Skip to main content

2021 NFL Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: Defenses

You have lineup questions. We have answers. At least we hope. Start 'Em & Sit 'Em has helped fantasy managers for years make those pressing lineup decisions. And you know what is a good decision? Starting Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see that here. Instead here are some of the most-pressing questions. And, if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings right here.

Start 'Em

*Game played at Jacksonville's TIAA Bank Field

The Saints were formerly one of those teams that you would sit your defense against and go hit the waiver wire for streaming options. That’s over. But realize, I’m not going to list the Packers here in an attempt to make jokes about Jameis Winston. I’ve already said I like Winston. But the Packers defense is good. Again, I’m chagrined by how complimentary I have to be for the Packers. I’m a professional and I’m doing it for you though.

The 49ers actually allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing defenses last season. But there’s no chance I’m going with the Lions. But will play a healthy 49ers team that is fully operational right now. Again, the 49ers are a different team with Nick Bosa out there. It’s kind of like the end of AEW All Out PPV on Sunday. It would have been good if they had ended after Kenny Omega pinned Christian. But it went over the top after that. That’s what the 49ers defense is like with Bosa. Going from good to pretty great.

The Broncos are another defense that is welcoming back some healthy players from last season. They have also upgraded significantly in the secondary. Kyle Fuller rejoins his former defensive coordinator at one corner. First-round pick Patrick Surtain II is on the opposite side. The Broncos might have the best secondary in football. And if not, it’s really close. And going against Daniel Jones (mostly Jason Garrett’s offense) makes this a pretty easy pickup.

This is a sneaky play this week. The FT allowed a lot of points to opposing defenses last year, but they made the change at quarterback to bring in Ryan Fitzpatrick. And we love Fitzpatrick. But let’s not act like he isn’t prone to having some big interception games. If I’m looking at for a defense to stream this week, I don’t hate the Chargers who are much different with Derwin James. The Chargers might be frequent guests in this spot.

Let’s talk about the tough decisions here because I know some people will avoid even talking about the Steeleres. Because normally, you draft the Steelers and you don’t think about it. This is really a tough call this week for the Steelers against the Bills. The Bills were the fourth-toughest matchup against opposing defenses last year. But the Steelers were the top scoring defense last year. I’m going with the Steelers this weekend. I don’t think they are going to reach double digit points. But half a dozen would be great. And likely better than any team you’re likely to stream. And then you don’t have to drop the Steelers or somebody else who is valuable.

Sit 'Em

*Game played at Jacksonville's TIAA Bank Field

It was ridiculous to start opposing defenses against the Packers last season. And the last I checked, Aaron Rodgers still irked at the Packers and the it’s the rest of the league that is going to have to pay for it. Also, the Saints defense has lost a lot of depth, which is what made them so tough the last few seasons.

The Cardinals were a top 10 fantasy defense last season. The kind of team that you could stream from time-to-time. This is not going to be one of those times. The Titans allowed the second-fewest points to team defenses last year. And I also don’t like streaming defenses on the road that much, although I have the Packers. But the Packers are just good. Gosh, I really do hate writing that.

The Browns have a pretty fearsome defense and added Jadeveon Clowney during the offseason. And that’s what I was thinking when I picked them in a dynasty draft before the schedule came out this year. Now I looked at my lineup just this week and realized, oh yeah, I’m going to need to change that one out.

The Ravens were one of the toughest offenses to stream against last season. And the Raiders, well, the Raiders defense is still in rebuilding mode. The Raiders recently signed former Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright. But also created a buzz when they released former third-round pick Tanner Muse, who has played pretty well in preseason.

The Colts, that’s right, the Colts were one of the toughest defenses to stream against last year. They allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to defenses last year. The Seahawks still have a problem on the defensive side of the football. I know it’s hard to break the habit of thinking the Seahawks are a great fantasy defense. Those days are over. Like Harlem Shake videos. I know you kids are too young to remember that, so go ahead and Google it.

Follow Adam Rank on Twitter.

Related Content