Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 8

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. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the week

Bengals defense vs. New York Jets:Geno Smith has an odd trend of putting up stinkers in even-numbered weeks, which is good news for the Bengals in Week 8. Home defenses have combined to score the second-most fantasy points (10.0 PPG) when facing the Jets, so this could be a nice weekend for these Queen City cats. (Maximum value: High DEF1)

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Start 'em

Packers defense at Minnesota Vikings: The Packers defense has not been a strong option this season, ranking a mere 22nd in fantasy points. Still, facing Christian Ponder and the Vikings makes this unit a nice streaming option for Week 8. Defenses have scored an average of 11 fantasy points per game against Minnesota over the last two weeks. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Steelers defense at Oakland Raiders: This is not the same Steelers defense that used to dominate both on the field and in fantasy football. However, a matchup against the Raiders does make this unit a viable option during the upcoming bye weeks. Defenses have combined to score the second-most fantasy points against Oakland since Week 4. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Sleeper alert - Saints defense vs. Buffalo Bills: The Saints are fresh off a bye week and playing at home against Thaddeus Lewis and a Bills offense that has some real question marks. Opposing defenses have combined to score an average of 10 fantasy points per game against Buffalo over the last two weeks, so streaming the Saints makes sense. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Sit of the week

Cardinals defense vs. Atlanta Falcons: If we have learned one thing about the Falcons this season, it's that opposing defenses just don't score fantasy points against them. In fact, opposing units have combined to score the second-fewest fantasy points (3.83 PPG) when facing Matt Ryan and crew. That's bad news for the Cardinals. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

Sit 'em

Bills defense at New Orleans Saints: The Bills defense has scored a respectable 64 fantasy points this season -- that's just six fewer than the Chicago Bears -- but this is still not a team to start against the Saints. Defensive units going up against this explosive offense have averaged a mediocre five fantasy points per game this season. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

Vikings defense vs. Green Bay Packers: The Vikings were in the start 'em portion of this column last week and finished with 10 fantasy points. Unfortunately, this isn't a team you're going to want to start again based on the matchup -- opposing defenses facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have combined to average just 5.67 fantasy points. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

Owners beware - Cowboys defense at Detroit Lions: Did you know the Cowboys were third in fantasy points among defenses? That's impressive, but still not enough to keep them out of the sit 'em spot among defensive units. Only one defense has scored more than eight fantasy points against the Lions, and that was all the way back in Week 1. (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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