When is a "bad" NFL defense a "good" thing? When it's fantasy football. Consider that the Dallas Cowboys were the top-scoring fantasy defense/special teams (DST) last year, even though they were 19th in the league in yards allowed per game.
To be fair, the Cowboys were a respective seventh in scoring defense, but this is a unit that gave up 351 yards per game. So why was Dallas so good in fantasy? Turnovers. The Cowboys led the way with 34 takeaways, including 26 interceptions with Trevon Diggs accounting for nearly half of them (11). They also produced nine defensive and special teams touchdowns. That's fantastic (pun intended) production, and no doubt Dallas helped many fantasy managers win a championship.
So where do the Cowboys rank for the 2022 season? Dallas is barely a top-20 option. Why? Mainly because turnover production is incredibly volatile from year to year, and the likelihood of fewer takeaways also means fewer scoring opportunities for the defense.
Turnovers and sacks certainly factor in when it comes to choosing a fantasy DST, but the other stats matter too, which is why Buffalo leads these DST rankings. The Bills finished first in the NFL in both total and scoring defense. They also were fourth in fantasy scoring despite producing just one defensive touchdown.
But it's entirely possible that could change this season with Von Miller now in the fold. Not only has Miller recorded 115.5 sacks in his 10 seasons, but he's known for his ability to create havoc (i.e. turnovers) with his pressure, as evidenced by his 26 career forced fumbles. Remember, sacks are great for fantasy DSTs, but turnovers and touchdowns are even better. Just ask those fantasy managers who had Dallas last season.