Published: Sept. 19, 2018 at 02:42 p.m.
Updated: Sept. 21, 2018 at 03:15 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 3: Defense

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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 Todd Gurley and Antonio Brown will not be featured. All player matchups are based on PPR scoring system. NFL researchers Matt Frederick and Michael Florio have contributed to the column. For your final starting lineup decisions, check our weekly fantasy football lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

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Start of the Week - Minnesota Vikings vs. Buffalo Bills

Listed as a sit 'em last week, the Vikings defense produced a lowly three fantasy points in a 29-29 tie with the Packers. Of course, this unit should now be back in fantasy lineups ahead of a matchup against rookie Josh Allen and the Bills. Opposing defenses have averaged 13.5 fantasy points against them this season.

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Chicago Bears vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Bears lead the NFL in sacks (10) and are quickly becoming a must-start unit each week in the world of fantasy football. That is the case ahead of a matchup against the Cardinals, who have one of the league's worst offenses in the league. Defenses have also averaged 13 fantasy points against Sam Bradford and his team thus far.

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Houston Texans vs. New York Giants

Houston's defense has had a slow start to the season, scoring just 10 combined fantasy points in the first two games. However, I'd fire them up in this favorable home matchup against the Giants. Over the first two weeks of the season, defenses have averaged an impressive 12.5 fantasy points against quarterback Eli Manning and his offense.

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New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions

The last time the Lions played at home against an AFC East team (Week 1), the opposing defense put up 26 fantasy points. That's unlikely to happen again, but you still have to like New England's chances of putting up a top-10 performance against a Detroit offense that has given the football away six times in two games.

Start 'Em: Ravens D/ST vs. Denver Broncos, Panthers D/ST vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Sleepers: Cowboys D/ST at Seattle Seahawks, Dolphins D/ST vs. Oakland Raiders

Sit' Em

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Sit of the Week - Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens

The Broncos defense put up a surprising stink bomb in last week's win over the Raiders, scoring a mere two fantasy points. Next up is a road date with the Ravens, who have been a black hole for defensive units when it comes to scoring fantasy points against them on their home field. I'd fade the Broncos D/ST in this AFC matchup.

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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Steelers defense has been less like Steel and more like aluminum foil over the first two weeks of the season, so a matchup against the red-hot Buccaneers offense is anything but favorable. Over their first two games, Tampa Bay's opponents have averaged a mere one fantasy point on the defensive side of the football.

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Los Angeles Chargers vs. Los Angeles Rams

Listed as a start 'em last week, the Chargers produced a solid 10 fantasy points in a win over the Bills. Unfortunately, an upcoming Hollywood matchup versus the Rams isn't a favorable one from a fantasy perspective. Defenses have averaged fewer than 4.5 fantasy points against them since the start of 2017. That's not a good stat.

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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Carolina Panthers

Believe it or not, but the Bengals defense has recorded six sacks, three interceptions and has scored more fantasy points (22) than all but five defenses after the first two weeks of the season. Regardless of that success, however, I'm fading this defense against Cam Newton in a matchup of the football cats in Carolina.

Sit 'Em: 49ers D/ST at Kansas City Chiefs, Titans D/ST at Jacksonville Jaguars
Busts: Saints D/ST at Atlanta Falcons, Redskins D/ST vs. Green Bay 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. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for all of the latest fantasy football news, notes and in-depth analysis!

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