2017 Rankings: Top 15 Defenses: Will The Houston Texans Be Among The Elite?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Picking a defense for your fantasy squad is often overlooked, but making the right selection could make a big difference in your fantasy success.  That’s not to say that they are as valuable as your star running back or wide receiver, but there are plenty of examples of a defense winning you a week.  Who are the best defenses heading into the season?  Who should we ignore?  Let’s take a look at how things currently rank:

  1. Denver Broncos
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Seattle Seahawks
  4. Houston Texans
  5. Minnesota Vikings
  6. Arizona Cardinals
  7. New England Patriots
  8. New York Giants
  9. Carolina Panthers
  10. Cincinnati Bengals
  11. Miami Dolphins
  12. Los Angeles Rams
  13. Los Angeles Chargers
  14. Green Bay Packers
  15. Philadelphia Eagles


  • Last season the Kansas City Chiefs tied for the league lead in interceptions (18) and led the league in fumble recoveries (15).  That’s an impressive combination, and while it’s easy to overlook them they are clearly among the top tier options.
  • Despite playing a lot of last season without J.J. Watt, Houston allowed the fewest yards per game in the NFL (301.3).  Adding a healthy Watt to Whitney Mercilus, Jadaveon Clowney and company could create the scariest defense in the NFL.  While they are a tier below on draft day, would it be a surprise if they emerged as a Top 3 option before long?
  • The biggest concern with the New England Patriots defense?  Watching the offense getting a big lead and then seeing opponents padding their stats in garbage time.  It’s not a fair knock, but when it comes to fantasy defenses it needs to be taken into account.
  • There’s some intrigue in the Los Angeles Rams defensive unit, but talk of an Aaron Donald holdout going into the regular season has got to drag them down as a whole.  They could emerge as a Top 10 unit, but right now be careful before entrusting them.

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Preseason Rankings:

Last Update
Running Backs08/28/17
Wide Receivers08/29/17
Tight Ends08/30/17
Updated 2017 Rankings: Top 25 Quarterbacks: Potential Missed Time Brings Significant Impact
Updated 2017 Rankings: Top 25 Tight Ends: Injuries Already Shaking Up The Rankings & More


  1. Chucky says:

    While I would normally agree with your assessment on the Pats, I have to disagree. When have you ever known Belichek to take his foot off the pedal, even when leading 38-0? They get to play 6 games v the Jets, Fins and Bills. Interdivisional games. Belichek isn’t calling off the dogs in those games, I guarantee that.

  2. MikeP says:

    no Jaguars? They are fast becoming a 2017 darling, curious for your take.

    I can see with the QB situation perhaps that will prevent their D from living up to the hype as they will likely be on the wrong side of the field position/turnover battle most games but still, there is talent in that group.

  3. trevor says:

    steelers, rams or patriots def for week one.

  4. Gary says:

    I think the steelers are sleeper defense. They’re schedule is very weak this year. Eisenberg of CBS Sports has the steelers ranked #4. Although I am not sure what to expect its just something to keep in mind.

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