Fantasy Football 2018: Predicting The Top NFL Sleeper At Each Position

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Selecting a sleeper defense is tricky. Most defenses outside of the elite units like the Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams carry major question marks.

Streaming fantasy defenses is one popular option. The concept is simple: spend a late-round pick on a defense that opens the season with a favorable matchup or two. When those matchups dry up, cut that defense loose and grab another one off the waiver wire.

It's a cheap way to cobble together a top-10 defense without paying a draft-day premium.

A handful of squads fit the bill in 2018, but two potential sleepers stand above the others, largely because they aren't among the top 22 fantasy defenses being selected this year.

The Washington Redskins weren't a terrible fantasy defense in 2017, finishing 13th in's default fantasy scoring. Washington finished the season tied for seventh in the NFL with 42 sacks and tied for ninth with 16 interceptions.

Washington will get a healthy Jonathan Allen back this year and added another Crimson Tide standout in Da'Ron Payne to bolster one of the NFL's worst run defenses. If that front seven plays better, the Redskins will have a puncher's chance at a top-10 fantasy finish.

The Redskins open the season in Arizona before coming home to face the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. Neither team is an offensive powerhouse, and both ranked inside the top five in fantasy points allowed to defenses last year.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Titans defense finished the 2017 campaign ranked 20th in fantasy points. Like the Redskins, the Titans were quietly good at getting after the quarterback, logging 42 sacks.

And like Washington, the Titans made moves to shore up their defense for new head coach Mike Vrabel. The team gave cornerback Malcolm Butler a big contract in free agency and used its first two draft picks on linebackers Rashaan Evans and Harold Landry.

Also like Washington, the Titans draw a pair of favorable matchups to start the year, beginning with a road game against the Miami Dolphins before a home tilt against the Houston Texans.

The Titans, however, also have a talented young kick returner in Adoree' Jackson. The possibility for a special teams score puts them over the top as the best sleeper defense.


Gary Davenport is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year.

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