2012 Fantasy Football Team Defense Rankings by Tier

Ryan LesterSenior Writer IAugust 28, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22:  Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after he sacked Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in the second half during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Here’s a look at the LestersLegends 2012 fantasy football team defense rankings by tier.

Tier One: Truly the Elite.

San Francisco 49ers: Because of their defense and their divisional foes, the Niners stand above the rest. They had the number two scoring defense (14.3 PPG) and the number four total defense (308.2 YPG).

Tier Two: Not quite on the same level as the Niners, plus they have tougher divisional foes.

Baltimore Ravens: Yes, they lost Terrell Suggs, but I think he’ll be able to play at some point. They also reloaded by adding Courtney Upshaw in the draft. Ed Reed is aging, but he’s still a great playmaker. The Ravens ranked third in scoring defense (16.6 PPG) and total defense (288.9 YPG)

New York Jets: The Jets had a drop in scoring defense, ranking 20th at 22.7 PPG. They still ranked fifth in total defense at 312.1 YPG. They have made some decent additions and I expect a return to form.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Birds were tenth in scoring (20.5 PPG) and eighth in total defense (324.9 YPG). Their first three picks were on the defensive side of the ball and DeMeco Ryans will help plug up the middle.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Year in and year out the Steelers are among the NFL’s top defenses. They were number one in scoring (14.2 PPG) and total defense (271.8 YPG) last year. They play in a tougher division so I’ll give the Niners the nod as the top fantasy defense, but it’s close.

Tier Three: Still quality starting fantasy defenses, but are a notch below the top five.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals finished ninth in scoring (20.2 PPG) and seventh in total defense (332.2 YPG). They added two promising rookies in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft (Kirkpatrick, Still).

Houston Texans: They lost Mario Williams, but they did just fine without him last year finishing fourth in scoring (17.4 PPG) and second in total defense (285.7).

Seattle Seahawks: Ranked seventh in pass defense (19.7) and ninth in total defense (332.2). They had 31 takeaways and improved their pass rush.

Tier Four: Borderline DEF1. You’ll want a good second defense to play the match-up game.

Chicago Bears: I would like them better if they didn’t have four games against the Packers and the Lions.

Dallas Cowboys: They have DeMarcus Ware so they will definitely provide sacks. The Boys also bolstered their secondary.

Green Bay Packers: The Pack ranked dead last in total defense (411.6 YPG), but like the Pats were much better in scoring defense (19th @22.4 PPG). They also went defense-heavy in the draft with five defensive players in the first four rounds.

New England Patriots: They were 15th in scoring (21.4 PPG) despite ranking 31st in total defense (411.1 YPG). They added two first round defense players (Jones, Hightower) and four in the first three rounds.

New York Giants: The Super Bowl came on at the right time, like their previous Super Bowl run. They ranked 25th in scoring (25.0 PPG) and 237th in total defense (376.4 YPG), but they dealt with a lot of injuries. They put a lot of pressure on the QB.

Tier Five: Solid defenses, but better suited as fantasy back-ups.

Arizona Cardinals: They were decent last year and should have a few solid match-ups. They finished with 42 sacks last year.

Buffalo Bills: Tied for fifth with 31 takeways. Ranked 14th in total defense and 16th in scoring defense. Mario Williams should help improve the 13th ranking for sacks.

Denver Broncos: Solid defense last year. Should have more to work with on offense with Peyton, which should keep them fresher.

Detroit Lions: They are anchored by Ndamukong Suh, which makes them a borderline DEF1. They make a lot of mental mistakes though.

Tennessee Titans: Top ten in defensive scoring (19.8 PPG). They don’t generate much pressure though.

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