There are always plenty of fantasy football owners who get frustrated with how their team performs on a yearly basis. But finding NFL players that can create the most upside in the coming season is important. Which fantasy defenses have the biggest upside as we head into the 2017 season? Who can improve the most following a disappointing season last year? Take a look at Salute Magazine’s first glance at players at every position that can help you win your league. After all, “defense wins championships.”
Cleveland Browns D/ST
You can go ahead and stop laughing already. Believe it or not, Cleveland has the ability to be one of the top-10 defenses in fantasy this season. While this unit needs the Browns’ offense to step it up about 30 notches to take the pressure off, a solid 2017 NFL Draft has helped build a fortress on the defensive side. Myles Garrett and Jabrill Peppers have the skill it takes at the pro level, and will help solidify this defense into a fantasy points factory.
New York Giants D/ST
The Giants’ defense collected interceptions in 2017 like the IRS collects taxes, and it was the offense that cost them a solid finish. Landon Collins, Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins to name a few, but this defense and special teams has plenty of playmakers that can land them in the top-seven this season. Like the Browns though, these teams will rely on everything but the lack of special teams to put up points.
Carolina Panthers D/ST
Injuries to stud linebacker Luke Kuechly affected the Panthers more than anything on defense, but 2017 is a new beginning for this team. Add to it Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson and Mike Adams, and a dramatic turnaround from 2016 is more than possible. Last year was an anomaly for Carolina, and I fully expect a return to the 2015 version in fantasy football this season.
Cincinnati Bengals D/ST
Assuming all the starters from the defense make it out of training camp (looking at you Vontaze Burfict!), they are a unit that can wreck opposing offenses. With Joe Flacco having a bad back and Ben Roethlisberger contemplating retirement in 2018, the Bengals could force the issue in opponents’ backfields. Quarterbacks might start doing the Tom Brady (lay down quickly when pressured) in the AFC North. And with the team drafting William Jackson and Andrew Billings, the defense is now even better.
FANTASY PLAYERS WITH BIGGEST UPSIDE (BY POSITION):