In his first season as defensive coordinator, Demeco Ryans and the 49er’s defense ranked third in the NFL in 2021, allowing 310.0 yards per game. San Francisco also was sixth in the NFL, allowing 206.5 passing yards per game. The Niners forced 22 fumbles on defense in 2021, the most in the NFL and the most in a single season by the 49ers since 1994. The defense flexed a strong 48-sack season, which was good for second with the Dolphins, and only one behind the leading Chicago Bears at 49 sacks.
“SWARM” stands for Special Work Ethic and Relentless Mindset is a recognition Ryans has implemented for players who are constantly recognized for their outstanding performances on the practice field. This is an excellent acronym in a place where you get better daily.
Bosa finished the season leading the team with a career-high 15.5 sacks. His sack total ranked fourth in the NFL, which earned him a Pro Bowl selection. Adding 52 tackles and four forced fumbles at age 24 makes him a highly valued IDP dynasty asset. In your draft, he should be one of the top three defensive linemen off the board. If you can somehow make a trade for him, make it happen.
Ebukam has missed one game in five seasons, which is nothing to shrug at in this league. He may not provide big eye-popping numbers. But he is the kind of player who can help win games when the times get tough in your lineup. You know he will play and provide IDP points for you off the bench in this Niner’s stout defense. Ebukam was brought in from the L.A. Rams to help hold down the other side of the line with Nick Bosa.
Armstead is coming off his best season for tackles (63) and second-best season with sacks (6) while not missing a game in the last four seasons. He is a must-own DL for deeper formats or DT leagues because of his ability to both stop the run and rush the passer. Although he is a must-own, I mean that he shouldn’t be on your waiver wire. Armstead can fill bye weeks and injuries consistently.
Warner has averaged 125 tackles since entering the league in 2018 and has been the defensive general in San Francisco the whole time without missing a beat. He has played 16 games each season and is one of the top-scoring linebackers in IDP across the NFL. Warner has been raved about throughout training camp as locked in and could be in store for the best season in 2022. If you can trade any extra assets to acquire him, do so quickly. Warner will be a top-five linebacker this season.
Greenlaw has proved in the camp that the lingering hamstring injury is non-existent with his plays in the secondary at the weak side linebacker position. Greenlaw, when healthy, can generate production, especially with his supporting cast around him. If he can stay healthy for an entire season, he is a high-upside LB3 with a ceiling of high-end LB2. It looks as if Greenlaw should be as he is 100% healthy heading into the 2022 season.
Hufanga is a hard-hitting safety that played mainly on special teams during his rookie season. He now looks to be an every-down starter, and if that is the case, then he is someone to target. The Niner’s front seven is lethal, and the secondary will benefit from that.
The Rest Of The Secondary
I’m not going to roster any other defensive backs from the Niners, with them putting Jimmie Ward on the IR to start the season. They are looking to fill the roll with whoever they can find and treat it like a bandaid until Ward returns.
The 49ers have a great defense until you get into the third level with the secondary. Outside of Hufanga, I’m not interested in the secondary. As for the rest of the defense, they have plenty of IDP assets to go after to help you in your fantasy leagues all season long.
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