Week 1 of the NFL season is here, and it’s important that your fantasy football team gets off to a winning start.
To ensure victory, make sure you play a reliable defense that won’t submarine your scoring for the week.
Here are five must-start defenses for the opening weekend of the 2016 season.
This dominant defense will face a Miami Dolphins offense led by a mediocre-to-below-average quarterback in Ryan Tannehill and that lacks a capable running back after Lamar Miller’s offseason departure.
The Dolphins also were one of three teams to score less than 20 points per game last season. They might not even score 10 points against this Seahawks defense.
Los Angeles Rams
The San Francisco 49ers have the worst quarterback duo in the league with Blaine Gabbert starting and Colin Kaepernick backing him up. They also don’t have an elite receiver or a running back who strikes fear into opposing defenses.
If that wasn’t enough, San Francisco was the lowest-scoring team in football last season with 14.9 points.
Los Angeles’ defense really isn’t that bad. Last season, it tallied 41 sacks, 13 interceptions and 22 forced fumbles, which were middle of the pack.
Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos
The Panthers open the season Thursday night against the Broncos in a Super Bowl 50 rematch. But instead of facing Peyton Manning at quarterback, Carolina will oppose seventh-round draft pick Trevor Siemian. And the Panthers have returned most of last season’s defense, which ranked sixth in yards allowed per game and points per game.
This probably will be a low-scoring game, which makes both defenses a strong start, but particularly Carolina’s.
This might be the only week of the entire season to start the Browns’ defense in fantasy, but they do have a favorable matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles, who will start rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. The first-round draft pick threw less than 50 passes in the preseason because of injury, and he doesn’t have much talent around him at the skill positions.
Don’t be surprised if the Browns force a few turnovers, specifically an interception or two from Wentz. He almost never played against a quality defense during his collegiate career at North Dakota State.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images