A good defense/special teams unit in fantasy football can make all the difference between a win and a loss week to week.
Of all the positions on a roster, defenses are the most susceptible to putting up a negative week if you choose one that has a bad matchup. However, this week presents some great matchups for defenses around the league, and you should start them accordingly.
Let's take a look at this week's top-ranked defenses and why you should start them.
Surefire Success: Chicago Bears (vs. New York Giants)
The New York Giants lead the planet in turnovers this season with 20 total giveaways in five games. Quarterback Eli Manning has been a disaster as he leads the NFL with 12 picks, and the G-Men's seven fumbles as a team are also tops in the league.
The Chicago Bears defense has specialized in turning the ball over having notched 14 takeaways, which gives them the second most in the NFL. On top of that, they are no strangers to scoring defensive touchdowns.
Devin Hester highlights the Bears' special teams unit as he leads the NFL in return yards on kickoffs this season and has taken the ball to the house five times in his career.
D/ST to Avoid: New Orleans Saints (at New England Patriots)
New Orleans has enjoyed some stellar play from its defensive unit this season, but Week 6 is not the time to tempt fate and start the Saints defense against the New England Patriots. Sure, the Pats are coming off a bad week in which they scored just six points, but the Cincinnati Bengals defense has a better ranking in both pass defense (No. 11) and run defense (No. 10).
The Pats' No. 21 passing attack has struggled to move the ball. Tom Brady is getting some reinforcements, though, as star tight end Rob Gronkowski should be making his return, per Pro Football Talk's official Twitter feed:
Per league source, Rob Gronkowski is expected to be cleared this week and it is likely he will play on Sunday against the Saints.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) October 8, 2013
With Gronkowsi added to the mix of Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and Kenbrell Thompkins, New England is quickly developing a deep receiving corps with the capability of putting up a ton of points. Stay away from the Saints this week.
Waiver-Wire Target: Detroit Lions (at Cleveland Browns)
Despite only scoring nine points on offense last week, the Detroit Lions did a great job keeping Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in check in Week 5. Green Bay scored just 22 points and only got into the end zone once, thanks to an 83-yard bomb from Rodgers to James Jones.
The Cleveland Browns' offense is far less prolific. It ranks No. 17 and No. 24 in the pass and run, respectively, and has allowed the second-most sacks in the NFL (22). Add to that the fact that mistake-prone Brandon Weeden is behind center, and you have a scenario in which the Lions could have a big day on defense.