1) Seattle Seahawks
2) San Francisco 49ers
3) Denver Broncos
4) New England Patriots
5) Houston Texans
6) Cincinnati Bengals
7) Arizona Cardinals
8) Green Bay Packers
9) New York Giants
10) Baltimore Ravens
11) Chicago Bears
12) San Diego Chargers
13) New York Jets
14) Pittsburgh Steelers
15) St. Louis Rams
16) Atlanta Falcons
17) Minnesota Vikings
18) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
19) Dallas Cowboys
20) Washington Redskins
San Francisco 49ers
Match Up Dependent
Everyone Else on our rankings.
If you plan on drafting a defense not in the top four of this list.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Defenses are just too unpredictable week in and week out. So much depends on the match up that week. Even a top ten defense can easily surrender 30 points in a given week, killing your fantasy team should you make the mistake of starting them against a quality offense. The aerial attacks that so many NFL teams can orchestrate so well make it nearly impossible to start a defense against a team with an elite quarterback.
Picking up a defense that is facing a poor offensive team every week is not a bad move. Someone plays the Jaguars, Cardinals, and Browns every week after all. If you are able to snag a defense playing one of those teams, or whoever ends up being the bottom feeders in the offensive rankings this season, you will fare just fine in terms of point production from the defense/special teams position.
As someone who never drafts a defense before the latter rounds of the draft, I can attest to the success of not valuing any defense as an elite fantasy player. Despite the temptation to draft the 49ers or the Seahawks early on, remember that turnovers are a major reason for their fantasy successes, and turnovers are a streaky thing.
Many a defense has dominated the fantasy world in one season thanks to a lot of defensive touchdowns and turnovers, only to see those numbers drop off the year after. That doesn’t necessarily mean the overall defensive numbers went down, and that defense might very well still be dominating the real football world, however in the fantasy world they disappoint their owners.
Don’t overvalue a defense in your draft. It is a risky move to make.
The kicker position is perhaps the most unpredictable in football. So much depends on the offense and defense of that team putting him in a position to score, that it is near impossible to say who will be the top kickers in the league week in and week out.
As a result of this variability, I do not recommend reaching for a kicker in anything but your last round. The top point scorer at the position seemingly changes every year, and I can guarantee that there is a fantasy leader that will come out of nowhere and become one of the top scorers in the fantasy world this year.
If you don’t believe me on that, look at what Blair Walsh was able to do as a rookie on the Minnesota Vikings last year.
Don’t get cute and pick a kicker earlier than you have to, there will be plenty available in the last round of your draft, the only round where you should take a kicker.
This concludes our series of fantasy football previews, stay tuned for up to date analysis and weekly rankings during the regular season.
In case you missed any of our previous editions of fantasy football positional previews, you can check them out with the links below.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express