For many fantasy footaball managers, the playoffs either already have arrived or are just around the corner.

Either way, now is not the time to drop the ball when choosing which defense to start.

That said, identifying which matchups to exploit is no easy task. Thankfully for you, we’re here to help.

Let’s look at the five defenses you should start in Week 14:

Minnesota Vikings (vs. Detroit Lions)
David Blough deserves credit for playing well against a good Bears defense last week, but we expect a major regression this weekend. The Vikings have a formidable defense that has had four of its five best DST points games at home, and Blough remains a third-string quarterback who lacks experience. The Vikings are a great play.

Baltimore Ravens (at Buffalo Bills)
This game could go many different ways, but we’re leaning toward the one that sees Josh Allen commit turnovers and take stupid sacks against a physical, imposing defense. The Ravens D is playing its best football of the season — they’re averaging 15 DST points over their last six games — and is a great play this weekend.

New York Jets (vs. Miami Dolphins)
Yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing well and the Jets defense just got semi-gashed by Andy Dalton. But New York’s D remains a solid group, and the Dolphins will be in New York, which is much colder than Miami. The Jets, who have 34 combined DST points in their last two home games, are a great streaming option.

Pittsburgh Steelers (at Arizona Cardinals)
The Steelers have been one of fantasy’s best defenses all season — only the Patriots and 49ers have more DST points — and should continue that trend this weekend. Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense struggled last week against the Rams, with six sacks and an interception adding up to a forgettable day for the rookie quarterback. Even on the road, the Steelers should make life miserable for the young signal-caller.

Cleveland Browns (vs. Cincinnati Bengals)
As mentioned previously, Dalton and the Bengals did well last week in picking up their first victory. But we expect the sequel to be much more forgettable, as Cleveland has nine sacks and seven takeaways over its past three games.

By the way: Yes, this is the first week the New England Patriots have been outside our top five. A matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs simply is too daunting to overlook.

Click for our Week 14 waiver wire pickups at each position >>

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