Welcome to Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Defense Edition for Week 1 of the NFL season. This week we feature a bottom-eight total defense from last season with an intriguing matchup. Plus, a D/ST taking on a rookie signal-caller.
* 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.
Follow the Heavy on Fantasy Facebook page for all the latest rankings, updates, & insight!
DEF: Start ‘Em
Start of the Week: Bills DEF vs. NYJ
Buffalo’s defense finished 2019 as a top-10 fantasy unit, thanks in large part to having the Jets on their schedule twice. The Bills averaged 9.0 fantasy points against New York last season, while Gang Green was just one of only four teams to allow an average of 10-plus fantasy points per game to opposing defenses. The Jets are a mess at receiver right now, while Adam Gase continues to hype any running back on his roster not named Le’Veon Bell.
Chargers DEF at CIN
Cincinnati allowed an average of 10.44 fantasy points per game to opposing defenses in 2019. That was of course, without Joe Burrow under center. However, you still have to expect some growing pains for the rookie who’s set to make his NFL debut. The Bolts are likely licking their chops, as they boast one of the league’s best secondaries, as well as a top-tier pass-rush duo.
Patriots DEF vs. MIA
New England outpaced every other D/ST unit in football by an average of 4.5 points on a per-game basis a season ago. Yes, they were hit hard by opt-out decisions this offseason, but still have a solid core, especially in the secondary. Miami’s quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick had some bright moments down the stretch, but there’s always chance of a massive blunder when he’s under center. For example, his 89 yard, zero touchdown, three-interception performance against the Pats in Week 2 of last year.
Sleeper: Colts DEF at JAC
Indy was a middle of the pack defense a season ago, finishing as DEF14 in 2019. They’ve added an unheralded yet disruptive talent in DeForest Buckner in the front-seven. They also hope that Xavier Rhoades can regain his All-Pro form in his new surroundings. All those additions are nice, but the reason why the Colts should make it into your lineup this week is simply their matchup. The Jags look like a mess at the moment. They’re juggling their options in the backfield between two undrafted free agents. At wideout, Laviska Shenault Jr. continues to be banged up, while DeDe Westbrook has somehow slid to WR5 on their depth chart.
– For More Fantasy Content Follow @VinnySomma on Twitter.
DEF: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Texans DEF at KC
This should be quite obvious, but don’t play a defense facing the defending Super Bowl Champs. That sentiment especially reigns true when the D/ST in question ranked within the bottom 11 of all units in fantasy points the year prior. Not much else left to be said.
Rams DEF vs. DAL
The Rams defense was actually brilliant last season once they acquired Jalen Ramsey. Without Ramsey in the lineup, LA ranked as the DEF17 in fantasy. With him in the lineup, they ranked as DEF4. However, even Ramsey couldn’t help the Rams against Dallas’ high-octane offense in Week 15 last year, finishing as the week’s lowest point-getter, with -4.0 points.
Browns DEF at BAL
Cleveland should be much better than the 22nd-best D/ST in fantasy this season. However, just like with the Chiefs, you simply don’t play a unit versing the Ravens. The Browns allowed an averaged of 206.75 rushing yards over their final four games of 2019, including 243 yards in Week 16 against Baltimore. To make matters worse, the NFL’s all-time leader in single-season rushing yards by a team has since added running back JK Dobbins to the mix.
Buyers Beware: Titans DEF at DEN
People are either really high or really low on quarterback Drew Lock. Do I think he will torch Tennessee in Week 1? Likely not. However, over four of Denver’s final five games on the season with Lock under center, opposing defenses averaged just 3.75 points.
- *Check out our other Week 1 Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Ems to further optimize your lineups
- Start-Sit [QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | DEF | Ks]