Fantasy Football Rankings 2012: Complete Look at NFL Defenses

Gordie Gold@ggold3Correspondent IAugust 29, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 2:  Linebacker Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced before taking on the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

When it comes to drafting a defense in fantasy football, you should look to wait until the final couple rounds of your draft. The best strategy as a fantasy football owner for defenses is to go with the best matchups. Every week there will be a defense in your waiver wire that will be going up against one of the worst offenses in the league.

However, if you are a fantasy owner that looks to draft a defense around the 10th round, here is a list of defensive rankings for your 2012 fantasy football season.

1. San Francisco 49ers

Led by Patrick Willis, the 49ers should dominate again in 2012. You really think the other NFC West quarterbacks—Sam Bradford, John Skelton and Russell Wilson—have a shot of burning this defense?

2. Philadelphia Eagles

After a disappointing season last year, the Eagles defense should live up to their hype and be one of the best in the league. The addition of DeMeco Ryans helps solidify their linebacking corps.

3. Houston Texans

The loss of Mario Williams hurts, but he missed 11 games last season and the Texans still had one of the best defenses.

4. Baltimore Ravens

Terrell Suggs' injury drops the Ravens a few spots, but this defense is still loaded with talent. Look for Lardarius Webb to become one of the elite cornerbacks in 2012.

5. New York Jets

Rex Ryan is the best defensive coach in the NFL, and he always has his unit near the top.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

They may be getting old, but Troy Polamalu and James Harrison are still among the best playmakers in the league.

7. Detroit Lions

The Lions defensive line will be pressuring quarterbacks every single snap in 2012.

8. Seattle Seahawks

Though the team has not had a winning record under Pete Carroll in his first two seasons, he has put together a fantastic young core of defensive players.

9. Buffalo Bills

The additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson will give the Bills a scary pass rush in 2012.

10. Chicago Bears

With players like Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers, the Bears will always be top-10 defense.

11. New England Patriots

The Patriots defense finished near the bottom last year, but they have the weakest schedule in 2012.

12. Cincinnati Bengals

They may not have the big names, but Marvin Lewis always makes this defensive unit a reliable one for fantasy football owners.

13. New York Giants

The Giants will rack up a ton of points because of their dominant pass rush.

14. Green Bay Packers

Players like Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson will continue to lead this stout defense.

15. Denver Broncos

With the addition of Peyton Manning, expect this defense to be much more well-rested during games. Von Miller is one of the top defensive players in the NFL and will continue to get better in his second season.

16. Dallas Cowboys

The additions of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne will greatly improve the Cowboys' weak secondary.

17. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars quietly finished as a top-10 defense in 2011.

18. Atlanta Falcons

The additions of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and cornerback Asante Samuel should make the Falcons a reliable fantasy football defense.

19. Kansas City Chiefs

The return of Eric Berry will give the Chiefs some fantasy value.

20. San Diego Chargers

The Chargers defense's best days aren't far behind them, and they will continue to struggle in 2012.

21. Washington Redskins

Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are two solid pass-rushers, but the Redskins have major holes at safety.

22. Minnesota Vikings

Besides Jared Allen, and perhaps Chad Greenway, the rest of the Vikings defense fails to produce much.

23. New Orleans Saints

New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo should make this defensive unit better, but the loss of Jonathan Vilma will hurt.

24. Cleveland Browns

The Browns have absolutely no offense, so this defense will be on the field for way too long and consistently tire out in games.

25. Tennessee Titans

If the Titans want to move up in these rankings, then they will need to find a way to get pressure on opposing teams' quarterbacks.

26. St. Louis Rams

Jeff Fisher will make the Rams defense better, but besides Chris Long and Cortland Finnegan, this unit has too many holes.

27. Arizona Cardinals

Patrick Peterson will have his games where he can single-handedly make this defense dominant, but besides that, the Cardinals defense is still a weak unit overall.

28. Miami Dolphins

Trading away Vontae Davis does not help improve this defense in the least.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Safety Mark Barron can only help this defensive unit so much as a rookie.

30. Indianapolis Colts

Chuck Pagano is a terrific defensive coach, but he has a lot of work to do with this defense.

31. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders finished near the bottom in nearly every defensive statistical category in 2011.

32. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers will get Jon Beason back this season, but this defense needs to make major upgrades.


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