We’re heading into the third week of the preseason, which means that it’s time to get down to business. Not only is real football right around the corner, but so is fantasy football!

If you haven’t drafted already, there’s a good chance you’re drafting this week. And if you’re more of a daily fantasy guy, those competitions are already open.

So with that said, we’ll be running through our top-30 positional rankings this week, starting with the defenses today and ending with the quarterbacks on Friday.

1. Denver Broncos

Projecting defensive output in fantasy is a tricky equation, because so much comes down to lucky bounces. So when I’m deciding on a defense, I make my decision based off of these two factors: safety and upside.

If I’m going to start the run on defenses, it’s going to be because I feel that defense is a lock to finish inside the top five, if not top three. The Denver Broncos fit that mold.

If I’m going to wait a few rounds and grab a defense late in the draft, I’m going for upside. I’m looking for a team that has the potential to create a lot of turnovers and score some defensive touchdowns. Again, the Denver Broncos’ M.O.

2. Seattle Seahawks

3. Arizona Cardinals

4. Houston Texans

5. Carolina Panthers

6. Minnesota Vikings

7. Cincinnati Bengals

8. Oakland Raiders

For the first time in well over a decade, the Oakland Raiders actually look to have an exciting future in front of them. And while it’s easy to point at Derek Carr and Amari Cooper as the focal point of their development, if they’re going to succeed in the immediate future, it’ll be because of their defense.

Last year, Khalil Mack went from superb rookie to all-around superstar. He’s now a guy, like Denver’s Von Miller, that the Raiders can build their entire defense around. And that’s exactly what general manager Reggie McKenzie attempted to do this offseason.

Oakland added to their defense at all three levels, with pass-rush specialist Bruce Irvin up front, Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith at linebacker and Pro-Bowler Reggie Nelson at safety. And while yes, this is the Raiders, and it’s difficult to project success before we see it, there’s no denying that the upside is there.

9. Kansas City Chiefs

10. New England Patriots

11. New York Jets

12. Jacksonville Jaguars

13. Green Bay Packers

14. Buffalo Bills

At face value, you’d think a Rex Ryan defense would be better than middle of the pack, but honestly, I’m wondering if their too high at 14.

Their best player (Marcell Dareus) is facing a four-game suspension, their top two draft picks (Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland) are dealing with long-term injuries and that’s just the start.

From top to bottom, the Bills defense is in disarray. The only reason to hold out any hope is Rex Ryan, and the shine is wearing off him pretty quickly, too.

15. Los Angeles Rams

16. Baltimore Ravens

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

18. Indianapolis Colts

19. Washington Redskins

20. Philadelphia Eagles

21. New York Giants

The New York Giants spent a lot of money upgrading their defense. And when I say a lot of money, I mean over $110 million in guaranteed cash to four players.

Clearly, New York is investing in their defense, but will it pay off?

Possibly, but I don’t think the reward is worth the risk. Olivier Vernon is a good pass rusher, and Damon Harrison is a fantastic run defender, but they’re probably a bit overpaid — and hyped.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

23. Atlanta Falcons

24. Miami Dolphins

25. Detroit Lions

26. Chicago Bears

27. San Diego Chargers

28. Tennessee Titans

29. Dallas Cowboys

Two years ago, the Cowboys schemed their way towards respectability on defense; last year, they came crashing back to earth. I expect them to stay there.

Not only is their talent subpar, but several of their most-talented players are already scheduled to miss a large portion of the station — Rolando McClain is suspended for 10 games, and both Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are suspended for the first four games. And I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Sean Lee ended up missing a chunk of the season with injury, either; he hasn’t played a full 16 games in his career.

If Dallas is going to work their way back into the playoff conversation, it’s going to be because of their offense, not their defense.

30. San Francisco 49ers

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