It’s not exactly easy to identify the top defenses to draft in fantasy football every year. Throughout free agency and the NFL Draft, plus the coaching hiring cycle, there’s significant turnover that changes a defense’s outlook.
Here at Pro Football Network, we do the research to make sure that you’re prepared to walk into your fantasy football draft and put together the best possible team in your entire league.
With that in mind, here are my top DSTs to draft in fantasy football for 2023.
When Should You Draft a DST in Your League?
One of the primary questions I get asked every single year is when is the right time to draft a DST?
The most common mistake you’ll see novice fantasy managers make is to draft their entire starting lineup first and then move to fill out their bench. It makes sense, right? However, you sacrifice incredible value at more key and vital positions when you deploy this strategy.
Running backs and wide receivers get injured. It’s simply a fact at this point, and building reliable depth at these positions — that you start multiple players at in your fantasy football league — is critical.
When fantasy managers draft the top DST on the board in the seventh round, they’re letting incredibly talented RBs and WRs pass them by that would be a massive help to their roster over the course of the season.
Additionally, the gap in DST points from the first team in rankings all the way down to DST10, for example, isn’t a massive difference. The best strategy to deploy is to let the more inexperienced managers in your league chase after the top options, scoop up valuable depth at other positions, and select a DST with one of your final picks.
There are still great options available at that point in the draft, so let’s discuss who those are in 2023.
Top Defenses To Draft in Fantasy Football
- San Francisco 49ers
- Buffalo Bills
- Dallas Cowboys
- Philadelphia Eagles
- New England Patriots
- New York Jets
- Denver Broncos
- Baltimore Ravens
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Miami Dolphins
- New Orleans Saints
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Washington Commanders
- Cleveland Browns
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Indianapolis Colts
- Green Bay Packers
- Los Angeles Rams
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Carolina Panthers
- New York Giants
- Tennessee Titans
- Seattle Seahawks
- Minnesota Vikings
- Detroit Lions
- Arizona Cardinals
- Chicago Bears
- Houston Texans
- Atlanta Falcons
- Las Vegas Raiders
Kyle Yates’ Must-Have DSTs for 2023
New York Jets
The Jets were certainly a solid unit in 2022, but their offense didn’t exactly help them out playing complementary football.
They were consistently put in bad situations and positions by the offense turning the ball over or failing to extend drives, and that negatively impacted their overall production for fantasy football.
That should no longer be the case for 2023, as Aaron Rodgers is in town to captain this offense. With all of the playmakers he has at his disposal, Rodgers should be able to help this defense that is loaded with talent.
If the offense can put points up on the board and lead in games deep into the fourth quarter, we should see the pass rushers pin their ears back and force turnover after turnover.
Yes, losing Jalen Ramsey until approximately December is certainly a blow to this defensive unit, but it is still a roster that is loaded with talent. Add in the fact that Miami brought in Vic Fangio to captain this defense for 2023, and the sky is the limit for them from a fantasy football standpoint.
The fantasy community seems to be sleeping on this addition, though, as the Miami DST is routinely being drafted outside of the top 12 at the position. This creates a unique opportunity for smart fantasy managers to wait until the final rounds of drafts and scoop up this defense poised for a big season at a massive discount.