Published: Dec. 13, 2017 at 10:34 a.m.
Updated: Dec. 15, 2017 at 02:46 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 15: Defenses

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Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate weekly look at NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Fantasy superstars such as Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown will not be featured. NFL researcher Careen Falcone and former #2 FF World Player Rank and NFFC Platinum and Ultimate Champion Derek Pierson have contributed to the column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.


Start 'Em

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Start of the Week - New Orleans Saints vs. New York Jets

The Saints defense has scored eight or fewer fantasy points in five straight games, but I'd expect an increase in production this week against the Jets. With Josh McCown out for the season, the Jets will throw Bryce Petty into the proverbial fire in what should be a laugher in New Orleans. I'd target this unit off of the waiver wire.

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Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears

Detroit's defense posted 13 fantasy points in last week's win over the Buccaneers, and an upcoming matchup against the Bears makes them a streamable option again. A combined eight defenses have finished in the top 10 in fantasy points in matchups vs. the Bears, and just one home defense has failed to finish in the top 10 against them.

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Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals

The Vikings were listed as a sit 'em last week, and their defense finished with a mere three fantasy points against Cam Newton and the Panthers. I'd put them back into your lineups this week, however, as a game against Andy Dalton and the Bengals is very favorable. Look for the Purple People Eaters to feast on their home field.

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Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns

Listed as a sit 'em last week, the Ravens scored minus-1 fantasy points in a loss to the Steelers. This week is a different situation, however, as Baltimore travels to Cleveland to face the winless Browns. No team has allowed more fantasy points to the opposition's defense at home this season, so the Ravens should produce.

Start 'Em: Eagles D/ST at Giants, Bills D/ST vs. Dolphins
Sleepers: Redskins D/ST vs. Cardinals, Falcons D/ST at Buccaneers (Mon.)

Sit' Em

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Sit of the Week - Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New England Patriots

The Steelers defense has been a popular streamer in recent weeks, but an upcoming matchup against Tom Brady and the Patriots is one for fantasy footballers to avoid. Home defenses that have faced New England have averaged a mere two fantasy points per game, which is the second-fewest in the league. I'd cut ties with this Steel Curtain.

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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Kansas City scored 10 fantasy points in last week's win over the Raiders, but don't chase the points against the Chargers. One defense has ranked better than 26th in points against them over the last four weeks, and that was due to a Kellen Clemens pick six against the Redskins when Philip Rivers had been rested late.

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Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Texans managed four fantasy points against Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers last week, and an upcoming matchup against the Jaguars isn't favorable. Blake Bortles has been more protective of the football in recent weeks, and it shows in the low number of fantasy points defenses have scored against them (4.6 PPG) in 2017.

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Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions

Chicago's defense finished with a solid 11 fantasy points in last week's win over the Bengals, but I wouldn't expect a repeat performance in what will be a tough roadie in Detroit. Opposing defenses have averaged 4.8 fantasy points against Matthew Stafford and his offense at Ford Field, so search for alternative streamers this weekend.

Sit 'Em: Patriots D/ST at Steelers, Jets D/ST at Saints
Busts: Seahawks D/ST vs. Rams, Panthers D/ST vs. Packers

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. Do you want the most up-to-date fantasy football news, updates and analysis? Follow Michael on both Twitter @Michael_Fabiano or Facebook!

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