* 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: Saints DEF at DEN
The Saints defense has been brilliant of late, scoring no fewer than 14.0 points since Week 8. Over that span, they’ve amassed an absurd 18 sacks and 10 takeaways. Denver allows 9.8 ppg to defenses this season (2nd-most in NFL). Broncos QB Drew Lock has been turnover-prone this season, throwing 11 interceptions over his last six games.
Giants DEF at CIN
A devastating injury to Joe Burrow means Ryan Finley will be under center for the Bengals this week. Over his three-game stretch as the team’s starter a season ago, defenses averaged 16.3 ppg against the Bengals, with no unit scoring below 12.0. Even with Burrow, Cincinnati has allowed 12.0 points in every game since returning from their Week 9 bye.
Dolphins DEF at NYJ
Miami has scored 31 fewer points over their most recent three games than they had over the three games prior. They’ve also scored no more than 8.0 points since Week 9. A matchup with the Jets should help them get back on track. New York is the only team that surrenders double-digit points on a per-game basis this season. They’ve also allowed a league-high three defensive TDs. The Dolphins have scored two defensive TDs over their last four games.
Steelers DEF vs. BAL
This is less of a pounding of the table for the Steelers defense and more of a reassurance. Will they score 17.0 points like they did the week before? Maybe not. Still, this is a unit that has scored 12-plus points in four of their seven games. The Ravens have held all but one opponent below 8.0 points this season. That opponent? The Steelers, who racked up 18.0 points against them in Week 8.
Sleeper: Packers DEF vs. CHI
Green Bay hasn’t scored more than 6.0 fantasy points since Week 2. With that said, the Bears are awfully welcoming to defenses this season. Over the last four weeks, three of Chicago’s opponents have scored 10.0-plus points. To make things more intriguing, the Bears’ QB situation is up in the air as Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky are each dealing with injuries.
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DEF: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Buccaneers DEF vs. KC
Remember when Tampa Bay’s defense was almost a must-start earlier in the year? Well, the times they are a-changin’. The Bucs have scored just 7.0 points or fewer in all but one of their last eight games. Then again, I’m not quite sure why I’m telling you this, because a matchup with the high-powered Chiefs would knock nearly any unit out of consideration.
Broncos DEF vs. NO
Denver is fresh off a six sack, 12.0 fantasy point outing. However, the Saints have allowed the (tied) 10th-fewest sacks in the NFL. From a fantasy perspective, they’re even less giving, as defenses average a meager 2.50 ppg against New Orleans. None of their opponents this season have topped 7.0 points.
Bears DEF at GB
Chicago has scored 11.0-plus points in three of their last five games. With that said, Green Bay has given up a total of 9.0 points to opposing defenses over four of their last five games.
Buyers Beware: Ravens DEF at PIT
Baltimore’s defense has hit a bit of a rut lately, scoring 4.0 points or fewer in all but one game since their Week 7 bye, while failing to top 7.0 points in six of their last eight games. In Baltimore’s Week 8 matchup with Pittsburgh, the Ravens came away with just 4.0 points on the day. The Steelers have allowed a total of 0.0 fantasy points to defenses over the last three weeks.