With only two weeks remaining until the playoffs in most fantasy football leagues, players who still have skin in the game can’t afford to slip up.
And while defense isn’t nearly as big of a priority as, say, who you start at running back, it nevertheless can mean the difference between winning and losing.
That said, identifying which matchups to exploit is no easy task. Thankfully, we’re here to help.
Let’s look at the five defenses you should start in Week 13:
Philadelphia Eagles (at Miami Dolphins)
Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick has put some points on the board, but the Dolphins nevertheless allow too many sacks and commit too many turnovers. You should start any defense against Miami, and the Eagles are no different.
Carolina Panthers (vs. Washington Redskins)
The Panthers have proven to be a matchup-based defense, as Ron Rivera’s group has struggled mightily against better offenses. However, a matchup with rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins and an ugly Redskins offense is as fantasy-friendly as you’ll get this week. Helping matters is the fact that Carolina has recorded multiple sacks in all but one game this season.
Chicago Bears (at Detroit Lions)
This is more about the Lions than it is the Bears, who no longer are a must-start fantasy defense. With quarterback backup Jeff Driskel on the injury report and starter Matthew Stafford likely to miss another game, Detroit could be forced to start someone named David Blough. The Bears are a great play this week.
Pittsburgh Steelers (vs. Cleveland Browns)
Pittsburgh’s defense has been one of the best in football all season, and should have a strong day against Baker Mayfield and the turnover-prone Browns offense. Yes, the Browns have looked better on offense, but the Steelers’ penchant for racking up sacks (at least four in four of the past five games) gives them a high floor.
New England Patriots (at Houston Texans)
The Patriots have cooled off a bit in terms of racking up sacks and turnovers, but they still are keeping teams out of the end zone. They’re a solid play this weekend against the Texans, who still have one of the worst offensive lines in football.
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