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When should I draft a defense/DST in my 2023 fantasy football draft?

Here’s when you should consider drafting a defense/special teams unit in fantasy football

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Defenses can make or break a head-to-head matchup for you, as we’ve all seen a defense finish with 40 fantasy points, or on the other end with negative points even. It’s not generally a big focus for most managers and comes as an afterthought, but it’s still a necessary piece of the roster that deserves at least a little consideration.

When to draft a defense?

Most managers won’t even think about defense until the last few rounds of a draft, as it’s easy to stream defenses throughout the season and pick the highest projected teams from week to week. However, there are plenty of fantasy managers who like to pick them a bit earlier, as is shown by this year’s ADP rankings so far with the 49ers coming in at No. 203 overall. If you wait until the very last round to grab a defense, the top-tier choices will most definitely be gone. If you’re putting emphasis on a certain team’s D/ST and want to guarantee you have them, you’ll likely have to reach and pick them up a little earlier than their ADP suggests.

Who are the best defenses to draft?

Obviously, the 49ers are the top defense among fantasy managers this year, followed by the Bills, the Eagles, and the Cowboys as they’re all being picked before 225 in ADP.

Who are some sleeper picks at D/ST?

Some sleepers heading into this year’s draft would include the Ravens, the Jets, and the Browns as none of them are included in the top five D/ST teams in terms of ADP. With favorable schedules and the potential to turn in some big performances, they’re all worth keeping an eye on as you head into the back half of the draft.