Are all the elite fantasy football defenses gone in your league? You’re left with the scraps that are lying there on the waiver wire? Have no fear. There are defensive sleepers everywhere in the NFL, and here are a few of them.
Only 26 percent of Yahoo fantasy football managers have taken the plunge on the Bengals defense, but they’re worth a look. Last season, they allowed only 317 points on the season, good for No. 12 in the league. Their 45 sacks put them at No. 5 in the NFL, and their 12 fumble recoveries were fourth-best in the league.
They’ve already demonstrated the ability to apply quarterback pressure this season, shutting down Tim Tebow and the New York Jets in the first week of preseason action. They followed that up by holding the very potent Atlanta Falcons offense to just 13 points when the starters called it a day at halftime.
Beware of the Bengals’ schedule during fantasy football playoffs, however. In Weeks 14-16, Cincinnati hosts Dallas and then travels to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
We’re not sure why only 32 percent of Yahoo fantasy football managers own the Cowboys defense because they’re pretty good.
So far this preseason, they’ve blanked the Oakland Raiders in a 3-0 snoozefest, collecting two turnovers and two sacks in the process, and then the starters blanked the San Diego Chargers until they took a seat after the first half. In that game, Dallas scarfed up 3 more turnovers and 3 more sacks.
This just builds upon last season’s performance, in which the Cowboys allowed 327 points—good for a No. 15 ranking in the NFL—sacked the opposing quarterback 42 times (No. 8), and collected 25 turnovers (No. 8).
Their fantasy football playoff schedule is a little shaky, though. The Cowboys are at Cincinnati in Week 14 and host Pittsburgh and New Orleans in Weeks 15 and 16.
Owned in just 15 percent of Yahoo fantasy football leagues, the Broncos defense has the potential to be pretty good—at least on select weeks. This unit registered 41 sacks last season, which put them in the top 10 in the league.
If the Broncos can build on that quarterback pressure and have it translate into more turnovers and fewer points allowed, they could quickly jump into top-shelf status.
The signs are good so far. In the first week of the preseason, the Broncos shut the Jay Cutler-less Chicago Bears down and held them to a fourth-quarter field goal. Denver also collected 3 turnovers and 6 sacks in the contest.
In their second preseason game, the team was throttled by the Seattle Seahawks, but the starters on defense only gave up three field goals, sacked Matt Flynn once, and recovered a fumble on a kickoff right before halftime.
If you’re interested in good matchups for your fantasy football playoffs, the Broncos defense falls in that category: at Oakland (Week 14), at Baltimore (Week 15), and home against Cleveland (Week 16). For those who play into Week 17, Denver hosts Kansas City in the regular season finale.