Dec 15, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) is tackled by Cleveland Browns free safety Tashaun Gipson (39), strong safety T.J. Ward (43) and defensive end Armonty Bryant (95) during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy Football Week 16: 5 Sleeper D's to Start in the Playoffs


Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas (31) celebrates his interception during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Miami defeated New England 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Playing the right defense in your fantasy football playoffs can be tricky because D/ST’s value is so closely tied to matchups. If you’re looking for a matchup play this week, here are five units playing well and catching teams at good times making them useful for fantasy this week:

Miami Dolphins D/ST

The Dolphins D has been an underrated unit most of the season and have turned in some solid performances against the Jets and Bengals. This week, they’ll travel north to Buffalo to take on the Bills. The weather for this one could get ugly  with precipitation and near freezing temperatures in the forecast. Buffalo will be without starting quarterback E.J. Manuel as Thad Lewis gets his fourth start of the season for the Bills. Lewis should be able to be pressured by Miami since Buffalo has allowed 11 sacks over the last two weeks while turning the ball over seven times against the Bucs and Jags. Miami’s D is in a good spot to show up even though they’re on the road this week.

Denver Broncos D/ST

Nov 24, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) sacks New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos are on the road too as they travel south to Houston to take on the Texans. Houston won’t have its top two backs with both Arian Foster and Ben Tate on IR and done for the season. The Texans will have to rely on their passing game to keep up with Denver, but Matt Schaub will be back under center this week replacing Case Keenum. Schaub has struggled with turnovers this season and the Broncos defense will put pressure on him to try and get some more. Denver will usually get some sacks and turnovers, but they’ll also allow some points so make sure that you understand your league scoring so that they’re worth the play even though they’ll give up some points.

Detroit Lions D/ST

Detroit hasn’t been outstanding defensively, but they are in a outstanding matchup as they host Eli Manning’s touring interception show. Manning has thrown so many picks that the Giants have given up more points to opposing D’s than any other team in the NFL. If you can’t have a top-tier unit, sometimes it pays to play a bottom-tier opponent.

Cleveland Browns D/ST

The Browns defense made some big plays last week against the Bears with a pair of touchdowns and three takeaways against the Bears. This week they’ll be in a much better matchup on paper as they take on the Jets in New York. Only the Giants have given up more fantasy points to opposing defenses than the Jets, so look for the Browns to have another good performance this week.

Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST

Since the Steelers D won’t have to face Aaron Rodgers, they’re a unit to take a look at as they’ve played well the last few weeks and they face the Matt Flynn-led Packers offense who have six turnovers and 14 sacks allowed in their last three games.

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Tags: Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos Detroit Lions Fantasy Football Fantasy Football D Fantasy Football Sleepers Miami Dolphins Pittsburgh Steelers