May 29, 2012 8:01 am Published by
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This is the first in a series of articles where we break down every defense in the NFL and provide defense performance  performance vs fantasy position projections for the 2012 season.

We have already recorded every player performance grade from the 2011 season (thanks to profootballfocus.com) and have provided those rankings here: 2012 DEFENSE RANKS. We then took those cumulative scores and compared them against the 2011 personnel for the same teams.

This gives us all the data we need to evaluate each defense vs fantasy QB, RB, WR and TE for the 2012 season and how they will change from their final 2011 rankings. Our goal is to provide the only “True” Strength of Schedule data for the 2012 Fantasy Football season.

After we break down each division, we will use the projected “Fantasy Points Against” rankings to project the Strength of Schedule for each Offensive player in the NFL to determine the easiest and toughest schedules.

This will help you pick the players who will have the least resistance to high production while ignoring the players with a tougher road than others. This is an edge you can only get on fantasyomatic.com. All other sites determine Strength of Schedule based on how defenses finished in 2011.


Final Rank Against ( vs Position):

2011 Final “Fantasy Points Against” rankings (1-32) or projected 2012 rankings:

1 = Defense is Easiest Fantasy Match up vs Position

32= Defense is Toughest Fantasy Match up vs Position

Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against):

Rankings of production of ALL opposing Offensive Players at each position over the entire season:

1 = Defense faced the MOST PRODUCTIVE set of players at this position

32= Defense faced the LEAST PRODUCTIVE set of players at this position
Total of all “Ratings” for all starting defensive players
Total of all “Ratings” for all starting defensive players vs Run
Pass Rush:
Total of all Starting D Line players 2011 QB Sacks, Hits and Pressures +Total Starting D Line Pass Rush Score +Total Starting D Line Pass Coverage Rating +Total Starting Free Safety Pass Rush Score
Pass Cov:
Total Starting DB Pass Cover Score + Starting Free Safety Pass Cover Score + Starting Strong Safety Pass Cover Score

Offenses Faced by Week:

Chart shows 2012 opponents for each defense. The points on the chart break down the QB, RB, WR and TE they face each week and plot the position from 1-32 in order of Offensive Production from 2011.ie: if a defense faces #1 QB in week 1, they face the top producing QB in the NFL that week.

This is all the information on free agency, draft picks, off-season moves, injuries and all information you need to evaluate each Defense for the 2012 season.



Green Bay Packers

2011 Fantasy Defense
2011 Final Rank Against ( vs Position) 5 19 2 1
2011 Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against) 13 1 19 29
2011 Defensive Personnel Ratings Overall Run Pass Rush Pass Cov
-26.2 -28.7 -.8 -6.5
2012 Fantasy Defense
2012 Projected Rank Against ( vs Position) 7 22 12 4
2012 Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against) 11 10 27 19
2012 Defensive Personnel Ratings Overall Run Pass Rush Pass Cov
-2.6 -10.8 3.7 -6.5
Green Bay is clearly looking to address one of the defensive performances in its history in 2011.

Much was made about terrible secondary play, but upon closer look it’s clear that a complete lack of pass rush is what put too much pressure on an injury-weakened secondary.

As a result, the Pack brass used the first six draft picks on defense.The Packers selected USC defensive end Nick Perry to address their pass rush.

Following Perry, the Packers drafted Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, Vanderbilt cornerback Casey Hayward, Iowa defensive tackle Mike Daniels, Maine safety Jerron McMillian, North Carolina State linebacker Terrell Manning, Florida State tackle Andrew Datko and Chattanooga quarterback B.J. Coleman. Plenty of depth for DC Dom Capers to mold.

Green Bay didn’t have many of its own free agents to worry about as it re-signed cornerback Jarrett Bush and linebacker Erik Walden. They released Pat Lee, making CB Davon House is a candidate for a bigger role.The Packers also signed defensive end Anthony Hargrove, to be a situational pass rusher after he returns from his eight game suspension by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his role in Bountygate.

Packers also added some rotational depth by signing free agent defensive tackle Daniel Muir.The Pack should have plenty of time to bring along their top couple picks and provide some balance to Clay Mathews. The Packers have moved Clay Matthews from left outside linebacker to the right side. Matthews’ responsibilities won’t change; his primary job remains getting to the quarterback. Installed at left outside linebacker, first-rounder Nick Perry “will be given every opportunity to play early,” said coach Mike McCarthy.

Rookie corner Casey Hayward excels in zone coverage, and should be an immediate contributor for a Packers’ pass defense that was historically bad in 2011.

Green Bay faced the toughest group of opposing RBs in the NFL last season and will see a more middle of the pack set in 2012, allowing their run defense to improve and giving time to the young talent in the pass rush.

2012 Offenses Faced by Week (each position)

click to enlarge

Detroit Lions

2011 Fantasy Defense
2011 Final Rank Against ( vs Position) 17 21 7 19
2011 Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against) 10 6 20 17
2011 Defensive Personnel Ratings Overall Run Pass Rush Pass Cov
-7 -5.8 6.3 -3.6
2012 Fantasy Defense
2012 Projected Rank Against ( vs Position) 21 24 14 21
2012 Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against) 14 18 22 25
2012 Defensive Personnel Ratings Overall Run Pass Rush Pass Cov
7.1 -3.8 7.4 4.7
The Lions not only retained their key free agents, but came away with a solid 2012 draft.

They helped improve their defense with free-agent cornerback Jacob Lacey and defensive end/outside linebacker Everette Brown. Detroit also retained free-agent linebacker Stephen Tulloch, quarterback Shaun Hill, tackle Jeff Backus, defensive tackle Andre Fluellen, linebacker Ashlee Palmer, linebacker DeAndre Levy, and defensive tackle Sammie Lee Hill.

Their draft started with offensive players and then ended with purely cornerbacks and linebackers.The Lions drafted corners Dwight Bentley (Louisiana-Lafayette) a 5-foot-10, 182, Bentley ran a 4.42 forty with very small hands and short arms, also Chris Greenwood (Albion) and Jonte Green (New Mexico State) and linebackers Ronnell Lewis (Oklahoma), Travis Lewis (Oklahoma) and Tahir Whitehead (Temple).

Chris Houston started OTA’s at his customary left cornerback spot, with Jacob Lacey in the slot for nickel packages.Talented rookies Chris Greenwood and Dwight Bentley will push Aaron Berry at RCB, but he’s the veteran in-house favorite. Berry’s OTA participation also confirms he’s recovered from off-season shoulder surgery.

DT Nick Fairley was arrested for the second time last week. The arrest is Fairley’s second in the last two months, and he will now be subject to the league’s personal-conduct policy. Fairley was placed in the NFL’s substance abuse program earlier this month. He is very likely facing a multi-game suspension.

Detroit also gained some salary cap room when Ndamukong Suh and Matthew Stafford agreed to restructure their contracts.

The Lions have kept their core together and locked up their star players for the long term. The draft class will provide them with some youth and depth at two positions that needed help.All things considered, Detroit should be well positioned to make another run at the playoffs in 2012 and could be the defensive class of the NFC North.

In 2012 they face about the same strength of offensive opponents with a steep drop off in the skill set of opposing RBs, which should mean better production for their run defense.

2012 Offenses Faced by Week (each position)

click to enlarge

Minnesota Vikings

2011 Fantasy Defense
2011 Final Rank Against ( vs Position) 4 14 11 10
2011 Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against) 2 14 1 7
2011 Defensive Personnel Ratings Overall Run Pass Rush Pass Cov
50.8 69.1 32 -28.6
2012 Fantasy Defense
2012 Projected Rank Against ( vs Position) 13 13 19 13
2012 Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against) 13 25 31 13
2012 Defensive Personnel Ratings Overall Run Pass Rush Pass Cov
97.4 66.6 34.8 8.6
MIN defense was worst in NFL in completion percentage (66.4), yards per attempt against (9.6), attempts to TDs against (13.4) and on passes to wide receivers in 2011.

However they faced some of the highest producing QBs and WRs in the NFL last season and the luck of the draw swings the other direction in 2012 with the second easiest WR opponents and a bottom of the pack set of opposing QBs.

As for the Vikings in the 2012 off-season, they inked cornerback Chris Carr, formerly of the Ravens. Carr, 29, excelled as a slot and left cornerback in 2010 with Baltimore before a rough 2011 season marred by injuries. Best suited as a nickel corner and special teamer, Carr will compete for a role in sub-packages with Minnesota.

They also drafted safety Harrison Smith who fills a glaring long-time need in Minnesota. The best pure zone free safety in the draft, according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, Smith also possesses the athleticism and size (6’2″, 213 pounds) to play in the box and direct traffic. He’ll step in as a Day One starter.

Minnesota also re-signed defensive tackle Letroy Guion, defensive tackle Fred Evans and linebacker Erin Henderson.Vikings also drafted Notre Dame cornerback Robert Blanton, North Carolina State linebacker Audie Cole and California defensive tackle Trevor Guyton.The Vikings are expected to turn their middle linebacker job over to Jasper Brinkley this season. After missing all of last season due to hip surgery, GM Rick Spielman says Brinkley is “100% healthy and ready to roll.”  A run stopper who struggles in coverage, Brinkley has played only 18 snaps over the last two seasons. He could flirt with 90 tackles as a starter, but will come off the field on passing downs.

The Vikings helped shore up their horrible secondary, but still go in undermanned against the passing attacks of the NFC North.
2012 Offenses Faced by Week (each position)

click to enlarge

Chicago Bears

2011 Fantasy Defense
2011 Final Rank Against ( vs Position) 31 29 22 4
2011 Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against) 1 9 2 6
2011 Defensive Personnel Ratings Overall Run Pass Rush Pass Cov
68.3 47.1 7.8 -4.9
2012 Fantasy Defense
2012 Projected Rank Against ( vs Position) 29 30 24 7
2012 Opponent Scoring Rank (Position Scored Against) 4 29 26 10
2012 Defensive Personnel Ratings Overall Run Pass Rush Pass Cov
74.4 39.7 19.6 -4.7
In free agency, the Bears were busy, as they signed free-agent  linebacker Blake Costanzo, linebacker Geno Hayes and defensive tackle John McCargo to their defense.

In addition, the Bears brought back defensive end Israel Idonije, safety Craig Steltz, and linebacker Lance Briggs.

In the draft, Chicago went with Boise State defensive end Shea McClellinwho is initially ticketed for left defensive end, opposite Julius Peppers. Also, Oregon State safety Brandon Hardin, Nevada cornerback Isaiah Frey and TCU cornerback Greg McCoy.The Bears were hoping to make a bigger splash in free agency, but players like Mario Williams never even made it to Chicago for a visit.

The offseason could have been better, but the Bears are clearly improved from where they were in 2011.

The Bears signed Kelvin Hayden and Jonathan Wilhite before spending two late-round picks on corners, but none are a threat to Tim Jennings’ job. Jennings played over 1,000 snaps in 2011, but was benched in Week 16 before returning to the starting lineup in Week 17. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 17th best cornerback.

The Bears’ defensive tackle depth has diminished this off-season following the departures of Amobi Okoye and Anthony Adams, so Stephen Paea is ticketed for a larger role. Undersized at 6-foot-1, 300 pounds, Paea projects to back up Henry Melton and Matt Toeaina at both the three-technique and nose positions.

In 2011, the Bears defense faced top 10 producers in every offensive category. Help is on the way as they face bottom 5 sets of RBs and WRs in 2012.

2012 Offenses Faced by Week (each position)

click to enlarge

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This post was written by Fantasy oMatic