These 2012 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 2012 Fantasy Football articles, including sleepers, busts, tons of 2012 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 2012 fantasy defense rankings, which will be much different than most publications because of my matchup strategy:
Houston Texans. Bye: 8. (Dolphins Week 1)
Philadelphia Eagles. Bye: 7. (Browns Week 1)
Detroit Lions. Bye: 5. (Rams Week 1)
Arizona Cardinals. Bye: 10. (Seahawks Week 1)
Minnesota Vikings. Bye: 11. (Jaguars Week 1)
Kansas City Chiefs. Bye: 7.
Green Bay Packers. Bye: 10. (49ers Week 1)
Chicago Bears. Bye: 6.
Buffalo Bills. Bye: 8. (Jets Week 1)
San Francisco 49ers. Bye: 9. (Packers, Lions Weeks 1-2)
New York Giants. Bye: 11.
Denver Broncos. Bye: 7.
Pittsburgh Steelers. Bye: 4.
New England Patriots. Bye: 9.
Baltimore Ravens. Bye: 8.
Jacksonville Jaguars. Bye: 6. (Vikings Week 1)
Seattle Seahawks. Bye: 11. (Cardinals Week 1)
Washington Redskins. Bye: 10.
Cincinnati Bengals. Bye: 8.
New York Jets. Bye: 9.
Dallas Cowboys. Bye: 5.
Tennessee Titans. Bye: 11.
Cleveland Browns. Bye: 10.
Indianapolis Colts. Bye: 4.
Atlanta Falcons. Bye: 7.
San Diego Chargers. Bye: 7.
Miami Dolphins. Bye: 7.
St. Louis Rams. Bye: 9.
Oakland Raiders. Bye: 5.
Carolina Panthers. Bye: 6.
New Orleans Saints. Bye: 6.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bye: 5.
Rotating Fantasy Football Defenses:
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:
Jacksonville Jaguars - Note to Blaine Gabbert: Quarterbacks aren't supposed to close their eyes before they throw the football.
Cleveland Browns - Brandon Weeden is the quarterback, and his best receiver is Greg Little. I'll be playing against the Browns quite frequently.
St. Louis Rams - The Rams can't pass protect for Sam Bradford. Steven Jackson is over the hill. The receivers are unproven. Otherwise, everything's terrific.
Seattle Seahawks - Matt Flynn is an unknown. What is known is that Seattle's offensive line sucks.
Miami Dolphins - Matt Moore played well last year, but now he won't have Brandon Marshall to throw to, which will completely bog down Miami's offense.
Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings won't score many points if Adrian Peterson is out.
New York Jets - Mark Sanchez loves throwing interceptions to 300-pound defensive linemen. This unit will struggle until Tim Tebow becomes the starter.
San Francisco 49ers - Alex Smith isn't very good, and there's a good chance Randy Moss and Perrish Cox will destroy the locker room following a probable 0-2 start.
Arizona Cardinals - Kevin Kolb struggled last year, and there's no reason to think things will be any different now.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Josh Freeman regressed last season. There's always a chance he'll bounce back though.
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. Last year 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.