Congratulations, folks! We’ve made it! After months of waiting, fantasy football draft season is upon us. After spending the past four months analyzing, assessing, and curating my ranks, I’ve settled on a handful of “my guys.” Of course, I don’t really have “guys” for defenses. But I do have defenses I’m trying to draft based on early-season matchups.
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Top Defenses To Draft in Fantasy Football in 2023
When it comes to defenses, this is less about the teams and more about their opponents. We want the best possible defenses against the worst possible offenses. But the priority is always the weakness of the opposing offense. Here are three defenses, listed in ADP order.
Baltimore Ravens (ADP: DEF7)
When drafting defenses, I’m never going to reach for one. Every year, there are seldom few set-it-and-forget-it defenses, and the ones that do emerge typically aren’t the ones you’d expect.
The Ravens open the season at home against the Texans. Baltimore is going to feast on rookie C.J. Stroud in his first career regular-season start. This is not only a legitimately good defense, but one with an elite matchup to open the season and a pretty favorable schedule after that.
The Ravens won’t be a recommended start at Cincinnati in Week 2, but if you can weather the Joe Burrow storm, they get another rookie QB at home in Week 3 against the Colts. Baltimore then has three straight road games against the Browns, Steelers, and Titans. All in all, it’s not a bad slate of games.
The Ravens’ fantasy playoff schedule is brutal, but they can be a useful unit for over half the season. That’s far more than I usually look for when drafting a defense.
Denver Broncos (ADP: DEF12)
As the saying goes, the Denver Broncos are not here for a long time, they’re here for a good time. Drafting the Broncos is not a viable long-term strategy, but for the first two weeks, they should be fantasy gold.
The Broncos open the season with two home games against the Raiders and Commanders. You really can’t ask for a better start.
This is a good, not great unit that can feast against weak offenses. I’m pretty down on the Raiders offensively, and the Commanders are starting Sam Howell at quarterback. Fantasy managers should be eyeing up the Broncos. Given their ADP, they’re very attainable and will allow you to not have to worry about streaming until Week 3.
Washington Commanders (ADP: DEF19)
Let me start by saying the Commanders do not have a good defense, and you absolutely should not start them…except for Week 1…against the Cardinals.
In what is undoubtedly going to be a theme this season, we will be starting any and every defense against Arizona.
Way back in 2018, the best fantasy defense was whoever faced Josh Rosen and the Cardinals. Unless and until Kyler Murray returns, it’s going to be too easy to pick on Colt McCoy (or Clayton Tune) when streaming defenses this season.
Washington is purely a Week 1 pick, but that’s okay. You can figure out Week 2 in Week 2. I’ll have a streaming column dropping every week for that exact reason!