You hear it all the time: Don’t draft a defense early. Good advice, generally. But are the 2014 Seahawks an exception?
* The Seahawks DST scored 264 points in CBSSports.com standard leagues last year, most by any DST since the 2008 Steelers (289).
* The Seahawks DST outscored the No. 1 Fantasy wideout, Demaryius Thomas, by 37 points and outscored every running back except Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy.
* The Seahawks DST outscored the No. 12 DST by 92 points, or 5.8 per week.
* The Seahawks DST scored a very repeatable four touchdowns -- without Percy Harvin returning kicks. The Chiefs DST needed a fluky 11 touchdowns to finish second with 257 points.
* Seattle led the league in points allowed (231), yards allowed (4,378) and takeaways (39), the first team to lead all three categories since the 1985 Bears.
* Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank the Seahawks DST No. 1 for 2014.
The Seahawks DST will regress. The unit lost defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant and corners Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner. Safety Kam Chancellor and linebacker Bruce Irvin are coming back from hip surgeries.
The schedule is tough, except for Weeks 7-9 against the Rams, Panthers and Raiders. And the bye comes too early, Week 4.
But the Seahawks DST could score 40 fewer points and potentially outscore every receiver. That's because DSTs score more in CBSSports.com leagues than on other sites. Given the scoring system, it makes sense to start looking at the Seahawks DST as early as Round 9. Especially if you have your QB, top 3 RBs, top 3 WRs and TE by that point.
The Seahawks DST went in the 12th round of our April mock draft, but rose to the 10th round in our post-NFL draft mock. The unit is going in the 8th round of mock drafts on FantasyFootballCalculator.com, the 9th round on MyFantasyLeague.com.
If the 9th seems too high for you, remember the Seahawks DST went 73rd on average on CBSSports.com last year: Top of the 7th round. Drafters who gambled got rewarded, big-time.
Seattle's biggest playmakers return, led by free safety Earl Thomas, corner Richard Sherman, ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett and linebackers Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright. Coach Pete Carroll will make sure this defense doesn't lose its edge.
"This is a very gritty football team," Carroll said.
Defenders are flying around at OTAs and showing no complacency, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "If we’re going to call ourselves the best, we’ve got to prove it every day," Wagner told reporters.