Fantasy Defenses
ASHBURN, VA – JUNE 10: Chase Young #99 of the Washington Football Team looks on with Shaka Toney #58, Daron Payne #94, Montez Sweat #90, and Jonathan Allen #93 during mandatory minicamp at Inova Sports Performance Center on June 10, 2021, in Ashburn, Virginia. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

With fantasy season right around the corner, the time has come to look at which defenses will be the top performers this year. This list takes into consideration the defenses with the highest scoring potential in fantasy, not the top defenses in the league, though they are often intertwined. Without further ado, the top five fantasy defenses for the 2021 season.

5. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers defense was one of the biggest underperformers in the 2020 season. They finished 13th in the league in total points and averaged only 5.5 points in standard scoring, but this was of course due to the team’s lack of defensive linemen, as they lost Nick Bosa and Dee Ford to injury for most of the season and had just traded DeForest Buckner to Indy.

With Bosa and Ford returning for this season, expect the 49ers defense to surprise the football world. Despite their injuries, they allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing teams in 2020, and they will only improve with the addition of their best pass rushers.

4. Indianapolis Colts

Last season, the Colts had one of the most consistent defenses in the league. They finished third in fantasy points, and first in defensive touchdowns with six. The one area where they needed to improve was their pass rush, but they did so by drafting Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo. With their two new linemen and the aforementioned Buckner, Indy will once again have a formidable fantasy defense.

3. Baltimore Ravens

Another year, another extremely solid Ravens defense. In fact, this could be their sixth straight year in the top five in fantasy points. This squad has talent all over, including one of the best secondaries in the league led by Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters. Look for them to be one of the highest scoring defenses each week.

2. Washington Football Team

On paper, you could say that the WFT could make a case for being at the top of this list. They were the fourth-best fantasy defense in 2020 and have nine of their top 10 snap-getters returning this year. Additionally, they added CB William Jackson, who will join Kendall Fuller and Landon Collins to round out a great secondary. What sets this defense apart from the rest, however, is their defensive line. They have four first-round picks, including one of the most promising young stars in the game, Chase Young, on their d-line. This defense will easily be one of your best bets in your fantasy draft.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers

The second-ranked fantasy defense in 2020 rounds out our top five, but they would not be here if they had not signed Melvin Ingram. With the loss of Bud Dupree, the Steelers desperately needed another pass rusher, and Ingram will be a great addition to the team’s strong core. Pittsburgh will also be getting Devin Bush back from a torn ACL. All in all, this is a defense that will give up very few points while scoring with the best defenses in the league.

Many Other Options

If you do not get one of these teams in your draft, there are plenty of other options out there. I believe that streaming fantasy defenses who are playing the worst offenses in the league is a smarter tactic, but that is just my opinion. However, if you pick up any of the ones listed above, you will not have to worry about your defense in the 2021 season.

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