Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 8: Defense

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 Christian McCaffrey 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.

Byes:Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys

Start 'Em

Start of the Week

The Rams defense had a season-high 21 fantasy points last week, and an upcoming matchup against the Bengals makes them a virtual must start. Cincinnati has allowed 3.4 sacks a game with 15 turnovers, and home defenses have averaged 11.7 points against them.

Pittsburgh's defense has been on fire in recent weeks, scoring 11 or more fantasy points in four straight games. This unit needs to be in active in all leagues this week against the Dolphins, who defenses have averaged the most fantasy points a game against in 2019.

If the Falcons don't have Matt Ryan (ankle), the Seahawks defense will be a top-10 option in fantasy leagues. That's due in large part to the presence of Matt Schaub, who has been a turnover machine late in his career and would start in Ryan's potential absence.

Tennessee's defense hasn't been great in fantasy land lately, but it remains a viable streamer against the Buccaneers. Their offense has turned the ball over 13 times and allowed 4.17 sacks, and defenses have averaged the third-most points vs. Tampa Bay this season.

Start 'Em:Packers D/ST at Kansas City Chiefs, Jaguars D/ST vs. New York Jets
Sleepers:Colts D/ST vs. Oakland Raiders, Lions D/ST vs. New York Giants

Sit' Em

The Panthers have one of the better defenses in fantasy football, but a matchup in San Francisco makes them a fade for me. Their offense has given up just 1.3 sacks and one giveaway per game, and defenses have averaged just 5.8 fantasy points against them.

Denver's defense has produced an impressive 33 fantasy points over the last three weeks, but an upcoming game in Indianapolis is not favorable. In fact, the Colts have allowed the second-fewest sacks and 1.3 giveaways and 4.3 fantasy points a game to defenses.

It's tough to sit the Chiefs defense after a 24-point performance last week, but a matchup against the Packers isn't favorable. Defenses have averaged just one takeaway per game against Aaron Rodgers and his offense, not to mention a mere 3.6 fantasy points.

Arizona's defense put up a solid 14 fantasy points in a win over the Giants last week, but I wouldn't chase the points in a bad matchup in New Orleans. The Saints averaged fewer than one giveaway per game, and defenses have averaged just 4.7 points against them.

Sit 'Em:Browns D/ST at New England Patriots, Eagles D/ST at Buffalo Bills
Busts:Chargers D/ST at Chicago Bears, Texans D/ST vs. Oakland Raiders

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. 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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