The final part of our fantasy football preview positional rankings is here. For those of you asking, no, we’re not going to do a top 10 kickers post. Go outside and take a break from the fantasy sports if you’re looking for a kicker breakdown. Now, one big thing to note before getting into the projections for defenses and special teams. This is likely the most unpredictable of the spots on your fantasy roster (outside of kickers). With injuries to key players, what’s expected to be a top defense, can turn into a bottom-tier unit (cough, Houston cough). So, unless you’re feeling super confident about the Jaguars or Rams, it’s probably best to wait until one of the final rounds.
1) Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s not surprising to see the Jags on top of the list heading into this season. Last year, this group posted multiple games in which they scored in the 30+ point range in fantasy, due to their penchant for forcing turnovers and racking up sacks. With the unit returning largely intact this season, it’s possible they could repeat. But, again, no team has repeated as the number-one D/ST unit in the last five years. So don’t pull the trigger too early.
CBSSports.com Projections- 245 Fantasy Points (15.3 FPPG), 18 INT 51 sacks 5 DTD
2) Tennessee Titans
This is a bit of a surprise because the Titans ranked 21st on CBSSports.com last year among these units. But the Titans did beef up the defense with the additions of CB Malcolm Butler, DT Bennie Logan in free agency and draft picks Rashaan Evans (ILB) and Harold Landry (OLB). The projection system is expecting a big jump due to those additions.
CBSSports.com Projections- 226 Fantasy Points (14.1 FPPG) 16 INT 40 sacks 5 DTD
3) Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings, unlike the Titans, aren’t a surprising name to find near the top of this list. An already-dominant unit (stingiest in the league 15.8 PPG), added Sheldon Richardson to the line and drafted CB Mike Hughes to help an already-tough secondary. With Mike Zimmer leading the way, this unit once again figures to be tough, as long as everybody is healthy.
CBSSports.com Projections- 211 Fantasy Points (13.1 FPPG) 15 INT 39 sacks 4 DTD
4) Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens were quietly the second-best defense in total points on CBSSports.com’s fantasy leagues last year. The unit wasn’t reminiscent of the dominant groups of the franchise’s past, but it was effective. Adding rookie corner Anthony Averett to give the secondary a bit more depth should only help a unit that seems to be on the rise again.
CBSSports.com Projections- 201 Fantasy Points (12.5 FPPG) 19 INT 39 sacks 5 DTD
5) Los Angeles Rams
The Rams ranked third among these units in CBSSports.com fantasy leagues last year, and they did plenty to bolster the unit heading into the 2018 season. The team added DT Ndamukong Suh and CB Aqib Talib in free agency, traded for CB Marcus Peters, and drafted LB Micah Kiser. Oh, by the way, they still have all-world pass-rushing force Aaron Donald (as long as his holdout doesn’t run into the season). The chemistry could be combustible, but Wade Phillips has a ton of weapons at his disposal.
CBSSports.com Projections- 200 Fantasy Points (12.5 FPPG) 15 INT 52 sacks 4 DTD
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6) Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles defense surged last year based on their defensive line depth and ability to stop the run, while relying on a pair of veteran safeties to clean up messes on the backend. They went out and added DL Michael Bennett to that front four to replace Vinny Curry, added veteran DT Haloti Ngata. And they’ll get a full year out of corner Sidney Jones, who was recovering from an Achilles tear most of last season.
CBSSports.com Projections- 198 Fantasy Points (12.4 FPPG) 16 INT 32 sacks 6 DTD
7) Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have continued to build up their defense, as they went heavy in the draft, adding S Derwin James, DB Tony Brown, LB Uchenna Nwosu, and S/LB Kyzir White. With Joey Bosa becoming a must-double-team force on the edge, and James joining an already solid secondary, the Chargers look good heading into the year.
CBSSports.com Projections- 198 Fantasy Points (12.4 FPPG) 15 INT 46 sacks 5 DTD
8) Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers defense is looking to wash the 40-burger that the Jaguars hung on them in the playoffs out of their mouths. They didn’t add much to the front seven, but they did pick up a pair of safeties in the draft in Marcus Allen and Terrell Edmunds. They’re betting on the continued development of some of the young guys on the roster, and the projections seem to believe it’s a good bet.
CBSSports.com Projections- 197 Fantasy Points (12.3 FPPG) 16 INT 49 sacks 5 DTD
9) Denver Broncos
The Broncos aren’t quite the same terrifying unit of a few years ago, but they do have Von Miller still. Oh, and they added the player some saw as the number-one guy in the draft: DE/OLB Bradley Chubb. They also added tackling machine ILB Josey Jewell and traded for safety Su’a Cravens. The combo of Chubb and Miller has QBs on the Broncos schedule praying their offensive lines hold up.
CBSSports.com Projections- 190 Fantasy Points (11.9 FPPG) 16 INT 42 sacks 5 DTD
10) Dallas Cowboys
This may seem a little confusing, considering they were a middle-of-the-pack group last year and didn’t seem to add much in the offseason. However, they did take fliers on DE Kony Ealy and Datone Jones while drafting LB Leighton Vander Esch. Betting on the continued growth of LB Jaylon Smith, DL Taco Charlton and a young secondary featuring Byron Jones, Chidobie Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, the ‘Boys could quickly become a top group, if they can find a consistent pass rush.
CBSSports.com Projections- 180 Fantasy Points (11.2 FPPG) 12 INT 36 sacks 4 DTD