Top NFL defenses for managers to stream as Fantasy football playoffs continue

Here's a look at three defenses set up for success and flying under the radar as the Fantasy football playoffs reach the semifinals.

Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos
Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos / Perry Knotts/GettyImages
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The world of Fantasy football rightfully revolves around standout skill players, but it's important to avoid overlooking defensive units as they make a key difference every week. A poor outing could sink a team in a loss, while a prominent one could give a team just enough of an edge to secure a victory.

That difference is more important now than ever as Week 16 marks the Fantasy playoff semifinals for most leagues. Adding a dependable streaming option could control whether or not a spot in the championship matchup is earned. Let's take a look at the top choices for an exhilarating NFL slate.

Stream Denver Broncos D/ST (vs. New England Patriots)

There's no denying that the defensive effort of the Denver Broncos in Week 15 was about as dismal as it gets. The good news is that they draw a great matchup for a bounce-back outing in Week 16. The New England Patriots give up the fourth most Fantasy points to opposing defenses in 2023.

It's not hard to understand why. The Patriots average the fewest points per game (13.3), put up the fifth-fewest yards per game (285.3) and possess the fourth-worst third-down conversion percentage in the NFL. New England enters this Christmas Eve clash with the 10th-most turnovers as well (22).

Look for Denver's reliable linebacker duo of Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell to clog up the middle of the field, which will leave opposing quarterback Bailey Zappe with tight throwing lanes. The Broncos have a clear opportunity to post double-digit Fantasy points for the third time in the last five weeks.

Stream Houston Texans D/ST (vs. Cleveland Browns)

The Houston Texans are smack dab in the middle of the AFC Wild Card race and a lot of credit should be paid toward their defense. Head coach DeMeco Ryans' squad launched a comeback win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 15 thanks to a season-high seven sacks and a menacing rush resistance.

That showing provided a peak into what Houston can do when its at its best. The Texans have logged at least eight Fantasy points in four of the last six weeks and now meet a Cleveland Browns offense that ranks 29th in yards per play (4.6). Not bad for a unit rostered in under 40% of ESPN leagues.

To drive the point home, Cleveland quarterback Joe Flacco has racked up five interceptions across his three starts. Houston has totaled eight interceptions in the last six weeks alone. Jumping a route or coming away with a contested pick is one way the Texans can excite Fantasy managers on Sunday.

Stream Washington Commanders D/ST (at New York Jets)

Streaming the defense that is facing off against the New York Jets has been a strategy that has worked out all season long. Ultimately, they have allowed more Fantasy points to opposing defenses than any other team in the league. It makes picking up the Washington Commanders worth the risk.

One of Washington's best defensive outings of the year came when it tallied nine sacks against the New York Giants back in Week 11. That's worth pointing out as the Jets check in behind only the Giants when it comes to sacks allowed this year. Their offensive line has served as a revolving door.

A couple of likely sacks combined with the fact that their opponent has scored more than 13 points in just five of 14 games provides the Commanders with a safe floor in Week 16. Sometimes that is all that is needed, especially when every point matters in a win or go home Fantasy playoff semifinal.

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