Fantasy Football 2012 Rankings: Defense/Special Teams

KANSAS CITY MO - JANUARY 09: Safety Eric Berry #29 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after breaking up a pass to tight end Todd Heap #86 of the Baltimore Ravens in the endzone during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium on January 9 2011 in Kansas City Missouri. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Here is our Defense/Special Teams rankings for your 2012 fantasy drafts. Just remember, never draft a defense until the later rounds in your drafts. Yes, the last round is fine with me.

Team defense/special teams are difficult to rank in the pre season as we don't get to see the defensive starters play for the whole game. In addition, the success of a defense in one year usually doesn't carry over to the next season, especially with the impact of free agency being so prevalent.

What is also difficult to predict/project is how often a defense/special teams will score a touchdown via a fumble recovery or returning a kick. With individual Quarterbacks, you have a good idea that Aaron Rodgers will throw at least 30 touchdowns this season, assuming good health. We also have a good idea that Arian Foster will probably score 12 or more touchdowns, rush for 1,200+ yards and catch 60-70 balls this season. What we don't know is how often the San Francisco 49ers defense will sack the quarterback, intercept a quarterback pass or return a fumble/interception for a touchdown.

With that said, here is a look at our 2012 Defense/Special Teams Rankings:

Rank

Team Name

1

San Francisco

2

Chicago

3

Houston

4

Philadelphia

5

Baltimore

6

Seattle

7

New York Jets

8

Pittsburgh

9

Detroit

10

Kansas City

11

Atlanta

12

Buffalo

13

New England

14

Green Bay

15

Buffalo

16

New York Giants

17

Arizona

18

Cincinnati

19

Dallas

20

Miami

21

Washington

22

Denver

23

Tennessee

24

Oakland

25

Jacksonville

26

Cleveland

27

Minnesota

28

San Diego

29

Tampa Bay

30

Carolina

31

St. Louis

32

Indianapolis

Once the season starts, more like after the first 3-4 games, we will have a better idea as to which teams will have the top defense in the league, and which teams will give up touchdowns and yards in bunches.

I say all this to reinforce the point that you should never, NEVER, draft a defense before the next to last, or last, round of your drafts. Unless your league has special rules where defenses score more points than backup running backs or wide receivers, you should just wait to draft your defense late. While that other owner or two in your league drafts the San Francisco defense in the 9th round, you can grab another back up running back or wide receiver to bolster your offensive weapons to help you during bye weeks.

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