Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 15
By Michael Fabiano
Updated: Dec. 12, 2012 at 01:09 p.m.
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 Arian Foster will not be featured in this column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.
Start of the week
Lions defense at Arizona Cardinals: If we have learned anything in the last few weeks, it's that the Cardinals are the single best matchup for fantasy defenses. Just ask anyone who started the Seahawks last week - the start of the week defense - and received a ridiculous 41 fantasy points. The Lions will be the hottest defensive addition off the waiver wire.
Jets defense at Tennessee Titans (Mon.): The Men in Green have been hot in the fantasy stat sheets on defense, scoring double-digit points in four of their last five games. That includes back-to-back 11-point performances in the last two weeks. Opposing road defenses have combined to score the fifth-most fantasy points against the Titans, so start the Jets.
Bengals defense at Philadelphia Eagles (Thurs.): Before their six-point output against the Dallas Cowboys last week, the Bengals had scored 12 or more fantasy points in four straight games. Opposing road defenses have combined to score the third-most fantasy points when facing the Eagles this season, so picking up and starting the Bengals is a great move this week.
Sleeper alert - Dolphins defense vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Dolphins defense has not been what you would call an effective fantasy option for most of this season, but I like this week's matchup against Chad Henne and the Jaguars. Defenses have combined to score the seventh-most fantasy points against Jacksonville overall, so the Fins are a viable choice.
Sit of the week
Ravens defense vs. Denver Broncos: It's tough to bench a top-10 fantasy defense, but this is not a good matchup for the Ravens. In fact, opposing defenses that have faced Peyton Manning and the Broncos have combined to score an average of just 5.54 fantasy points. With so many other options on the waiver wire, it makes sense to pass on Baltimore this weekend.
Falcons defense vs. New York Giants: The Falcons defense has been much more effective at home than on the road in 2012, but that doesn't change the fact that this week's matchup is not a favorable one. In fact, opposing defenses have combined to score the third-fewest fantasy points when facing Eli Manning and the Giants. As a result, keep the Falcons on the bench.
Chargers defense vs. Carolina Panthers: The eighth-best defensive unit based on fantasy points, the Chargers have scored double-digits in three of their last four games. It's still tough to trust this unit against a red-hot Cam Newton, though, as opposing home defenses have combined to score the sixth-fewest fantasy points when facing the Panthers.
Owners beware - Bears defense vs. Green Bay Packers: Remember when the Bears defense was one of the elite "players" in fantasy football? Well, injuries have caught up to this team in a big way. In fact, Chicago has scored double-digits just once since Week 9. Facing Aaron Rodgers and the Packers isn't what I would call a favorable matchup, so beware the Bears.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to