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Who Do I Draft? Fantasy Football: Defense Tiers

While drafting, don't spend any more than one draft pick on a kicker and one on a defense.

We're creeping closer to the beginning of the 2020 NFL Season and with the busiest weekend for fantasy football drafts fast approaching, let's dive into some Defense tiers for 2020.

I personally do not draft a kicker or a defense until the last three rounds of any of my fantasy drafts. I tend to stream defenses weekly, or I will pair two defenses together for a season and play the better match-up. While drafting, don't spend any more than one draft pick on a kicker and one on a defense. Drafting more than one is a massive mistake and could keep a high ceiling player off your roster that could help later on in the year.

We've grouped our defenses into tiers; this way during drafts, you can see what options you have left in each tier as managers start drafting them for their teams. Each player/team will be ranked left to right for simplicity. Let's start with Defense:

Tier 1: Set It & Forget It

San Francisco, Baltimore, Buffalo.

The three top defenses from a year ago remain unchanged going in to 2020. All three remain set it and forget it when it comes to match-ups, although pairing Buffalo with a streaming option might not be a bad idea due their schedule (AFC and NFC West opponents).

Buffalo Defense celebrates sack.Buffalo's defense is primed for another top 5 campaign in 2020. Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Tier 2: Solid Starters

Minnesota, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Chicago, Denver

You could make a case for Minnesota being in tier one, especially with the addition of Yannick Ngakoue to an already deep defensive line. He'll replace Everson Griffin. Pittsburgh's defense carried them to a 9-7 record a year ago with abysmal QB play. With Ben Roethlisberger back healthy for 2020, the Steelers defense can get more aggressive and play less bend but don't break defense. New Orleans pairs a formidable unit with a Top 3 offense. Chicago lost a few players to COVID 19 opt-outs, but should still end as a top 10 unit in fantasy. Denver's defense added a few pieces this year and is a sneaky underdog play.

Tier 3: Match-up Dependent Starters

Philadelphia, Seattle, New England, Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee, Los Angeles Chargers

Philadelphia shored up their secondary by trading for Darius Slay in the off season. Jim Schwartz always has formidable units, and their defensive line will give teams fits this year. Seattle traded two first round picks for Jamal Adams, and he'll wreak havoc for Pete Carroll in the NFC West. New England lost a ton of players to Covid 19 opt outs, but Belicheck knows a thing or two about getting the most out of his players. They're a few notches lower than past years but will surprise more than a few in 2020. Tennessee traded away Jurrel Casey to Denver earlier in the off-season, but Jeffery Simmons will slide in and could be even better. Chargers defense will need to carry them as offensive touchdowns will be tough to come by this year without Philip Rivers.

Jamal Adams practice photoJamal Adams could make Seattle a Top 10 defense againSeahawks.com

Tier 4: Streamers

Indianapolis, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Dallas, Cleveland, New York Giants, Houston, Washington, Atlanta.

Not a ton to say about these teams, they won't be starting more than a week or two as a fill in or because of a nice match-up against an inept offense. Indianapolis and Green Bay have some nice schedules based on match-ups and could pair nicely together to stream throughout the year. Houston is an intriguing defense with six match ups against the AFC South.

Tier 5: Desperation Plays

New York Jets, Miami, Jacksonville, Detroit, Arizona, Carolina, Las Vegas, Cincinnati.

These teams should never sniff the daylight of a starting lineup. The only way you'd see them start is in a very deep league (14 teams) or a 2 Defense leagues (Starting 2 DEF). Miami may have some streaming ability depending on how well they have improved with their free agent signings. Detroit could have some streaming ability as well.

The Dolphins spent a lot of money of defense for 2020, but with no offseason work, it's too early to expect much from the unit.LYNNE SLADKY AP

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