2009 fantasy defense rankings for the upcoming season

Published on June 10, 2009 by     Seahawk Fanatic

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Team Analysis

1.
Pittsburgh Steelers
(Auction: $3)
Led by the dynamic linebacking duo of James Harrison and James Farrior, and a top-notch defensive backfield including safety Troy Polamalu, the Steelers had the NFL’s top defense in 2008. No other team allowed fewer points or yards per game. This version of the Steel Curtain also finished second in the league in sacks and tied for sixth in interceptions. The Super Bowl champs will continue to dominate their offensive opposition, especially in the mediocre AFC North. Fantasy owners should expect the Steelers to be the first defensive unit selected in most drafts. (Bye: Week 8)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
250.3
14.2
18
11
48
3

Team Analysis

2.
New York Giants
(Auction: $3)
The Giants finished ninth among fantasy defenses on NFL.com last season, and the overall value of this unit is clearly on the rise. LB Antonio Pierce is New York’s top tackler, and DE Justin Tuck is one of the NFL’s top sack specialists. The return of DEs Osi Umenyiora and Mathias Kiwanuka from injuries will improve the team’s pass rush, which had 42 sacks in 2008. The Giants also added talented defenders such as DT Rocky Bernard, LB Michael Boley, and DE Chris Canty, so they will be deeper and even more formidable. Fantasy owners should love this unit in 2009. (Bye: Week 10)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
281.9
17.5
16
10
45
4

Team Analysis

3.
Minnesota Vikings
(Auction: $2)
A consistent fantasy option, Minnesota has finished in the top seven among defenses on NFL.com in each of the last three seasons. In 2008, the Vikings ranked fourth in the league in sacks, in large part because of DE Jared Allen, and they finished second in forced fumbles. They were first against the run for the third consecutive season, as the Williams Wall (DTs Kevin and Pat) continued to make life difficult for opposing runners. This aggressive unit also has averaged 6 TDs per year since 2005. The Vikings are almost certain to be one of the first defenses taken in drafts. (Bye: Week 9)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
300.4
20.5
16
14
43
5

Team Analysis

4.
New York Jets
(Auction: $2)
The Jets could be a breakout fantasy defense this season. They finished sixth in points among defenses on NFL.com in 2008, and that was before several changes that should make them even more attractive. The team hired defensive-minded coach Rex Ryan and added talented players such as LB Bart Scott, CB Lito Sheppard, and S Jim Leonhard to a unit that already includes playmakers like LB Calvin Pace, S Kerry Rhodes, and CB Darrelle Revis. Fantasy owners should expect better numbers in most defensive categories, so look for the Jets to become a prominent option in most formats. (Bye: Week 9)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
306.7
20.8
18
15
44
5

Team Analysis

5.
Tennessee Titans
(Auction: $2)
The Titans had one of the best fantasy defenses last season, when they finished fourth in points on NFL.com. The 2009 unit will have to overcome the loss of Pro Bowl DT Albert Haynesworth, who signed with the Redskins. The Titans also lost coordinator Jim Schwartz, the Lions’ new coach. New coordinator Chuck Cecil still has a ton of talent to work with, though, including LB Keith Bulluck, DE Kyle Vanden Bosch, and CB Cortland Finnegan. If Tony Brown, Jovan Haye, and Jason Jones can help ease the loss of Haynesworth, the Titans will continue to be formidable this year. (Bye: Week 7)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
306.2
18.9
18
9
39
4

Team Analysis

6.
Baltimore Ravens
(Auction: $2)
One of the most ferocious defensive units in the league, the Ravens will have a new look in 2009. Former coordinator Rex Ryan took the head coaching job with the New York Jets, and several players have departed via free agency or release. This team still has several stars, however, including linebacker Ray Lewis, defensive end Terrell Suggs, safety Ed Reed, and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, so the new coordinator, Greg Mattison, won’t be short on talent. While a decrease in fantasy points should be expected, the Ravens are still a top-notch defensive unit. (Bye: Week 7)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
272.2
18.1
22
9
32
4

Team Analysis

7.
Philadelphia Eagles
(Auction: $2)
At a fantasy position that can be widely unpredictable, this unit bounced back from a subpar 2007 season to end 2008 ranked third in the NFL behind only the Steelers and Ravens. In the offseason, the Eagles lost veteran S Brian Dawkins to the Broncos, but the addition of Sean Jones via free agency is expected to help make up for his absence. With sack master Trent Cole at DE, tackle machine Stewart Bradley at LB, and a defensive backfield that includes Asante Samuel and Quintin Mikell, look for coordinator Jim Johnson’s defense to remain a No. 1 option for fantasy owners. (Bye: Week 4)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
287.9
19.5
16
12
44
5

Team Analysis

8.
Dallas Cowboys
(Auction: $2)
The Cowboys led the NFL with 59 sacks last season, but they still failed to finish in the top 10 in fantasy points on NFL.com. However, they were more productive down the stretch after coach Wade Phillips took over the play calling. In fact, the Cowboys scored double-digit fantasy points in five of their final six games. New additions such as LB Keith Brooking, DE Igor Olshansky, and S Gerald Sensabaugh should fortify this unit. With stars like LBs DeMarcus Ware and Bradie James also on the roster, the Cowboys have become a more attractive option in fantasy leagues. (Bye: Week 6)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
289.3
21.2
15
13
51
3

Team Analysis

9.
New England Patriots
(Auction: $2)
The Patriots ranked a middle-of-the-road 18th among fantasy defenses last season. That was due in large part to a smorgasbord of injuries to several players. The future looks bright, though, as up-and-coming players such as LB Jerod Mayo and S Brandon Meriweather continue to develop in a defense that has tremendous leadership in LBs Adalius Thomas and Tedy Bruschi and DE/DT Richard Seymour. With a full roster of healthy defenders to start training camp, the Patriots should rebound and once again claim a starting spot in all fantasy leagues. (Bye: Week 8)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
307.3
18.3
16
10
34
4

Team Analysis

10.
Miami Dolphins
(Auction: $1)
The Dolphins made an incredible turnaround last season after an embarrassing 1-15 record in 2007. Miami went 11-5 and won the AFC East due in large part to a much-improved defense. That unit ranked eighth in the league in sacks, interceptions, and overall in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com. Led by LB Joey Porter, who finished with 17.5 sacks, the Dolphins are loaded with talented athletes and playmaking ability. While this won’t be one of the truly elite defenses in fantasy football, Miami does warrant a starting role in most formats in 2009. (Bye: Week 6)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
321.4
19.5
17
13
41
3

Team Analysis

11.
Chicago Bears
(Auction: $1)
The Bears finished last season in the top 10 in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com, due in large part to their 22 interceptions and six touchdowns. This is no longer an elite unit, but it’s still a low-end starting option in all leagues. (Bye: Week 5)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
328.6
20.8
20
12
31
6

Team Analysis

12.
Arizona Cardinals
(Auction: $1)
The Cardinals defense scored six touchdowns and forced 20 fumbles to become a viable starting option for fantasy owners last season, but this unit still allows too many yards and points to be considered a top-10 option in 2009. (Bye: Week 4)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
327.2
25.7
15
16
34
5

Team Analysis

13.
Green Bay Packers
(Auction: $1)
The Packers finished 11th in fantasy points among defensive units on NFL.com last season, due in large part to their 22 interceptions and nine touchdowns. Overall, this team should be seen as no more than a low-end No. 1 fantasy option. (Bye: Week 5)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
321.7
22.3
20
8
32
5

Team Analysis

14.
Washington Redskins
(Auction: $1)
The Redskins finished 23rd in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com in 2008, but the offseason addition of Albert Haynesworth makes this unit far more valuable this season. Consider Washington a high-end No. 2 fantasy defense. (Bye: Week 8)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
282.8
17.7
12
9
33
3

Team Analysis

15.
Indianapolis Colts
(Auction: $1)
The third-ranked fantasy defense on NFL.com in 2007, the Colts fell to 12th last season. Aside from some monster stats against lesser opponents, this unit was far less consistent across the board and should now be seen as a reserve option. (Bye: Week 6)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
308.5
18.4
17
12
31
4
Team Analysis

16.
Buffalo Bills
(Auction: $1)
Led by Paul Posluszny and Terrence McGee, the Bills have some real talent on the defensive side of the football. If it can become more consistent from a fantasy perspective, the Bills could turn into a low-end starting option in some leagues. (Bye: Week 9)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
331.1
21.2
14
13
29
5

Team Analysis

17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Auction: $1)
The loss of former coordinator Monte Kiffin and a complete collapse down the stretch in 2008 has made the Buccaneers a far less appealing defense this season. In fact, this unit should be seen as more of a No. 2 fantasy defense this season. (Bye: Week 8)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
313.2
22.4
17
10
31
4

Team Analysis

18.
Carolina Panthers
(Auction: $1)
The Panthers finished a mediocre 16th in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com last season. While this unit can be a useful matchup-based starting option in some leagues, the Panthers should be seen as more of a No. 2 fantasy defense. (Bye: Week 4)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
322.1
21.0
15
14
35
3

Team Analysis

19.
San Diego Chargers
(Auction: $1)
The Chargers went from fantasy’s best defense in 2007 to waiver-wire fodder last season. The healthy return of Shawne Merriman from knee surgery will help, but the Bolts need to improve their pass defense to make a consistent impact. (Bye: Week 5)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
330.7
20.5
17
11
38
4

Team Analysis

20.
Atlanta Falcons
(Auction: $1)
The Falcons finished dead last among defenses on NFL.com in 2007, so a move to 19th last season was a step in the right direction. However, coach Mike Smith’s crew needs to improve even further in order to have serious fantasy value. (Bye: Week 4)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
340.7
20.7
13
10
36
3

Team Analysis

21.
San Francisco 49ers
(Auction: $1)
Despite fielding talented defenders like Patrick Willis and Michael Lewis, the Niners still finished just 23rd in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com last season. Unlike Willis in IDP leagues, the 49ers defense won’t be taken in most drafts. (Bye: Week 6)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
322.2
23.3
13
8
33
3

Team Analysis

22.
Jacksonville Jaguars
(Auction: $1)
The Jaguars defense went from a top-15 unit on NFL.com from 2006-2007 to an awful 28th last season. This unit should improve in 2009, both on the field and in fantasy circles, but it still warrants very little consideration in most drafts. (Bye: Week 7)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
318.5
20.9
15
7
32
3

Team Analysis

23.
Seattle Seahawks
(Auction: $1)
A top-10 fantasy defense on NFL.com in 2007, the Seahawks fell all the way to 22nd last season. This unit still has talent in Lofa Tatupu and Josh Wilson, but overall fantasy leaguers should consider it no better than a No. 2 defense in 2009. (Bye: Week 7)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
350.4
22.8
13
12
38
4

Team Analysis

24.
Oakland Raiders
(Auction: $0)
The Raiders finished 27th in total defense, 24th in points allowed and 17th in fantasy points on NFL.com last season. Poor numbers like that will make the Silver & Black no more than waiver-wire fodder in the majority of fantasy drafts in 2009. (Bye: Week 9)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
343.7
23.7
17
9
32
4

Team Analysis

25.
Cleveland Browns
(Auction: $0)
The Browns will have a new look this season under coach Eric Mangini, but the value of their defense won’t change in fantasy circles. Even with the talented D’Qwell Jackson in the mix, this unit still won’t be selected in most drafts. (Bye: Week 9)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
346.4
21.7
21
9
24
3

Team Analysis

26.
Cincinnati Bengals
(Auction: $0)
The Bengals defense hasn’t met expectations, either on the field or in fantasy football, during the tenure of coach Marvin Lewis. This unit finished last season ranked 22nd on NFL.com among defenses — that was its worst finish since 2005. (Bye: Week 8)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
329.1
22.4
17
13
24
3

Team Analysis

27.
Houston Texans
(Auction: $0)
The Texans have some skilled players on the defensive side of the football, none more prominent than Mario Williams, but this team remains an afterthought in fantasy circles. In fact, it warrants no real consideration in most 2009 drafts. (Bye: Week 10)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
331.5
23.6
14
12
29
3

Team Analysis

28.
New Orleans Saints
(Auction: $0)
As good as the Saints are on offense, they’re just as bad on the defensive side of the football. This unit finished last season ranked 26th in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com, and vast improvement doesn’t seem imminent. (Bye: Week 5)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
331.0
23.0
17
8
30
3

Team Analysis

29.
Kansas City Chiefs
(Auction: $0)
Once considered a viable No. 1 fantasy defense, the Chiefs finished last season ranked 29th in points on NFL.com. This team will need to show serious improvement under new coordinator Clancy Pendergast to have any value in 2009. (Bye: Week 8)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
364.2
24.8
14
14
19
3

Team Analysis

30.
St. Louis Rams
(Auction: $0)
The Rams finished last season as one of the least-productive defenses in fantasy football. The addition of new coach and defensive guru Steve Spagnuolo is a positive, but it won’t be enough to make this unit a viable fantasy option in drafts. (Bye: Week 9)

2009 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
358.7
27.6
15
15
35
2

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