2012 Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Top 15 Defenses (Updated 08/26/12)

Let’s take an updated look around the defenses in the league and put them into tiers for your upcoming fantasy draft:

Tier 1 – The Elite

  1. San Francisco 49ers
  2. Baltimore Ravens

Tier 2 – Not Quite Elite, But Pretty Darn Good

  1. Houston Texans
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. New York Giants
  4. New York Jets

Tier 3 – Wouldn’t Mind Owning

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Chicago Bears
  4. Philadelphia Eagles
  5. New England Patriots
  6. Buffalo Bills

Tier 4 – Close Calls

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Cincinnati Bengals
  3. Dallas Cowboys


  • I know its preseason, but could the Jets defense live up to Rex Ryan’s hype?  We all know they have the most talented corner back in the game, which certainly helps.  What it comes down to is if they can actually generate a pass rush, as they tied for 17th in the league with 35 in 2011.  The potential is always there to be one of the elite, so value them accordingly.
  • The Bears defense could be one of the best in the league, but the status of Brian Urlacher could play a significant role in their potential.  If he’s not ready for Week 1 (and there appears to be a good chance that he’s not), they could suffer.  Plus, you don’t know how long it’s going to take him to get back to 100% without the preseason to test his knee.  The Giants offense put up 17 points in the first half of their preseason game, which does hurt the team’s stock.  Throw in four matchups with the Packers and Lions and there are a lot of concerns regarding this team.  While I still put them in the Top 10, they are a lower end option for me.
  • The potential problem for teams like the Packers and Patriots is that they tend to give up a lot of points during garbage time (thanks to having a big lead).  While they are still good defenses to own, it does hurt their stock a little bit.

Make sure to check out our 2012 fantasy football rankings:

2012 Fantasy Rankings: Top 15 Kickers
2012 Fantasy Tiered Rankings: Top 50 Wide Receivers (Updated 08/24/12)


  1. muddy cleats says:

    looking at streaming a defense for week one – have a couple of choices…
    Vikings at home vs Jags
    Oakland at home vs SD
    Denver at home vs Pitt
    its a 14 team league so pickings a little slim….
    good thing is there is no negative points for points allowed so looking for sacks/turnovers/returns…
    I’m thinking Minn…

    • We will actually be doing a streaming defense column this season (set to debut today!) Though, of course, none of those options are on the list….lol

      I don’t love any of them, honestly, though Denver’s defense is probably the best overall. It’s a tougher matchup, but I’d lean towards them.

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