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Top 2023 NFL Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams

By Jeff Stinger

It’s always tricky trying to figure out when to make the right move and pick up your fantasy football defense/special teams unit. The best D/STs in the NFL have the potential to bust out ungodly fantasy points in any given week similar to their skill-position counterparts, but there’s also a ton of variance that could just as well result in negative production on a bad week. That said, which three DS/Ts stand out the most and are often worth a relatively high draft pick in re-draft leagues?

Nitrobetting is ready to take your bets into the end zone this 2023 NFL season. This time, let’s explore the best options at defense/special teams with the highest upside which should be picked up early in the latter rounds of fantasy football re-draft leagues.

Top 3 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Picks this 2023 NFL Season

49ers D/ST

As the best defense in the league during the 2022 regular season, it only makes sense that the 49ers D/ST is also the consensus top pick in fantasy football drafts this year. San Francisco, a +375 co-favorite to win the NFC title for the second time in four years, led the NFL in points allowed (16.3 PAPG) and yards surrendered (300.3 YAPG), giving this star-studded unit a stable floor of production at the D/ST slot that will be tough to replace midseason. Expect the Niners D/ST to be reached for by countless fantasy managers as early as the seventh to eighth round.

Eagles D/ST

Not to be outdone by the team that San Fran lost to in the NFC Championship Game last season, the Eagles also had one of the top-three elite defensive units in the NFL that led to their surprising Super Bowl run. Philadelphia is currently the (+275) odds-on favorite to repeat as conference champs thanks in large part to a D that gave up the second-fewest yards to opposing teams last season (301.5 YAPG) only behind the Niners and had the most sacks (70) all season long. Despite a few key departures from last year’s squad, Philly soundly re-equipped its defense during the draft and the free-agency window and many experts share the same confidence that this well-run franchise will sustain the same level of success on the defensive front in 2023.

Cowboys D/ST

Our pick for the third-best D/ST in fantasy also happens to reside in the NFC and the NFC East at that, as Dallas’ frightening front seven is a fantasy managers’ ideal pickup for the position. Although the Cowboys’ sack total of 54 was only good enough to be tied for third overall last season, it’s their knack for causing turnovers with these sacks that gives this defensive squad a higher ceiling in terms of fantasy production. The Cowboys generated a league-high 17 fumble recoveries thanks to their precise tackling form, and these fumble recoveries are easy two points apiece every week to further boost their DS/Ts fantasy stock; good enough to be widely considered as the third-best DS/T option in re-draft leagues.

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