

Key Additions

Joseph Jones, Antonio Hamiliton, Raven Greene

Fantasy Football Starters

Devin White, LaVonte David, Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaquil Barrett, Antonie Winfield Jr.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to retain all of their 2020 Superbowl starting defense. When you have a championship defense, the expression ‘Don’t fix it, if it isn’t broke’ is a true statement. The Bucs defense played stellar defense through out the playoffs, taking down future Hall of Fame QBs Alex Smith, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Patrick Mahomes in the process. 

Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles is still not given enough credit for last year’s championship run. He masked his sub par secondary with great defense pressure from his veteran defensive line and do it all Linebackers. DL Ndamukong Suh, Vita Vea, and William Gholston also do not receive enough credit, but they are doing work, making plays, and freeing up their All-Pro Linebackers. 

There is not a weak spot in the starting four LBs for Tampa Bay. It begins with 2020 All-Pro LB Devin White. He is a sideline to sideline tackler that could be the first IDP drafted in almost any format. Beside him is the 3 time All-Pro inside LB Lavonte David. An IDP stud early in his career, he’s still worthy of a late round snag in most formats. In 2019 LB Shaquil Barrett led the league in sacks with 19.5, and he could return to that elite form in 2021. LB Jason Pierre Paul is still a lethal pass rusher in his 11th season. He had 9.5 sacks last year, and only needs 11 to enter the 100 club, an honor only reached by 35 players. 

Tampa Bay will be a great defense again this year. They are in a lackluster NFC South and should cruise to a 2nd straight playoff berth. They brought in depth and can withstand a few injuries. All defensive units are better when their offensive unit is led by QB Tom Brady. He understands game flow, momentum, and clock management that only a select few can claim regardless of the sport. Add that along with the defensive genius, Todd Bowles and the Bucs have every opportunity to finish as the league’s top rated defense. 

Arizona Cardinals (Rank #5)

Key Additions

JJ Watt, Malcolm Butler, Shawn Williams, Jack Crawford, Daryl Worley

Fantasy Football Starters

Isaiah Simmons, Budda Baker, Markus Golden, Chandler Jones, JJ Watt, Zaven Collins

The Arizona Cardinals spent money in free agency beefing up their defensive line and secondary. They also used their first round pick on what could be the best defensive player in the draft, inside LB Zaven Collins. Collins along with LB Isaiah Simmons form one of the youngest (and athletic) inside linebacker tandems in the NFL. 

The outside linebacker duo of LB Chandler Jones and LB Markus Golden will form great pressure and outside run control. Jones led the league in sacks in 2017 with 17, also setting the franchise record for the Cardinals. They will be aided by 3 time Defensive player of the year, DL JJ Watt

The former Texan, Watt, although entering the tail end of his career, is still a threat. The former 2 time NFL sack leader will be playing with a renewed passion, and will have the best supporting cast in his career. He will not be asked to be the only source of pressure and could have the best teammate of his career in DB Budda Baker.

In 2020, Baker had the most DB points in Fantasy Football. The 2020 First Team All-Pro isthe leader of the defense. He is joined in the secondary by Superbowl hero, DB Malcom Butler. Butler came from the Titans and will be their top corner, after the now Minnesota Viking, DB Patrick Peterson held that honor for over a decade.

The Arizona Cardinals needed only a few adjustments to reach the playoffs. They are in the tough NFC West, but if the roster improvements produce more wins, the Cardinals should enter the playoffs a hardened team. QB Kyler Murray and Head Coach Kingsbury enter their 3rd year together, and it seems that anything less than the playoffs could begin the process of looking for a new head coach/QB combination. 

Miami Dolphins (Rank #6)

Key Additions

Benardrick McKinney, Justin Coleman, Jason McCourty, Adam Butler, John Jenkins, Duke Riley, Brennan Scarlett, Shaquem Griffin

Fantasy Football Starters

Emmanuel Ogbah, Benardrick McKinney, Jerome Baker, Jason McCourty, Xavien Howard, Brennan Scarlett, Christian Wilkins in deeper leagues

Head Coach Brian Flores has built a wonderful defense in Miami. A team that had 10 wins but did not reach the playoffs, the hunger for the playoffs is there for the Dolphins. They were one of the most active teams in free agency snagging over 10 players on the defensive side of the ball. 

LB Benardrick McKinney, LB Brennan Scarlett, and DB Jason McCourty are slated to be week 1 starters. McKinney could have over 100 tackles which he did for the Texans more than once. McCourty will add veteran experience, and will be familiar with the defensive scheme in place. Scarlett will be opposite LB Andrew Van Ginkel and be expected to bring pressure on 3rd downs.

LB Jerome Baker is the real star of the defense. The 24 year old signed a 3 year extension, and he should exceed well over 100 tackles. He is worthy of being a starting LB in any IDP format. He will have a great supporting cast around him for what could be an All-Pro year.

Their secondary is one of the best in this year’s class. DB Xavien Howard led the league in interceptions last year, just renegotiated his contract, and his happy. DB Byron Jones is an elite shutdown corner, hence why Howard received so many opportunities for interceptions. The safety tandem will be DB Eric Rowe and newly arrived veteran J. McCourty. This is a complete secondary, worthy of being in the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers (Rank #7)

Key Additions

De’Vondre Campbell

Fantasy Football Starters

Za’Darius Smith, Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos, Krys Barnes, Kenny Clark in deeper leagues

The Green Bay Packers were a top 10 defense last year and have the roster to be a top 10 defense this year. New defensive coordinator, Joe Berry, was brought in to replace Mike Pettine and improve an already stacked defense. Berry began his career as a linebacker coach, including doing so for the Superbowl champion, 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (often times considered one of the best defenses of all time). This is the area Coach Berry will need to improve to get Green Bay over the hump.

The Packers added only one player to their defense, LB De’Vondre Campbell. He is a starting along side LB Krys Barnes, the best ILB for the Packers in 2020. The Packers have not had an impact ILB since AJ Hawk. The outside LB are another story. 

The Smith Bros, LBs Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith, form a lethal tandem capable of bringing pressure from either side of the line. LB Rashan Gary showed dramatic improvement in year two, if he is able to improve he will likely push P. Smith for playing time. 

The defensive line is asked fill several run gaps in this 3–4 defense. None are more important to the line or the defensive as a whole as DL Kenny Clark. Clark is the highest paid interior lineman in the league. He is almost always double teamed yet still managed 28 tackles and 2 sacks in the regular season, and a couple crucial sacks in the playoffs. DL Kyle Lowry is often overlooked but is a textbook 3–4 defensive end.

The strength of the defense is their secondary. DB Jaire Alexander is the best cornerbacks in the league. Only Ramsey and Humphrey can claim to be in the same breath. DB Kevin King is on the hot seat due to 2 TD passes thrown against him by Tom Brady, but he remains one of the better press corners in the NFL. There is depth in the cornerback position with DB Chandon Sullivan and 1st round pick DB Eric Stokes. In training camp so far, Sullivan has seen several reps and made a few plays, while Stokes has been on the wrong end of a few Aaron Rodgers TD passes.

Not to be overlooked are DB Adrian Amos and DB Darnell Savage one of the best safety tandems in the NFL. Both are reliable in the run and pass game, can cover elite Tight Ends and Running Backs, and are reliable. Amos is a vocal leader and the most veteran player in the secondary.

Denver Broncos (Rank #8)

Key Additions

Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Shamar Stephen

Fantasy Football Starters

Bradley Chubb, Von Miller, Justin Simmons, Kareem Jackson, Josey Jewell, Mike Purcell in deeper leagues

Head Coach Vic Fangio is one the greatest defensive minds in the NFL. He is back against the wall with pressure to perform better than his previous 2 years. However, the Denver Broncos have one the best defenses to go along with one of the greatest defensive minds.

It begins with an excellent nose tackle in DT Mike Purcell. Although he may not fill the stat sheet, he is vital to the success of the Denver Broncos. Responsible for both A gaps and to keep lineman from reaching the second level… only a few athletes posses this skill. LBs Bradley Chubb and Von Miller provide excellent edge pressure. Some question Von as he is 33 years old, but the 2010 All-Decade member and Super Bowl 50 MVP declares he’s in excellent shape, and primed for a great year. Bradley Chubb had his 5th year option picked up and will be considered the better IDP option. Both are mid to late round IDP draft picks.

Vic Fangio is a defensive back ‘whisperer’, and he knows how to bring out the best of his secondary. They spent big money and used the 2021 9th overall pick to improve their secondary. DB Kyle Fuller is reunited with his former defensive coordinator and they paid premium price for what should be a seamless fit. DB Ronald Darby was paid more than Fuller and will likely be asked to lock down opposing teams #1 WR. Rookie DB Patrick Surtain II will be involved in several sub packages, and in a pass happy AFC West he could be in over 50% of the games defensive snaps.

Those were just the cornerbacks and non are the best member of the secondary. That honor belongs to the 2019 All-Pro safety DB Justin Simmons. The 2020 Pro Bowler is now the highest paid safety in the league. Ranked #1 safety in numerous formats, he is the focal point of Coach Fangio’s defense. He is worthy of an early draft pick in most IDP formats and is a plug and play starter. He is joined by strong safety DB Kareem Jackson to complete what will be one of the top 3 DB units in the league.

The Denver Broncos have the best defense in the AFC West. If they all remain healthy enough to play a complete season, it is likely there will be multiple members on the 2021 All-Pro team. On the flip side Coach Fangio, his staff, and several players will be shown the exit door if the team does not make the playoffs. The Denver Broncos defense is good enough to carry them to a playoff berth. Will they stay healthy and will the offense help them when needed? Only time knows the answer.

New York Giants (Rank #9)

Key Additions

Adoree’ Jackson, Reggie Ragland, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Ryan Anderson, Joshua Kalu

Fantasy Football Starters

Leonard Williams, Blake Martinez, Reggie Ragland, Jabril Peppers, Logan Ryan, James Bradberry, Adoree’ Jackson

The anomaly of the New York Giants. Their record is awful, their expectations are low, the front office and head coach have egos as big as the city they represent, yet the little known Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator, Patrick Graham will be the star that shines bright.

The Giants have play makers at all 3 levels of the defense, but it is the secondary that really shines. DB Jabril Peppers and Logan Ryan are the best safety tandem in the league. The goal was to avoid ‘I statements’ when writing this article, but I believe they truly are the best in the league. Worthy of a roster position on almost all IDP formats, and possible 2021 All-Pro candidates Peppers and Ryan will have stellar years. Peppers is also the starting Punt Returner (PR), a bonus for league that score return yards (and shame on you if you are not).

DB Adoree Jackson got paid big and will be asked to deliver as the opposing cornerback of DB James Bradberry. Bradberry, Peppers, Ryan, and Jackson could be the best secondary of 2021.

DL Leonard Williams has really shined in the defensive end position of Graham’s 3–4 defense. He will be one of the best DL of the year and he dramatically helps interior LBs Blake Martinez and Reggie Ragland. Martinez is a perennial top 5 LB and is a great first IDP roster pick.

The New York Giants will have a top 10 defense with an awful head coach leading a team that may not be motivated to play for him. QB Daniel Jones will have to make a huge improvement in order for the Giants to make the playoffs. 

Pittsburgh Steelers (Rank #10)

Key Additions

Melvin Ingram, Arthur Maulet

Fantasy Football Starters

TJ Watt, Devin Bush, Terrell Edmunds, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Stephon Tuitt, Joe Haden, and Cameron Heyward

The ABCs of IDP Part 4 2020 NFL Defense Awards King Fantasy Sports

Image Credit: Jeffrey Becker – USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers had an elite defense last year, and they will have an elite defense this year. They brought in veteran LB Melvin Ingram to replace LB Bud Dupree, but made only a couple defensive acquisitions via free agency.

LB TJ Watt will lead the way for the Steelers, and maybe the NFL. He is worthy of being the 1st IDP of the board in almost all formats. He will be asked to bring pressure in deciding moments of the game, and often times with double teams. He was the best defensive player last year, and has the realistic opportunity to be the Defensive Player of the Year. Many felt he was snubbed when DL Aaron Donald won his third DPoY title last year.

LB Devin Bush will be asked to be healthy, available, and also to roam sideline to sideline. He is joined in the middle by LB Robert Spillane. The Steelers have great defensive lineman, able to generate pressure in a 3–4 defense. DL Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward will bring the pressure often and will likely see several 1-on-1 opportunities with focus on TJ Watt.

The secondary of the Steelers is in contention for best in the NFL. DB Terrell Edmunds had his 5th year option exercised, and is one of the best strong safeties in the AFC. DB Minkah Fitzpatrick is also an elite safety with a nose for the football. He seems to be involved with a half a dozen or more big plays a year. DBs Joe Haden and Cameron Sutton hold down the outside as well as any cornerback tandem in the league.

The Steelers have one of the most well rounded defenses in the league and it is no surprise they are in the top 10 defensive rankings again. Coach Mike Tomlin demands great defensive play, and the team usually delivers. If indeed it is Big Ben’s last year, the defense likely realizes they need to play at their best before this narrow Super Bowl window closes.

Baltimore Ravens (Rank #11)

Key Additions

Justin Houston, Chris Smith, and Geno Stone

Fantasy Football Starters

Patrick Queen, Marlon Humphrey, Calais Campbell, Justin Houston and Marcus Peters in deeper leagues

Image Credit: Rick Barnes – USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens focused on retaining their defensive free agents. They brought in several offensive lineman but only a few pass rushers, most notably LB Justin Houston.

The Ravens are a team with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations. LB Patrick Queen will be asked to captain the defense in his second year, but he will have numerous veterans around him. DL Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe in front of him, LBs Houston and Tyus Bowser flanking him, and DBs Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters on the outside.

Humprey and Peters are arguably the best cornerback tandem in the NFL. DB DeShon Elliot is an elite safety, and DBs Chuck Clark and Anthony Levine Sr. will be in the strong safety slot. It is a well built secondary with the capability to make big plays, particularly if the Ravens are leading late in games.

The AFC North is a difficult division with 4 stadiums played in the elements, that is to say not in a dome. A great defense is paramount if you want to make a playoff push. The Ravens have had great defenses under Coach Harbaugh and the 2021 defense has potential to be another one. Their LB core will be where they are challenged, but if Queen takes a good second year jump they could outshine expectations.

New Orleans Saints (Rank #12)

Key Additions

Brian Poole and Tanoh Kpassagnon, Prince Amukamara

Fantasy Football Starters

Cameron Jordan, DeMario Davis, Kwon Alexander, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Davenport in deeper leagues

The New Orleans Saints made very few moves this off season signing DB Prince Amukamara and LB Kwon Alexander after OTAs were finished. DL Tanoh Kpassagnon was brought to add depth behind DL Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport. DL T. Hendrickson signed with the Bengals and took an over double digit sack total with him, someone will need to fill the void.

LB Demario Davis is a must start and worthy of an earlier pick. He roams from sideline to sideline and is 3 down LB. LB Kwon Alexander resigned in early August and will be bouncing back from a torn Achilles tendon. It may take a few weeks to get to NFL game speed, but he also is a 3 down LB.

The Saints strength is their secondary. Superbowl champion DB Malcom Jenkins has played more percentage of snaps for his team than any other defensive player. An old school warrior,with a passion for football that demands attentiveness. He will be joined by fellow starting DBs Marcus Williams, Patrick Robinson, and Marshon Lattimore. DB CJ Gardner-Johnson will be on the field often in sub packages. This could be the last year this amazing secondary play together, and they will be asked to shoulder a large portion of the Saints success.

The defending AFC South Champions will need to have excellent defensive play, which they have displayed during the Sean Payton era. Coach Payton may be known for his offense, but he comes from the Bill Parcels tree where good defense is always pinnacle.

As is the case with several other teams, New Orleans success will be tied to the performance of their QB, the lack their of, and if their defense can execute in pressure situations.

Cleveland Browns (Rank #13)

Key Additions

Jadeveon Clowney, Malik Jackson, Troy Hill, Takkarist McKinely, John Johnson, Anthony Walker Jr., Damion Square

Fantasy Football Starters

Myles Garrett, Anthony Walker, John Johnson. Deeper Leagues Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah and Jadeveon Clowney

The Cleveland Browns enjoyed a playoff win for the first time since 1994… the same playoffs as when Steve Young was a Super Bowl MVP. It had been a minute. The win would indicate this is a well-built team, managed by a great QB, and lead by a brilliant coach. It seems the answer to all three are yet to be decided.

The 2021 defensive addition of the Browns will cost more than $35,825,000 this year alone. That’s almost 20% of the 2021 NFL salary cap. Evidently, the ownership and general management of the Browns believe they are close to a Super Bowl appearance. DBs John Johnson and Troy Hill come from the LA Rams, and know what it takes to have a great defense. Johnson will be a day one starter and major contributor. Troy Hill is behind DB Denzel Ward on the depth chart, but will likely see several snaps, especially against division rivals; Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals.

DL Jadeveon Clowney will be a day 1 starter with high expectations. To his advantage he will be the 2nd (or possibly 3rd) best pass rusher on his team. This should allow for Clowney to take advantage of mismatches. DL Myles Garrett is without question the best DL on the team, if not the best player. DL Malik Jackson will be a starter and be asked to keep offensive lineman off the LBs.

LB Anthony Walker will be calling the plays, and will likely be the captain of the defense. Walker is a savvy veteran that is capable of leading this team in tackles, posting over 100 tackles is well within his reach. He will be mentoring and relying on rookie LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. The former Notre Dame product will be asked to stop bruising RBs Dobbins, Harris, and Mixon just in his division.

The 2020 Cleveland Browns finished 3rd in NFC North with 11 wins. That would have won the NFC East with 4 games to spare, indicating the AFC North is a great, competitive division. They made an overhaul of their defense, OBJ is healthy, and have a loaded roster. Will their defense be improved enough to take the next step?

Minnesota Vikings (Rank #14)

Key Additions

Patrick Peterson, Sheldon Richardson, Stephen Weatherly, Bashaud Breeland, Nick Vigil, Dalvin Tomlinson, Xavier Woods

Fantasy Football Starters

Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith, Xavier Woods and Nick Vigil in deeper leagues

Late Round LB Target Eric Kendricks King Fantasy Sports

Image Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn – USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings 2021 defensive roster looks nothing like their 2020 roster. For starters their best IDP, DL Danielle Hunter has returned from surgery and is ready to fulfill his hype as one of the best pass rushers in the game. He will be joined by DL Dalvin Tomlinson whom the vikings spent big money on. DL Sheldon Richardson declined more money to play with a good unit, and to play for Coach Mike Zimmer, long regarded one of the great defensive minds in the league.

IDP starters, LBs Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr are hoping for a healthy season, and will have the veteran presence of LB Nick Vigil rounding out the starting LBs. This is one of the better starting 4–3 LB units in the league, however there is a significant drop off in the backup unit. Health will be crucial to their success.

The strength of the defense, and the most reliable Viking for a decade will be captaining the secondary. DB ‘Hitman Harry’ (Harrison) Smith has long been one of the most undervalued players in the NFL. The former All-Pro delivers at the line of scrimmage, in the running game, in the passing game, and roams sideline to sideline. He is a top 5 safety and has been for the past 9 years.

Smith will be joined by future Hall of Fame inductee DB Patrick Peterson, which will be a huge improvement for their secondary. DB Xavier Woods will be in the free safety position and will be asked to cover the NFC North’s elite Tight Ends and pass catching RBs. 2 of the 4 members of the secondary are new, and it could take a few weeks for them to develop rhythm, but they will have one of the most complete units in the NFL once they do.

Seattle Seahawks (Rank #15)

Key Additions

Al Woods, Kerry Hyder, Ahkello Witherspoon, Aldon Smith

Fantasy Football Starters

Carlos Dunlap II, Bobby Wagner, Jordyn Brooks, Jamal Adams, Quandre Diggs, Kerry Hyder in deeper leagues

IDP Fantasy Football 101 King Fantasy Sports

Image Credit: Jerome Miron – USA TODAY Sports

Seattle enters the 2021 season as defending division champions. They made a priority to address their defense in the off season. DL Kerry Hyder and DB Ahkello Witherspoon arrived from in division rivals, and will be day 1 starters for the Seahawks. DL Aldon Smith and DL Al Woods bring veteran depth, and they should receive a fair amount of snaps.

The strength of the Seahawk’s defense is their LBs. Perennial top ten IDP, LB Bobby Wagner, will once again lead the charge. The last remaining member of the ‘Legion of Boom’ will have a great surrounding cast, that includes LB Jordyn Brooks. The former 1st round pick will be asked to make big strides this year as a full time starter. Wagner has spoke highly of Brooks, but he also has all 2010s decade team DL Carlos Dunlap II to bring late game pressure and a hybrid player that is already a fan favorite in Seattle.

DB Jamal Adams is utilized much more like a LB than a DB, and has potential to be a top 3 DB of the 2021 season. He could also put together the highly sought 10 sacks, 10 turnovers season. A feat that has rarely been accomplished in the NFL. He is joined by fellow DBs Quandre Diggs, DJ Reed, and Ahkello Witherspoon. A well rounded group that will likely feature DB Pierre Desir in nickel and sub packages. 

The Seahawks will not be so easily removed as NFC West division champs. They have multiple play makers on all three levels of the defense, and some guy named Russell Wilson on the other side of the ball… He’s pretty good. The Seahawks have the pieces to make a Superbowl run, can defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. lead them there? Time will tell.

San Francisco 49ers (Rank #16)

Key Additions

Zach Kerr, Tavon Wilson, James Burgess, Maurice Hurst, 

Fantasy Football Starters

Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, Dee Ford, Arik Armstead in deeper leagues

The San Fransisco 49ers are an organization that enters the 2021 season with high hopes, and lofty expectations from the media. They are a favorite to win the NFC West, currently sitting at even odds with the LA Rams (+190) to win the division. It would be an impressive turnaround for an organization that finished last in their division.

The 49ers did not sign a single starter to their defense, instead hoping for health. 75% of their starting Defensive Linemen have questionable tags; Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Javon Kinlaw. DL Arik Armstead will be asked to keep offensive lineman off their play maker, LB Fred Warner.

Warner is arguably one of the best interior LB in the NFL. He has excellent coverage skills and sideline to sideline tackling ability. He is not a top 10 LB for fantasy purposes but worth a starting roster position in almost all formats.

For as great as their DLs and LBs are, their DBs are far from it. This is the glaring issue in the 49ers defense, as it was last year as well. It will be difficult to keep QBs Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray, and Matthew Stafford from scoring with a weak secondary. There may be a great deal of hype for this team, but the reality of this being a middle of the road of the defense with a few great games is a very real one.

New England Patriots (Rank #17)

Key Additions

Davon Godchaux, Montravious Adams, Henry Anderson, Jalen Mills, Kyle Van Noy, Matt Judon

Fantasy Football Starters

Matt Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, Adrian Phillips

New England improved both sides of the ball in free agency, while possibly grabbing a franchise QB in the draft. They also added elite edge rushers in LBs Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy will know the system well as it is his second stint with the Patriots. Judon will be utilized to maximum capacity under Coach Bill, and is worth a roster position in most IDP formats.

LB Dont’a Hightower will be the general in the middle, he is a starter in almost all IDP formats. He will have improved play behind the new big fellas in front of him DL Davon Godchaux (a top priority for the Patriots) and DL Henry Anderson.

The strength of the Patriots defense remains their secondary. DB J.C. Jackson led the team in interceptions, and DB Stephon Gilmore will still hold down an entire side of the field. The dynamic safety duo of DB Devin McCourty and DB Adrian Phillips are IDP starters, and should get looks in the later rounds. DB Jalen Mills is listed as backup, but will likely see several snaps. Mills rounds out what is one of the best secondaries in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers (Rank #18)

Key Additions

Denzel Perryman, Hasson Reddick, AJ Bouye, DaQuan Jones, Morgan Fox

Fantasy Football Starters

Hasson Reddick, Brian Burns, Shaq Thompson, Denzel Perryman, Jeremy Chinn, Jaycee Horn

The Carolina Panthers were aggressive in free agency, bringing in edge rushers, and a new commander in the interior, LB Denzel Perryman. DL Hasson Reddick will be expected to put pressure on QBs and contain the left edge on rushing attempts. Rookie DB Jaycee Horn could become a true shut down corner, helping the pass rush with improved coverage.

The Panthers also added depth with free agency. The message was clear, they would improve their defense. They have potential to get into the playoffs and are a strong candidate to finish second in the NFC South. DB/LB Jeremy Chinn will be a large part of their success. He had a monster game with mid season, and kept the momentum rolling. Chinn will be lined up on all three phases of the defense, and is an early draft pick in most IDP formats.

Veterans DL Brian Burns and LB Shaq Thompson will have help and are arguably on the best defensive rosters of their career. There numbers should maintain or go up with them not being the focal point of offensive coordinators.

Some might not believe the Carolina Panthers are better than several perennial playoff teams mentioned, but the Panthers are team that set a goal and invested heavily to improve the defensive side of the ball. There should be several impact plays, almost half of their defense is worthy of a roster spot in IDP formats, and they are a starting D/ST most weeks.

Los Angeles Chargers (Rank #19)

Key Additions

Ryan Smith, Christian Covington, Kyler Fackrell

Fantasy Football Starters

Joey Bosa, Kenneth Murray Jr, Derwin James, Nassir Adderly 

IDP Week 14 Waiver Wire King Fantasy Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers are another team in a state of change, their defense is not an exception. LB Melvin Ingram and DB Casey Hayward have both departed, and the free agent signings add depth but not starters.

Instead the Chargers are hoping for health. LB Joey Bosa and DB Derwin James will be coming back from injured years. Bosa has played 2 complete seasons out of 5 years, and Derwin only has 5 active games in the past 2 seasons.

2nd year LB Kenneth Murray Jr. will be asked to make improvements as he will be the force in the middle of the defense. DB Nassir Adderly should make a huge jump and is worth a roster spot in larger IDP leagues.

The Chargers focused on the offensive side of the ball, leaving their defense what it is, average. They have play-makers on all 3 levels, and have a good secondary to play against Kansas City. However there is not much depth and the defense is dependent on injury prone players staying healthy.

Los Angeles Rams (Rank #20)

Key Additions

Kareem Orr

Fantasy Football Starters

Aaron Donald, Leonard Floyd, Taylor Rapp, Jordan Fuller

As difficult as it is to place the LA Rams in the bottom half of the NFL’s D/ST, it is a fair analyst. They are in a difficult division, have a suspect offensive line, and have one of the worst depth charts in the NFL. There should be games that DL Aaron Donald and their excellent secondary dominate the game, but the divisional games alone could be offensive shoot outs.

During the off-season the Rams put an emphasis on retaining a few players. Resigning LB Leonard Floyd was top priority, but keeping starting DB Darious Williams and signing LB Travin Howard for depth was paramount. Some may think Donald tilts the strength of their defense to the line, but the loss of DL Michael Brockers will not so easily be overcome. DBs Jalen Ramsey, Taylor Rapp, and Jordan Fuller join Williams to form one the best secondaries in the league.

The Rams will have top 5 weeks, but will also be exploited in the running game on both sides of the ball. With the loss of RB Cam Akers the offense is almost completely dependent on QB Matthew Stafford. Not only must he deliver on high expectations, he will be asked to stay healthy behind a below average offensive line. Offensive woes could be a difficult barrier for a good defense to overcome.

Dallas Cowboys (Rank #21)

Key Additions

Keanu Neal, Tarell Basham, Brent Urban, Carlos Watkins, Damonte Kazee

Fantasy Football Starters

Micah Parsons, Jaylon Smith, Damonte Kazee, Keanu Neal

The Dallas Cowboys put a heavy focus on the defensive side of the ball. Former Atlanta Falcons head coach, Dan Quinn, will lead the charge. He brought both of his 4–3 defense and his former safeties. The 2 safeties should have a huge impact on the success of the Dallas Cowboys.

DB Damonte Kazee is poised to take a large role with the Cowboys. He is a 2021 starter with 199 career tackles, and 10 Interceptions including 7 in 2018. LB/DB Keanu Neal has 3 seasons with over 100 tackles. He is listed behind LB Leighton Vander-Esch on the depth chart, but Neal could be lined up all over the field. Not only will Neal be utilized like a queen chess piece, he will be asked to be a leader, a communicator, and a mentor for rookie LB Micah Parsons.

Parsons and LB Jaylon Smith and hybird Neal will be backbone of this defense. Dan Quinn’s defense is strength through the middle. DT Carlos Watkins was brought in to plug the interior of the defense along with DT Neville Gallimore. This should allow Smith, Parsons, and Neal to roam sideline to sideline; racking up tackles and making big plays along the way.

The Cowboys first 6 draft picks were defensive… let that register. 6 of the top 115 none the less. The offense and head coach are Super Bowl caliber, the defense needed to be addressed and it was. The avenue for the Dallas Cowboys to make it to the big dance is clearly set before them.

This D/ST will have top 5 weeks, and the LB trio of Parsons, Neal, Smith are starters in almost all IDP formats.

Tennessee Titans (Rank #22)

Key Additions

Janoris Jenkins, Bud Dupree, Denico Autry

Fantasy Football Starters

Kevin Byard, Harold Landry III, Jayon Brown, Jeffery Simmons

The 2020 Tennessee Titans hold the record for fewest sacks for a playoff team (19). They also sent 75% of their 2020 starting secondary members packing into free agency. They brought in a veteran on all 3 levels of the defense to improve what was a subpar defense at best.

The addition of LB Bud Dupree will in theory help their sack count. LB Harold Landry III has been the sack leader of the Titans the past 2 seasons. He is in a contract year and if offensive coordinators focus more on Dupree, Landry’s numbers could go up. Take caution if drafting Dupree as his impact will likely not be felt early in the season. DL Jeffery Simmons is easily the Titans best defender. He is asked to shoulder a fair share of the defense’s success. The addition of DL Denico Autry could help improve Simmons numbers. His impact is felt more out of the stat sheet, but Simmons could have a higher sack total than last year (3).

LB Jayon Brown and LB Rashaan Evans hold down the interior of the defense. Brown received a 1 year deal, Evans is on the last year of his rookie contract.Both should do well, and are worth a roster positions in deeper IDP leagues.

DB Kevin Byard lead the team in tackles last year. The Titans could utilize more man coverage with the signings of DB Janoris Jenkins and the draft picks of DB Caleb Farley and DB Elijah Molden. This would free up Byard for more tackles and big play opportunities.

Kansas City Chiefs (Rank #23)

Key Additions

Jarren Reed

Fantasy Football Starters

Anthony Hitchens, Tyrann Mathieu, Daniel Sorensen, Chris Jones (deeper leagues)

The Chiefs were forced to make huge roster moves to protect their franchise quarterback. Most of those moves happened on the offensive line. They were able to resign a few key components of their defense.

DL Frank Clark, the chiefs best pass rusher, was caught with several firearms including illegal weapons. He is being pursued by the state, he will be found guilty, and he will lose playing time. DL Taco Charlton will likely step into a starting role, and hence why he was brought back.

DB Daniel Sorensen resigned as well adding depth behind DB Tyrann Mathieu.‘Dirty Dan’ often plays in sub packages and gets plenty of snaps for big plays. DB Charvarius Ward and DB L’Jarius Sneed will have to uphold against some great WR combos, but Ward signed a new deal and they must have faith in him.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is one of the greatest defensive minds of this century, and he will be able to work some magic. It will be difficult for the defense to have the success it had the previous two years, but QB Patrick Mahomes could bail them out more than once this upcoming season.

Chicago Bears (Rank #24)

Key Additions

Desmond Trufant, Mike Pennel, Jeremiah Attaouchu

Fantasy Football Starters

Roquan Smith, Kahlil Mack, Danny Trevathan, Tashaun Gibson Sr. 

The Chicago Bears made it to the playoffs last year, in part to good defensive play. QB Andy Dalton should be an upgrade and 1st round pick QB Justin Fields when ready, has a chance to be the best Chicago Bear QB of all-time. This should alleviate some of the pressure put on the defense.

The loss of DB Kyle Fuller will be difficult to overcome, DB Desmond Trufant is a great defensive back, but Fuller is in the upper elite of his position. The secondary will be facing elite quarterback play in their own division.

The secondary may not be great but they have arguably one of the best starting LB cores when healthy. LB Roquan Smith could finish as the top IDP in almost any format. LB Kahlil Mack may not be putting up the stats that he did with the Raiders, but he is a threat and serviceable on weeks against bad offensive lines. LB Danny Trevathan is capable of generating sacks and can shut down the run as well, posting 112 tackles in 2020. 

The defensive line added depth and is led by DL Akiem Hicks. DL Bilal Nicholas, DL Eddie Goldman, DL Mike Pennel, DL Mario Edwards Jr. will have opportunities for big games if K. Mack is double teamed. 

Without much depth at linebacker or in the secondary the Chicago Bears will need an injury free season, to have a dominate defense. Playing in the NFC North requires great cornerbacks, so the defense evaluation could hinge on DB Jaylon Johnson and DB D. Trufant’s ability to perform at a high level.

Detroit Lions (Rank #25)

Key Additions

Michael Brockers, Quinton Dunbar, Corn Elder

Fantasy Football Starters

Trey Flowers, Romeo Okwara, Jamie Collins Sr., Tracy Walker

New Head Coach Dan Campbell will have to address the Lions awful defense. He brought former coworker from New Orleans, Aaron Glenn to run the defense. Glenn a former NFL DB will be expected to improve a young secondary.

The 2020 Lions allowed the most points (519) and yards (6,716) in franchise history! Although injury riddled last year, there is no excuse for the lack of defense. DT Michael Brockers was brought in to plug the middle of the defense, which in turn should let LB Trey Flowers and LB Romeo Okwara put pressure on opposing QBs. It should also benefit LB Jamie Collins Sr. allowing him to run side to side. Collins should finish the season a LB 15 or better.

The truth is the NFC North has wonderful offenses, with exception of the Lions. The Lions will be playing WRs with the last names of Adams, Jefferson, Thielen, Robinson II just in their division. Dan Campbell will bring a new attitude that should rub off on his defense. The Lions could be serviceable some weeks.

New York Jets (Rank #26)

Key Additions

Carl Lawson, Justin Hardee, Jarrad Davis

Fantasy Football Starters

Marcus Maye, Carl Lawson, C.J. Mosley, Quinnen Williams, and Jarrad Davis (in deeper leagues)

New head coach Robert Salah will undoubtedly be involved the defensive side of the ball. The former 49ers defensive coordinator will look to improve on the NY Jets dismal 2 win season. Although ranked 26, the New York Jets could end higher.

They have the advantage of playing in a division with only one complete offense (Buffalo Bills). New QB Zach Wilson, although expected to have rookie errors, should keep drives alive with his surprisingly quick feet. This could help the defensive unit by helping win the time of possession.

DL Quinnen Williams, LB C.J. Mosley, DB Marcus Maye provide a true stud at each level of the defense. These 3 alone could provide big plays and halt offenses drives short of field goal range. DL Carl Lawson has high expectations and should lead the team in sacks. LB Jarrad Davis adds a veteran presence on the strong side, next to Mosley. DB Justin Hardee looks to lead their special teams unit as he inked a 3 year contract.

The New York Jets could finish the season with as many as 8 wins. Expect several mistakes from Wilson, but also expect a defense that will play with pride and intensity much like Salah’s former defensive units at San Fransisco.

Cincinnati Bengals (Rank #27)

Key Additions

Trey Hendrickson, Chidobe Awuzie, Larry Ogunjobi, & Mike Hilton

Fantasy Football Starters

Vonn Bell, Jessie Bates, Mike Hilton, Trey Hendrickson

Defensive coordinator, Lou Anarumo got an overhaul this off season with 3 veteran free agents inking multiple year deals. On top of that DB Trae Waynes, should improve their cornerback unit after not playing at all last year, due to injury.

DL Trey Hendrickson will hopefully provide the pass rush they desperately need as he is earning $60 Million. DL C. Lawson and DL C. Dunlap are with new teams, so the former New Orleans Saint will have to be ‘The Guy’.

The Bengals have been searching for a thumping inside linebacker since V. Burfict, they are still searching. What the Bengals lack in LBs, they make up for in one of the best safety duos in the league. DB Vonn Bell and DB Jessie Bates are elite defenders, and require due diligence in preparation for opposing coordinators. They are starters in deeper IDP leagues, and almost weekly stream candidates in smaller formats. They have potential for a pro bowl, or an All Pro 2021.

The Bengals have the secondary but being successful in the AFC North requires more than great safeties. They added depth to the offensive line, but not sure there is great improvement. If RB Joe Mixon or QB Joe Burrow get injured and miss time, this team will have little hope in posting good defensive metrics. Their special teams is subpar and a great deal will be asked of the Bengals defense if they are to have any success.

Jacksonville Jaguars (Rank #28)

Key Additions

Shaquill Griffin, Malcom Brown, Rudy Ford

Fantasy Football Starters

Josh Allen, Joe Schobert, Myles Jack, Jarrod Wilson

Defensive Coordinator Joe Cullen, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, made it clear via free agency and the draft that the defensive line and secondary would be improved. Cullen was on Martindale’s staff in Baltimore, and you can expect to see more coverage 1/coverage 0 from the Jaguars. This can only work with big, strong, and talented corners. Enter DB Shaquill Griffin, DB CJ Henderson, and 2nd Round draft pick DB Tyson Campbell.

DB Josh Jones resigned, special teams star DB Rudy Ford was one of the initial off season free agent moves for ‘rookie’ Head Coach Urban Meyer. They also gave Punter Logan Cooke a 4 year extension. He also serves as the teams holder on extra points/field goals for K Josh Lambo. The off season emphasis on special teams communicates they plan on punting often. However, they plan on covering well, which in turn will help their defense by pinning them deep with excellent gunners. A well rounded special teams unit.

The strength is their LBs. LB Joe Schobert should be a top 10 LB, per usual. Do not hesitate to make him your first IDP off the board. LB Josh Allen could be a forgotten, slip during your draft. If your league rewards sacks heavily, do not think twice, it’s alright. LB Myles Jack, while not a top tier LB is more than serviceable and deserves a look in your later rounds.

Las Vegas Raiders (Rank #29)

Key Additions

Yannick Ngakoue, Casey Hayward Jr., Solomon Thomas, Karl Joseph, Quinton Jefferson

Fantasy Football Starters

Johnathan Abram, Yannick Ngakoue

Gus Bradley will have his hands full as he attempts to improve the defensive unit. Expectations will be high as Gruden enters year 4 in his second stint as the Raiders head coach.

They made it clear they would beef up the secondary by bringing day 1 impact player DB Casey Hayward. The veteran will be expected to shut down the #1 WRs of T. Hill, K. Allen, and C. Sutton, twice… and that is just in his own division. DB Johnathan Abram will be lined up on the line and in the secondary, there is even talk of moving him to LB. When he’s healthy he’s capable of having a high point total.

DL Yannick Ngakoue will be reunited with Coach Bradley and should pace the team in sacks. DL Clelin Ferrell has yet to live up to his 2019 4th overall pick, but has the start over DL Maxx Crosby who underwent off-season physical surgery and treatment. Essentially the fate of their defense, and season, will rest on how much pass rush they can generate.

LB Cory Littleton had an under performing year and will need a bounce back year. Having a large defensive tackle in DL Quinton Jefferson should help ease the pressure.

It will be difficult for the Raiders to keep pace with the back-to-back AFC Conference Champion Kansas City Chiefs, but they did beat them once, and nearly did it twice. I also expect the L.A. Chargers and Denver Broncos to be improved, regardless of who is the QB for the latter. The Las Vegas Raiders have a high probability to start the season 0–3 and still have 6 division games. They will be lucky to split their divisional games, 3–3… implicating they would need to essentially win 7 of the 8 remaining games for a playoff spot. Do not expect great things from the Raiders this year.

Atlanta Falcons (Rank #30)

Key Additions

Duron Harmon, Erik Harris, Fabian Moreau, Brandon Copeland, Cordarrelle Patterson

Fantasy Football Starters

Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun, AJ Terrell, Cordarrelle Patterson. Dante Fowler Jr. & Grady Jarrett (Deep leagues)

New Falcons coach Arthur Smith, GM Terry Fontenot made it clear they would give new defensive coordinator Dean Pees depth in the secondary. In Free Agency they added veterans Harmon, Harris, and Moreau for bargains, by NFL standards. They also added depth at linebacker with Copeland.

On paper this is a well put together roster. On the Defensive Line there are 2 large contracts in Grady Jarrett and Dante Fowler Jr. The strength of the defense are LBs Jones and Oluokun. I expect lofty number from them both and wouldn’t be surprised if they both finished higher than LB 32.

The Falcons secondary was their weak link, and they have attempted to address it with veteran presence. Pees will have his hands full converting pieces away from Dan Quinn’s long established defense. With a good chance to finish last in the division again, an overturn from GM down, and a secondary led by AJ Terrell it will be difficult for this defense to be reliable in any given week. The one area they really shine is Special Teams. If other teams elect to kick off to Cordarrelle Patterson, he could rack up a lot of yards. He almost always will field the kick if it is play, great for leagues giving points for return yards. The 2010’s All Decade member could once again show his elite speed and give a boost when needed.

Philadelphia Eagles (Rank #31)

Key Additions

Eric Wilson, Ryan Kerrigan, Anthony Harris, Andrew Adams

Fantasy Football Starters

LB Eric Wilson, S Anthony Harris, DL Brandon Graham (in deeper leagues)

IDP Week 7 Waiver Wire King Fantasy Sports

Image Credit: Kevin Jairaj – USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia is in a great state of change, and have one of the lowest over/under win totals in most sportsbooks. There are questions from Head Coach down in this organization. Their one saving grace is being in the lackluster NFC East. The Eagles should have good pass rushers with Graham, Kerrigan, and Barnett (when healthy). If the Eagles can keep the game close they can utilize the strength of their defense, their defensive line, and generate pass rush on 3rd downs and in the 4th quarter. If they are constantly playing from behind, there is little this defense can do in the way of big plays. There are not many opportunities for the Eagles to be in your D/ST line ups except for week 13 at NY Jets, It could be a battle for first overall pick.

Houston Texans (Rank #32)

Key Additions

Christian Kirksey, Desmond King, Shaq Larson, Kamu Grugier-Hill, Terrance Mitchell

Fantasy Football Starters

LB Zach Cunningham, S Justin Reid

The head coach may be David Culley, but the defense and a great deal of success of the program will be in the hands of new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith. The former Chicago head coach led the Bears to Superbowl XLI, and was dominate in the NFC for a decade. They were dominate mostly because of Coach Smith bringing the Tampa 2 defense with him. The Texans have been a 3-4 defense for a decade but will be making the switch to the Tampa 2.

The Texans could be in for another rough season, with minimal offensive output and playing the 4th quarter against teams already seeking to run the clock out. There could be low individual numbers in sacks, interceptions, and fumbles. There could be high numbers in yardage allowed, points allowed, and tackles as the defense should see plenty of rushing attempts (Texans allowed most rushing yards in 2020 and 3rd most rushing TDs)