Fantasy football defenses don’t have the sex appeal as, say, star running backs — but they’re no less important.

Sure, your studs will carry your team in the long run, but picking the right defense can mean the difference between winning and losing certain games. And unlike typical fantasy stars, the best defenses for a given week sometimes can be found on the waiver wire.

The 2018 fantasy football season has arrived, and it’s imperative you start strong. In order to do that, you need to make sure focus on every aspect of your team.

With that said, let’s look at the five defenses you should start in Week 1:

Baltimore Ravens (vs. Buffalo Bills)
Nathan Peterman stinks — no matter what the Bills try to tell you. The second-year quarterback was brutal in his first season, including a five-interception performance in his first start. To make matters worse, you could make the case that Buffalo’s offensive line is much worse now than it was last season. Expect the Ravens to feast on Peterman.

New Orleans Saints (vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Ryan Fitzpatrick is capable of playing well, but we expect the Saints to be all over him their home opener. New Orleans had one of the NFL’s youngest, most game-changing defenses last season, and the unit only has gotten better. Make sure the Saints D is in your lineup.

Jacksonville Jaguars (at New York Giants)
We could see the Giants playing well in front of their home crowd, but at the end of the day, the Jaguars defense is too talented and dominant to not start. Plus, New York quarterback Eli Manning is capable of throwing interceptions with the best of them. The Jags will get their points, even if they don’t post their typically absurd numbers.

Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a bright future in front of him, but this is a tough matchup for his debut as the Chiefs’ primary quarterback. The Chargers feature one of the NFL’s premier pass rushes, and their run defense has improved since last season. The Chiefs could break off some big plays, but we expect L.A. to post top-tier fantasy defense numbers.

Detroit Lions (vs. New York Jets)
Sam Darnold has shown a ton of poise in the early portion of his NFL career, but expecting him to play well on the road — and in prime time — in his pro debut probably is unfair. The Lions are one of the NFL’s best defenses at forcing turnovers, and we expect them to force at least a couple Monday night.

Click for our sneaky Week 1 waiver wire pickups at each position >>

Thumbnail photo via `Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports Images