Koerner’s Fantasy Football Tiers: Ranking All 32 Defenses

Koerner’s Fantasy Football Tiers: Ranking All 32 Defenses article feature image

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Khalil Mack

  • Welcome to Sean Koerner's 2019 fantasy football tiers, where he ranks all 32 NFL defenses based on their value.

My strategy of not drafting a defense (if your league allows it) prompted questions about whether I was suggesting to not use one at all.

Let’s clarify what I mean, then dig into my preseason defense tiers.

My 2019 Defense Strategy

The strategy behind not drafting a defense (or kicker) is to instead add two more RBs to the end of your bench. The types of RBs I draft to stash have the potential to become an RB2 (or better) if their team’s starter were to miss extended time. (For more on this strategy, check out my RB Tiers and Undervalued Upside Ratings.)

But not drafting a defense doesn’t mean it’s not an important position in-season.

While I’m advocating to not draft defenses (or kickers), we of course aren’t going to just take two zeros from their roster slots once the regular season starts. I typically add my defense a day or two before Week 1 starts to maximize the chances of my two RB stashes hitting the lottery. (See: James Conner in 2018.)

>> Create custom cheat sheets using Sean Koerner’s fantasy football rankings with our Draft Kit.

I also want to stress just how serious I take the position in-season: I stream it each week to take advantage of the best available options. And I’ve been incredibly successful using this strategy year-in and year-out. I’m often able to stream what would equal a top-three defense or kicker when you combine the total output I get from these two slots. A lot of that has to do with the attention I give to projecting both positions on a weekly basis.

I always try to ensure I’m making the most accurate projections as possible for defenses and kickers, as demonstrated by my first-place finish for both positions in expert accuracy on FantasyPros last season.

Be sure to check out my weekly projections in-season in order to best stream these positions, but for now, here are my preseason tiers for all 32 defenses. And to give you a head start on Week 1 strategy, I also included their Week 1 ranking in parenthesis.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is meant to give my general drafting strategy for the D/ST position. To get my up-to-date rankings, check out our draft kit, where you can download my projections/Tiers for your exact league settings.

More Tiers: QB | RBWR |TE

Tier 1

Chicago Bears (13)

Tier 2

Los Angeles Chargers (8)
Baltimore Ravens (1)
Jacksonville Jaguars (24)
Philadelphia Eagles (4)
Minnesota Vikings (11)

Tier 3

Pittsburgh Steelers (29)
Los Angeles Rams (7)
New Orleans Saints (17)
Denver Broncos (20)
New England Patriots (10)
Buffalo Bills (5)
Houston Texans (32)
Cleveland Browns (9)
Washington Redskins (28)
Dallas Cowboys (6)
Indianapolis Colts (26)
Tennessee Titans (18)

Tier 4

Carolina Panthers (22)
Green Bay Packers (12)
Seattle Seahawks (2)

Tier 5

Kansas City Chiefs (21)
New York Jets (3)
Detroit Lions (15)
Atlanta Falcons (26)
San Francisco 49ers (19)

Tier 6

Arizona Cardinals (27)
Miami Dolphins (16)
Cincinnati Bengals (30)
New York Giants (31)
Oakland Raiders (14)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23)

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