Fantasy Football Defense Rankings
Fantasy Football Defense Rankings
In most Fantasy Football leagues, defense stats are scored by team. That means you pick your defense as a unit by drafting “Cowboys Defense” or “Jets Defense” rather than selecting individual players. Leagues that do use individual player stats are known as IDP leagues and are not as common as defense by committee.
Predicting how a team’s defensive squad will perform (and figuring out what priority to give a defense draft) is not easy. Imagine selecting a “team offense” — there are so many pieces of an offense, from receivers to QBs, that it just wouldn’t make sense to select an entire offensive unit. The same should be true for defense — why not select individual players? After all, team defense is made up of just as many pieces as an offense. A single missed tackle or poor performance on the defensive side of the ball can lead to six points for the other team in as little as a single whistle.
Draft Strategy for Team Defense
The biggest part of planning your defensive draft strategy is figuring out how important the defensive stats are to your chances at winning. It is generally thought that Defense (along with kickers) are some of the most useless pieces of a fantasy football roster. It is possible to be your league’s champion without drafting a good defense, but it is a tough road. You may as well spend some time strategizing your defensive selections. After all, the draft is going to take place whether you prepare for it or not.
Kickers and defenses just don’t deserve as much attention when it comes time to draft, and that’s why most people spend no time at all preparing to draft a defense. There once was a time you could count on a handful of teams to have a solid defense, and these became the “A list” on fantasy football draft day. You could pretty much pencil in Baltimore and New England or New York Jets defense as the top three on any draft board. Those high scoring defenses still exist, but they are no longer part of a long-standing tradition. In other words, you have to do a little digging to predict which team defense will give you the most points, rather than depending on “blue chip” team defensive lineups.
Look at three different fantasy defense projections and you’re likely to see three different rankings. The truth is, there are a lot of good defensive choices available at all rounds of the draft. Then there’s the issue of schedule — a team can have a stellar defensive line, but if they’re scheduled to play four or five tough offenses in a row, you may want to shy away.
If you find a high octane defense with an okay schedule, your team will intercept, sack, and recover fumbles all day, earning you a surprising amount of fantasy points from a position that most people ignore. At the same time, going for a team defense early in a draft could prevent you from snatching up that RB who looks to put up scary numbers. The point is — balance your need for a high scoring defense with your need to fill more competitive offensive positions first.
2010 Fantasy Football Defense Rankings
1. Houston Texans
The AFC South is not exactly stacked, and the Texans defense is poised to become a defensive dynasty. If you can, get ahead of the curve and pick or trade for the Texans right away.
2. Dallas Cowboys
This was a tough call for me. The NFC East is a monster division that hands out tough schedules like Tic Tacs. Dallas’ early schedule may shut down this star-studded defensive unit, but plugging the Cowboys defense into your fantasy roster later in the season could earn you a ton of unexpected points, as the Dallas secondary can really only get better from here.
3. Seattle Seahawks *
A surprise pick at number three, I placed an asterisk next to Seattle for a reason. You will score mega points with Seattle when they play against less skilled QBs. If you draft Seattle, you better have a backup plan in place for when they play against elite shot callers. Otherwise, the Seahawks defense represent my favorite sleeper pick of the year in fantasy football.
4. Minnesota Vikings
Two names — Pat Williams and Kevin Williams — are the reason you can’t overlook the Vikings D. Add to that the athletic ability of DE Jared Allen (who could have earned you 30 fantasy points last season in sacks alone) and the Vikings defense is clearly one of the top three or four in the league. Cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Antoine Winfield make the Vikings secondary a force to be reckoned with.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
This is one of those “tradition” picks — the Steelers are usually solid on D. The Steelers are blessed with the best linebackers in the NFL, a group led by James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley. Those two scored a total of 23.5 sacks last season and look to repeat their dominance this season.
6. Philadelphia Eagles
If you’re looking for a team defense that earns lots of turnovers, the Eagles are your team.
The Eagles have two of the league’s better corners, Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs. These two should be worth a few defensive TDs this season.
7. New York Jets
Many have the Jets in the top spot for defense this year, but I don’t buy it. No science to back this up, just a gut feeling.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati’s cornerback pair of Leon Hall and Johnathan Joseph are tough to beat in terms of defensive stats. The Bengals have improved their pass rush skills and should give your fantasy team a ton of value for such a low draft position.
9. Oakland Raiders
IDP leagues will be full of Raiders — they have the most talented individual defensive players in the league.
10. New England Patriots
So the Patriots’ defense is no longer studded with megastars — All-Pro nose tackle Vince Wilfork doesn’t seem to care. The Patriots finished fourth in points allowed last season, along with 31 total sacks and 18 total interceptions.
Be concerned about the Patriots in�2010 when they play in situations that require blitzing. Against the run, the Patiots could earn you big points.
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