Updated: Jun 27
The 2023 NFL season is right around the corner. Fantasy football players will want to start thinking about who they can add to their team to be competitive this year. Here are five defensive players that could have incredible sneaky fantasy value.
#1. Christian Wilkins
Wilkins is arguably the heart and soul of the Miami Dolphins defense and had a fantastic season in his fourth year. He had a career-high in tackles with 98, along with three-and-a-half sacks, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery over 17 games in 2022. If he can continue to perform at last year's level, he could be a great fantasy asset.
In IDP flex leagues, his current ADP is 228.1; he may even go undrafted in shallow leagues. In 2022 he put up 341.0 points in standard scoring formats, averaging 22.0 points per game, with a high of 43.0. At his current performance rate, Wilkins could be a great grab in the late rounds of any start-up.
#2. Uchenna Nwosu
Last year on the Seattle Seahawks, Nwosu posted career-highs in both tackles (67) and sacks (9.5) while averaging 51.5 defensive snaps a game. He's currently going into the last year of his contract and should be looking to best his 2022 efforts to pursue a pay increase with a new contract.
In 2022 Nwosu posted 403.0 points over 17 games, with multiple games over 55.0 points. His current ADP is 253.2, a steal in deeper leagues. In leagues, 12 men and under, he could be an excellent waiver addition after the draft if you find yourself having roster space.
#3. Josh Allen
Over 17 games with the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2022 regular season, Allen finished with 57 tackles, seven sacks, four forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. He had 10.5 sacks in his rookie campaign but has not reached that number since. Allen is now entering the final year of his rookie contract, which should be plenty of incentive for him to compete at a higher level.
During the 2022 campaign, Allen scored 311.5 points, short of his 2021 score of 403.5. With an improving Jaguars team, there's no reason he can't repeat his previous performance. His current ADP is 174.7, a great pick in the late middle rounds of any start-up draft.
#4. Azeez Ojulari
A second-round pick by the New York Giants in 2021, Ojulari had trouble last season, being limited to only seven games because of injuries. Although when he played, he impressed, having recorded 5.5 sacks, three forces fumbles, and 14 tackles. If he can remain healthy, he can become one of the league's top pass rushers, as he showed great promise in his rookie season.
Having posted only 151.0 points in 2022, Ojulari had previously put up 295.5 in his rookie debut and could easily hit those numbers again. His current ADP is 312.6, nearly going undrafted in any league under 16 teams. He could be a late-round flyer in deep leagues or a waiver target to watch as the season begins.
#5. Quincy Williams
Williams re-signed with the New York Jets on a three-year deal after recording back-to-back 100 tackle seasons. Along with 216 tackles, Williams also had five sacks, six pass breakups, and three forced fumbles. Alongside his brother, Quinnen Williams, he should remain one of the league's top linebackers.
The linebacker's current ADP is 316.0, with only an 11 percent roster rate. Those are astonishing statistics for a player who averaged 334.5 points each of the last two seasons. While his floor is around 12.5 PPG, he has an incredible ceiling, having hit highs of 66.0 points in a single game. Williams could be worth a late-round dart throw in deeper drafts.
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