Defense/ST Fantasy OUTLOOK for 2020:

Every year there is that one defense that surprises everyone and ends up being a league winner. In 2019, that was the Patriots D/ST who averaged 11.8 Fantasy ppg. It’s unlikely that another team in 2020 will do that well because the Patriots had an absurdly easy schedule last year that helped their already-strong defense succeed. In this article our analysts will list teams that are the most likely and the teams that are least likely along with some sleeper defenses to target late in the draft. 

This is list is based on:

  • Strength of schedule 
  • Division 
  • Last year rankings
  • FA and post draft additions 

As always if there are any questions about our decisions leave a comment!

Defenses primed for regression:

Hamza + Eric + Javier (same consensus by all analysts)
1. Niners D/ST: Loss of Buckner.Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, K’Wuan Williams dealing with soft tissue injuries.Had a superbowl run so the team has had less rest time. There is a trend that the best defense from the previous always experiences a slight regression. (Ex: Bears 2018-2019). Also is in one of the toughest divisions in football (NFC west). 
2. Patriots D/ST: Many key defensive players opted out due to COVID. Dolphins and Bills got stronger offensively (divisional teams). Also one of the toughest schedules for 2020. 

Defenses to avoid:

HamzaEricJavier
1. Bears D/ST: A struggling offense combined with a tough division puts the Bears defense in a bad position. Lost HaHa Clinton-Dix in the offseason.NE D/ST: Being drafted at number 6 amongst all defenses is way too high for the reasons stated above. Rams D/ST: The Rams have two of the best defensive players in football with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. These two helped them finish top 5 last year with 146 points an average of 9.1 points. However, their week 1 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys will prove to be tough after the great additions the Cowboys have made this offseason. You are better off looking elsewhere.
2. Broncos D/ST: 12th hardest schedule for 2020 according to NFL.com. Offense hasn’t found their groove yet. Same division as Chiefs and chargers. Loss of Chris Harris Jr. and Derek Wolfe. Texans D/ST: Loss of DJ Reader, Jonathan Joseph, Mingo and Tashaun Gibson. In 2019 they ranked 19th overall as a defense after ranking 11th in 2018.Play the Chiefs week 1.Same division as Colts and Titans.Tampa Bay D/ST: The Buccaneers were able to finish in the top 10 last season by having the 5th highest turnovers in the league. Tom Brady’s arrival will also put the defense in better game scripts. However, they get a nightmare week 1 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. They are not worth drafting and will be better off as a waiver wire pickup if available. 

Defenses to target:

HamzaEricJavier
1. Vikings D/ST: Free agency additions- Michael Pierce, Trae Waynes, Anthony Zettel. Also drafted CB Jeff Gladney at pick 31 in the first round. Cowboys D/ST: The Cowboys have relatively easy matchups against the NFC East opponents. Finishing last year at 17, the Cowboys have added Dontari Poe, Everson Griffen, and Aldon Smith. Their front seven is greatly improved and should be able to force turnovers with ease.Bills D/ST: Talented defense and mediocre division. Offense will put them in favorable game scripts leading to opposing teams having to air it out. AFC east QBs they will face six times a year: Newton/Stidham, Darnold, Fitzpatrick/ Tua.
2. Colts D/ST: Added Deforest Buckner, Sheldon Day, Xavier Rhodes in free agency with Juston Houston, Darius Leonord, Malik Hooker and Kenny MooreChargers D/ST: Finishing last season at 7, the Chargers added top CB Chris Harris Jr. and DT Linval Joseph. While they do face the Chiefs twice a year, they should be considered otherwise weekly starters.Colts D/ST: Easy schedule and great front seven for those sack points.
3. Saints D/ST: 9th easiest schedule. Ended 9th in 2019 in fantasy football at 8.4fppg and managed to keep most of the defense. Ravens D/ST: Safe pick as the Ravens have been the second best in the league since 2018. They have added rookie Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison and Justin Madubuike. Chargers D/ST: Formidable defense that added Chris Harris and Linval Joseph in free agency, then drafted Kenneth Murray. 

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