Instead of just looking at specific players that can take your fantasy teams to the top of the leaderboard this year, it’s also important to know the ins and outs of the teams those players are playing for or against. In this series, we’ll take a look at some of the top units around the NFL.
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NFL: Top 5 Defensive Lines
5. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins quietly finished eighth in pass blocking amongst defensive lines last season. Their biggest weakness was stopping the run, but that void was filled when they signed Ndamukong Suh to a six year, $114 million dollar deal. Suh is arguably the best defensive tackle in the game. His presence will allow the edge rushers such as Cameron Wake to get less attention and have more opportunity to get to the quarterback. Not to mention, Suh gets to the quarterback too. He’s had eight or more sacks in three of his five seasons in the NFL. Suh, Wake, and Vernon Carey are all a great core. This unit is going to be a force to be reckoned with this season.
4. Seattle Seahawks
This unit was one of the stingiest rush defenses in the league last season. They allowed the third fewest total rushing yards and were one of three teams to allow fewer than 85 rushing yards per game. A lot of that had to do with this defensive line. Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are the defensive ends, while Brandon Mebane and Tony McDaniel work the interior of this line. They also added free agent Ahtyba Rubin which makes this unit even better and deeper. The strongest part of the defense is the secondary; however, this defensive line has shown that it’s one of the better ones in the NFL in recent years and should continue to play at a high level. I’m not expecting that to change in the near future.
3. New York Jets
The Jets added another stud to their defensive line in this year’s draft. They drafted defensive tackle Leonard Williams out of USC to add another anchor to the interior of this defensive line. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are already a scary tandem as it is. They are strong and agile, and are able to get right through the O-lines and apply pressure to the quarterback. They accounted for the sixth most sacks in 2014 (45) and finished the year as the fourth best pass block defense. Much like the Rams, this unit is deep and filled with talents. Good luck to the offensive coordinators planning against the line.
2. Buffalo Bills
The Bills defensive line is stout. Last season they led the league in sacks. The line is composed of Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes on the edges and one of the best duos in the interior, Kyle Williams and Marcell Dareus (he had 10 sacks last season). In the offseason the Bills signed head coach Rex Ryan, which adds value to this line because of his aggressive coaching style. He will probably have Williams rushing a good amount from the edge and be very creative with all of the talent on this line. This unit will be a quarterback’s nightmare.
1. St. Louis Rams
This unit is elite and deep. It is made up of five first round picks: Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Chris Long and Nick Fairley. There is not a weak spot on this line. They have two studs in the middle to stuff the run and three good defensive ends that will get to the quarterback often. This unit will win plenty of battles at the line of scrimmage. Between the talent and depth, this has to be considered the best D-line.