Positional rankings: Defenses

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Here's a look at the top 25 fantasy defenses to grab in 2008:

The Chargers ranked fifth in points allowed per game last year, allowing just 17.8, but they added even more fantasy punch with 5 defensive TDs, 2 special teams TDs, 55 forced turnovers and 42 sacks. Shawne Merriman led the way with 12.5 sacks, while Antonio Cromartie had 10 interceptions and one TD. This defense has everything, so grab it if you can.

The addition of DE Jared Allen makes this defense as good as any other in the NFL. The Vikings finished with eight defensive TDs last year, 38 sacks, 42 forced turnovers and one special teams TD. LB Chad Greenway led the way with 105 tackles and Darren Sharper led the team with four interceptions and one TD. This is a good defense that just got better this off-season.

While the offense got all the press last year, this defense wasn't too shabby, either. It ranked fourth in points allowed per game (17.1) and had 6 defensive TDs and 2 special teams TDs. Yes, it lost CB Asante Samuel to free agency, but LBs Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and Adalius Thomas lead a solid linebacking corp. More turnovers will come this year, so grab this D now.

The addition of Pacman Jones has this defense rising in off-season mock drafts. There's no guarantee that Jones will be eligible for the full season, but even without him the Cowboys forced 45 turnovers last year, scored three defensive TDs and had 46 sacks. CBs Anthony Henry and Terrence Newman lead an aggressive secondary that will be even better with Pacman on the prowl.

The Packers have quickly become one of the most improved defenses under coach Mike McCarthy as last year it forced 41 turnovers, scored four defensive TDs and added 36 sacks. LBs Nick Barnett (135 tackles) and A.J. Hawk (105 tackles), lead the way, with CBs Rod Woodson (4 INTs) and Al Harris (2 INTs) leading the secondary. Look for even more blitzes and better numbers in '08 from this defense.

The Bears ranked 28th in total defense last season, but the special teams with Devin Hester makes this a team to get on draft day. Hester scored six special teams TDs last year -- two on kickoffs and four on punts -- and the defense added one more TD, 49 turnovers and 41 sacks. Because of Hester, this is a "defense" worth drafting this year.

This defense carried the Giants to last year's Super Bowl title as it was dominant down the stretch. The Giants finished last year with 53 sacks, five TDs and 37 forced turnovers. Defensive ends Osi Umenyiora (13 sacks) and Justin Tuck (10 sacks) lead the way, while Ahmad Bradshaw leads an improved special teams unit.

The Jags are steady yet unspectacular on defense, which earns them a Top 10 fantasy ranking. They ranked 10th in points allowed last year at 19.0, while ranking 12th in total defense. They scored 3 defensive TDs, one special teams TD, and had 33 forced turnovers and 37 sacks. Maurice Jones-Drew and Dennis Northcutt lead special teams units that are as good as they come.

The Steelers finished second in points allowed last year at 16.8 and finished with 2 defensive TDs, 1 special teams TD, 36 forced turnovers and 36 sacks. S Troy Polamalu remains one of the game's top safeties, but he needs to stay healthy for this defense to click on all cylinders. It's also time for an upgrade on the special teams units.

The Seahawks finished sixth in points allowed per game last year at 18.2 and they were among the most aggressive defenses in the league. They finished with two defensive TDs, three special teams TDs, 43 forced turnovers and 45 sacks. DE Patrick Kearney (14.5 sacks) and LB Julian Peterson (9.5 sacks) lead a defensive team that is still young and getting better with each game.

The Colts didn't score much on defense last year, but they did lead the league in fewest points allowed per game at 16.4. They finished with only two defensive TDs and 28 sacks, but did generate 46 forced turnovers and one special teams TD. The return of DE Dwight Freeney will make this defense even better in '08.

The Lions ranked last in points allowed per game last year at 27.8, but they still are desired in fantasy football because of the turnovers they cause. They scored four defensive TDs, one special teams TD and forced 50 turnovers with 37 sacks. LBs Ernie Sims (134 tackles) and Paris Lenon (118 tackles) lead a young and improving front seven.

The Cardinals also gave up a lot of points last year (24.9 per game), but came through with seven defensive TDs and one special teams TD. The Cardinals also forced 43 turnovers and finished with 36 sacks. LB Karlos Dansby (99 tackles) and S Antrel Rolle (5 INTs, 3 TDs) are the leaders here.

The Titans ranked eighth in points allowed per game last year (18.6) and fifth in total yards allowed, but it fell short with just two defensive and special teams TDs. The Titans did, however, force 48 turnovers and finish with 40 sacks, so the future looks solid. LB David Thornton (122 tackles) and LB Keith Bulluck (88 tackles, 5 INTs) lead the way here.

This once-elite defense has fallen on hard times lately, tying for 22nd in points allowed per game at 24.0. They finished with just one defensive TD, 32 sacks and 32 forced turnovers, but did add two special teams TDs. LB Ray Lewis (121 tackles) and S Ed Reed (7 INTs) still lead the way, but realize that this defense isn't the dominant unit it was just a few years ago.

The Eagles offered very little fantasy production last year, finishing with just 2 defense/special teams TDs, 30 forced turnovers and 37 sacks. But they signed free agent CB Asante Samuel this offseason with the hope that more turnovers are on the way. Rookie DeSean Jackson should also improve a lethargic special teams unit.

The Bills ranked 31st in total defense last year and finished with only 26 sacks. But it did score three defensive TDs, two special teams TDs and force 41 turnovers. The addition of DT Marcus Stroud should also improve this run defense. LBs Angelo Crowell (126 tackles) and John DiGiorgio (113 tackles) are the best options in IDP leagues.

The Bucs finished third in the league in points allowed per game (16.9), but also had just two defensive TDs, one special teams TD and 33 sacks. LBs Barrett Rudd (114 tackles) and Derrick Brooks (109 tackles) led the way, while DE Greg White had eight sacks.

Denver ranked 28th last year in points allowed per game at 25.6, while collecting only 33 sacks. The Broncos did score two defensive TDs, one special teams TD and force 44 turnovers as CB Champ Bailey (84 tackles, 3 INTs) and LB D.J. Williams (141 tackles) led the way.

The Redskins were solid but unspectacular last year with two defensive TDs, 33 sacks and 38 forced turnovers. LB London Fletcher was solid in his first season with Washington as he led the team with 129 tackles, 3 INTs and a TD, and Shawn Springs added 4 INTs.

It's hard to believe that this unit with Julius Peppers finished with only 23 sacks last year and only two defensive touchdowns, but it was definitely a down year for the Panthers. LBs Joe Beason (140 tackles) and Landon Johnson (109 tackles) lead a defense that needs more playmakers.

The Chiefs lost DE Jared Allen to free agency this off-season and will be a work in progress. They had just one defensive TD last year, 29 forced turnovers and 37 sacks, but the addition of first-round pick Glenn Dorsey should help this unit.

Leon Washington makes this unit worthwhile as he had 3 TDs on kickoff returns last year. Defensively, though, the Jets finished with only one TD, 29 sacks and 35 forced turnovers. There's not enough here to consider on Draft Day.

Mario Williams leads an improved defense that scored 3 TDs and finished with 31 sacks, 14 by Williams. The special teams unit also scored four TDs with Andre Davis returning three kickoffs for TDs. This is a defense that is getting better and in time might be worthy of consideration on Draft Day.

The Raiders did very little last year, scoring just two defensive TDs with a meager total of 27 sacks. Trading for CB DeAngelo Hall will help, but this is definitely a work in progress.