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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 4

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 Adrian Peterson will not be featured in the column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Byes: Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers

Start of the week


Chiefs defense vs. New York Giants: The top-ranked defense in fantasy football, the Chiefs have the most favorable matchup possible this weekend against the suddenly hapless Giants. Defenses have combined to score the most fantasy points when facing Eli Manning and the G-Men, making Kansas City's team a virtual must-start option in leagues. (Maximum value: High-DEF1)

Start 'em


Broncos defense vs. Philadelphia Eagles: The Broncos have had a bit of a slow start to the season, ranking a mediocre 15th in fantasy points among defenses after three weeks. The arrow is pointing up for this unit though, as a matchup against the Eagles is favorable - defenses have scored an average of 12 fantasy points per game against them. (Maximum value: Mid-DEF1)

Bengals defense at Cleveland Browns: In standard NFL.com leagues, the Bengals defense has averaged a very respectable 10 fantasy points. That trend of attractive stat lines should continue against Brian Hoyer and the Browns this weekend - defenses facing them have combined to scored the fourth-most fantasy points at this point in the season. (Maximum value: Low-DEF1)

Sleeper alert - Buccaneers defense vs. Arizona Cardinals: Available in more than 80 percent of NFL.com leagues, the Buccaneers are tied for ninth in fantasy points among defenses after three weeks. If you're in need at the position this week, the Bucs make sense against a Cardinals offense that has really struggled to perform well in recent weeks. (Maximum value: Low-DEF1)

Sit of the week


Eagles defense at Denver Broncos: Peyton Manning is on an absolute tear - he's on pace to throw for more than 60 touchdowns based on his current totals - so starting the defense opposing him isn't a very good idea. That's an understatement. That defensive unit this week is the Eagles, who will be in for a very long afternoon in the Mile High City. (Maximum value: Low-DEF2)

Sit 'em


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Giants defense at Kansas City Chiefs: The Giants offense isn't the only part of the team struggling in the stat sheets - their defense has also been dreadful. Couple that with a matchup against the Chiefs, and the G-Men need to be sidelined this week. Defenses have combined to score the fourth-fewest fantasy points at the position versus Kansas City. (Maximum value: Low-DEF2)

Texans defense vs. Seattle Seahawks: The Texans have not had a strong start to the 2013 campaign on defense, scoring just 18 fantasy points in their first three games. Things won't get easier this weekend, as Russell Wilson and the Seahawks come to town. Defenses have combined to average just 5.33 points per game when facing Seattle's offensive attack. (Maximum value: Mid-DEF2)

Owners beware - Patriots defense at Atlanta Falcons: The Patriots hold the eighth-best defense in fantasy football based on the numbers, but this game in Atlanta is anything but a good matchup. The Falcons have been tough to score fantasy points on this season, as defenses have combined to score the third-fewest in the league after three games. (Maximum value: High-DEF2)


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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