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Updated Defense/Special Teams rankings for 2021 fantasy football leagues

We take you through our defense/special teams rankings heading into the 2021 NFL season heading into fantasy football drafts.

Aaron Donald #99, Samson Ebukam #50, and Sebastian Joseph-Day #69 of the Los Angeles Rams take the field prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at SoFi Stadium on January 03, 2021 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s time to pick your 2021 fantasy football defense and special teams team. That means, at least for me, that I take a hard look at the first one to four games and look for a team or teams with a good schedule, preferably against poor or rookie quarterbacks. It doesn’t always work, but I much prefer to stream defenses rather than use a valuable pick on the Rams or Steelers and then need to find a replacement when they play a top offense.

2021 Fantasy Football rankings: D/ST

Denver Broncos

at Giants, at Jaguars, vs. Jets

The Broncos aren’t going to be the cheapest draft pick, but they have a great chance to be a dominant defense while also getting to face Daniel Jones and two rookie quarterbacks in the first three games of the season.

New York Giants

vs. Broncos, at WFT

The Giants defense was their strength last season and they should remain at least a matchup worthy unit this season. They’ll face Teddy Bridgwater and Ryan Fitzpatrick to start the season. It’s not optimal, but it’s not awful either.

Carolina Panthers

vs. Jets, vs. Saints, at Texans

The Panthers defense isn’t going to scare anybody, but they get a nice schedule with Zach Wilson, either Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill and Tyrod Taylor to start the year.

New England Patriots

vs. Dolphins, at Jets, vs. Saints

I like the Patriots defense this year as it is, so taking on Tua Tagovailoa in New England, then a rookie quarterback and then Jameis Winston or Taysom Hill works for me.

New York Jets

at Panthers, vs. Patriots, at Broncos

The Jets could get Sam Darnold, Mac Jones, and Teddy Bridgewater to start the year.

Buffalo Bills

vs. Steelers, at Dolphins, vs. WFT, vs. Texans

Ben Roethlisberger may be someone to target this year, but I don’t think I’d want to face the Steelers offense in Week 1. But after that, it gets much easier.

Green Bay Packers

at Saints. vs. Lions

It’s tough to bet against Sean Payton and Alvin Kamara, but overall the Saints are breaking a new quarterback in and have very few consistent receivers. Then the Packers get the Lions.

Jacksonville Jaguars

at Texans

The Texans are going to be bad. I like Tyrod Taylor as a backup quarterback, but Houston has very little going for them and will have real trouble putting up a fight this year.

Defense/Special Teams rankings for 2021 fantasy football leagues

Rk Team
Rk Team
1 Los Angeles Rams
2 Pittsburgh Steelers
3 San Francisco 49ers
4 New Orleans Saints
5 Washington Football Team
6 Baltimore Ravens
7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8 Indianapolis Colts
9 New England Patriots
10 Buffalo Bills
11 Miami Dolphins
12 Arizona Cardinals
13 Cleveland Browns
14 Kansas City Chiefs
15 Denver Broncos
16 Los Angeles Chargers
17 Chicago Bears
18 Dallas Cowboys
19 Green Bay Packers
20 Minnesota Vikings
21 Seattle Seahawks
22 New York Giants
23 Philadelphia Eagles
24 Tennessee Titans
25 New York Jets
26 Atlanta Falcons
27 Jacksonville Jaguars
28 Houston Texans
29 Carolina Panthers
30 Detroit Lions
31 Cincinnati Bengals
32 Las Vegas Raiders