Defensemen used to be fantasy hockey afterthoughts, but that's no longer the case. With the top options at the position now producing offensive figures similar to some of the best forwards in the NHL, they can no longer be disregarded, as having a robust core of blueliners is now nearly always vital to a fantasy club's success.
This tiered preview of NHL defensemen for the 2018-19 campaign is based on a 12-team, CBS head-to-head league, which emphasizes goal scoring and plus-minus.
The order in which players are listed represents their rank within each tier.
Tier 1 - "The Elite"
Tier 1 is comprised of the best of the best. It'd be impossible to go wrong with any of the players in this tier as your team's top option at defense, but Burns is a clear favorite due to his consistent production over the past three seasons and his 25-goal upside.
Hedman, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, should be considered a close second to Burns, but he doesn't boast quite the same level of goal-scoring prowess, and he's only eclipsed the 70-point mark once in his career (as opposed to Burns, who has hit that mark twice in the past three seasons).
Karlsson would likely be considered a toss up with Hedman if it weren't for his supporting cast in Ottawa, which very well could be one of the worst in the NHL in 2018-19. If the