Defenses have a tough job in the NFL with pass happy offenses, and penalties that make it tough to defend. We largely have seen teams that focus on the defensive side be at the top of the rankings over the last decade or so. You have your Baltimores and Chicagos that continue to produce strong defenses. There are a few newer names now like the Rams and Jaguars who have entered the picture over the last few seasons. Below is a weekly updated rankings that also show rest of season projections and key defensive stats. If you are looking for Week 17 fantasy defense rankings and projections, go here.
Defensive Power Rankings Table
|Team||Sacks||Fumble Recoveries||Interceptions||Touchdowns||Points Against||PaYd/G||RuYd/G||Fantasy Points||Fantasy Points Per Game|
About halfway through the season now, New England has been the dominant fantasy defense, and it isn’t even close. They have enjoyed a very soft schedule, but that is only a small part of it. This secondary continues to rack up interceptions, leading the league by a wide margin. In the past this has not been a historically great team at getting pressure on the quarterback, but they are doing just that. This defense also already has over seven touchdowns on the defensive side. San Francisco has shown up this season as an elite defense, averaging over 12 fantasy points per game. They continue to capitalize on turnovers and getting to the quarterback. Chicago was expected to be a top defense, and while they haven’t been as consistent, their overall numbers are still up there.
The Panthers have one of the best pass defenses in the league right now, and also have generated a ton of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. They have over 25 sacks on the season, and also are in double-digits as far as interceptions go. After a tough start to the season, Pittsburgh has found their defensive form and have also been greeted with a plus schedule. Given the Steelers get to face the Browns and Bengals twice each, that is a plus for them in the fantasy department.
Defenses On The Rise
After Drew Brees went down, the Saints defense took things into their own hands. They have a great front seven, and have been stout against the run as they were last season. While the secondary has had troubles at times, overall they are holding opposing offenses. The turnovers aren’t quite there on a consistent basis for fantasy, but the Saints are in a great spot for the rest of the season. Buffalo coming into the year was one of the top defenses as far as ADP value goes, and they have not disappointed. They are allowing under 18 real points per game, and averaging over eight fantasy points per game. Like New England, they also have a soft schedule and that has helped out quite a bit. They continue to focus on turnovers, as getting to the quarterback is their only downside. Buffalo getting to face the Jets and Dolphins twice is a big plus for their upside.
Tennessee has a really strong defense, and also a very good ground game to give them some rest when needed. Tennessee has jumped into the top ten, and I love them moving forward. This is going to be a competitive team that relies on the defense. They are great agains the pass, and I love this secondary. After the Jalen Ramsey trade to Los Angeles, both Jacksonville and Los Angeles have some fantasy impact. The Jags still have a decent defense, but that secondary isn’t quite the same, and it will also show when it comes to getting a few extra coverage sacks. The Rams get a major bump for me as the brutal part of the schedule is also out of the way.
Overrated Fantasy Defenses
Once a powerhouse fantasy defense, the Baltimore Ravens are have a big issue right now. They are generating very little pressure on the quarterback, and have only really hit their upside in a game against Seattle. The trade for Marcus Peters is still too fresh to really five into, but he was not having a good season in Los Angeles. Baltimore will have some plus matchups, but overall they have been a team to hit the waiver wire most weeks. Detroit’s injuries have caused them to become an overrated fantasy defense. Darius Slay continues to battle on and off hamstring injuries, and the front seven is getting very little pressure on the quarterback. Houston losing J.J. Watt for the rest of the year is going to be a big loss, and the secondary has also been getting shredded. Denver and the New York Jets are a few other honorable mentions after having some offseason buzz.
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