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 first hand in the fantasy football world in 2019, when the New England Patriots defense averaged a huge 14.0 fantasy points per game — ranking 36th among players at any position (minimum four games played).
With that in mind, let's take a look at the top 12 defenses for 2020 fantasy football drafts.
Top Defenses Fantasy Football 2020
12. Philadelphia Eagles
11. Denver Broncos
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2019 numbers really showcase the disconnect between real-world quality and fantasy football quality in a defense. They allowed an egregious 28.1 points per game (fourth-most in the NFL), but they also finished ninth among defenses in fantasy output. This D shouldn't be put in as many tough spots with Tom Brady taking over for Jameis Winston on offense, and they should also be playing with a lead more often — something that often translates to increased opportunities for sacks and interceptions on obvious late-game passing downs.
9. Chicago Bears
8. Kansas City Chiefs
7. Minnesota Vikings
6. New Orleans Saints
5. Buffalo Bills
4. New England Patriots
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA metrics had the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense as the third-best in the NFL in 2019. They also finished second in fantasy scoring, and the Steelers return largely the same unit they fielded in 2019. Add Ben Roethlisberger back on offense, which should lighten the burden on this defense, and Pittsburgh should repeat as a top-five fantasy defense.
2. Baltimore Ravens
1. San Francisco 49ers
Football Outsiders' No. 2 defense last year, the San Francisco 49ers trailed only the Patriots in DVOA. The Niners have lost DeForest Buckner, but adding Javon Kinlaw should go a long way to softening the blow of that loss. With a stable of terrific pass rushers (Nick Bosa, Arik Armstead and Dee Ford) as well as a premier secondary, the 49ers' defense should once again be the focal point of this team as they look to repeat as NFC champions.
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.