The Shortened 8: Top 10 Drafts for Fantasy Football Defenses in 2011-12

With the alterations in staff this post-season, all this is based on pure speculation and estimating how the changes in staff would change the defense.  However, with preparation for a shortened season, drafting defenses will be difficult, much less to speculate.  With these defenses training much less than previous seasons, the offenses should benefit greatly.  However, don’t count defenses out quite yet.  Some may surprise, others will simply overcome.

Must-Haves

  • Chicago Bears.  They still have one of the most stifling defenses with Brian Urlacher at the helm.  And I don’t think Brian Urlacher will miss a beat this prolonged off-season.
  • New York Giants. Kind of goes without saying…
  • Green Bay Packers. Clay Matthews and a ground-and-pound defense.
  • Baltimore Ravens.  Still has lots of talent.
  • New York  Jets.  Rex Ryan’s defense is one of the best.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers.  It won’t astound you with amazing numbers, but it should be consistent from the beginning through the playoffs.
  • Oakland Raiders. But this is nothing more than a second-tier defense, but it will have first-tier moments.  This defense is better chosen as a roster reserve or a waiver wire pick for the playoffs generally. They have enough substance to pull you through the playoffs generally.
  • San Diego Chargers.
  • Minnesota Vikings.  Leslie Frazier inherited a solid defense.
  • Atlanta Falcons.  Like the Raiders but generally not fantasy football playoff quality.

Avoid

  • Miami Dolphins.
  • Tennessee Titans.  Although they performed well the beginning of last season, then after the first few games of the regular season, they buckled under locker room politics got in the way.  And with this prolonged off-season, there would be virtually no time for off-season chemistry for any sort of improvement.
  • Detroit Lions.  You’re better off betting on their offense than their defense.
  • Seattle Seahawks.  Although Pete Carroll has demonstrated he has a great offensive mind, less Marshawn Lynch, this defense hasn’t been noteworthy for quite a while.
  • Washington Redskins.  Their offense and defense are still in shambles.  And if Rex Grossman becomes Rex Grossman we all know from the Chicago Bears, the defense will be out on the field a lot — and become very tired.

Potential X-Factors

  • Carolina Panthers.  I think Eagles head coach Andy Reid might regret letting of Sean McDermott.  Even though this will be rebuilding season for the Panthers defense, they could potentially become dangerous over the next few seasons.  They might lack the physicality of a Bears defense, but they should turn out to be fast like the Ravens defense.  They could still be worth a flier this season though.
  • Philadelphia Eagles. Although they are always potentially good, they have become normalized themselves into a second-tier defense.  With coordinator Juan Castillo, I am a bit hesitant to endorse them beyond that — for now.
  • St. Louis Rams. They played well at home last season.  Now they just need to play well on the road…
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