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2020 Fantasy Football Rankings: Defense

Sporting News — (Matt Lutovsky)

The free agency period has affected our 2020 fantasy defense rankings, but unlike the offensive positions, it's more difficult to quantify the overall impact around the league. There might be a big name who changes teams, like DeForest Buckner going from San Francisco to Indianapolis, but the totality of a team's moves is what really matters. Moreover, a run-stuffer might greatly improve a defense in real life, but the fantasy impact could be minimal compared to a big-play defensive back or a pass-rusher. It isn't until after the draft -- and after some veterans get signed later in the offseason (something that doesn't happen as often with relevant skill players) -- that we really know which D/STs should move up a tier and now qualify as sleepers heading into fantasy football draft season. 

Obviously, the upper tier of our 2020 rankings closely mirrors what happened last season. That's rarely how it works in the fantasy world, though it's tough to predict a big upswing in takeaways (especially with fumble recoveries) and it's impossible to predict a significant change in D/ST touchdowns. That said, we can give the benefit of the doubt to talented defenses with with proven pass-rushers and playmakers. 

2020 FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight endKicker

It's clear some teams are making big pushes to add talent on the defensive side of the ball this offseason, with the Chargers (Linval Joseph, Chris Harris, and, ostensibly, Derwin James) making some notable moves that vaulted them into the top 10. Teams like the Raiders (Maliek Collins, Eli Apple, Carl Nassib, Corey Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski) and Bengals (DJ Reader, Trae Waynes, Vonn Bell, Mackensie Alexander) are suddenly on the radar as sleepers after a flurry of offseason acquisitions.

Again, it's tough to say just how much of an impact all these moves will make, but few saw the 49ers going from bottom-feeder to elite D/ST in the span of one season last year, so it's important to pay attention to every move. 

For now, this is how we see D/STs stacking up, but there's still a lot of offseason to go, so check back for updates!

2020 Fantasy Football Defense Rankings

RankTeam
1New England Patriots
2San Francisco 49ers
3Pittsburgh Steelers
4Chicago Bears
5Baltimore Ravens
6Buffalo Bills
7Minnesota Vikings
8Kansas City Chiefs
9Los Angeles Chargers
10New Orleans Saints
11Denver Broncos
12Los Angeles Rams
13Philadelphia Eagles
14Tennessee Titans
15Indianapolis Colts
16Houston Texans
17Seattle Seahawks
18Green Bay Packers
19Jacksonville Jaguars
20Oakland Raiders
21New York Jets
22Dallas Cowboys
23Tampa Bay Buccaneers
24Cincinnati Bengals
25Cleveland Browns
26Carolina Panthers
27Washington Redskins
28Atlanta Falcons
29Detroit Lions
30Miami Dolphins
31New York Giants
32Arizona Cardinals