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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 5

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.

Byes - Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Start of the week


Giants defense vs. Cleveland Browns: The G-Men have had a slow start to the season from a fantasy perspective, ranking a mere 20th in points among defenses on NFL.com. However, this week's home matchup against rookie Brandon Weeden and the Browns is a favorable one. Opposing defenses facing Cleveland have scored the seventh-most fantasy points in 2012, so look for the Giants to smash.

Start 'em


Texans defense at New York Jets (Mon.): Did you watch the 49ers defense rack up the fantasy points against the Jets last week? Well, the Texans are next up to feast on the Men in Green. With Mark Sanchez struggling and Santonio Holmes finished for the season, Houston's defense should have no trouble bottling up their offense while forcing more than a few turnovers in this Monday night affair.

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Ravens defense at Kansas City Chiefs: The Ravens defense might not be what it once was from a fantasy standpoint, but this unit is still valuable - especially when the matchup is favorable. That's the case this weekend, as Baltimore travels to Kansas City to face the Chiefs. Opposing defenses have scored the third-most points at the position while facing Matt Cassel and his crew.

Sleeper alert - Vikings defense vs. Tennessee Titans: If you were smart enough to start the Vikings last week, well, kudos on that clever decision - Minnesota put up 23 fantasy points against the Detroit Lions. I'd keep them active or add them and start them against the Titans. Defenses facing Tennessee have scored the second-most fantasy points at the position through four weeks.

Sit of the week


Broncos defense at New England Patriots: The Broncos defense has been anything but consistent from a fantasy perspective, and this weekend's matchup at Gillette Stadium against Tom Brady and the Patriots is anything but attractive. In fact, the opposition's defense has combined to score the fewest fantasy points when facing New England's explosive offense. Keep the Broncos stabled.

Sit 'em


Falcons defense at Washington Redskins: The Falcons defense had their worst fantasy performance of the season last week, scoring a mere four fantasy points in a win over Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Next up is a date with Robert Griffin III and the Redskins, who have not been a great matchup for opposing defenses. At least for this week, keep these Dirty Birds on the pine.

Bill Wippert/Associated Press
Will Brandon Bolden force a timeshare situation in New England, or was he the latest one week fantasy wonder? (Click image for further analysis.)

Chargers defense at New Orleans Saints: Last week, the Bolts went off for an impressive 21 fantasy points in a win over the Chiefs. Keep in mind, though, that San Diego had scored a combined 16 fantasy points in their first three games of the season. Furthermore, this week's road contest against Drew Brees and the Chargers is not favorable. Look for a shootout in the bayou.

Owners beware - Jets defense vs. Houston Texans (Mon.): As if the loss of CB Darrelle Revis weren't enough to make the Jets far less attractive in fantasy football circles, now comes a matchup against the Texans at MetLife Stadium. Houston should be motivated to produce at a high level in front of a national television audience, so keep the Men in Green benched if possible.

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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