Fantasy Football 2012 Rankings: Defense/Special Teams

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 22: Patrick Willis #52 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after he sacked Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in the second half during the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park on January 22, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/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 makes sense.

I have made a few minor changes to my rankings since the last time I published them. I moved the New England defense up several spots to No. 7 as the AFC East teams will have difficulty scoring points this season. The Jets have been awful offensively in the preseason, and the Dolphins are starting a rookie quarterback in Ryan Tannehill.

Two defenses that I think could surprise this season is the Kansas City Chiefs defense, lead by Romeo Crennel, and the Buffalo defense. Buffalo added LB Mario Williams and DE Mark Anderson to help their pass rush, and they get to play the Jets and Dolphins two times each.

The Chiefs defense steadily improved in 2011. After giving up an average of 25 points per game in their first 8 games of 2011, their defense improved in the second half, giving up just under 17 points per game in their last 8 games. Couple that with the return of safety Eric Berry, one of the best defensive players in the league, and the defense could surprise this season.

Let's take a look at my updated Defense/Special Teams Rankings for 2012:

Rank

Team Name

1

San Francisco

2

Chicago

3

Houston

4

Philadelphia

5

Baltimore

6

Seattle

7

New England

8

New York Jets

9

Buffalo

10

Detroit

11

Pittsburgh

12

Atlanta

13

Kansas City

14

Green Bay

15

New York Giants

16

Arizona

17

Cincinnati

18

Dallas

19

Miami

20

Washington

21

Denver

22

Tennessee

23

Oakland

24

Jacksonville

25

Cleveland

26

New Orleans

27

Minnesota

28

San Diego

29

Tampa Bay

30

Carolina

31

St. Louis

32

Indianapolis

With all that said, it is important to note the that you should not draft a defense before the last few rounds of your draft. In my draft on Tuesday night, two defenses were chosen in the 7th round. The 7th round!

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 draft the San Francisco defense in the 9th round, you can grab another back up running back or wide receiver.

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