Defense Rankings 2017 Fantasy Football Defense Rankings Projected Rounds: 1. Houston Texans Defense: Round 9, 2. Arizona Cardinals Defense: Round 10, 3. Denver Broncos Defense: Round 10, 4. Seattle Seahawks Defense: Round 10, 5. Minnesota Vikings Defense: Round 11, 6. Kansas City Chiefs Defense: Round 11, 7. New England Patriots Defense: Round 11, 8. Los Angeles Rams Defense: Round 12, 9. Carolina Panthers Defense: Round 12, 10. Oakland Raiders Defense: Round 13, 11. Cincinnati Bengals Defense: Round 13, 12. Jacksonville Jaguars Defense: Round 13, 13. Atlanta Falcons Defense: Round 13, 14. Baltimore Ravens Defense: Round 13, 15. Dallas Cowboys Defense: Round 13, 16. Los Angeles Chargers Defense: Round 13, 17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense: Round 13, 18. Philadelphia Eagles Defense: Round 13, 19. Green Bay Packers Defense: Round 13, 20. Buffalo Bills Defense: Round 13, 21. New York Giants Defense: Round 13, 22. Miami Dolphins Defense: Round 14, 23. Pittsburgh Steelers Defense: Round 14, 24. New York Jets Defense: Round 14, 25. Tennessee Titans Defense: Round 14, 26. New Orleans Saints Defense: Round 15, 27. Washington Redskins Defense: Round 15, 28. Detroit Lions Defense: Round 15, 29. Indianapolis Colts Defense: Round 15, 30. Chicago Bears Defense: Round 16, 31. Cleveland Browns Defense: Round 16, 32. San Francisco 49ers Defense: Round 16


2017 Fantasy Football Defense Rankings





Jason Bantle follow @jasonwbantle Last Updated: June 18, 2017.



  1. Houston Texans Defense

    Houston led the NFL in sacks until J.J. Watt had a season ending injury in 2016. With Watt healthy again I expect this defense to revert to its elite form from 2015 with arguably the top defense in the NFL. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney are stud options for IDP leagues. If Deshaun Watson starts and does well which I think Watson will, Houston's defense will rally around Watson allowing Houston to have the NFL's top defense in 2017. Watt is upset with his ranking on NFL's top 100 which is why I expect a huge rebound year from Watt.



  2. Arizona Cardinals Defense

    In 2015, Arizona ranked 21st out of 32 NFL teams with 36 sacks. They led the NFl with 48 sacks in 2016 after signing Chandler Jones. They finished 9th in run defense and 4th in pass defense among NFL teams. The one guy that is the best option for IDP leagues on defense is Patrick Peterson who can cover a lot of #1 receives well.



  3. Denver Broncos Defense

    Broncos fans are going to wonder why their defense ranks at 3 and rightfully so. The Broncos were 1st in the NFL with 52 sacks in 2015 and only had 42 sacks in 2016. Denver entered last year with one of the top fantasy defenses statistically. This is still an elite defense with terrific pass rushers and an incredible secondary. The run defense is going to be a question mark, but overall Denver should have a top 5 defense with Von Miller as the best IDP player on Denver.



  4. Seattle Seahawks Defense

    Seattle is going to be one of the best teams on defense once again. The Seahawks ranked 3rd out of 32 teams in sacks in 2016. Seattle failed to do that. They still boast the same defensive tackles and run stuffing linebackers. Seattle was 3rd in points allowed, 5th in total yards allowed, 8th in run defense after leading the NFL in run defense two years ago, and 7th in pass defense. The linebackers and secondary are there for this Seattle defense to be lethal.




  5. Minnesota Vikings Defense

    Minnesota improved defensively in 2016. The Vikings were 5th in sacks which is why they were the last team to lose a game. Minnesota also finished 6th in points allowed, 3rd in total yards per game, 3rd in passing yards allowed, and 20th in rushing yards allowed.



  6. Kansas City Chiefs Defense

    Kansas City is another team with a very complete defense. The Chiefs have a very strong depth chart on defense despite having a meager 28 sacks which was 28th among the 32 NFL teams. Kansas City still boasts a top 10 defense, but I'm not sure you can say this is a top 5 defense at the moment.



  7. New England Patriots Defense

    The New England Patriots were 1st in the NFL in points allowed allowing fewer points than any other defense in the NFL. The pass defense was a middle of the pack defense once again, but this secondary is great in terms of depth. Devin McCourty is probably the best IDP player on the Patriots.



  8. Los Angeles Rams Defense

    The Rams will do much better this year defensively. Remember they hired Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator. I expect a breakout season by Robert Quinn with the Rams doing much better on defense switching to the 3-4.




  9. Carolina Panthers Defense

    Carolina ranked 2nd in the NFL in sacks last season. Carolina also had the 6th best run defense which was only 2 spots lower than the 4th best run defense in 2015 and Kuechly was injured last year. Luke Kuechly is probably the safest bet as an IDP player after J.J. Watt. Other possible IDP players include Kawaan Short on the DL. Veteran Thomas Davis is a good IDP bet at LB. The secondary was sloppy after Josh Norman left the team. Carolina needs to give up fewer points, but the Panthers have a deadly front 7.



  10. Oakland Raiders Defense

    Khalil Mack is a sack artist. Oakland's secondary will be much better with the additions made through the 2017 NFL Draft. The run defense is still an issue. Oakland was 20th or worst in every defensive category. With the additions on the secondary for depth this offseason, Oakland may become a top 10 defense in every category outside of run defense.



  11. Cincinnati Bengals Defense

    Cincinnati's defense gave up less than 20 points per game. Outside of having a 4-3 right end, this defense is set everywhere which is why the Bengals have a top 12 defense.



  12. Jacksonville Jaguars Defense

    Jacksonville has two corners that combined for 30 deflections last year. With Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye Jacksonville should boast a top 5 pass defense once again. Jacksonville also has Telvin Smith, Myles Jack moving to middle linebacker, and Paul Posluszny at linebacker so the linebackers and defensive backs are the strength of this defense.




  13. Atlanta Falcons Defense

    Vic Beasley had a career year last season in his second year. A lot of young players on Atlanta's defense stepped up which is one reason why the Falcons made Super Bowl 51.



  14. Baltimore Ravens Defense

    Baltimore has lethal pass rushers. Adding Tony Jefferson to pair with Eric Weddle along with the additions of Brandon Carr and Marlon Humphrey make Baltimore a top 15 defense once again.



  15. Dallas Cowboys Defense

    Dallas should get better defensively with the additions they made in the draft. Sean Lee is a tackling machine when healthy too.



  16. Los Angeles Chargers Defense

    Los Angeles is going to have one of the leagues better defenses if everyone stays healthy. The only question mark on this defense is at the safety position. The Chargers never replaced Eric Weddle or got another good safety to compliment him.




  17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense

    Tampa Bay has an up and coming defense. Kwon Alexanders showed promise as a rookie. His 145 total tackles in 2016 were absolutely mind boggling. The cornerback tandem of Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves III should be more effective too.



  18. Philadelphia Eagles Defense

    Philadelphia had a middle of the pack defense in every category. The Eagles made great defensive additions in the 2017 NFL Draft plus Fletcher Cox is a fantastic IDP option as well.



  19. Green Bay Packers Defense

    Green Bay's defense was 9th in sacks in 2015 and 7 in sacks in 2016. Green Bay improved from 20th to 8th in run defense in 2016. The pass defense was one of the worst units in the league last year. That was due to injuries with Clay Matthews at pass rusher as well as injuries on the secondary.



  20. Buffalo Bills Defense

    Buffalo went from 31st in sacks to 8th in sacks. Buffalo has a lot of talent and depth under new head coach Sean McDermott and with Buffalo going back to a 4-3 defense, I think we will end up seeing rapid improvement in this Buffalo defense starting in week 1.




  21. New York Giants Defense

    New York had the fewest points per game allowed among NFC teams last year. Only the Super Bowl 51 Champion New England Patriots allowed fewer points on defense. The Giants were 3rd in rushing yards allowed and 10th in total yards allowed. Having a ball hawk safety like Landon Collins who can be a beast in IDP leagues also helps.



  22. Miami Dolphins Defense

    Miami has Ndamukong Suh as the teams best player at defensive tackle as well as a middle of the pack pass defense that could be a top 15 once again in 2017. Miami ranked 18th in points allowed despite ranking 29th in total yards allowed and 30th in run defense. Those numbers should improve next season.



  23. Pittsburgh Steelers Defense

    Pittsburgh should get a big year from Ryan Shazier. Lawrence Timmons is gone. He was a huge part of the defense for Pittsburgh, and the Steeelers didn't get his replacement in the draft. That's one reason why I'm down on Pittsburgh. The one bright spot with Pittsburgh is they finished in the top half of the NFL in sacks, points allowed, total yards allowed, run defense, and pass defense. I'm not sure the Steelers finish in the top 16 among 32 NFL teams in all 5 categories again, but that was the one bright spot for Pittsburgh plus they had the top ranked pass defense heading into their week 7 game against Tom Brady last year before Brady carved them on multiple occasions.



  24. New York Jets Defense

    New York has a lot of holes on both sides of the ball. The Jets have a decent front 7 though and they brought in Claiborne at cornerback.




  25. Tennessee Titans Defense

    Tennessee has sack artists like Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan at outside linebacker to make their front 7 deadly. The run defense is also there. The pass defense was the Titans biggest issue last year, but with Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson that may improve slightly.



  26. New Orleans Saints Defense

    New Orleans has one sack artist in Cameron Jordan. The run defense is decent too. The Saints gave up more points per game than any other NFC team and had the NFL's worst pass defense in 2016 which is why they came in at 26.



  27. Washington Redskins Defense

    Washington was 11th in sacks. They struggled in every other defensive category despite having quality starters at a lot of positions. Ryan Kerrigan anchors this defense and is the best IDP league player.



  28. Detroit Lions Defense

    Ziggy Ansah at 4-3 right end and the linebackers are the bright spots for the Lions defense. Everything else is a work in progress.




  29. Indianapolis Colts Defense

    Indianapolis will be a lot stronger on the secondary with guys like Malik Hooker and Quincy Wilson complimenting Vontae Davis. The pass rush is still an issue though and that's why the Colts are in the bottom 5 for defense.



  30. Chicago Bears Defense

    Jerrell Freeman dominated last season. Chicago still had a top 10 pass defense even with all their injuries in the secondary. The rest of this defense outside of Freeman and the pass defense can be extremely inconsistent though.



  31. Cleveland Browns Defense

    Cleveland was 30th or worse out of 32 NFL teams in every defensive category except pass defense which they ranked 21st in. The Browns drafted Myles Garrett who could be a blue chip pass rusher who improves the amount of sacks the Browns get as well as the overall pass defense that the Cleveland Browns have. The Browns may have a future pass rushing tandem with Garrett and second year pass rusher Emmanuel Ogbah, but this defense still has a ways to go.



  32. San Francisco 49ers Defense

    San Francisco did okay in sacks. They had the 14th best pass defense despite having no good cornerbacks. The 49ers did rank 32nd among NFL teams in point allowed, total yards allowed, and rushing yards allowed. That and the Browns getting Garrett are why the 49ers are at the bottom of these defense rankings.



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