When it comes to drafting a defense in fantasy football, you should look to wait until the final couple rounds of your draft. The best strategy as a fantasy football owner for defenses is to go with the best matchups. Every week there will be a defense in your waiver wire that will be going up against one of the worst offenses in the league.
However, if you are a fantasy owner that looks to draft a defense around the 10th round, here is a list of defensive rankings for your 2012 fantasy football season.
Led by Patrick Willis, the 49ers should dominate again in 2012. You really think the other NFC West quarterbacks—Sam Bradford, John Skelton and Russell Wilson—have a shot of burning this defense?
After a disappointing season last year, the Eagles defense should live up to their hype and be one of the best in the league. The addition of DeMeco Ryans helps solidify their linebacking corps.
The loss of Mario Williams hurts, but he missed 11 games last season and the Texans still had one of the best defenses.
Terrell Suggs' injury drops the Ravens a few spots, but this defense is still loaded with talent. Look for Lardarius Webb to become one of the elite cornerbacks in 2012.
They may be getting old, but Troy Polamalu and James Harrison are still among the best playmakers in the league.
The Lions defensive line will be pressuring quarterbacks every single snap in 2012.
Though the team has not had a winning record under Pete Carroll in his first two seasons, he has put together a fantastic young core of defensive players.
The additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson will give the Bills a scary pass rush in 2012.
10. Chicago Bears
With players like Brian Urlacher and Julius Peppers, the Bears will always be top-10 defense.
The Patriots defense finished near the bottom last year, but they have the weakest schedule in 2012.
They may not have the big names, but Marvin Lewis always makes this defensive unit a reliable one for fantasy football owners.
13. New York Giants
The Giants will rack up a ton of points because of their dominant pass rush.
Players like Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson will continue to lead this stout defense.
15. Denver Broncos
With the addition of Peyton Manning, expect this defense to be much more well-rested during games. Von Miller is one of the top defensive players in the NFL and will continue to get better in his second season.
16. Dallas Cowboys
The additions of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne will greatly improve the Cowboys' weak secondary.
The Jaguars quietly finished as a top-10 defense in 2011.
18. Atlanta Falcons
The additions of defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and cornerback Asante Samuel should make the Falcons a reliable fantasy football defense.
The return of Eric Berry will give the Chiefs some fantasy value.
The Chargers defense's best days aren't far behind them, and they will continue to struggle in 2012.
Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan are two solid pass-rushers, but the Redskins have major holes at safety.
Besides Jared Allen, and perhaps Chad Greenway, the rest of the Vikings defense fails to produce much.
New defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo should make this defensive unit better, but the loss of Jonathan Vilma will hurt.
24. Cleveland Browns
The Browns have absolutely no offense, so this defense will be on the field for way too long and consistently tire out in games.
25. Tennessee Titans
If the Titans want to move up in these rankings, then they will need to find a way to get pressure on opposing teams' quarterbacks.
26. St. Louis Rams
Jeff Fisher will make the Rams defense better, but besides Chris Long and Cortland Finnegan, this unit has too many holes.
Patrick Peterson will have his games where he can single-handedly make this defense dominant, but besides that, the Cardinals defense is still a weak unit overall.
28. Miami Dolphins
Trading away Vontae Davis does not help improve this defense in the least.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Safety Mark Barron can only help this defensive unit so much as a rookie.
Chuck Pagano is a terrific defensive coach, but he has a lot of work to do with this defense.
31. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders finished near the bottom in nearly every defensive statistical category in 2011.
The Panthers will get Jon Beason back this season, but this defense needs to make major upgrades.