NFL - Fantasy

Best Fantasy Football Defense 2021: Ranking the Top 12 D/ST for 2021 NFL Season

Jason Schandl
Best defense to draft in fantasy football for the 2021 season, including the Los Angeles Rams.
Best defense to draft in fantasy football for the 2021 season, including the Los Angeles Rams. / Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images
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Best Fantasy Defense 2021

While high-scoring offenses have taken the NFL by storm, that hasn't removed the impact a top defense can have on the game.

We saw this in 2020 when two defenses (the Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts) eclipsed 150 fantasy points on the season — both ranking among the top 65 fantasy producers across any position.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the top 12 defenses for 2021 fantasy football drafts.

Top Defenses Fantasy Football 2021

12. Chicago Bears

11. Denver Broncos

10. Cleveland Browns

9. Miami Dolphins

8. New England Patriots

This may not be the same New England Patriots defense that turned in an all-time great fantasy performance in 2019, but they're still a force to be reckoned with. They generated pressure at the fifth highest rate (26.4%) in the NFL in 2020 while also recording a takeaway on 14.0% of opponents' drives (No. 4 in the NFL). You can't ask for much more than sacks and takeaways for fantasy production.

7. Indianapolis Colts

6. San Francisco 49ers

5. Baltimore Ravens

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

Nobody rushes the QB like the Pittsburgh Steelers. They led the NFL in sacks in 2020, with 56. They led the NFL in sacks in 2019, with 54. They led the NFL in sacks in 2018, with 52. They may have lost Bud Dupree, but T.J. Watt (15.0 sacks), Stephon Tuitt (11.0 sacks) and Cameron Heyward (4.0 sacks and 19 QB hits) all return, giving them the same pass rush group that had so much success last year.

2. Washington Football Team

1. Los Angeles Rams

The Los Angeles Rams finished third among any defense in fantasy scoring last year, sitting just two points shy of the Colts. Aaron Donald was once again at the core of a pass rush that ranked No. 2 in the NFL in sack rate (8.8%). Led by Jalen Ramsey in the back end, they also checked in at No. 4 in pass defense DVOA, conceding a league-low 4.6 adjusted net yards per pass attempt. The bulk of the Rams' defensive starters are returning, and they should be in for another huge year.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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