2011 Defense and Special Teams Rankings

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The Packers open as the #1 rated Team Defense, offering a nice mixture of sacks and performance plays while limiting opponents on the scoreboard
The Steelers are right on the Packers' heels for the top Team Defense. The Steelers play in a weak offensive division and hold opponents' scoring way down, while wreaking havoc on opposing QBs

It's that time of year again where we start dishing out rankings and no rankings are harder then predicting the success of Team Defense and Special Teams. Why? Well, because instead of predicting the success of one player or one fit or one talent, you are analyzing the collective talent of an 11-man unit, plus their subs and their depth.

The other hard part is the translation  of good defense to the fantasy world. A team can be great at limiting their opponents from scoring, but if they do not produce sacks or turnovers, they offer little fantasy upside. Conversely, if a team racks up sacks and takeaways, but lets up a bunch of points scored to opposing offenses, then they also fall short in the fantasy world.

The key is finding balance. Sometimes this is difficult, especially when trying to predict how new pieces fit. Do you keep Houston rated low since their defense has stunk the past few years, or do you give faith to Wade Phillips to restore order?

Is Detroit ready to take a step forward and be a defensive power? After all, how can you stop Avril, Fairley, Suh and VandenBosch from getting to the QB at the same time?

Anyhow, below is the early rankings for the Team Defense and Special Teams for 2011:

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Julius Peppers added some much needed pass rush and Devin Hester is still dangerous on special teams for the Bears
The Giants have a stellar defensive line and are building a young and talented secondary as well.