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Fantasy draft preview


  1. Philadelphia Eagles defense:Asante Samuel is one of the biggest gamblers when it comes to play-making in the NFL. With that risk come his 29 interceptions over the past four seasons. Trent Cole is the best pass rusher you've never heard of, amassing 47 sacks in his first five seasons and 1st-round pick Brandon Graham may eventually become the starter at left end, but he's a rotational rusher for now. 2. Green Bay Packers defense:OLB Brad Jones is someone the Packers want to see step up and become a star, but he was less than outstanding as a rookie. Clay Matthews, on the other hand, racked up 10 sacks and Charles Woodson is still playing well enough to win the Defensive Player of the Year award. 3. New York Jets defense:Darrelle Revis is the one corner that nobody in the NFL wants to face and that causes passing offenses to be essentially shut down. You would think Revis' IDP value would be higher, but opposing QBs avoid him on the field and that means he is actually not worth drafting. David Harris will lead the team in tackles and should be looked at in IDP leagues. 4. Minnesota Vikings defense:The Williams Wall is still holding down the D-line for the Vikings and Antione Winfield keeps the WRs in check. Jared Allen is a beast and continues to get better and better each season. The Vikings are a run-stopping machine that can also rack up the sacks. 5. Dallas Cowboys defense:If Bradie James could just rush the QB he would be a great draft choice in IDP leagues. DeMarcus Ware hasn't missed a game in his five-year career and has averaged just over 14 sacks a season in that same time span. Mike Jenkins is the Cowboys' top corner, while Terence Newman is turning 32 years old this season. 6. Baltimore Ravens defense:Ray Lewis is not what he used to be, but he is still putting up top-15 IDP numbers and that counts for something. Terrell Suggs is going to bounce back and put up 10-12 sacks this season… you heard it here first. Ed Reed is coming off hip surgery, but I think he may have a little left in the tank. 7. New Orleans Saints defense:Jonathan Vilma is the leader on defense and should actually do a bit better with Scott Fujita out of the picture. Will Smith can put up double-digit sack totals again this season and is a fine IDP player to own. 8. San Francisco 49ers defense:Patrick Willis is the man to own in IDP leagues and should go #1 for defensive players in any format. The strong safety battle between Michael Lewis and Taylor Mays will result in someone being a target early on in the IDP draft. 9. New York Giants defense:The Giants' constant rotation along the defensive line limits the upside of talented sack artists like Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka. Not to mention that the middle linebacker competition features Jonathan Goff, Chase Blackburn and rookie Phillip Dillard. 10. Pittsburgh Steelers defense:Edge rushers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley both recorded double-digit sacks for the second straight year and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons showed plenty of play-making ability with seven sacks and four forced fumbles. Troy Polamalu returns to full health after missing 11 games with knee injuries last year, so the Steelers will return to a top-10 fantasy defense this season. 11. Arizona Cardinals defense:Gerald Hayes gets a boost in IDP value with the departure of Dansby. Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell are consistent producers and strong safety Adrian Wilson is a brutal hitter and finished with five interceptions last season. 12. Chicago Bears defense:I avoid Brian Urlacher at this point because he is as injury prone as any player in the NFL these days. Julius Peppers found his way to Chicago and could emerge as a top IDP pick if he can settle into a routine on the D-line and Lance Briggs is a good bet to see 85-90 tackles this season. There are CB concerns, but the line and linebackers are where IDP players will want to focus.
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