Published: Dec. 11, 2018 at 09:44 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 14, 2018 at 03:25 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 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 - Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Baltimore's defense has scored a combined 38 fantasy points over the last three weeks, including two games with 15 or more points. I like them to produce another double-digit performance in what is a plus matchup against the Buccaneers. Home defenses have averaged the third-most fantasy points against Tampa Bay this season.

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Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Seahawks defense might not be an elite fantasy unit like it was in the past, but you have to like this week's matchup in San Francisco. Back in Week 13, their defense put up 16 fantasy points against Nick Mullens and his offense. Overall, defenses have averaged the third-most fantasy points against the Niners offense this season.

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Houston Texans vs. New York Jets

Houston's defense is coming off a four-point stinker in a loss to the Colts, but I'd expect it to bounce back against rookie Sam Darnold and the Jets. Gang Green has averaged two giveaways and allowed over two sacks per game, so J.J. Watt and his defensive mates are in a good position to make some noise in fantasy football leagues.

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Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Falcons defense is a nice streamer this week, as a home matchup against Josh Rosen and the Cardinals is next on the schedule. Home defenses have thrived against Arizona from a fantasy perspective, averaging 13.6 fantasy points per game. Atlanta's defense is a free agent in most leagues, so add and start them.

Start 'Em: Vikings D/ST vs. Miami Dolphins, Rams D/ST vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sleepers: Jaguars D/ST vs. Washington Redskins, Giants D/ST vs. Tennessee Titans

Sit' Em

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

The Steelers defense put up a modest six fantasy points in last week's loss to the Raiders, and a tough home matchup against the Patriots doesn't bode well for their chances of a rebound performance. Opposing home defenses have averaged a mere 3.7 fantasy points per game when facing Tom Brady and his offense.

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Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

Green Bay's defense produced an impressive 13 fantasy points in last week's win over the Falcons, but can you trust them against the Bears at Soldier Field? I don't think so. Opposing road defenses have averaged just 5.3 fantasy points per game in Chicago, so the Packers defense is a good bet to fall back to earth in what is a bad matchup.

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Philadelphia Eagles vs. Los Angeles Rams

The Eagles defense finished in the top 10 in fantasy points last week, but you want nothing to do with it in what is a brutal matchup against the Rams. Defenses that have visited Hollywood to face Jared Goff and his offense have averaged a meager 2.3 fantasy points per game, so I'd look for an alternative fantasy defensive option this week.

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Arizona Cardinals vs. Atlanta Falcons

Arizona's defense has failed to meet expectations in recent weeks, scoring a combined 20 fantasy points over their last five games. Things won't get better than when these Red Birds travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons, either. Opposing road defenses have averaged just 3.2 fantasy points when facing Matt Ryan and crew this season.

Sit 'Em: Panthers D/ST vs. New Orleans Saints (Mon.), Jets D/ST vs. Houston Texans
Busts: Patriots D/ST at Pittsburgh Steelers, Cowboys D/ST at Indianapolis Colts


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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