1. San Francisco 49ers- The 49ers come in boasting 2 of the top linebackers in the game today. Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith will continue to terrorize opposing offenses this season. This is the only defense worth jumping on in a middle round. They have a good kick return game as well which can pay off big.
2. Houston Texans- The Texans lost a couple players in the offseason, but don't expect this to make a significant difference. Wade Phillips has developed a ball hawking defense that finished 2nd in total defense during the 2011 season.
3. Seattle Seahawks- This Seattle defense does not get the praise deserved, but this defense finished in the Top 10 total defenses of 2011. I expect to see improvement in the pass rush making this defense one of the best for fantasy owners.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers- This defense does not get a lot of takeaways, but they make up for it by not giving up yardage. This is a defense that is getting older, and I expect a small decline this season.
5. Cincinnati Bengals- This defense was a sleeper that I drafted as my 2nd defense last season. I don't have to tell you that this pick paid off very nicely. The Bengals finished in the Top 10 in scoring defense, and racked up a very nice number of sacks.
1.Chicago Bears- They gave up big numbers last season, but they could never get off the field. You can look for serious improvement this season, and I don't even have to tell you about the kick return game.
2. Denver Broncos- The Broncos defense was the real reason for the run ending the 2011 season. Tim Tebow gets way to much credit considering it was this defense that kept him in striking distance. Dumervil and Miller are one of the top LB duos in the NFL and will anchor a solid squad in 2012.
3. Buffalo Bills- The Bills adding Mario Williams this offseason will help the pass rush a ton in 2012. They are very capable of making big plays on defense, and have a pretty solid return game.
Defense To Stay Away From:
1.San Diego Chargers- The Chargers defense is no longer the solid fantasy pick it was a few years back. They were near the bottom in sacks last season, and I expect much of the same.
2. Minnesota Vikings- Jared Allen make this defense tempting due to the large number of sacks, but you should look at the pass defense stats before you make this hasty decision. The Vikings were last in interceptions and gave up a ton of yards through the air.
3. Miami Dolphins- This is another team who used to be a fantasy must on defense. Those days are now gone as the Dolphins recovered a measly 3 fumbles last season. They just don't have playmakers!
1. Mason Crosby- Green Bay Packers- Crosby kicked 68 PAT's last season, and the Packers will score a lot of points again in 2012.
2. David Akers- San Francisco 49ers- Akers kicked 44 field goals last season coupled with 34 extra points. He is a fantasy stud at kicker.
3. Stephen Gostkowski- New England Patriots- He plays for the Patriots so he should come close to the 59 PAT's he kicked last season.
4. Dan Bailey- Dallas Cowboys- Bailey did a great job his first year in Dallas kicking 32 FG's and 39 PAT's. I expect Bailey to have an even bigger year in 2012.
5. Alex Henery- Philadelphia Eagles- Henry is a very good young kicker who had a great first season in Philly. I expect that just like Bailey, Alex Henry will have a very nice 2012.
1. Nate Kaeding- San Diego Chargers- He suffered a major injury last season, but Kaeding should be ready to kick a ton of PAT's for the Chargers.
2. Mike Nugent- Cincinnati Bengals- It seems the Bengals have sleepers everywhere, and kicker is no different. He had 33 FG's and 33 PAT's last season.
3. Randy Bullock- Houston Texans- This young rookie kicker out of Texas A&M should get plenty of opportunities in Houston.
Kickers To Stay Away From:
1-3. This one I will make very easy! If they kick for the Jaguars, Colts, and Dolphins, reserve them as a last resort.