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NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 8

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 Patrick Mahomes. But that's too obvious, so you won't see the reigning MVP 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

The Ravens lead the NFL in sacks (27) and have more interceptions (six) than touchdown passes allowed (four). They have four games this season with at least five sacks. They have now scored at least 11 fantasy points in two straight and three of their last four. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have come back to earth offensively. They have given up at least nine fantasy points to opposing defenses in three straight. Baltimore's defense is absolutely a MUST-START this week.

Sam Howell and the Commanders have taken 40 sacks already this season. It’s the second-most through seven games since 1970, behind only David Carr's Texans (43). Washington has also allowed the third-most fantasy PPG to opposing defenses this season. Yes, the Eagles' defense logged just five fantasy points against the Commanders in Week 4, but the unit has racked up at least four sacks in every game since then. Philly is another must-start option this week. 

While a lot of the attention goes to the Commanders and the 40 sacks they’ve taken, the Giants are right “behind” them with 37 -- 10 more than any other team in the NFL. The Jets tend to force a lot of turnovers, but only have two games with four or more sacks. There’s a good chance that becomes three this week. And in the prior two, they scored 18-plus fantasy points. Start the Jets in this battle of New York/New Jersey. 

The Dolphins are low-key tied with the Eagles for the third-most sacks in the league (24). They have 14 in their last three games combined. Last week, they scored a season-high 12 fantasy points against Philly’s equally dangerous offense. They’ve now put up at least 11 in two of three games. Bottom line: This has been a much stronger unit as of late, and now the Dolphins face the Patriots, who have allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to opposing defenses. Stream Miami. 

Sit 'Em

Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins have taken just 10 sacks through seven games and four of them came last week against the Eagles. No offense to New England's defense, but it's not Philly's unit. In fact, the Patriots have just 13 sacks on the season, which is tied for the fifth-fewest. It’s why they have yet to reach double-digit fantasy points in a game this season. Plus, you may have heard that the Dolphins score a ton of points. Do not start defenses against them. Get away from the Pats. 

The Bengals have a tough defense and are coming off two big fantasy games against NFC West opponents. Unfortunately, those opponents were not San Francisco. There are too many weapons on the 49ers, and they typically take excellent care of the ball. On the year, Brock Purdy has just three interception and has only been sacked 12 times. San Fran just isn't a team to play defenses against in fantasy.

The Raiders have been a recommended streamer the last two weeks. One of those worked out and one did not. But you can get away from the defense this week against the Lions in Detroit. Jared Goff and Co. do not take a lot of sacks and they take care of the ball. Goff has been sacked just 15 times this year, posting 11 touchdown passes against four interceptions. Plus, the Lions can beat you on the ground -- a big weakness for the Raiders.

Buffalo's defense is just not the same since the injuries to Tre’Davious White, Matt Milano and DaQuan Jones. Before losing those standouts, the Bills led the league in sacks. Now, they’ve had just four in the last two games combined. They scored just two fantasy points last week, with one sack, and haven’t reached double digits since Week 3. Plus, the Bucs are not the favorable matchup you might think they are. Baker Mayfield has taken just eight sacks -- only Patrick Mahomes has taken fewer among the full-time starters. He also has just four interceptions. Sit the Bills on a short week. 

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