Ladd Biro's Fantasy Football Rankings: Defenses

RNK NAME Def/ST TDs Yds All. Pts All. INT Fum Rec Sack COMMENT
1 Baltimore 6/2 4803 238 21 13 39 Move to the 4-3 will require some adjustments, and Hartwell's loss hurts, but they're still the most reliable fantasy defense in the league.
2 Pittsburgh 5/0 4125 223 19 13 42 Improved production from their offense should make this elite unit even more dangerous.
3 Buffalo 4/5 4219 263 24 15 46 Last year's top fantasy defense lost just one key player (Pat Williams). McGee and Clements are dangerous K/P returners, respectively. Offensive struggles could tax them though.
4 Philadelphia 2/0 5115 253 17 11 47 Special teams are shaky, but the defense should improve with maturity of young players.
5 New England 4/1 4972 233 20 16 46 Losses of Bruschi and Crennel, and Seymour's hold-out, will hurt. Belichick magical powers will be tested.
6 Atlanta 5/1 5207 321 19 13 48 Hartwell will solidify LB corps, but secondary remains a concern. KR Rossum is one of the league's best.
7 Washington 1/0 4282 221 18 8 39 Surprisingly effective in '04, will be even better if LB Arrington can return strong and S Taylor can stay out of trouble. Offense's ineptitude may keep them on the field too much.
8 Carolina 3/0 5384 318 26 12 34 Addition of CB Lucas upgrades their secondary. DL and LBs are first-rate. If they can stay healthy, they'll be a reliable fantasy unit.
9 Tampa Bay 3/1 4552 262 16 11 45 The best pass defense of '04 is getting older, but still has several big-time playmakers.
10 Minnesota 2/1 5894 386 11 11 39 No team did more to improve their defensive fortunes in the off-season. It will take some time for them to become a unit, but look for a rapid increase in INTs in particular.
11 San Diego 1/1 5382 298 23 10 29 If first-round picks can bolster pass rush, this will be a formidable unit. Could move up rankings quickly with good preseason showing.
12 Cincinnati 5/0 5365 321 20 16 37 Awful against the run, but the secondary is strong. HC Lewis is defensive-minded, so look for continued improvement.
13 Kansas City 2/2 6047 413 13 8 41 Surtain and Knight upgrade a pathetic secondary. Bell and Johnson (R) offer hope for the LBs. KR Hall raises the overall grade.
14 Chicago 6/1 5390 301 17 12 33 Led league in scoring last season. If Urlacher and Ogunleye can return to form after an injury-riddled '04, the Bears could be fantasy sleepers.
15 Dallas 0/0 5285 377 13 9 33 Dramatically improved on paper, it will take some time for promising rookies and free agent additions to gel and to adjust to the 3-4.
RNK NAME Def/ST TDs Yds All. Pts All. INT Fum Rec Sack COMMENT
16 Arizona 2/0 5139 321 15 15 38 Held some mighty offenses in check last season, but imploded against others. Keep an eye on the Cards as a potential free agent/bye week pick-up.
17 Jacksonville 0/0 5134 238 16 12 37 Talented DL should increase sack production. Secondary is a big concern.
18 Miami 1/1 4894 284 15 10 36 Most pressing need is for their offense to give them time to breathe. Secondary was depleted in free agency, but DL is solid.
19 Indianapolis 3/1 5929 343 19 17 45 S Sanders, if healthy, will give secondary a spark. Offensive firepower forces opponents into playing catch-up, which leads to INTs.
20 Denver 2/0 4459 290 12 8 38 You know you've had a bad off-season when you add four underachieving Browns to your DL while losing your '04 sack leader (T. Pryce). But LBs could be the league's best.
21 Seattle 3/0 5620 364 23 12 36 J. Sharper is a superb LB addition, but loss of K. Lucas hurts an already-shaky secondary. Nothing special about their special teams.
22 NY Jets 3/1 4878 252 19 14 36 CB Abraham's retirement and DE Abraham's hold-out hurt, but addition of Ty Law helps considerably. Still not a viable fantasy unit.
23 Detroit 1/4 5401 321 14 10 38 Eddie Drummond's return skills make their special teams lethal, but the defense is below-average. Draft only for S/T value.
24 Oakland 1/0 5936 407 9 9 26 With a vastly-improved offense, this unit has the chance to force opponents into costly mistakes. Return to 4-3 should help Sapp.
25 NY Giants 2/2 5187 347 14 14 41 Strahan must return to elite status for this unit to gain respectability. Special teams aren't too shabby.
26 Green Bay 5/0 5541 366 8 7 40 Did little to improve in the off-season, and lost their biggest playmaker in D. Sharper to divisional foes.
27 Houston 5/0 5456 316 22 8 24 Loss of LB Sharper will hurt an already-weak defense. Corners are talented playmakers.
28 Tennessee 2/0 5724 398 18 12 32 LB Bullock could use a lot more help. First-round pick Jones may not be around to help, given his legal issues.
29 St. Louis 3/0 5353 351 6 9 36 Their 15 turnovers were the NFL's worst. Nothing suggests this will improve enough to warrant fantasy consideration.
30 Cleveland 1/1 5215 346 15 13 32 New HC Crennel will earn his paycheck trying to overhaul this group. He'll need time. Lots of it.
31 New Orleans 1/2 6141 375 13 19 37 Doormats in '04, their off-season moves give little hope of major improvement in '05.
32 San Francisco 2/1 5481 417 9 12 29 This will be the most valuable defense in the NFL in '05…for the offenses playing against it. Stay away. Far, far away.
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