Fantasy Football: Top 3 Defense You Must Start in Week 13


By Alex Hall (@AlexKHall)

The fantasy football regular season is winding down and if your team is still in the playoff hunt, there are some sneaky defenses worth playing this week. The Seahawks and Bears defense are all but 100 percent owned in most leagues, which leaves managers without these stellar units in search of good matchups week to week. Look no further if you find yourself in this boat because here are three units that are sure to give managers double-digit points in Week 13.

Cleveland Browns
I know, the Browns are terrible but their pass rush has actually been effective most of this season. Cleveland’s defense gave the Dallas Cowboys fits just two weeks ago and forced that game into overtime. Their luck didn’t stop there either. The Browns defeated arch rival Pittsburgh and allowed its offense to score just 14 points (albeit with Charlie Batch at quarterback).

This week, the Browns take on the lowly Oakland Raiders who haven’t scored more than 20 points in four of the past five games. The Raiders have also lost four straight games and have just three wins all season.

While they do possesses the league’s eighth best passing attack, the Browns have kept the likes of San Diego, Dallas and Philadelphia all to under 24 points. Chances are because they are the Browns, this unit isn’t owned in most managers’ leagues which makes them a perfect sneaky pickup that will pay big dividends in a crucial fantasy week.

Arizona Cardinals
Most NFL fans are probably aware of the Cardinals’ seven-game losing streak but some might be shocked to learn they own the league’s No. 4 passing defense. Arizona has posted over 100 points on the season in Yahoo standard leagues which is more than the Steelers and Seahawks respectively.

This week, the unit will get to sink its teeth into Mark Sanchez and the crumbling team known as the New York Jets. This is a team swarmed by quarterback controversy and its miscues have been highlighted on a national level. New York’s most recent loss came on Thanksgiving where it was embarrassed 49-19 by the New England Patriots. This embarrassment isn’t the first for the Jets this season either. The team has posted five games with less than 11 points put on the scoreboard. If you’re worried about starting the Cardinals defense before that previous sentence, chances are you aren’t anymore.

Carolina Panthers
The Panthers have not had the season most were expecting in quarterback Cam Newton’s sophomore season and they’ll take the frustration out on Kansas City this week. The Chiefs have been one of the most disappointing teams of the 2012 season, going as far as to bench veteran quarterback Matt Cassel in favor of journeyman and draft bust Brady Quinn.

KC is one of the most unbalanced offenses in the league, owning the 29th ranked passing offense but coming in No. 4 in rushing. This team almost solely relies on running back Jamaal Charles’ production. If Carolina can shut him down in this upcoming contest, they’ll essentially shut down the Chiefs entire offense.

If there is a team with a lower morale than the Jets or Cardinals right now, it would have to be Kansas City who has just one victory all year long. They’ve scored less than 20 or fewer points in nine of their 11 games played.

While the Panthers aren’t known for being any kind of stingy defense overall, the fact the likes of Chargers, Raiders and Bills were able to shut down the Chiefs offense is encouraging. Carolina is the riskiest of these three units to start but it’ll pay off if you have the guts to give them the nod this week.

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