These 2017 Fantasy Football Defense Rankings will be updated often throughout the summer, so make sure you check back from time to time. Also, be sure to check out my other 2017 Fantasy Football articles, including sleepers, busts, tons of 2017 Fantasy Football mock drafts and other material. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.
I don't believe in drafting fantasy defenses until the final couple of rounds. Someone always reaches for a defense way too early in every fantasy draft. I prefer to grab as many running backs and receivers as possible, and then wait on a defense in the final round. I then play matchups with my defenses. I'll explain this later, but here are my brief 2017 fantasy defense rankings, which will be much different than most publications because of my matchup strategy:
Houston Texans. Bye: 7. (Week 1 vs. Jaguars)
Denver Broncos. Bye: 5.
Pittsburgh Steelers. Bye: 9. (Week 1 at Browns)
Atlanta Falcons. Bye: 5. (Week 1 at Bears)
Buffalo Bills. Bye: 6. (Week 1 vs. Jets)
Indianapolis Colts. Bye: 11. (Week 1 at Rams)
Carolina Panthers. Bye: 11. (Week 1 at 49ers)
Los Angeles Chargers. Bye: 9. (Week 1 at Broncos)
Cincinnati Bengals. Bye: 6.
Seattle Seahawks. Bye: 6.
New York Giants. Bye: 8.
Philadelphia Eagles. Bye: 10.
Minnesota Vikings. Bye: 9.
Kansas City Chiefs. Bye: 10.
Los Angeles Rams. Bye: 8.
Arizona Cardinals. Bye: 8.
Chicago Bears. Bye: 9.
Oakland Raiders. Bye: 10.
Tennessee Titans. Bye: 8.
New England Patriots. Bye: 9.
Dallas Cowboys. Bye: 6.
Jacksonville Jaguars. Bye: 8.
Baltimore Ravens. Bye: 10.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bye: 11.
Miami Dolphins. Bye: 11.
Detroit Lions. Bye: 7.
Green Bay Packers. Bye: 8.
New York Jets. Bye: 11.
Washington Redskins. Bye: 5.
Cleveland Browns. Bye: 9.
New Orleans Saints. Bye: 5.
San Francisco 49ers. Bye: 11.
Rotating Fantasy Football Defenses:
As I said, I love to rotate fantasy defenses based on matchups. I've identified several teams as having probable crappy offenses that you can go against (note that this list will change after the 2017 NFL Draft:
Cleveland Browns - The Browns will be an automatic play-against. Their starting quarterback will be one of Brock Osweiler, Cody Kessler or DeShone Kizer.
Los Angeles Rams - Jared Goof has no idea what he's doing, and Sean McVay isn't going to save him.
New York Jets - The Jets are happy with Christian Hackenberg's progress, but he's still going to struggle.
San Francisco 49ers - The clueless Chip Kelly is gone, but the 49ers still have a horrible offense.
Chicago Bears - The interior of Chicago's offensive line is fantastic, but I don't trust Mike Glennon.
Denver Broncos - We'll see how Paxton Lynch progresses. It'll be tough for him behind a bad offensive line.
Jacksonville Jaguars - Blake Bortles would rather party hard than study film, and it shows when he's committing turnovers each week.
Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings have improved their offensive line a bit, but it's still not very good.
That's just a preliminary list. If a quarterback goes down and his backup sucks, that team will obviously be added. I'll rank all the fantasy defenses each week during the regular season, so make sure you check back for that.
It's also worth noting that you can luck into landing a great defense using this strategy. Several years ago in one league, I picked up the 49ers early because they had a matchup versus rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. They were doing so well that I just decided to keep them, but always signed another defense if San Francisco matched up against a potent offense. The same happened with Carolina in one of my leagues last year.