Fantasy Football Defenses: Top Ten You Should Target In 2014

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Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

player. 87. <a href=. 2013 Record. 12-4 (Lost in Divisional Round). Carolina Panthers. 3

The Carolina Panthers clock in at #3. Carolina, although losing some key players on both sides of the ball, will be still be a Super Bowl contender this year, thanks to this terrific defense.

There will be some new faces through the entire secondary for the Panthers. Safeties Mike Mitchell and Quintin Mikell, as well as cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, were key players in 2013 that have found new homes for this season.

But all is not completely lost for Carolina. In the offseason, they added safeties Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud, as well as cornerback Antoine Cason, all who are average players looking to not mess up too much.

As far as sacks go, nobody does it better than Carolina. Defensive ends Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy combined for 26 sacks a year ago. Carolina also drafted Kony Ealy to come in when needed, which could be as soon as Week 1.

Hardy could face a suspension for assaulting his girlfriend, but it looks like that penalty could be delayed until next year.

On the inside of the line, defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short don’t let anything get passed them in the middle. They helped make Carolina the second best rushing defense in the NFL, right behind Arizona. They also only allowed four rushing touchdowns all season, tied for first in the league.

The superstar on this defense is their middle linebacker, Luke Kuechly. Kuechly has been one of the NFL’s best linebackers in his first two seasons. In 2013, he led his team with 96 tackles, while also leading the team in interceptions with four. Kuechly is a very dominant player, which will force offensive coordinators to game plan around him.

The Panthers’ defense should have no problems through the first four games of the season, but will be tested against in Weeks 5-10, facing the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson. This is a high-risk, high-reward defense, but definitely one worth taking in your draft.

Pro: Elite front seven
Con: Second-Rate secondary