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2019 D/ST Rankings for Standard Fantasy Football Leagues

Let’s take a trip together into the past, shall we? I have set the Wayback Machine to July of 2018. It was a confusing time. People were drafting Patrick Mahomes after Matthew Stafford and Jimmy Garoppolo, and drafting Le’Veon Bell ahead of, well, literally anybody who played a snap in the NFL last season. Back then, I wrote an article with my D/ST rankings for the 2018 season. In last year’s column, I noted the following with regard to fantasy D/ST:

We think we know which defenses will be elite from year to year, but it rarely plays out that way. In the last five years, only 44 percent of D/ST drafted as Top-10 fantasy units finished the season as such. And if you think choosing a top-five D/ST gives you a better chance of success, I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for you… teams drafted as Top-5 D/ST have only finished as Top-10 defenses 44 percent of the time – the same exact number as defenses drafted as top-ten D/ST. In fact, no D/ST unit drafted in the Top 5 in the last five seasons has finished as fantasy’s best defense, but two that were drafted in the Top 5 have finished as fantasy’s worst D/ST!

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Do you want to take a guess as to how it played out in 2018? Well, if it did not go the way I expected it to go, I probably would not have bothered to cram all of you into this tiny machine. My top-5 last year consisted of Jacksonville (finished 14th in fantasy scoring among D/ST), Philadelphia (24th), Minnesota (8th), and both Los Angeles teams (Chargers 15th, Rams 2nd). Once again, only two of the defenses drafted in the first five finished as even top-10 options. And once again, the D/ST that ended up being the best (Chicago) went drafted outside the top-10.

Granted, last July we did not know that the Bears were going to trade for Khalil Mack. But spending precious draft capital stock on a fantasy D/ST unit is a major mistake. You would be much better served to simply stream defenses throughout the season. If you really need to draft a defense, pick one with a nice early schedule like Kansas City’s. They start off the year with games against Jacksonville, Oakland, Baltimore, and Detroit. That could give your squads a nice little boost before bye weeks begin to take effect.

I am still going to provide you with my D/ST rankings for all 32 teams. After all, I want to provide you with as much information as I can. The only thing I ask for in return is that you not draft a D/ST too early. And by “too early”, I mean prior to the last three rounds of drafts. Drafting a D/ST before the very end of drafts is often a sunken cost that results in a wasted pick. Kickers are more reliable. Yeah, I said it!

More of Mick’s Standard League Rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE

D/ST Rankings for Fantasy Football

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

Mick Ciallela has been writing for FantraxHQ since July 2017. He has also written for Bleacher Report. He is a lifelong sports fan and has been an avid fantasy sports player for many years. Mick was the Overall Champion of both the 2016 Football Challenge – Roto and 2017 Play 3 Football contests hosted by CDM Sports. Mick was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York and currently resides in New London, Connecticut.

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