Welcome to Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 12 of the NFL season. Our defense edition this week features a Cleveland Browns team looking to keep moving forward despite the loss of arguably their most talented defender.
* Reminder: Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em is intended to present you with the non-obvious choices for your fantasy lineup. We dig deep into player matchups, scoring trends, and other factors to best help you with your fantasy decisions. Be sure to also check out our weekly fantasy football defense rankings to better gauge where these start-sit options compare to the rest of the options at the position.
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DEF: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Steelers DEF at CIN
Pittsburgh laid a dud a week ago, but don’t expect that to turn into a trend. The Steelers had scored 11+ fantasy points in their seven games prior to Week 11, ranking as the DEF2 over that span. Since the Bengals have inserted Ryan Finley into their starting lineup, the team has surrendered an average of 18.5 fantasy points to opposing defenses.
Bills DEF vs. DEN
The Bills answered the call a week ago, scoring double-digit points in a plus-matchup against Miami. They get another welcoming matchup this week against the Broncos. Denver gives up the ninth-most fantasy points to the D/ST position this season. Brandon Allen has averaged just 216.5 passing yards since taking the helm in Denver.
Browns DEF vs. MIA
Don’t read into the Myles Garrett suspension too much, at least for this week that is. Garrett has not registered a single sack since Week 8, yet the team has managed to accumulate 11 over that same span. Cleveland’s defense is fresh off a 16-point fantasy outing and plays a Miami offense that has allowed the most fantasy points on average to opposing defenses this season.
Sleeper: Raiders DEF at NYJ
Oakland still has some glaring holes on their defense, however, they somehow manage to get the job done. In fact, their 15.0 fantasy points per game over the past two weeks is the third-highest average by a defense over that time. Sam Darnold has played better of late, yet he’s still worthy of tossing an interception or two in any game, as he’s thrown 10 since Week 5.
DEF: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Panthers DEF at NO
After going on a four-game run of scoring no fewer than 13 fantasy points from Week 3 through Week 6, the Panthers defense, much like their offense, has crashed into flames over recent weeks. Carolina’s D has scored no more than three fantasy points in three of their last four games. In five of the Saints’ past six games, opposing defenses have averaged just five fantasy points.
Jets DEF vs. OAK
New York has averaged an impressive 12.5 fantasy points over their last two games. However, they totaled just 11 fantasy points combined in their four games prior to this mini-run that they’re on. The Raiders have allowed opposing defenses to average a meager 3.33 fantasy points in nine of their ten games this season.
Cowboys DEF at NE
Don’t get cute. Yes, it’s true New England has seen their struggles on offense of late. However, do you really want to go against an angry Tom Brady? I’d say not. Dallas’ defense has averaged just 1.5 fantasy points over the past two weeks. The Patriots allow just six fantasy points per game to D/STs this season.
Buyers Beware: Rams DEF vs. BAL
Since Los Angeles has acquired Jalen Ramsey, they’ve been phenomenal from a fantasy perspective, averaging 12.3 fantasy points, the fourth-highest average over the past four weeks of play. With that said, the Rams have to face off against the MVP front-runner in Lamar Jackson this week. Since Week 6, defenses to go against the Ravens have totaled a whole two fantasy points, that’s an absurd average of just 0.5 points.
READ NEXT: Fantasy: Defense Rankings Week 12