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.
Start of the Week
The Patriots defense has been awful in fantasy leagues lately, as it's scored six or fewer points in four straight games. That trend should come to an end, though, as New England next faces the Bengals in Cincinnati. Defenses have averaged 10.9 fantasy points against them.
If you believe Drew Lock is as good as he looked last week, maybe you should avoid the Chiefs defense. But to me, this is a great week to start them. Lock is still a rookie, Arrowhead Stadium is one of the loudest in the league, and the Chiefs need a win for playoff seeding.
Seattle's defense has scored nine or more fantasy pints in three of its last four games, and this week's matchup in Carolina makes it a solid option. Since Week 11, defenses have averaged 5.2 sacks, 2.8 takeaways and the third-most fantasy points against the Panthers.
Cleveland's defense can be tough to trust, but this week's matchup in Arizona makes it a viable streamer. Over the last four weeks, enemy defenses have averaged five sacks, two takeaways and the most fantasy points when facing Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
Sit of the Week
The Colts defense has been fire lately, scoring nine or more fantasy points in three of its last four games. Unfortunately, they're a fade for me in a roadie against the Saints. Over the last four weeks, defenses have averaged the fewest fantasy points versus New Orleans.
Denver's defense went bananas a week ago, posting three sacks, a touchdown and 15 fantasy points against the Texans. I'd fade this unit this week, though, as defenses facing Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have averaged 1.7 fantasy points over the last four weeks.
Houston's defense has struggled in recent weeks, even against Drew Lock in his first NFL road start, so this unit should be faded in all leagues. The matchup is difficult too, as enemy defenses have scored the fifth-fewest fantasy points against the Titans since Week 11.
The Chargers defense has struggled in fantasy leagues all season, and a matchup against the Vikings is anything but favorable. In fact, defenses have averaged a mere 3.8 fantasy points when facing Kirk Cousins and the Vikings this season. Keep the Bolts on the bench.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com 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!