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 Patrick Mahomes and Saquon Barkley will not be featured in this column. All player matchups are based on a PPR scoring system. For your final starting lineup decisions, check my weekly fantasy football lineup rankings.
Start of the Week
Last week's top defensive start in this space, the Patriots scored 37 fantasy points against the Dolphins. They'll next face off against the Jets, who are without Sam Darnold and will roll out third stringer Luke Falk. Tied for second in sacks and leading the NFL with five interceptions, New England should produce monster totals.
The Cowboys' defense ranks outside of the top 20 in fantasy points after two weeks, but a matchup against the Dolphins makes this a must-start unit. In their first two games, defenses have combined to score 50 fantasy points versus Miami, including 37 points from the Patriots just last week. Grab Dallas in this incredibly good matchup.
Buffalo's defense produced just six fantasy points in last week's win over the Giants, but I still like this unit to rebound in a plus matchup against the Bengals. Their offensive line has struggled, allowing nine sacks of Andy Dalton after two weeks. The Bills are available in a lot of leaguess too, so grab them off the waiver wire and start them.
The Packers' defense has looked great in the first two weeks of the season, putting up a combined 24 fantasy points in wins over the Bears and Vikings. Next up is a date with the Broncos, who have averaged just 15 points per game through two weeks. Green Bay's defense is also free in more than 70 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Sit of the Week
The Ravens are coming off a disappointing, four-point performance in a win over the Cardinals. Well, you'll be wishing for four points if you start them against the Chiefs and superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes. In a game that will very likely be a scoreboard scorcher, Baltimore's defense needs to be benched in all leagues.
Pittsburgh's defense has been a massive bust through two weeks, allowing an average of 30.5 points and over 440 yards of total offense. That's not what you want if you're a fantasy owner. Next up is a road date with a 49ers team that's finding it's offensive mojo under coach Kyle Shanahan, so keep the Steelers defense on the sidelines.
The Saints' defense has been a disappointment to start the season, scoring a combined 12 fantasy points in tough games against the Texans and Rams. Next up is another poor matchup, this time on the road against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' run-based offense. I'd be looking for an alternative fantasy defensive unit this week.
Denver's defense has more "name" value than actual value in fantasy circles this season, as this unit has scored a combined one point in its first two games. That trend is likely to continue against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, who host the Broncos at Lambeau Field. I'd keep this defense on the bench until a better matchup emerges.
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!