The Top 15 Defensive Lines – Where the Sacks Are
Where the Fantasy Sacks Will Come From in 2018
When you are drafting a defense, you want to know which units are going to generate the most sacks, as it is a prime Fantasy defensive statistic. Isolating specific defensive line units could help you make some key calls on which defenses to draft in those final rounds. As we all know, turnovers are not easy to forecast in Fantasy Football, but scouting some defensive fronts for sack production can be more predictable. So we bring in Montclair State defensive end Michael Isiofia to rank the Top 15 defensive lines for 2018.
This was probably the most surprising team of 2017. They went as far as they did because of the defense. They are called “Sacksonville” for a reason. The veteran presence of Calais Campbell was big. He came there and changed the culture and he makes everyone around him better. They’ll do even better this year and lead the league in sacks after they finished one behind Pittsburgh in 2017.
They have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Aaron Donald. He's going to give them 10 or more sacks by himself. He does a good job of taking advantage of how short he is, by staying under the offensive line all game. They added Ndamukong Suh, who is a Top 100 player, and the Rams adding Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib gives them a boost as well, because if the quarterback has no one to throw to, the defensive line has more time to get a sack.
Young talent plus a few veterans is a good combination. Everson Griffen is one of the most slept on defensive lineman in the league from a fan standpoint. The last four years he's had over 10 sacks in three seasons. He's just a relentless player and his tenacious mentality is one of a kind. They added Sheldon Richardson, which is a plus, because he has plenty of experience and they needed more depth on the line. He hasn't performed his best these past few years, but he should succeed in this system.
They didn’t really have a person that stood out, because as a collective unit they all dominated. The Eagles have the most depth of any team at the defensive line position. If they can put a fresh body in to beat up on the offensive lineman once the starters come out for a few plays, then they’re in a good position. Now, with the addition of Michael Bennett, they'll be an even better team than they were last year on the defensive side of the ball.
In 2017 the Saints’ defensive line made a noticeable jump in production. Usually the best player gets the most recognition and that player is Cam Jordan. He finished Top 3 in Defensive Player of the Year voting and it's well deserved considering he had 13 sacks. Alex Okafor complemented him well at the other defensive end position.
Cameron Heyward is the standout on this defense. Playing the DT position and registering 12 sacks, he had a very important role in the success of the Steelers. Stephon Tuitt is a big help to this defense as well. They drafted Josh Frazier out of Alabama, who played as a backup, but his ability to push upfield and get to the quarterback is good.
This might be one that's up for question, but the main reason I believe that the Patriots will be at least Top 10 in sacks on the defensive line is because of Bill Belichick helping with the calling of the plays on defense. We all know that he has one of the best football minds in the history of the game.
This team has a lot of sleepers. I think it was clear that Mike Daniels was a big standout. He made his first Pro Bowl last season. Young Kenny Clark went on a sack binge towards the end of the season. Dean Lowry continues to grow into a versatile player capable of lining up anywhere across the defensive front, and they added Muhammad Wilkerson. I think he puts them in a position to stay in the Top 10 and if Montravius Adams stays healthy he could do some damage too.
We all know how good of a player Khalil Mack is. He's been dominating his position for the two years he's been in the league and I'm pretty sure he won't stop now. Bruce Irvin had eight sacks on the season to go with Mack's 10.5. They are only getting better on the defensive line, so I believe they will land in the Top 10 in sacks because the front allows the LBs to be so disruptive.
Julius Peppers and Mario Addison are two dominant lineman, and they come up with plenty of sacks. They both had 11 sacks last season and are the leaders with their veteran presence. Most people overlook the effort of the Panthers defensive line mainly because they had two dominant linebackers in Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis.
With J.J. Watt being healthy, this team is bound to have plenty of sacks. He's been injured the past two seasons, but with him and Jadeveon Clowney at the defensive end positions they can have 20-plus sacks combined.
Joey Bosa is a BEAST. He didn't have a sophomore slump, either. He had 12.5 sacks and he will keep improving. Brandon Mebane does a good job in the interior as well. They need help stopping the run, but when it comes to getting sacks they can get it done.
A lot of people don't realize that the Cardinals have the leader in sacks in Chandler Jones. He has more sacks than some defensive lines as a whole. With Jones the sky is always the limit for the amount of sacks they can have as a team. They have young talent and also a reliable tackle In Corey Peters, so they'll be set.
The reason their defense wasn't good last year was because of the corners and safeties. The Jets defense is predicated on the coverage holding long enough for the rushers to get home. If the coverage breaks down quickly then it’ll appear as if the edge rushers and interior guys aren’t doing a good enough job at getting pressure. Since they've improved at the corner positions they'll be improved this year.
They have two veteran lineman, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. Atkins is one of the best pass-rushing defensive tackles in the league and he led the team in sacks with nine last season. Dunlap is a scrappy defensive end who can play on all three downs and he was third on the team with 7.5 sacks last season. If they can produce well this season with the other decent players who can also get sacks, such as Carl Lawson and Michael Johnson, they'll easily come in Top 12 in sacks.
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