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NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 16

You have lineup questions, we have lineup answers -- at least we hope so. Start 'Em, Sit 'Em is here to help fantasy managers make difficult roster decisions. And you know what is a good move? Starting Christian McCaffrey. But that's too obvious, so you won't see such simple analysis here. Instead, we're exploring more debatable situations. And if you can't find a player you are looking for, please check out the latest NFL Fantasy lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

You saw what the Raiders did to the Chargers last week. If you were living under a rock, Las Vegas racked up three sacks and five takeaways (including a fumble-six and a pick-six) and finished with a season-high 25 fantasy points. Sure, the Chargers could get the bump teams sometimes get after a coaching change, but that won’t bring Justin Herbert back. The Bills are a top streaming option this week.

Even in a win last week, Carolina only scored nine points. The Panthers have the lowest-scoring offense in the league and have taken the fourth-most sacks. They have allowed a number of week-altering performances to opposing fantasy defenses already this season. This is nothing new: We’ve been streaming against the Panthers for a while now.

The Broncos' defense got lit up by Jared Goff and the Lions last week. It snapped what had been a very impressive streak of shutting down QBs. This week, that streak can start again in a much easier matchup against Bailey Zappe and the Patriots. New England has allowed 12-plus fantasy points to opposing defenses in three of their last five games. And the Broncos get the Chargers in championship week. Pick them up while you still can!

If you have seen the "Flex or Fuhgeddaboudit" segment on Fantasy Live, you know I’m a fan of Tommy DeVito. But the Saints were able to sack him seven times last week. The Giants have taken a league-high 76 sacks this season. That’s 16 more than the next-closest team ... the Jets (sorry, New York football fans). The Eagles may struggle in the secondary, but they have plenty of options to disrupt things up front. They’re certainly in play this week. 

Sit 'Em

I’ve been saying this for a couple of weeks now: The Cowboys are bullies on defense. They feast on lesser offenses, but have struggled to put up fantasy points against the better ones. In games against the 49ers, Justin Herbert-led Chargers, Eagles, Seahawks and Bills, they reached five points only once -- the second game against the Eagles. Last week on the road in Buffalo, they allowed 31 points and picked up just one sack. Now they hit the road again to take on the league’s highest-scoring offense. I would get away. 

Last week, the Cardinals' defense scored negative-four fantasy points against the 49ers. That’s not a typo. I know the Ravens are a much better team. They may be able to slow down San Francisco's offense a hair. But no defense has scored double digits against the Niners this season. Both the Eagles and Cowboys scored negative points against them. It’s just not worth the risk of the highly possible dud. 

No defense has been better for fantasy purposes as of late than Miami's unit. The Dolphins have scored 12 or more fantasy points in five straight games. Twice, they have topped 20 fantasy points. But they have faced the Raiders, Jets, Commanders, Titans and Jets again in that stretch. No offense to those offenses or QBs, but none of them compare to Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. Dem Boyz are going to be angry after last week. I would go with a defense that has a better matchup this week. And the Fins draw the Ravens next week, so you can drop them entirely and move on. 

The Raiders went OFF last week for a season-high 25 fantasy points against the Chargers. The issue: The Chiefs are not the Chargers. Even this version of the Chiefs, which is not the juggernaut it was in the past, is far better than Easton Stick, a banged-up (and potentially inactive) Keenan Allen and the shell of Austin Ekeler. Patrick Mahomes not only has a great history against the Raiders, but the Chiefs have allowed the second-fewest sacks in the league. Don’t chase last week’s points. 

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