#1. New York Jets
Notable Additions: Antonio Cromartie, CB, Jason Taylor, OLB, Kyle Wilson, CB
Notable Losses: Lito Sheppard, CB,
What people don’t realize is that this year will only be Rex Ryan’s second year as head coach. It’s scary to think that this defense will only get better. The Jets defense had four touchdowns,17 interceptions, 32 sacks and 14 defense fumble recoveries. The Jets have the best cover corner in Darrelle Revis. Pair him with Cromartie and Wilson and they will have a dominate secondary next season. The Jets only allowed 236 points against them last year and that comes out to be an average of 14.75 per game. The Jets are in a tough division with Miami, New England and Buffalo. However, with every division game being more important than the last will only make this defense play stout during the whole season.
#2. Minnesota Vikings
Notable Additions: Everson Griffen, DE, Chris Cook, CB
Notable Losses: None
The Vikings have the best dominate defensive front in the NFL. They had 47 sacks last year, most in 2009-2010 NFL season, and I don’t see Jared Allen on the decline anytime soon. The only thing you have to worry about Vikings defense is the possibility of losing Pat Williams and Kevin Williams to the incoming four game suspension. Vikings defense had 11 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries, three touchdowns and only allowed 19.5 points per game. The Vikings do have a brutal schedule playing the NFC East and AFC East but I do expect them to put similar numbers up next year. Also, this is assuming Brett Favre comes back. If he doesn’t, this defense could be exposed with extra defensive minutes and that would give Adrian Peterson more of a load. That would mean Peterson has to prove he can hold onto the ball or the Vikings might find themselves with their backs against their own end zone a few times.
#3-. San Francisco 49ers
Notable Additions: Taylor Mays
Additional Loses: None
49ers ended the season with the best fantasy defense, in terms of points. Mike Singletary’s hard nose coaching attitude and another year under his belt should improve this defense. I think Mays will benefit a lot from Singletary’s knowledge and could solidify that secondary. As long as thy have Patrick Willis running this defense they should be fine. 49ers finished the season with 18 interceptions, 44 sacks, 15 fumble recoveries, 21 forced fumbles, and 4 defensive touchdowns. 49ers are in a favorable division in the NFC East; St. Louis Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks. As a fantasy owner, you would drool when you have this dominate defense against one of these opponents.
#4. Baltimore Ravens
Notable Additions: Cory Redding, DT, Sergio Kindle, OLB, Terrence Cody, DT
Notable Losses: Justin Bannan, DT, Samari Rolle, CB
Baltimore Ravens’ defense is getting old with Ed reed contemplating retirement and Ray Lewis going into is 16th season. However, I think they have 1-2 more great top 5 fantasy seasons. After that, I think they will be considered a 2nd tier defense. Ravens were in the top 3 last year in points and I think that’s very possibly for the next season. Ravens had 22 interceptions, 32 sacks, 10 fumble recoveries and four defensive touchdowns. Ravens only gave up 16.31 points per game and have a knack of stomping opponents in getting into the end zone. I wouldn’t necessarily say that Ravens have an easy schedule because I think no NFL team as an “easy” schedule. However, they have some favorable match ups with Cleveland twice, (divisional opponent), Buffalo, Tampa Bay and Carolina. As a fantasy owner, I would be glad if I ended up with Ravens defense.
#5-. Green Bay Packers
Notable Additions: Morgan Burnett, S, Michael Neal, DT
Additional Loses: Aaron Kampman , DE
Green Bay Packers have only run their 3-4 defense for one full season. Dom Cappers joined the Packers’ coaching staff last year as defensive coordinator and wanted to implement the 3-4 defense. Everyone said “it’s going to take 2-3 years to get players to fit your scheme and run this defense well.” Then there was Clay Matthews. They got their must have piece in the 3-4 defense, pass rushing outside linebacker. He had 10 sacks in his rookie season and he is only going to get better. Using their 2nd and 3rd round draft picks on defensive, Morgan Burnett and Michael Neal, gives them some youth and rotation in that defense. Let us not forgot that they do have reigning defensive player of the year, Charles Woodson. Packers lead the league in interceptions with 30. They had 11 forced fumbles and recovered 10 of them. Packers finished the season with 37 sacks and four defensive touchdowns. The Packers are in the NFC North and get to play the Lions and Bears twice a year. As a fantasy owner, if I missed out on the Jets and Vikings, this could be your next option.
#6. Miami Dolphins
Notable Additions: Karlos Dansby, OLB, Jared Odrick, DT
Notable Losses; Joey Porter, OLB, Gibril Wilson, S
Dolphins aren’t known as a dominate defense or a must start defense for fantasy owners. However, this year can be much different. Getting Dansby from Arizona will be great for this defense. Even though he has never played a down as a 3-4 linebacker, it’s hard to disagree with the man pulling all the shoots, Bill Parcells. Also, Parcells did hire the defensive coordinator he was looking for. Parcells fired Paul Pasqualoni and hired Mike Nolan from the Denver Broncos when he was fired. Dolphins had 15 interceptions, 43 sacks and four defensive touchdowns. They only forced 14 fumbles and recovered only six. Dolphins allowed 24.375 points per game and that needs to go down next season. Even though they are in the dreadful AFC East they play Buffalo Bills twice a year and their overall schedule isn’t all that bad with games against Oakland, Cleveland, Lions, and Chicago.
#7. Philadelphia Eagles
Notable Additions: Marlin Jackson, CB, Ernie Sims, OLB, Brandon Graham, DE, Nate Allen, S,
Notable Losses: Sheldon Brown, CB, Chris Gocong
Eagles had a busy off-season trading away Sheldon Brown and Chris Gocong to Cleveland and trading for Ernie Sims from Detroit. However, revamping the defense was not done. They drafted pass rusher Brandon Graham and safety Nate Allen. Sean McDermott was defensive coordinator last year after the passing of Jim Johnson. Johnson had this aggressive defense that would blitz over 60% of the time and McDermott learned well from him. Eagles finished with 44 sacks last year. That tied for 3rd in the league. Eagles finished the season with 25 interceptions, 13 fumble recoveries and six defensive touchdowns. The NFC East seems to be the most competitive division every year and the Eagles still end up being a top 5 fantasy defense. Therefore, Eagles are one of the few teams that schedule doesn’t matter all that much because their game plan doesn’t change that much. They blitz, blitz and do some more blitzing.
#8. Dallas Cowboys
Notable Additions: Sean Lee, ILB,
Notable Losses: Ken Hamlin, S
The Cowboys always find themselves in the top 10 in points. Outside of the Jets and Vikings, Cowboys are the safest defense to choose. On average, Cowboys get you roughly 11.38 fantasy points per game. The good thing about that is every week you will get around that number. You wont have any games with big spurts to skew the number high or have a horrible game to average out the skew. The Cowboys are consistent. As a fantasy owner, knowing what your getting from your defense is a headache reliever. Cowboys had 11 interceptions, 42 sacks, 10 fumble recoveries and three defensive touchdowns. They only allowed 15.63 points per game. They are in the NFC East and play against NFC North and AFC South this season. Nothing there to scare you away from drafting the Cowboys. However, on tough opponents like the Colts, New Orleans and Green Bay, you can play a different defense with a more favorable match up.
#9. New York Giants
Notable Additions: Antrel Rolle, S, Jason Pierre-Paul, DE,
Notable Losses: Antonio Pierce, MLB
With Tom Coughlin getting Osi Umenyiora back on track and getting another pass rusher on the other side, Jason Pierre-Paul, to try to replace Michael Strahan will put the Giants defense in the top 10 in points. Getting Antrel Rolle from the Cardinals will have an immediate impact on the Giants secondary. The Giants only had 13 interceptions last year and I think Rolle will improve that next year. They had 33 sacks, 11 fumble recoveries and four defensive touchdowns. However, the Giants did give up 26.69 points per-game last year. That is uncharacteristic for a Tom Coughlin defense. Next year, you will see that number drop dramatically. I have three teams from the NFC East in my top 10. This division will be won by the team that can’t stop the other teams’ offense from running wild. Division games are usually low scoring due to the fact they see them twice a year and have a general idea what they want to do prior the week before. The only division team you would have to watch out for is the Redskins. They have a new quarterback in Donovan McNabb and that offense could erupt. However, they do have some favorable match ups with Carolina, Detroit and Seattle.
#10. New Orleans Saints
Notable Additions: Alex Brown, DE, Patrick Robinson, CB,
Notable Losses: Scott Fujita, OLB, Charles Grant , DE
The Saints were in the top three in points last year yet I have them barely making the top 10 list. That is because this defense relies heavily on turnovers. They did re-sign Darren Sharper to a one-year deal and he was a big factor in that defense. It is highly unlikely that they can repeat similar numbers that they had last year. They had 26 interceptions and 36 sacks. Well those numbers aren’t hard to repeat but nine defensive touchdowns, 15 forced fumbles and 13 of them were recovered isn’t easy. Granted, a high-powered offense with Drew Brees can put pressure on an offense and can force them to make mistakes. However, they might not be as fortunate to have the ball bounce there way on fumbles and take some turnovers to the house. They are in a favorable division, NFC South, and get to play Carolina and Tampa Bay twice a year. They also get to play Cleveland, Seattle, and St. Louis. Overall, there is a bunch a favorable match ups this year and could prove me wrong about repeating there defensive numbers.
Originally Published at www.fantasyfootballsportal.com