2021 Fantasy Football D/ST Sleepers: Undervalued Team Defenses To Draft
With 2021 fantasy football drafts approaching, here are some deep 2021 fantasy football D/ST sleepers to draft in the late rounds. We’re focusing on 2021 fantasy football defense sleepers typically not picked in 2021 fantasy football drafts.
2021 Fantasy D/ST Sleepers: Undervalued Team Defenses To Draft
Cleveland Browns (Yahoo ADP: 11)
The Cleveland Browns may finish 2021 as the best defense in the AFC North. Yes, Pittsburgh (Yahoo ADP: 2) is much higher, but Cleveland has potential with players like Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett. That is a stacked defensive front.
The Browns’ secondary is improving after adding Troy Hill to join Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, with Grant Delpit and John Johnson III rounding out potential starters.
And as if that wasn’t enough, Cleveland drafted Greg Newsome II and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Owusu-Koramoah presents as a real sleeper, and like Newsome II he can fly all over the field.
2021 Fantasy Football Sleepers: Top Sleepers • QB • RB • WR • TE • D/ST
Despite playing in a tough division, the Browns’ schedule is relatively easy. Some of their other opponents include Detroit, Houston, Chicago, Minnesota, and Denver — all perceived to be lighter offenses.
This is a complete team that could rank as one of the five best fantasy defenses when all is said and done, especially with their ability to rack up fantasy points via turnovers. Accordingly, the Browns are our top sleeper defense for 2021.
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New York Giants (Yahoo ADP: 14)
The New York Giants’ defense carries a ton of risk in 2021, which is partly why Yahoo hedged with their ranking. New York allowed the 12th-fewest yards and 9th-fewest points per game last year, however, so there’s also a lot of potential with this unit.
The loss of defensive tackle and run-stopper Dalvin Tomlinson to Minnesota will hurt, but New York has enough depth to compensate, especially after signing Adoree’ Jackson to upgrade the secondary.
Defensive end and second-round draft pick Azeez Olujari could also step in right away. His run-blocking is well documented and he’s probably a pass-rushing move away from being a real menace on the front four. New York also took cornerback Aaron Robinson in the third round, who profiles as a run stopper and likely 2021 starter.
If the Giants’ offense can figure out how to stay on the field a little more, New York could easily have a top 10 or 12 defense in 2021, especially while playing in the mediocre NFC East.
Miami Dolphins (Yahoo ADP: 15)
If the Buffalo Bills drop off at all in 2021, the Miami Dolphins could be one of the biggest beneficiaries — especially defensively. Miami climbed all the way to sixth in fewest points allowed per game last year (21.1), and could once again carry an elite defense under Brian Flores. The Dolphins’ defense was ferocious last year, forcing 28 turnovers and racking up 41 sacks.
The biggest concern for Miami is the loss of Kyle Van Noy, especially since he returned to the division-rival Patriots. First-round draft pick Jaelan Phillips and second-round selection Jevon Holland could both provide a boost, however. They’ll join a secondary that features ballhawk Xavien Howard, who just led the NFL in interceptions for the second time in his career.
The Dolphins’ schedule isn’t too hard, though the AFC East will be tougher if the Patriots bounce back. Miami’s greatest strength is its ability to generate fantasy points via turnovers, which most ADP rankings seem to be missing. The Dolphins should once again boast a top-10 fantasy defense this year, with the potential to finish in the top five.
Denver Broncos (Yahoo ADP: 17)
Denver took a step back defensively last year, slipping from 10th to 25th in fewest points allowed. Losing Von Miller for the entire season was certainly a factor there, as was their turnover-prone offense.
The hope for 2021 is that Miller comes back strong and plays an entire season with Bradley Chubb, which could be quite the defensive duo. Denver also signed Kyle Fuller and drafted Patrick Surtain II to bolster the defense, giving the Broncos a bright future on that side of the ball if they stay healthy.
Denver’s division features high-scoring offenses in the Chiefs, Raiders, and Chargers, but the rest of their schedule should be manageable. If the Broncos’ offense can do a better job sustaining drives, their defense may return to top-10 status.
More 2021 Fantasy D/ST Sleepers To Watch & Consider
- San Francisco 49’ers
- Chicago Bears
- Arizona Cardinals
For more of The Game Day’s 2021 fantasy football draft tips, listen to our Take The Points podcast with Marcus Mosher and Adam Kramer: