Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 12

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


Broncos defense at Kansas City Chiefs: The Broncos have been terrific in fantasy land, ranking second in points among defenses on the strength of their six total touchdowns. This unit should continue to shine against the Chiefs, who have been fantasy gold for opposing defenses. In fact, defenses have combined to score more fantasy points against Kansas City than any other team in the entire league.

Start 'em


Seahawks defense at Miami Dolphins: The Seahawks defense has become a value option in fantasy football, and a matchup against the Dolphins makes it an attractive option this week. Rookie Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins are still making more than their share of mistakes, as opposing defenses have averaged close to 10 fantasy points per game against them. That makes these Hawks a solid option.

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Ravens defense at San Diego Chargers: The Ravens have lost several of their best defensive players, including star LB Ray Lewis, but this unit remains among the top five in fantasy points at the position. Opposing defenses have combined to score the fifth-most fantasy points when facing the Chargers on their home field, so consider the Ravens a solid option even at their current depleted state.

Sleeper alert - Cardinals defense vs. St. Louis Rams: The Cardinals defense is coming off a nice fantasy stat line, posting a solid 14 fantasy points in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. This week they'll face the Rams, who have been a good matchup overall for opposing defenses. In fact, the competition has combined to score close to 10 fantasy points per game at home when facing Sam Bradford and crew.

Sit of the week


Falcons defense at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: These Dirty Birds rank among the top 11 defenses in fantasy football after 11 weeks, but starting them against the Buccaneers isn't advised. Their offense is on fire under Josh Freeman, and opposing defenses have combined to score the fourth-fewest fantasy points against the Bucs on their home field. There are better options on the waiver wire this weekend.

Sit 'em


Bills defense at Indianapolis Colts: Much like you should start Luck when he's on his home field, you should typically sit most defenses that face him. This week that team is the Bills, who have under performed all season long. What's more, defensive units facing Luck and his teammates at Lucas Oil Stadium have combined to score a meager 3.40 fantasy points per game. That's the fifth-fewest in the NFL.

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Is Alfred Morris hitting the rookie wall, or is he actually doing better than perceived? (Click image for further analysis.)

Saints defense vs. San Francisco 49ers: The Saints defense has scored double-digit fantasy points in two of their last three games, including 14 points last week against the Oakland Raiders. Of course, things won't be that simple against the Niners. Opposing defenses have combined to score just 6.30 fantasy points against San Francisco overall, so don't look for New Orleans to put up a nice total.

Owners beware - Giants defense vs. Green Bay Packers: Much like their pals from New York, the Giants are facing a terrific quarterback and a bad matchup on the defensive side of the football. In fact, defenses that have faced Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have combined to score the eighth-fewest fantasy points at the position. So as good as the G-Men have been, it's tough to start them this weekend.

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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