Getting Defensive: Week 1

NFL: New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers

I have been writing this column for Rotoworld/NBC Sports Edge for quite a while now (that they keep bringing me back surprises me as much as it does you), and I’m pretty sure that my intro for one of the first couple pieces every year bears a similar message.

This is the trickiest time of year for team defenses.

There are some things we know with a fair level of confidence. The San Francisco 49ers are going to be a good defensive football team, especially once edge-rusher Nick Bosa puts pen to paper on a new contract. So will the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots. The Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals are probably going to struggle offensively and be matchups to target all season long.

But every year also brings surprises, because no fantasy position is affected more by the changes each offseason brings than defenses. Personnel changes. New coaches. Changing schemes. All can have a major impact on defensive performance.

It’s also a position with a lot of annual variance. The Eagles were third in fantasy points last year largely because the team amassed a staggering 70 sacks and 27 takeaways. Those are going to be hard numbers to replicate, even for a defense as talented as Philly’s.

My point is this – some of what we’ll call “surprises” defensively in 2023 aren’t so much surprises as things we didn’t properly account for. For some it could mean the defense drafted as an every-week starter starts slower than expected. For streamers, it makes September a trickier month to navigate.

Either way the advice remains the same. Just take a breath. Don’t overreact to any single week, and in a month or so, we’ll have a much better idea what the defensive landscape looks like in 2023.

In the meantime, there are still calls to be made. So, let’s get to it.


San Francisco 49ers (at PIT)

The prevailing storyline in San Francisco this offseason on the defensive side of the…

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Author : NBC Sports

Publish date : 2023-09-05 07:39:48

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