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Note: Projections are from the 2010 NFL.com Fantasy Football Preview Guide and will be updated throughout the preseason.

 

1. New York Jets
(Auction: $3)
A preseason breakout candidate on NFL.com last season, the Jets met heightened expectations and finished as the No. 1 defense in fantasy football. Under the tutelage of coach Rex Ryan, the Men in Green allowed a league-low 236 points to their opponents and scored 248 points for fantasy owners. With playmakers such as CBs Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie and LBs David Harris and Bart Scott, plus an aggressive style led by Ryan, the Jets will be a popular option in fantasy drafts. Look for this unit to be one of the first three taken in most formats. (Bye: Week 7)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
260.5
15.1
22
12
35
4


 

2. Minnesota Vikings
(Auction: $3)
The value of fantasy defenses can change, sometimes drastically, from one season to the next. That's why it's a good idea to target the most consistent units. Enter the Vikings, who have been one of the most reliable units over the last five seasons. With a stout line that features DE Jared Allen and the Williams Wall, this team is effective at sacking the quarterback and forcing turnovers. It also offers a number of other playmakers such as CB Antoine Winfield, not to mention return man Percy Harvin on special teams, so the Vikings remain a top choice in drafts. (Bye: Week 4)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
297.3
18.8
13
11
49
4


 

3. Philadelphia Eagles
(Auction: $3)
This aggressive, playmaking unit tied for third in sacks, was fourth in interceptions, and scored 6 touchdowns in 2009. Those numbers helped the Eagles rank in the top five in fantasy points (they were third) among defenses on NFL.com for the second time in the last five seasons. It is such consistent production that once again makes them a viable option in drafts. With a sack specialist in DE Trent Cole, a playmaking CB in Asante Samuel, and the explosive DeSean Jackson returning punts, the Eagles will continue to be sought after on draft day. (Bye: Week 8)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
297.5
19.3
20
12
46
6


 

4. Green Bay Packers
(Auction: $2)
The Packers might be better known for their offense, but their defense has emerged as a top fantasy option as well. This unit ended 2009 as the second-most-productive defense on NFL.com. The Packers are loaded with playmakers, led by CB Charles Woodson and a stout core of LBs that includes Nick Barnett, A.J. Hawk, and Clay Matthews. While the Packers finished last season on a low note in a playoff loss to the Cardinals, they still field one of the elite defenses from a fantasy perspective and should be considered a top-five unit in all drafts. (Bye: Week 10)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
299.1
19.7
25
8
33
5


 

5. Baltimore Ravens
(Auction: $2)
Although playing under a new coordinator in 2009, the Ravens still finished with the sixth-best defense in fantasy football. It was the fourth time in five seasons that they ranked in the top 10 in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com. Led by ageless LB Ray Lewis and a defensive line that includes Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata, this unit will continue to play a smash-mouth, aggressive style of football that creates turnovers and puts up points for fantasy owners. Despite a tough FPA rating, the Ravens are still a top-five option across the board. (Bye: Week 8)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
295.9
16.9
24
11
37
5


 

6. Pittsburgh Steelers
(Auction: $2)
The Steelers have long been known for their hard-nosed, aggressive defense. But the 2009 version of the Steel Curtain wasn't at all reliable for fantasy owners. For the first time in several years, Pittsburgh finished outside the top 12 among fantasy defenses on NFL.com. One big reason was the loss of safety Troy Polamalu, who missed most of the year due to injuries. With Polamalu returning at 100 percent and a number of playmakers back in 2010, though, look for the Steelers to bounce back and re-claim their status as a No. 1 defense. (Bye: Week 5)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
279.6
17.8
16
9
44
3


 

7. New Orleans Saints
(Auction: $1)
The Saints ranked no better than 22nd in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com from 2005 to 2008. Enter new coordinator Gregg Williams, and this unit moved all the way up to fourth in points last season. While the Saints were an unimpressive 25th in total defense, Williams' aggressive approach turned them into a turnover-producing, touchdown-scoring fantasy machine. While they may not reach their stellar 2009 numbers, the Saints will continue to play the same ball-hawking, exciting style and should remain a viable No. 1 fantasy defense in 2010. (Bye: Week 10)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
344.2
23.5
23
8
34
6


 

8. San Francisco 49ers
(Auction: $1)
The 49ers, led by one of the NFL's best defensive players in LB Patrick Willis, finished fifth in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com last season. Over the final eight weeks, the 49ers scored in double-digits six times. That included a four-week stretch in which they averaged 20 points per game. The one concern is that this unit was inconsistent. Including a 45-point explosion in Week 4, the 49ers scored more than half of their fantasy points in just four games. Still, the presence of Willis and a favorable FPA rating make this team worth a late-round pick. (Bye: Week 9)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
324.9
18.3
16
13
41
4


 

9. Dallas Cowboys
(Auction: $1)
Dallas has talent on defense and a head coach whose schemes can equate to fantasy points, but this unit is still not one of the league's elite options. Over the last five years, the Cowboys have finished no higher than eighth in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com and have an average rank of 13.6 out of the 32 NFL teams. So while they do field skilled players such as LB DeMarcus Ware, NT Jay Ratliff, and CB Mike Jenkins, the Cowboys shouldn't be considered more than a low-end No. 1 fantasy defense for the late rounds on draft day. (Bye: Week 4)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
303.7
17.1
10
12
45
4


 

10. Chicago Bears
(Auction: $1)
The Bears were a middle-of-the-road 20th in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com last season. But with the offseason addition of DE Julius Peppers and the return of LB Brian Urlacher from injury, this unit suddenly has increasing value for 2010. It also appears that Devin Hester could see more action as a return man on special teams. Chicago has an extremely favorable FPA rating, too, so don't be shocked if it rebounds to become a starting option in fantasy leagues. Consider the Bears in the late rounds as a low-end No. 1 defense with growth potential. (Bye: Week 8)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
318.4
18.7
16
13
41
5


 

11. San Diego Chargers
(Auction: $1)
Though the Chargers lacked consistency in 2009, they do have the personnel to be a late-round pick in 2010. (Bye: Week 10)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
320.9
20.8
16
11
31
4


 

12. New York Giants
(Auction: $1)
With players getting healthy and a new coordinator (Perry Fewell), the Giants should rebound from a sub-par 2009. (Bye: Week 8)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
309.8
21.5
15
9
38
4


 

13. Miami Dolphins
(Auction: $1)
The Dolphins landed Mike Nolan to coordinate their defense. That, and a positive FPA rating, makes Miami a sleeper. (Bye: Week 5)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
319.1
20.1
17
10
41
3


 

14. New England Patriots
(Auction: $1)
With more consistency, this unit has a chance to become a low-end No. 1 fantasy defense again. (Bye: Week 5)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
311.6
18.3
16
11
34
3


 

15. Cincinnati Bengals
(Auction: $1)
A surprisingly viable starting option in 2009, the Bengals' difficult FPA rating could cause a drop in value in 2010. (Bye: Week 6)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
311.7
20.1
16
10
31
4


 

16. Arizona Cardinals
(Auction: $1)
The Cardinals were a low-end No. 1 defense in 2009, but losing LB Karlos Dansby and S Antrel Rolle hurts. (Bye: Week 6)

2010 Projections
YPG
PPG
Int
Fum Rec
Sacks
TDs
337.9
22.6
14
10
38
3


Defenses 17-32


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