* 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: Rams DEF vs. NYJ
Scoring 11.0-plus points in seven of their last 10 games, while recording at least four sacks in five of those games, the Rams are fantasy’s DEF2 since Week 4. The Jets allow 10.31 ppg to opposing D/STs this season, making them the only offense to surrender double-digit points to a defense on a per-game basis. Gang Green has also allowed three sacks in three straight games.
Steelers DEF at CIN
Pittsburgh has averaged just 4.5 ppg over their last two contests, a far cry from their league-leading 11.3 ppg over the 12 weeks prior. However, this week looks to be the perfect bounce-back game for the Steelers. The Bengals allow the second-most fantasy points and sacks to opposing defenses. Pittsburgh leads the league with 45 sacks.
Ravens DEF vs. JAC
Baltimore has now scored in single-digits in nine of their last 11 games and are fresh off a goose egg from this past Monday night. Thankfully, the Jaguars have allowed opposing defenses to score 8.0-plus points in three of their last four games, including two outings of 13.0-plus points. Minshew Mania is back in Jacksonville, which is enticing from a Jags perspective, yet his gunslinging ways could mean a few turnovers for Baltimore’s aggressive secondary.
Sleeper: Browns DEF at NYG
Cleveland has totaled 7.0 points over their last three games and would typically be best to be avoided. However, taking on a hobbled Daniel Jones changes things. Jones did not have a single rushing attempt last week, something that had never previously occurred over his NFL career. A non-mobile Jones greatly limits New York’s prowess offensively, which is not great for a team that has allowed an average of 12.0 ppg to D/STs over the last three weeks.
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DEF: Sit ‘Em
Sit of the Week: Panthers DEF at GB
Carolina entered their Week 13 bye ripping off two consecutive 17.0-plus point outings. They returned from their bye with a 2.0 stinker that aligned much better with their previous outputs this season. Exclude those two games prior to the bye and the Panthers average just 3.18 ppg on the year. The Packers allow an average of just 2.23 ppg to opposing D/STs. Two of their last three opponents have scored negative points.
Chiefs DEF vs. NO
The Chiefs racked up 14.0 points last week and look to be gearing up for a Drew Brees-less Saints team this week. You may not believe in Taysom Hill as a franchise quarterback, but that doesn’t mean you should bet against him. Opposing defenses of the Saints average just 5.5 ppg since Hill took over for Brees in Week 11.
Saints DEF vs. KC
If you’re not going to bet against Taysom Hill, you’re for damn sure avoiding Patrick Mahomes at all costs. Yes, New Orleans has scored 14.0-plus points in four of their last six games. Yes, they rank within the top-nine in takeaways. Yes, Kansas City allowed 10.0 points to Miami last week. Don’t care, don’t play them.
Buyers Beware: Washington DEF vs. SEA
The WFT defense has scored 12.0-plus points in half of their last four games, averaging a unit-high 13.3 ppg over that period. They’ve now scored three defensive TDs over their last three games. Thing is, they’ve done most of that damage against the likes of Ryan Finley, Andy Dalton and Nick Mullens. Safe to say Russell Wilson is in a different tier.