Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 9

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

Cowboys defense vs. Minnesota Vikings: The Cowboys might give up a boatload of points, but this unit also forces turnovers and scores a pile of fantasy points. Opposing home defenses have put up the fifth-most fantasy points (11.66 PPG) combined when facing the Vikings, so look for Dallas to post a nice stat line. (Maximum value: High DEF1)

Waiver wire: WRs catching on

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Start 'em

Chiefs defense at Buffalo Bills: The Chiefs have hit a dry spell in the stat sheets, scoring a combined 12 fantasy points over the last two weeks. Still, the best defense in fantasy land needs to be active against the Bills -- opposing teams facing Buffalo have combined to score an average of 10.75 fantasy points over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: High DEF1)

Saints defense at New York Jets: Rookie quarterback Geno Smith might be better at home than on the road, but he still has a tendency to turn the football over pretty often regardless. Defenses have combined to score the third-most fantasy points (13.25 PPG) against the Jets over the last four weeks, so consider the Saints a nice option. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Sleeper alert - Colts defense at Houston Texans: The Colts have been a nice fantasy defense, ranking 10th in points at the position. Couple that with a matchup against the Texans, who have given up more fantasy points to road defenses than any team in the league, and it's clear why Indianapolis is well worth a look if you need a defense. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Sit of the week

Texans defense vs. Indianapolis Colts: This is a bad matchup on paper for Andrew Luck, but he doesn't give up fantasy points to opposing defenses. In fact, home defenses have combined to score the second-fewest fantasy points (4.25 PPG) versus Luck and his offense. The Texans are also a bit banged up on defense, so avoid this unit if possible. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)

Sit 'em

Bills defense vs. Kansas City Chiefs: 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 Chiefs. Defensive units going up against Alex Smith and his crew have averaged a mediocre 5.63 fantasy points per game in 2013. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

Vikings defense at Dallas Cowboys: The Vikings were in the sit 'em portion of this column last week and finished with a mere four fantasy points. Unfortunately, this isn't a team that's going to see much improvement against the Cowboys -- opposing road defenses have combined to score the fourth-fewest fantasy points (3.00 PPG) in Dallas. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

Owners beware - Bears defense at Green Bay Packers (Mon.): The Bears were a must-start defense last season, but that was then and this is now. Aside from the injuries this unit has endured, a game against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers isn't favorable -- road defenses facing Green Bay have combined to average one fantasy point per game. (Maximum value: High DEF2)

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 _**@MichaelFabiano**_ or send a question via **Facebook**!

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