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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 9

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 - New England Patriots, New York Jets, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers

Start of the week


Packers defense vs. Arizona Cardinals: Did you happen to watch the Cardinals' offense (or lack there of) and dreadful line play last Monday? That's all you need to know about why the Packers are such an attractive fantasy option this week on their home field. Overall, defenses have combined to score the fifth-most fantasy points against Arizona.

Start 'em


Lions defense at Jacksonville Jaguars: The Lions' defense has taken a drastic turn in the wrong direction from a fantasy perspective this season, but it's tough not to like this week's matchup against the Jaguars. Opposing defenses have combined to put up the sixth-most fantasy points against Blaine Gabbert and Jacksonville's punchless offense.

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Falcons defense vs. Dallas Cowboys (Mon.): When you consider the number of turnovers that Tony Romo has committed this season, it's no wonder that defenses have scored so many fantasy points against the Cowboys. In fact, only the Chiefs have been a better option for opposing fantasy defenses. Atlanta is a free agent in plenty of NFL.com leagues.

Sleeper alert - Broncos defense at Cincinnati Bengals: The Broncos defense has been hot as of late from a fantasy perspective, posting two touchdowns, five sacks and five interceptions in their last two games. With Andy Dalton not playing well lately and turning the ball over more often, Denver's defense should be able to make some plays in Week 9.

Sit of the week


Cardinals defense at Green Bay Packers: The Cardinals rank a very solid sixth in fantasy points among defenses, so it's pretty tough to bench them. However, this weekend's matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers is a tough one. Opposing defenses have combined to put up an average of just 5.75 fantasy points per game against them in 2012.

Sit 'em


Eagles defense at New Orleans Saints (Mon.): For all of the talent the Eagles have on their roster, this defense has been almost non-existent from a fantasy perspective. In fact, this unit ranks 27th in points! I would keep them on the bench against Drew Brees and the Saints, who still have one of the league's most feared offensive attacks.

Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press
Jamaal Charles is coming off a one point performance in Week 8, but does that spell doom for his fantasy future? (Click image for further analysis.)

Bills defense at Houston Texans: Remember all of those defensive moves the Bills made this past offseason? Well, that hasn't worked out so well after the first eight weeks. This unit ranks an awful 22nd in fantasy points at the position, and this week's road matchup against the Texans isn't favorable at all. Keep the Bills on the sidelines this week.

Owners beware - Steelers defense at New York Giants: The Steelers defense hasn't been a good fantasy option, ranking just 24th in points at the position. Couple that with a road matchup against Eli Manning and the Giants, and sitting this defense is the move to make. Defenses facing the G-Men have combined to score the second-fewest fantasy points.

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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