Fantasy Football Defenses: Top Ten You Should Target In 2014

10 of 12

San Francisco 49ers players Patrick Willis (52) , Donte Whitner (31) and Tramaine Brock (26) Bob Martin-USA TODAY Sports

player. 42. <a href=. 2013 Record. 12-4 (Lost in NFC Championship). San Francisco 49ers. 2

The San Francisco 49ers are the #2 defense on my countdown. San Francisco is one of my favorites to go all the way this year. Sure, Colin Kaepernick is great, but this defense is even better.

The 49ers’ secondary took a hit in the offseason, as they lost safety Donte Whitner and cornerback Carlos Rogers in free agency. Unfortunately, the don’t have much depth to be able to replace them.

San Francisco did draft safety Jimmie Ward in the first round this year, and signed Antoine Bethea as a free agent, but those moves probably aren’t big enough to give this secondary a big improvement.

On their defensive line, defensive ends Ray McDonald and Justin Smith are as good as they come, combining for 10 sacks last year. Smith and McDonald also helped make San Francisco a top 5 running defense last year, only allowing 95 yards per game on the ground.

But there is nothing in the league quite like the 49ers’ linebackers. Aldon Smith, NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis have all been All-Pros at some point in their careers, while Ahmad Brooks has the potential to be one very soon.

In 2013, between the four, they combined for 25 sacks, three interceptions and 11 forced fumbles. This could be the best linebacker core we have seen in decades.

The bad news for fantasy owners is the injuries and suspensions that will take a tole on this team in the first half of the season. Smith is facing a possible suspension after going to court for DUI and gun charges, while Bowman is still recovering from an ACL injury that could keep him out until Week 7.

If you have the patience to stick with this defense through the first couple of weeks, you will be greatly rewarded when it comes around to fantasy playoffs.

Pros: Abundance of Talent
Cons: Injuries and Suspensions