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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 3

Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the weekly NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Sleeper alert features an under-the-radar player who could produce good numbers. Owners beware features a regular fantasy starter who could fail to meet expectations based on the strength of his opponent. Obvious fantasy starters like Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster will not be featured in this column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the week


Bears defense vs. St. Louis Rams: The Bears have had some extra time to rest (and stew) after a Week 2 loss to the Packers, so DE Julius Peppers and his crew will be roaring and ready for Bradford and the Rams. When you consider how badly their offensive line is banged up, not to mention the fact that Chicago is playing on the home field, this should be a nice weekend for their defensive unit.

Start 'em


Texans defense at Denver Broncos: This might be a tough matchup on paper against Manning and the Broncos, but the Falcons put up a solid 11 fantasy points against this unit in last Monday night's win. What's more, the Texans defense is far more productive from a fantasy perspective and could give Manning fits. One of the elite fantasy defenses in the league, Houston needs to remain active in Week 3.

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Jets defense at Miami Dolphins: Despite the fact that the Men in Green didn't next to nothing in the stat sheets last week, their defense is still ranked among the top options based on fantasy points. This week this unit goes up against the Fins and rookie Ryan Tannehill, so Jets coach Rex Ryan is certain to bring the heat. Look for the J-E-T-S to put up a nice stat line in this AFC East confrontation.

Sleeper alert - Cardinals defense vs. Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles might have a lot of offensive weapons in their arsenal, but this unit is also the most scored upon (in terms of fantasy points) by opposing defenses. Enter the Cardinals, who are coming off a stellar performance in a shocking win over Tom Brady and the Patriots. Arizona's defense is still available in most NFL fantasy football leagues.

Sit of the week


Chargers defense vs. Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan and the Falcons are rolling on the offensive side of the football. In fact, opposing defenses are averaging minus-1 fantasy points over the first two weeks of the season. That makes the Chargers, who have averaged a mere six fantasy points per game on defense, a unit to avoid. In Week 2, the Bolts ranked a very pedestrian 16th among defenses based on points.

Sit 'em


Broncos defense vs. Houston Texans: The Broncos have some talented players on the defensive side of the football, including CB Champ Bailey and LB Von Miller, but overall it's still tough to trust this unit against a tough opponent. That's the case against the Texans, who have been tough on the opposition. After two weeks, defenses have scored an average of just 3.50 fantasy points per game against them.

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Bengals defense at Washington Redskins: Cincinnati has one of the better defenses in fantasy football last season, but that was then and this is now. In 2012, the Bengals have scored a combined nine fantasy points in games against the Ravens and Browns. This week they'll face Griffin III and the Redskins, who have averaged the fourth-most offensive yards and scored the most points in the entire league.

Owners beware - Ravens defense vs. New England Patriots: It's tough to bench a defense as good as the Ravens, but don't be shocked if this unit posts a mediocre stat line against Brady and the Patriots. After two weeks, opposing defenses have put up an average of just 3.50 fantasy points against this offensive attack. While I wouldn't drop the Ravens, I would consider adding another defense for one week.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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