These 2010 Fantasy Football Defense Rankings will be updated often throughout the summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out my other 2010 Fantasy Football articles, which will include sleepers, busts, tons of 2010 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material.
Philadelphia Eagles. Bye: 8.
With the Eagles, you get Trent Cole's (and possibly Brandon Graham's) sacks, Asante Samuel's interceptions and DeSean Jackson's return touchdowns. You can't ask for more from a fantasy defense.
Green Bay Packers. Bye: 10.
Clay Matthews and Brad Jones, now both in their second year, will terrorize quarterbacks in the pocket even more so than they did in 2009. Charles Woodson and Nick Collins, who combined for 15 picks last season, will once again secure tons of turnovers. Green Bay's fantasy defense will continue to produce lots of points.
Dallas Cowboys. Bye: 4.
The Cowboys are a great fantasy defense, as they produce tons of sacks and multiple return touchdowns.
Minnesota Vikings. Bye: 4.
If you obtain the Vikings' defense, you get Jared Allen's sacks and Percy Harvin's return touchdowns. Happy time.
New York Jets. Bye: 7.
The Jets have a great fantasy defense. With more leads in 2010, they'll be able to accumulate about 40 sacks. They'll also score a special teams touchdown or two, and come away with about 20 interceptions.
Pittsburgh Steelers. Bye: 5.
As usual, the Steelers are a great fantasy defense to own. They'll flirt with 50 sacks again, and Troy Polamalu's return only means more turnovers.
Baltimore Ravens. Bye: 8.
If Terrell Suggs is actually in shape - he's participating in minicamps for the first time since 2007 - Baltimore will record more sacks and generate an even greater amount of turnovers. As always, the Ravens' defense will be one of the top units to own in fantasy.
San Francisco 49ers. Bye: 9.
The 49ers didn't have a single dominant pass-rusher in 2009, but as a whole registered 44 sacks, which led to 18 picks. Linebacker Ahmad Brooks really came on at the end of the year, so he could take San Francisco's defense to another level if he picks up where he left off. Also, with Ted Ginn on the roster, there's a good chance the Niners will have at least one special teams touchdown this season.
Chicago Bears. Bye: 8.
Chicago has a good chance to field a very good fantasy defense. Brian Urlacher will be back, and if the final couple of games of the 2009 season were any indication, then Tommie Harris is healthy again. If Harris is close to 100 percent, the Bears will put more pressure on the opposing quarterback and force lots of turnovers. Oh, and I almost forgot the excellent special teams.
Cincinnati Bengals. Bye: 6.
The Bengals always produce a large number of turnovers under Marvin Lewis. The key will be Antwan Odom's health. If Odom can completely recover the Achillies' tendon tear he suffered in October, Cincinnati might be able to generate 40 sacks in 2010.
New Orleans Saints. Bye: 10.
Don't expect the Saints to duplicate their eight defensive touchdowns from 2009, but as long as their offense keeps blowing teams out, they'll continue to force tons of turnovers.
New York Giants. Bye: 8.
The Giants are known for placing tons of pressure on the opposing quarterback, which is why it was surprising that they managed only 32 sacks in 2009. If Osi Umenyiora can stop whining and bounce back to 2007 form (he has the incentive with the selection of Jason Pierre-Paul), New York's defense could return to top-10 fantasy form.
Tennessee Titans. Bye: 9.
The Titans managed only 32 sacks last year, but picked off 20 passes and scored four times defensively. If rookie Derrick Morgan can help with the pass rush, Tennessee will have one of the better fantasy defenses in 2010.
San Diego Chargers. Bye: 10.
The Chargers have the offense to blow teams out (and thus force turnovers in the second halves of those games) and they play in a division with two miserable quarterbacks (Kyle Orton, Matt Cassel). Darren Sproles is also a threat to take at least one return to the house. The only question is the pass rush. San Diego had just 35 sacks in 2009, thanks in part to Shawne Merriman's struggles. Now two years removed from his nasty knee injury, Merriman can't possibly be worse this season (though there's a chance he may not be much better).
Denver Broncos. Bye: 9.
Elvis Dumervil is one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL. Because of him, Denver had a solid amount of sacks (39) and interceptions (17) last year. Eddie Royal is also a threat to take a kickoff or punt back for six. The Broncos have a solid fantasy defense.
Indianapolis Colts. Bye: 7.
The Colts have a tendency to generate multiple defensive touchdowns each year because opposing quarterbacks often have to force the issue after their team falls behind. Indianapolis could generate around 40 sacks this season if rookie Jerry Hughes lives up to the hype and contributes as a third-down pass-rusher to complement Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.
Buffalo Bills. Bye: 6.
Believe it or not, Buffalo's fantasy defense is actually pretty solid. The Bills notched 28 interceptions last year. Their special teams are usually superb. And if Aaron Maybin improves and Aaron Schobel returns, the team could approach 40 sacks (they had 32 in 2009).
Cleveland Browns. Bye: 8.
Believe it or not, but Cleveland's defense does have some fantasy potential. Joshua Cribbs will probably notch multiple return touchdowns, and the Browns somehow collected 40 sacks in 2009.
Oakland Raiders. Bye: 10.
An intriguing fantasy defense. The Raiders seldom had large leads in 2009, which makes their sack total of 37 impressive. A better offense will lead to more sacks and turnovers.
Washington Redskins. Bye: 9.
The Redskins were able to accumulate 40 sacks last year, but because they were always behind, they couldn't force many turnovers. That should change in 2010. Washington has a decent fantasy defense worth starting against certain opponents (Rams, Week 3; Bears, Week 7; Lions, Week 8; etc.)
Miami Dolphins. Bye: 5.
The Dolphins collected 44 sacks in 2009, but their two sack leaders, Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, are gone. Cameron Wake should be able to take over as the primary pass-rusher, but Koa Misi may not be ready to contribute right away. Overall, Miami's fantasy defense is about in the middle of the pack. You'll be able to start them against the Bills, Lions, Bears and Browns, but not really anyone else.
Houston Texans. Bye: 7.
Not the worst fantasy defense out there, but not a particularly effective one either. Mario Williams will have double-digit sacks, and Connor Barwin should come on during his second season as a pass-rush specialist. Meanwhile, Trindon Holliday is capable of taking a punt or a kickoff back to the house.
New England Patriots. Bye: 5.
The Patriots struggle to get pressure on the opposing quarterback - a problem that will once again continue to plague the team in 2010 unless Jermaine Cunningham can thrive right away. Furthermore, Wes Welker's absence means that New England's chances of scoring a special teams touchdown are minimized.
Arizona Cardinals. Bye: 6.
Not a fantasy defense I'd like to have. Now that Kurt Warner is gone, the Cardinals won't accumulate as many sacks and turnovers because they won't be blowing out as many teams.
Atlanta Falcons. Bye: 8.
The Falcons don't produce many sacks and they failed to score a special teams touchdown last year. You might be able to get away with starting this defense against the Buccaneers, but don't even expect much there.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bye: 4.
Not a fantasy defense I'd like to own. The Buccaneers' pass rush isn't particularly effective, and the team won't be blowing any opponents out, which means sacks and turnovers won't be maximized. Tampa does have good special teams though, so this fantasy unit won't be ranked last.
Detroit Lions. Bye: 7.
This is stating the obvious, but Detroit's fantasy and real-life defense really depends on how Ndamukong Suh plays. If Suh lives up to the hype and performs on a near-Albert Haynesworth level, the Lions will accumulate tons of sacks and force lots of turnovers. If not, Detroit will once again struggle on defense.
Carolina Panthers. Bye: 8.
The Panthers had just 31 sacks last year, and that was with Julius Peppers. Unless Everette Brown can step up, Carolina's defense won't produce many fantasy points for you.
Kansas City Chiefs. Bye: 4.
Eric Berry will increase Kansas City's interception total, but the team will still have major problems getting to the quarterback on a consistent basis.
Seattle Seahawks. Bye: 5.
Seattle's defense should be the favorite to generate the least amount of sacks in the NFL this season. Avoid.
Jacksonville Jaguars. Bye: 9.
The Jaguars can't get to the quarterback at all and consequently can't force many turnovers. Stay away.
St. Louis Rams. Bye: 9.
A fantasy defense that had 25 sacks and eight interceptions is not something you want to get involved with.