2018 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense | Fantasy

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1. Jacksonville Jaguars. Jacksonville led all D/STs in fantasy factors final 12 months whereas ending second in sacks (55) and interceptions (21) and first in TDs (eight). Veteran linebacker Paul Poluszny is gone, however that is not an enormous loss at this level. The remainder of Jacksonville’s high defensive playmakers are again, giving this unit probably the most upside of any in fantasy.  2. Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been strong throughout the board final 12 months, sporting the highest run protection and ending third in fantasy factors. The cross protection (17th) and sack totals (tied for 15th) have been extra on the mediocre facet, however offseason acquisition Michael Bennett ought to assist in each areas. This big-play unit is poised for one more good season.  three. Minnesota Vikings. Regardless of rating first in complete protection final 12 months, the Vikings have been thought of a little bit of a disappointment in fantasy circles, ending 12th in normal leagues. Quite a lot of that may be blamed on solely scoring one D/ST landing and recovering solely 5 fumbles, tied for second fewest within the league. Given Minnesota’s secure of stud defenders – all of which return and are joined by Sheldon Richardson – you’ll be able to anticipate this unit to enhance and submit numbers nearer to 2016 (seven TDs, 10 fumble recoveries) four. Los Angeles Rams. There is a authentic fear that the Rams “overdid it” within the offseason, notably with regard to signing gamers with character issues. But when Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh can hold their cool, this unit might higher final 12 months’s, which completed fourth in D/ST fantasy factors. The losses of Robert Quinn (eight.5 sacks), Trumaine Johnson (two INTs, TD), and Alec Ogletree (95 tackles, INT, TD) should not be neglected, however with Aaron Donald, Mark Barron, Lamarcus Joyner and Michael Brockers nonetheless in tow, the Rams are loaded as soon as once more.  5. Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers D/ST broke out in an enormous manner final season, rating tied for fifth in sacks (43) and tied for sixth in INTs (18). Their fantasy scoring may need been a bit inflated by six D/ST touchdowns, however this big-play unit might be even higher with the return of nook Jason Verrett (knee), who performed in just one recreation final season (UPDATE: Verrett is probably going out for the 12 months after injuring his Achilles in follow), and the drafting of first-round security Derwin James. These gamers ought to offset the lack of security Tre Boston, who led the group with 5 INTs. Joey Bosa (12.5 sacks) and Melvin Ingram (10.5) will proceed making life depressing for quarterbacks.  6. New Orleans Saints. Few individuals noticed the Saints coming in 2017, however affect rookies Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams helped New Orleans end third in INTs (20). The Saints additionally managed a strong 42 sacks, and the additions of LB Demario Davis (135 tackles, 5 sacks final 12 months with the Jets) and first-round defensive finish Marcus Davenport ought to assist hold that quantity excessive. The Saints new dedication to the operating recreation on offense is not prone to change this 12 months, which ought to hold the protection recent and able to produce.  7. Baltimore Ravens. A league-leading 22 INTs and 7 D/ST TDs (tied for second) propelled Baltimore to a No. 2 fantasy end final season, and nearly all of its defensive starters return. So, why is not Baltimore ranked increased? A number of of its key playmakers (Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, Brandon Carr, Jimmy Smith) are getting up there in age, and all these touchdowns and fumble recoveries (12) are going to be tough to breed. The Ravens nonetheless have all of the makings of a beginning fantasy D/ST, however we’re not offered they will repeat final season.  eight. Carolina Panthers. The most important fear with the Panthers is Thomas Davis’s four-game PED suspension, however as soon as the veteran linebacker returns, there aren’t many holes on this protection. For fantasy functions, it could be good if they might high final 12 months’s paltry 10 INTs, however with 50 sacks (third) and the third-ranked run protection, Carolina’s protection is poised as soon as once more to be an issue for offenses.  9. Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh led the league in sacks (56) and completed fifth in complete protection and seventh in scoring protection, but it surely solely managed 22 complete takeaways and two D/ST touchdowns. Nearly each starter is returning and first-round security Terrell Edmunds joins the combo, however the lack of LB Ryan Shazier, who had 89 tackles, three INTs and a fumble restoration in solely 12 video games, goes to be felt each on the sphere and off. Pittsburgh nonetheless has the expertise to be a top-10 fantasy protection, however the ceiling feels a bit decrease with out Shazier.  10. Houston Texans. J.J. Watt is again, and that appears to be all individuals want to listen to to have Houston again among the many high fantasy D/STs after a dismal 2017. After all, it isn’t simply Watt who’s returning, as DE Whitney Mercilus can be slated to return after a pec harm value him all however 5 video games final 12 months. Houston additionally added DBs Aaron Colvin and Tyrann Mathieu, each of whom ought to assist enhance on final 12 months’s 24th-ranked cross protection and disappointing 11 INTs. Houston is a significant wild card, as Watt has solely performed in eight video games the previous two seasons, but when he can keep wholesome, he is one of many greatest difference-makers within the league. 

SLEEPERS:
eight QBs | 16 RBs | 19 WRs | 9 TEs | 6 D/STs | One from every group

11. Denver Broncos. Denver’s fantasy season was, partially, salvaged by 4 defensive TDs final 12 months, however the Broncos have been nonetheless a disappointment total. With fifth-overall choose Bradley Chubb able to terrorize quarterbacks alongside Von Miller, this unit ought to see a bump in its mediocre sack (33) and takeaway totals (17), vaulting it again into the ranks of fantasy’s high models.  12. Chicago Bears. You possibly can name the Bears “fortunate” for main the league with 14 fumble recoveries – and, certainly, that quantity is prone to come down this 12 months – however with solely eight INTs (tied for 29th), there’s nonetheless room for this enhancing protection to develop. Chicago added Butkus Award winner Roquan Smith this offseason and must be a strong choice many of the 12 months due to a mix of big-play potential and a gentle cross rush (42 sacks final 12 months).  13. New England Patriots. The Patriots all the time appear to discover a manner amongst fantasy’s top-15 D/STs, however final 12 months was a little bit of a disappointment, as accidents (most notably to LB Dont’a Hightower, who performed in solely 5 video games) and inconsistency plagued them. They head into this season with Adrian Clayborn and Danny Shelton new up entrance and Jason McCourty and second-round choose Duke Dawson new within the defensive backfield. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is gone, however issues should not change a lot with former linebackers coach Brian Flores stepping in to deal with extra tasks with the protection. Count on the Pats to enhance on their six fumble recoveries and one D/ST landing from final 12 months.  14. Detroit Lions. Detroit was one other protection that relied closely on the massive play final season, scooping up 13 fumbles and scoring seven D/ST touchdowns en path to a No. 6 fantasy rating. It wasn’t all good for the Lions, as they ranked 27th in complete protection and 21st in scoring protection. The losses of main tackler Tahir Whitehead and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin do not determine to assist both, even with defensive-minded Matt Patricia taking up as coach. The Lions have loads of playmakers with Darius Slay and Glover Quinn, so there’s nonetheless upside right here, however no less than a slight drop in takeaways and touchdowns appears probably this season.  15. Tennessee Titans. Tennessee was a pretty common fantasy D/ST final 12 months, however its 43 sacks tied for fifth most and it sported the No. four run protection. Malcolm Butler was added to a secondary that already options final 12 months’s INT co-leader Kevin Byard and rising second-year playmaker Adoree’ Jackson, and first-round choose Rashaan Evans will assist beef up the linebacking corps. There’s main breakout potential right here if Tennessee can enhance on its 12 INTs and one D/ST landing from final 12 months, each of which appear probably. 

PPR RANKINGS: Operating again | Huge receiver | Tight finish | High 200

16. Buffalo Payments. With solely 27 sacks final season, the Payments D/ST lacked the constant upside you need in a fantasy protection, however the acquisitions of DT Star Lotulelei and first-round LB Tremaine Edmunds ought to strengthen the protection as a complete and unencumber different gamers to make extra huge performs. Buffalo’s three returning starters within the secondary every had no less than 4 interceptions final 12 months, and if newcomer Vontae Davis is wholesome, Buffalo could have a legit likelihood to guide the league in INTs.  17. Arizona Cardinals. Proficient pass-rushers Chandler Jones and Markus Golden and play-making nook Patrick Peterson give this unit upside in any recreation. Whereas Arizona won’t be an every-week play anymore, they definitely have the flexibility, particularly at residence, to place up fantasy factors. The lack of security Tyrann Mathieu from a unit that solely had 21 takeaways final season would not assist the general outlook, however Arizona might be large in favorable matchups.  18. Seattle Seahawks. R.I.P. Legion of Increase. Seattle underwent a significant overhaul on protection this offseason, dropping key members of the secondary and in its cross rush. Star LBs Ok.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner stay, and final 12 months’s group chief in sacks, Frank Clark, can be again, together with All-Professional security Earl Thomas (for now). The Seahawks nonetheless have expertise, however they may probably have a tricky time repeating their 5 defensive TDs and 11 fumble recoveries from final 12 months, making them extra of a streaming unit than an every-week one.  19. Atlanta Falcons. Count on to see Vic Beasley unleashed this 12 months after he managed simply 5 sacks in 2017 in comparison with 15.5 the 12 months earlier than. That alone will assist offset the lack of Adrian Clayborn’s 9.5 sacks (six of which got here in a single recreation). Third-year LB Deion Jones seems to solely be getting higher, which is huge for a group that lacks big-time playmakers within the secondary. The expertise is there, and if Atlanta can enhance on its eight INTs from final season, it will likely be a viable fantasy D/ST.  20. Washington Redskins. Washington ranked tied for seventh in sacks (42) final 12 months and had a decent (and repeatable) 16 INTs and 7 fumble recoveries. The lack of Kendall Fuller takes away 4 of these INTs, but when Josh Norman can enhance on his goose-egg in 2017, this secondary might nonetheless present for fantasy homeowners.

DRAFT STRATEGY AND RANKINGS TIERS:
Quarterback | Operating again | Huge receiver | Tight finish | D/ST

21. Kansas Metropolis Chiefs 22. Inexperienced Bay Packers 23. New York Giants 24. Cincinnati Bengals 25. Dallas Cowboys 26. Oakland Raiders 27. San Francisco 49ers 28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 29. Cleveland Browns 30. Miami Dolphins 31. Indianapolis Colts 32. New York Jets

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