Top Defenses To Draft in Fantasy Football: Kyle Yates’ Must-Have Options, Including San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins

It's not easy to identify the top defenses to draft in fantasy football each year. Let's discuss some of the best options to target heading into 2023.

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.

Be sure to check out our other top fantasy players to draft here: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs

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

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Buffalo Bills
  3. Dallas Cowboys
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
  5. New England Patriots
  6. New York Jets
  7. Denver Broncos
  8. Baltimore Ravens
  9. Kansas City Chiefs
  10. Cincinnati Bengals
  11. Pittsburgh Steelers
  12. Miami Dolphins
  13. New Orleans Saints
  14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  15. Washington Commanders
  16. Cleveland Browns
  17. Los Angeles Chargers
  18. Indianapolis Colts
  19. Green Bay Packers
  20. Los Angeles Rams
  21. Jacksonville Jaguars
  22. Carolina Panthers
  23. New York Giants
  24. Tennessee Titans
  25. Seattle Seahawks
  26. Minnesota Vikings
  27. Detroit Lions
  28. Arizona Cardinals
  29. Chicago Bears
  30. Houston Texans
  31. Atlanta Falcons
  32. 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.

Miami Dolphins

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.

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