In reviewing my top 10 defenses for 2012 fantasy football, it’s a firm reminder of why not to worry about drafting a defense as preseason ranking experts – read that as not just me – were probably only 50% right about their top 10 this year.  Sure, some of it can be blamed on injury but the reality is this is why you should be pretty comfortable to play matchups more often to start the year while trying to find this year’s San Francisco 49ers defense.  All that said, to review how we uh…review, we’re going to use yahoo’s end of season rankings to compare.  So with that, let’s take a look at how the top 10 defenses for 2012 fantasy football panned out…

Stats based on the three basics: Sacks, Interceptions & Fumble Recovery

1. Chicago BearsYeah, you knew these guys were already #1.  At one point this season, they were worth a second round pick according to the rankings.  That’s so much crazy my mind almost exploded because of it but that’s what happens when you score more touchdowns on the year than Calvin and Andre Johnson combined.  Preseason Rank #6, 2012 Projections: 35/20/10, Final Numbers: 41/24/20

2. Seattle SeahawksHad a huge December that propelled them to number two on the year.  Not much can be said – I mean, we are talking about defenses here – other than Qwest Field has to have one of the best 12th men in sports.  Seriously don’t think half the QBs that come in there can even hear themselves when they’re calling the play.  Oh and I hope you like the NFC West.  You’re gonna see them a lot on this list.  Preseason Rank #4, 2012 Projections: 35/25/10, Final Numbers: 36/18/13

3. Denver BroncosFirst team in my top 10 that was previously unranked though to my credit, I was probably the first person to tell you to buy into them.  They really were solid in every category and a great defense you could’ve nabbed when everyone was drafting the Buffalo Bills.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 52/16/8

4. New England PatriotsFor some reason, I thought the Patriots gave up more points than they did.  I swear, every time I looked at a Pats box score, the team scored 45 while giving up 31 but there were only three games where they gave up 30 points or more on the season.  However, New England was like a Chicago Bears-lite defense on the year as it was all about the TOs in 2012.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 37/20/21

5. Cincinnati BengalsTale of two halves for this defense.  Of course, you don’t start the year losing 13-44 to the Ravens and not have a turnaround of sorts to finish in the top 5.  Cincy was leading the NFL in sacks all the way up to week 17 and finished 1 sack short of a three way tie for that honor.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 51/14/16

6. San Diego ChargersGiven how bad of a season the Chargers had, I’m impressed they finished this high.  Of course, finishing second to the Bears for touchdowns off of turnovers will do that for you.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 38/14/14

7. Houston TexansTale of two halves for this team as well only it went in reverse of what the Bengals did.  Houston started to slip after barely surviving the Jaguars, 43-37.  Yes, they gave up 37 to the Jags.  After that they went from a team in the top 3 defenses to down here as they never fully righted the ship.  Preseason Rank #2, 2012 Projections: 45/20/10, Final Numbers: 44/15/14

8. San Francisco 49ersYet another firm reminder to not overpay for defense.  True story, they went for $5 at one of my auction drafts this year.  Sure, it’s not a huge deal but Alfred Morris went for the same amount while Chicago, Seattle, New England, and Cincinatti went for a buck a piece in the same draft while the Broncos went undrafted.  Don’t care how good the defense is, never overpay for them at the draft table.  Preseason Rank #1, 2012 Projections: 40/25/15, Final Numbers: 38/14/11

9. Arizona CardinalsThis defense probably would’ve ranked higher if their offense hadn’t completely failed them from about week 6 on.  They’re also the third NFC West team to grace this list.  That division went from cream puff to scary in about a year, how crazy is that?  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 38/22/11

10. St. Louis RamsJeff Fischer doing what he does best here.  Very rare he’s going to coach a bad defense and the Rams are no different.  In the same boat as the Cards in terms of needing a steadier offense to really give them a chance to shine.  The only thing that surprises me about the Rams landing in at number 10 is that number 11 is the Tennessee Titans.  Yes, the defense that gave up the most points almost reached the top 10.  Thanks fantasy football for making no sense sometimes.  Preseason Unranked, Final Numbers: 52/17/4