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NFL Fantasy 2023 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Defenses for Week 3

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 Bears' offense is a mess right now. Chicago has multiple receivers running curl routes within 3 yards of each other, and you can’t scroll for more than a minute on social media without seeing blatant mockery of the play-calling. Plus, Justin Fields continues to take sacks at an absurd pace. So far this season, he’s been sacked 10 times, second-most in the NFL. The Bears and Giants have the only offenses to surrender double-digit sacks while logging three-plus interceptions in 2023. And the Chiefs have Chris Jones back, who helped shut down the Jaguars last week. K.C.'s D is a must-start unit this Sunday.

The Texans are going to be a weekly stream target for your defenses for the foreseeable future. They have a ton of offensive line injuries/issues, and as a result, C.J. Stroud has been sacked a league-high 11 times. They also have yet to establish a run game at all this season. The Jacksonville defense just made life tough on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Stroud and the Texans are significantly less threatening. Fire up this unit anywhere you can.

I could tell you that the Jets have already allowed six sacks in two games, or that they’ve thrown a league-high four interceptions and have just two touchdowns all year. Or I could tell you that Zach Wilson has thrown two TDs and seven interceptions in three full games against the Patriots in his career. But just saying “Wilson vs. Belichick” is probably enough. This is a get-right spot for the Pats' defense after opening up with two of the toughest offenses in the league.

The Commanders have taken 10 sacks already this season, tied for the second-most in the league. And while the Bills have just three on defense, they have generated pressure on a solid 36 percent of dropbacks. This week, the pressure should translate into sacks. Plus, the Bills' three interceptions are tied for third-most in the league through two weeks. They’re absolutely in play this week against Washington.

The Panthers have the fewest passing yards in the NFL through two games. They’ve also handed over two interceptions and six sacks and are averaging a measly 13.5 points per game.

Sit 'Em

When streaming defenses, we’re looking for offenses that give up sacks and turnovers. Unfortunately, the Lions don’t meet either criterion. So far this season, Jared Goff has been sacked just three times, and he’s thrown four touchdown passes against just one interception after leading the NFL in TD-to-INT ratio last season. There will be weeks where the Falcons' defense is in play, but this is not one of them.

The Chargers have allowed by far the most passing yards in the NFL so far this season. Through two weeks, they have scored a combined five fantasy points. Now they get Kirk Cousins and the Vikings, who have the second-most passing yards and are tied for the most passing touchdowns. This figures to be a high-scoring matchup -- good for the fantasy stars, but an easy sit for the defenses.

The Steelers are normally a defense you can stream in fantasy, but not this week. Incredibly, the Raiders are the only offense in the league that has yet to take a sack. If you start Pittsburgh, you are hoping for turnovers (or touchdowns, like on Monday night). Too much volatility for me -- this is a matchup I’m looking to avoid.

The Rams have taken just one sack through two games and have turned the ball over just twice. It has been fun to watch Sean McVay remind everyone that he’s one of the best offensive minds in football after a 2022 season wrecked by injuries. There will be plenty of weeks to stream the Bengals' defense, but stay away from the unit in this matchup.

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