These 2016 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 2016 Fantasy Football articles, including sleepers, busts, tons of 2016 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
I don't believe in drafting fantasy defenses until the final couple of rounds. Someone always reaches for a defense way too early in every fantasy draft. I prefer to grab as many running backs and receivers as possible, and then wait on a defense in the final round. I then play matchups with my defenses. I'll explain this later, but here are my brief 2016 fantasy defense rankings, which will be much different than most publications because of my matchup strategy:
As I said, I love to rotate fantasy defenses based on matchups. I've identified several teams as having probable crappy offenses that you can go against (note that this list will change after the 2016 NFL Draft:
Cleveland Browns - The Browns will be an automatic play-against. Their starting quarterback is fumbling machine Robert Griffin.
Denver Broncos - Two words: Mark Sanchez.
San Francisco 49ers - Chip Kelly is definitely no offensive genius. But even if he were, he'd have major problems generating anything with Blaine Gabbert/rookie quarterback throwing to Torrey Smith as a top weapon while being protected by a horrible line. The 49ers are a disaster.
Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goff is a raw quarterback who doesn't have any receiving help outside of Tavon Austin. If the Rams didn't have Todd Gurley, they'd be in the horrible section.
New York Jets - I'll remove the Jets from this list if Ryan Fitzpatrick re-signs (never thought I'd say that.) Their quarterback situation right now is a disaster.
That's just a preliminary list. If a quarterback goes down and his backup sucks, that team will obviously be added. I'll rank all the fantasy defenses each week during the regular season, so make sure you check back for that.
It's also worth noting that you can luck into landing a great defense using this strategy. Five years ago in one league, I picked up the 49ers early because they had a matchup versus rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. They were doing so well that I just decided to keep them, but always signed another defense if San Francisco matched up against a potent offense. The same happened with Carolina in one of my leagues last year.
@jsemmens I've been to the Big Board in the past, but it's still an inefficient way of going about a mock. Not to mention, reports and the people writing them change, no? I come to Walt's site because I used to like his insight on every player. Now, it's simply team needs and a very limited amount of actual analysis. You definitely need SOME amount of explanation behind a pick with regards to team need, but you need much more of the player evaluation angle. Any dummy can write why a particular team "needs" a specific position; it takes a pretty good eye to understand what player needs to fill it. Again, just my 2 cents.
@dawg66 I see where you're coming from. I really do. But I'm sure as a Browns fan you can understand, they have needs EVERYWHERE. You aren't gonna win a super bowl unless you have a QB. Case in point pretty much every super bowl winning quarterback ever. Second, yes you have Terrelle Pryor and Corey Coleman. Terrelle Pryor is a slot receiver which is gonna get you nowhere unless you play for New England. Corey Coleman has yet to prove a damn thing. Mike Williams, however, just took down Alabama pretty much BY HIMSELF. It's the right range for him and I'm positive Huge Jackson wouldn't pass over him at this point, meaning pre-combine and interviews.
Here's my mock based on team need, prospect value and prevailing opinion as well as some ideas of my own. Please let me know about the team(s) that you follow more closely, and any picks that you agree or disagree with. Please comment, and feel free to rate.