2022 NFL Fantasy Football Season D/ST Sleeper Picks

By Jeff Stinger

Often overlooked and regarded as a necessary evil in fantasy football, drafting a defense/special teams unit (D/ST) is always tricky. The top-five D/STs in pre-season rankings often don’t end up as the same top-five defenses in fantasy at the end of the season. That being said, it might be better to take a shot at one of the five sleeper DS/T candidates below, which will likely be available in the final three rounds of re-draft leagues to make room for better skill-position pickups in the earlier rounds.

Nitrobetting is ready to equip its bettors with the latest news, futures odds, and special features for the duration of the 2022 NFL offseason. This time, let’s take a closer look at the five best sleeper picks at the D/ST position for the 2022 NFL fantasy season, as well as several future odds pertaining to the player and/or team in the discussion.

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Top 5 D/ST Sleepers in the 2022 Fantasy Football Season 

VIEW: Complete 2022 NFL Futures Odds

Los Angeles Chargers D/ST

One good reason why the Chargers are currently (+1,400) sleepers to win Super Bowl LVII  is because of their revamped defense. The Bolts made a huge splash in free agency this offseason by signing six-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher Khalil Mack as they now have the pairing of Mack and Joey Bosa flanking the edge. Although the Chargers gave up a ton of points to opponents last season, having an even more frightening pass rush than before means that the sack totals will keep their D/ST value relatively high in 2021.

Arizona Cardinals D/ST

Unlike in previous seasons, the Cardinals’ defense is expected to have a much calmer effort navigating through the NFC West’s waters with the Seahawks in rebuilding mode and the 49ers having a new starting QB under center. And still, the Cards’ D/ST finished as a top-12 defense in terms of average yards and points allowed per game. In turn, the Arizona D/ST is bound to make 12-team leagues’ rosters and at a more affordable draft price at that.

Cleveland Browns D/ST

It’s quite surprising to see that Cleveland’s defense allowed just a little over 311 yards to their opponents last season (fifth in the NFL). Perhaps it would be best to pick up the Browns DS/T off of waivers around mid-season after Deshaun Watson’s six-game ban has been lifted for the team’s offense to alleviate the pressure off of the defense. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to consider a late-round flyer on the Dawg Pound’s D.

Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST

Considering that reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt is still a (+700) favorite to repeat as the league’s DPOY, the Steelers D/ST should really be getting more love in fantasy. Then again, Pittsburgh hasn’t been able to generate as many takeaways as desired to make up for their meager yardage and points-allowed averages, either. Nevertheless, the Steel Curtain mystique is still appealing in fantasy and can easily be had in the tail-end of most re-draft leagues packing tons of potential over other defenses under the top 15 DS/Ts in pre-draft rankings.

Washington Commanders D/ST

Back in 2020, the Washington defense was arguably the most surprising stop unit in the NFL thanks in large part to then-Defensive Rookie of the Year award-winner Chase Young. But after a gruesome injury derailed Young’s 2021 campaign, the Commanders’ D folded just the same. Young’s return to the lineup, coupled with a relatively easy schedule in the tenuous NFC East, the Washington D/ST makes for a very intriguing DS/T pickup as a weekly streaming option, at the very least.

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*All stated odds are subject to change without prior notice.

READ MORE: 2022 NFL Fantasy Football Season TE Sleeper Picks