Fantasy Football Defenses: Top Ten You Should Target In 2014

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Arizona Cardinals defensive end Darnell Dockett (90) Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports

player. 32. <a href=. 2013 Record. 10-6 (3rd in NFC West). Arizona Cardinals. 9

At #9, we have the Arizona Cardinals. Arizona has had a rough last couple of months. Not only did they miss the playoffs with 10 wins,  but they lost one of their best defensive players in Karlos Dansby to free agency.

Dansby was one of the biggest playmakers for Arizona last season, racking up 6.5 sacks and four interceptions. The Cardinals also learned right before training camp that safety Tyrann Mathieu would start training camp on the “Physically Unable to Play (PUP) List”, showing he still needs to recover from his knee injury from last season.

Luckily for Arizona, they have Patrick Peterson. Peterson is one of the top five corners in the league, and could use this year to propel himself even higher on that list.

While Peterson is not necessarily a “stat guy”, his talents force quarterbacks to avoid throwing in his general direction, allowing teammates to make plays. In a fantasy league where you own the team, and not just the player, that’s always a good thing.

But how could you mention Arizona without talking about their rush defense? The Cardinals were first in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, only giving up 1351 yards and five touchdowns over the entire 2013 season. Much of that thanks goes to linebacker John Abraham, who forced four fumbles in 2013.

Arizona has a talented team, but draft them with caution. With opponents like the Chargers and Broncos in the first quarter of the season, it may not be worth taking the risk of playing them without Mathieu and Daryl Washington, who will be suspended for the entire 2014 season for a violation of the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

I would not start them until Week 6 in a matchup against the Redskins, which should give Mathieu enough time to get back, get healthy and get ready to play.

Pro: Daunting rush defense
Con: Loss of Mathieu/Washington