2012 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense/Special Teams

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14: Chris Culliver #29 of the San Francisco 49ers and his team prepare to take the field for the start of the NFC Divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Along the same lines as to what Philip wrote about in his Kicker Rankings early Saturday morning, the same holds true for defenses. On draft day, make sure you do not draft a defense till you have drafted most of your backup running backs and receivers, and wait until you have drafted the back ups to your back ups to draft your defense. Only then does it make sense to draft your defense, unless your league has scoring rules that favor defenses, of course.

In the one money league I participate in every year, there are several owners who will draft their starting QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, and then start drafting their defenses in the 7th-9th rounds. I shake my head because while they are drafting the top defense from the prior year, I am drafting my back up running backs and wide receivers. We have to draft two defenses so there is really no reason to draft a defense early.

Trying to predict who the top defenses will be each year is difficult due to free agency, the draft, and strength of schedule, so drafting a defense early is never recommended.

My 2012 Defense/Special Teams Rankings after the jump:

Here are my 2012 Defense/Special Teams Rankings:

Rank

Team Name

Notes

1

San Francisco

The NFL's best defense against the run in 2011. 42 sacks, 23 INT, and 15 fumble recoveries.

2

Chicago

Scored 4 defensive TDs in 2011 and Devin Hester is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.

3

Baltimore

Raven's D scored 5 defensive TDs in 2011, 3 via the kick return. 48 sacks, 15 INT and 11 fumble recoveries.

4

Philadelphia

Eagles D tied for most sacks in NFL in 2011 with 50 thanks to Jason Babin and Trent Cole; scored 2 defensive TDs. Desean Jackson is still a dangerous kick returner.

5

Houston

Second in the NFL in total yards given up. 44 sacks, 17 INT and 10 fumble recoveries.

6

Detroit

Lions D had 41 sacks, 21 INTs, 13 fumble recoveries and 6 defensive TDs, 2 via kick returns.

7

New York Jets

Jet's D scored 7 defensive TDs in 2011, 35 sacks, 19 INT, 12 fumble recoveries.

8

Pittsburgh

Steelers D scored 1 defensive TD, 35 sacks, just 11 INT, 4 fumble recoveries, but have allowed just 14 points per game in each of the last two seasons.

9

Seattle

Seahawk's D scored 5 defensive TDs in 2011, 3 via kick returns.

10

Buffalo

Buffalo added sack master Mario Williams in offseason. Scored 3 defensive TDs in 2011.

11

New England

New England sacked the QB 40 times last season, and scored 3 defensive TDs. Their schedule is weak, so they will dominate again this season.

12

Dallas

Scored 3 defensive TDs, 42 sacks, 15 INT, 9 fumble recoveries.

13

Kansas City

Eric Berry returns to Chiefs D that improved in the 2nd half of 2011. The defense seemed to respond once Romeo Crennel was named head coach last season.

14

Green Bay

Green Bay D gave up lots of passing yards, mainly due to playing prevent D when winning big, but also forced 38 turnovers and scored 5 defensive TDs.

15

Minnesota

Tied for NFL lead in sacks with 50, mainly due to former Chief Jared Allen with 22. Scored 6 defensive TDs, 2 via kick return.

16

New York Giants

Giants D tied for 2nd in sacks with 48 in 2011, scored 3 defensive TDs.

17

Arizona

Cardinals D improved in 2011, 42 sacks and 2 defensive TDs. Patrick Peterson returned 4 kicks for TDs last season.

18

Cincinnati

Bengals D was 2nd in AFC with 45 sacks; scored 2 defensive TDs.

19

Atlanta

Scored 4 defensive TDs in 2011, 33 sacks, 19 INT, 10 fumble recoveries.

20

Miami

Miami's D stopped the run, ranking 3rd in 2011, and sacked the QB 41 times.

21

Washington

The Redskins D sacked the QB 41 times last season, but play in the NFC East with the high powered offenses of Dallas, New York and Philadelphia.

22

Denver

The Broncos D played well last season, sacking the QB 41 times and scoring 3 TDs. Elvis Dumervil is facing a possible suspension due to a reason arrest.

23

Tennessee

Tennessee was 8th in the league in points allowed, but had just 28 sacks and 23 turnovers in 2011.

24

Jacksonville

The Jaguars D was stingy in allowing just 313 yards per game last season, scored 3 TDs, but sacked the QB just 31 times.

25

Cleveland

The Browns D was actually pretty good last season, allowing just 19 points and 332 yards per game.

26

San Diego

The Chargers D struggled in 2011, sacking the QB just 32 times and forcing 21 turnovers.

27

Oakland

The Raiders D was a sieve last season, allowing the 4th most points and giving up 388 yards per game.

28

New Orleans

The Saints D was like swiss cheese last season, ranking 30th against the pass and forcing just 16 turnovers.

29

Tampa Bay

Tampa's D is undraftable on draft day as they allowed 31 points and 394 yards per game. Stay away.

30

Carolina

Carolina has plenty do cheer about with Cam Newton at QB, but their D misses John Fox.

31

St. Louis

The Rams D sacked the QB 39 times but forced only 18 turnovers last season.

32

Indianapolis

Indy is in a total rebuild on offense and defense, but have Andrew Luck to build around.

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