Drafting fantasy defenses is a tricky affair. Fewer and fewer leagues are running with a roster spot for team defense, as leagues are starting to favor either IDP (Individual Defensive Players) or are doing away with the position all together and adding extra flex spots. Also you have the huge swings from year to year in terms of consistency, with each of the last four top scoring fantasy defenses (2016 Chiefs, 2017 Jaguars, 2018 Bears, 2019 Patriots) all dropping by at least 10 places the following year. This lends itself to being able to identify an edge in drafts and exploit it, allowing other teams to go after the recency bias and allowing you to continue to stack offensive options.
My preferred drafting strategy for defenses is not to draft one at all, or if the season is very close to starting, take one in the last round and make it my best available Week 1 streamer. From then on its all about streaming a new defense weekly, as in redraft leagues, you tend to find plenty of options (and good ones at that) available every week as few players draft multiple defenses when there are relatively few bench spots available.
I will be posting a weekly defense ranking article during the season to highlight the best weekly defense options, so whether you want to draft and forget your defense, or stream weekly, we have you covered here at NerdBall.
2021 Fantasy Football Defense & Special Teams Rankings
|2021 Rank||Team||Bye||2020 Rank|
|2||New England Patriots||14||12|
|4||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||9||9|
|5||Washington Football Team||9||6|
|8||San Francisco 49ers||6||20|
|10||Los Angeles Rams||11||1|
|13||Los Angeles Chargers||7||23|
|15||New Orleans Saints||6||7|
|16||New York Giants||10||13|
|17||Green Bay Packers||13||17|
|19||Kansas City Chiefs||12||11|
|21||New York Jets||6||26|
|30||Las Vegas Raiders||8||31|