It’s almost that time again, NFL fans.
Fantasy Football is upon us and it’s time to start doing your research to prepare to draft the best possible team so you can win your league.
A defense/special teams sometimes can be the reason you win or lose in a given week. So we’ve prepared a list of the top 20 D/ST’s to help you this year.
Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye Week: 8)
The Steelers finished the 2019 season with the second most fantasy points. And there’s plenty of reason to believe Minkah Fitzhpatrick will continue to be a force for Pittsburgh.
And since the Black and Yellow will have the safety for a full year this season, it’s quite possible the Steelers will finish atop the fantasy leagues with the most points at this position.
San Francisco 49ers (Bye Week: 11)
The Niners picked up Javon Kinlaw in this year’s NFL Draft and still have Nick Bosa. The Super Bowl runner-ups had the third-most points in D/ST’s last season.
Despite losing DeForest Buckner, San Fran is poised once again to have a great D/ST.
Buffalo Bills (Bye Week: 11)
The additions Buffalo made certainly should make it better than last year. Plus the Bills still boast Tre’Davious White and Ed Oliver, both of whom had solid rookie seasons. Josh Norman should boost the Bills and make them more of a threat on defense.
Baltimore Ravens (Bye Week: 9)
A majority of Baltimore’s defense will return for 2020. The Ravens also added Patrick Queen, who should make the team a bit more reliable than it was in 2019.
New England Patriots (Bye Week: 6)
New England’s defense constantly was a storyline last season, and rightfully so, leading the NFL in a slew of categories. But it’s a different story heading into the 2020 campaign with the losses of Kyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Patrick Chung. It’s fair to keep the Pats in the top-five, but it’s also fair to expect them to take a step back once the season begins.
New Orleans Saints (Bye Week: 6)
The addition of Malcolm Jenkins should keep New Orleans as one of the top D/ST’s in your leagues. And don’t forget about Demario Davis, Cameron Jordan and Marshon Lattimore.
Kansas City Chiefs (Bye Week: 10)
There is no denying this team’s offense is a powerful force, and we’ve seen that time and time again. But Kansas City’s defense also is not to be slept on and will be a good choice to lock up if it’s still on the board when it comes time to draft a D/ST.
Seattle Seahawks (Bye Week: 6)
The addition of Jamal Adams no doubt will help Seattle’s defense, and teaming up with Quandre Diggs will give the team one heck of a safety tandem. Jadaveon Clowney remains unsigned at the time of this writing, but Adams does fill that hole a bit. The Seahawks also still boast K.J. Wright, Bobby Wagner and added Quinton Dunbar, who will be sure to help the secondary.
Los Angeles Chargers (Bye Week: 10)
Los Angeles had a solid enough defense last year and went out and added Kenneth Murray via the NFL Draft and Chris Harris Jr. via free agency. Don’t forget about Joey Bosa and Derwin James. This could end up being an underrated and overlooked pick with the potential the Chargers have this season.
Philadelphia Eagles (Bye Week: 9)
Philadelphia finished pretty low in the league in passing yards allowed and interceptions, but five-time Pro Bowl selection Fletcher Cox and Javon Hargrave could boast the Birds’ defense.
If Malik Jackson is ready to go after suffering a Lisfranc injury that limited him to just one game last year, he certainly could be a force on the interior. Don’t forget about Brandon Graham, who amassed 17 quarterback hits with 8.5 sacks in 2019. The linebacker position still has question marks, though, but the addition of Darius Slay should help Philly.
Minnesota Vikings (Bye Week: 7)
The Loss of Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes and Mackensie Alexander certainly will hurt, but Mike Hughes and Holton Hill, along with rookies with Jeff Gladney Dantzler are candidates to fill those spots. And safeties Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith likely are locks, so you essentially know what you’re getting with them.It’s worth noting Harris had a tied-for-league-best six interceptions in 2019.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye Week: 13)
Vita Vea played more snaps and added more pressure in 2019 compared to his rookie season, and those numbers should rise once the 2020 season kicks off. Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul return to the Tampa Bay defense. Pierre-Paul certainly will provide valuable pressure, while Barrett will continue to be the good pass-rusher he is. Linebacker Devin White has the potential to break out this season after a slow start in 2019.
Dallas Cowboys (Bye Week: 10)
Adding Everson Griffin could be a game-changer for Dallas and immediately changes the D-line. Reports out of training camp over the weekend said the Cowboys were mixing things up a bit on defense and using 3-4 looks.
Indianapolis Colts (Bye Week: 7)
Adding DeForest Buckner will help the defense and improving the offense also will help keep the defense rested and resh.
Denver Broncos (Bye Week: 7)
Denver plays in a tough division but the return of Bradley Chubb certainly should help improve the defense.
Chicago Bears (Bye Week: 11)
The Bears defense was bad last season, there’s no other way around it. But with a talent pool of Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith, it’s hard to believe Chicago won’t improve.
Los Angeles Rams (Bye Week: 9)
Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald certainly make the Rams a solid pick. Los Angeles finished with the fifth-most D/ST points last year and likely will have another strong season.
Tennessee Titans (Bye Week: 7)
The loss of Jurrell Casey puts Tennessee just outside of the top 15. But the Titans still should boast a fine enough defense with plenty of pieces that help make for a solid pick.
Green Bay Backers (Bye Week: 5)
Kenny Clark may be one of the most underrated defensive talents, but he needs help up front. Green Bay’s defense hasn’t ranked in the top 10 for quite some time now — since its 2010 Super Bowl championship, to be exact. And aside from Clark, the rest of the defense is mediocre at best. Maybe one of their prospects will prove to be a vital part of the team this year, but that remains to be seen.
Cleveland Browns (Bye Week: 9)
Myles Garrett, Oliver Vernon and Adrian Clayborn all are valuable players to Cleveland, but it needs something more — perhaps Yannick Ngakoue? He likely would come with a hefty price tag if the Jacksonville Jaguars want to trade him, though. While acquiring Ngakoue probably is just a fantasy, head coach Kevin Stefanski has said he’s interested in adding good players. But until that happens, the Browns will stay at No. 20.