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. All starts and sits are based on standard scoring leagues. Obvious fantasy starters like Aaron Rodgers and LeSean McCoy will not be featured. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Byes: Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle, St. Louis

Start 'Em

The Chargers defense, which is still available in more than 80 percent of leagues, is a strong streaming option for fantasy owners this week against Jacksonville. Opposing defenses have combined to score the most fantasy points in the NFL against the Jaguars, so the Chargers appear to be primed for a big week in the stat sheets.

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The top-scoring defense in fantasy football after three weeks, the Patriots will remain a strong play against the Chiefs on Monday night. So far this season, opposing defenses have combined to score the eighth-most fantasy points when facing Alex Smith and his offense. The Titans recorded 14 points at Arrowhead Stadium back in Week 1.

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Miami's defense hasn't been so spectacular from a fantasy perspective this season, scoring an average of six fantasy points per game. However, this unit is still a legitimate streaming option based on their matchup across the pond against rookie quarterback Derek Carr and the Raiders. The Dolphins are still available in most leagues.

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The Steelers are hurting at linebacker, but it's still tough to look past this week's matchup against the Buccaneers and their struggling offense. After three weeks, opposing defenses have combined to score an average of 14.33 fantasy points per game against Tampa Bay. That's enough reason to roll with the Steelers this week.


Sit' Em

Surprisingly, the Cowboys have fielded one of the 10-best defenses in fantasy football after the first three weeks. And while defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli should be praised for his work with a patchwork unit, his defense isn't nearly good enough to play against Drew Brees and the Saints' explosive offense ... in fantasy or reality.

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The Eagles defense opened the 2014 season with a solid 12-point performance, but that was against the lowly Jaguars. Since then, this unit has scored a combined 11 fantasy points. Fortunes aren't likely to improve much on the road against the Niners, who haven't been a favorable opponent for those who like to stream defenses.

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The Bears defense was awesome last week, scoring 16 fantasy points in a win over the New York Jets. However, their defensive backfield is in shambles due to a litany of injuries. That's bad news, especially with superstar Aaron Rodgers and the Packers coming to Soldier Field. I'd be benching these Monsters of the Midway.

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The Panthers defense is coming off an absolute stinker, scoring minus-3 fantasy points in a blowout loss to the Steelers. This week they'll be in Baltimore, where a difficult matchup against the Ravens awaits. In the first three weeks, opposing defenses have combined to score fewer than 10 fantasy points against Joe Flacco's offense.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on 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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