While most fantasy players scoff at having to play a defense, they are going to be an essential part of your lineup. You don’t want to start a defense that gets bodied in their game and have that be the reason that you lose your matchup. No matter if you used your first pick on the defense or your last, it is important to make sure you know what your defense is facing in their weekly matchup so you can know whether to start them or sit them and stream a different defense.
While this pick may seem obvious because of their opponent, the Panthers D/ST wasn’t being drafted in most leagues. They have a few things working for them though for why you should start them this week. First, it’s the Jets. While they are under a new coaching regime and have a basically new offense, there are still going to be something to work out to get on the same page in quarterback Zach Wilson’s official first game action, Second, the Panthers linebacking corps is older, but their defensive line and secondary is young and hungry. They won’t be startable for many weeks but fire them up this week.
With the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Cincinnati Bengals selected wide receiver, Ja’Marr Chase, out of Louisiana State University, reuniting him with his college quarterback Joe Burrow. Joe Burrow, who had his season ended last year due to a torn ACL, opted to give his vote of confidence to Chase rather than trying to bolster the Bengals offensive line. The Vikings defensive line is scary and we will see the return of Danielle Hunter who is coming off an injury himself and is going to look to introduce himself to Joe Burrow early and often in the backfield. This one could be ugly for the Bengals.
The New Orleans Saints defense is facing the reigning MVP and all of his offensive weapons. Aaron Rodgers is one of the, if not the, best game managers in the game and he is known for picking apart a defense. Throw in that the Packers will have a fully healthy Aaron Jones in the backfield and Devante Adams out wide and it spells trouble for the Saints. The Packers offense scored the most points per game in the NFL last season and they will look to continue that trend against the Saints.
Drafted as one of the top D/STs in fantasy football this year, the Steelers aren’t starting with an easy matchup. The Bills made it to the AFC Championship game last season and also played the Steelers in Week 14. In that game, the Steelers D/ST came away with six fantasy points that had them ranked 17th that week. It is going to be hard to bench a defense that you probably used a decently high draft pick on for D/STs, but it is going to be the smarter play this weekend.