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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 1: Defense

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

The Steelers were second with 11.25 fantasy points per game last season, based on their pass rush. The Steelers led the NFL in sacks and takeaways last year and face Daniel Jones who led the NFL with 23 giveaways in 2019. That was second in the NFL. And if the Steelers offense can actually do its job and score points, that could force the opposition to be one dimensional to create more opportunities for turnovers.

The Vikings didn’t really cede a lot of fantasy points to opposing defenses last year, so you don’t always want to stream a defense against them. But ICYMI, the Packers were pretty great against Kirk Cousins last year, sacking him five times and forcing one interception. I expect the Vikings to play it really conservative here. But if the Packers can open it up a little bit, they can force Cousins into some mistakes. 

The FT scored the fewest points of any team last year. They have a new offensive coordinator in Scott Turner. And in a normal season, they would have had more time to implement the system, so I’m looking to pick up defenses that have teams with continuity. Washington allowed the fifth-most sacks per game last year, so the Eagles are a great choice if you’re scrambling for a defense. 

The Bears allowed the fourth-fewest points last season in what was kind of a lost year (they were 8-8, though). The defense is now in the second-year of that Chuck Pagano system and will be much better with Robert Quinn replacing Leonard Floyd, Eddie Jackson moving back to his natural safety position and Aikem Hicks returning (which was low-key the reason the defense didn’t seem as good last year).  

I need to show the Jets with a little love here. Because the defense was pretty good at the end of last season. Here’s my thing. I might not stream the Jets in traditional fantasy leagues unless you’re in some sort of 20-teamer. But daily fantasy fans should take a look at the Jets because they are a really good value. 

Sit 'Em

The FT will be playing its first game under new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio. The FT has a lot of former first-round picks in the front seven and if they can ever get their secondary sorted, they could be a really good squad. But it has scored fewer than five points in four of its last five games against Philadelphia. 

One of the biggest questions for the Falcons this season is can they get to the quarterback? Dante Fowler replaces Vic Beasley and it looks like an upgrade on paper. The Falcons were tied for second-fewest with 1.6 sacks per game last year. Fowler is coming off a breakout season where he had 11.5 sacks, but how many of those were because he played with Aaron Donald. It’s like being the popular kid in your dorm because your roommate is one of the few with a car.

The Giants threw a lot of money at James Bradbury this offseason, but recently let go of former first-round pick Deandre Baker following armed robbery charges. The Steelers will welcome back Ben Roethlisberger who missed most of last season, and yeah, this could be a long night for the Giants. 

Say what you will about Tyrod Taylor (I love him as a player) but he doesn’t turn the ball over. He’s had fewer than six interceptions in three career seasons as a starter (Nathan Peterman nearly knocked that out in one half when he replaced him in a game). The Chargers' game plan will likely be very conservative which means you can’t hope for turnovers or sacks. 

Look, to all my friends in Duval County, it’s going to get much better for you in the future. I promise. But the Colts offensive line is one of the best. The Colts allowed just two sacks per game in 2019, the ninth-fewest total in the league last year. Again, unless they get Philip Rivers into a situation where he’s frustrated and throwing YOLO balls to his receivers, it could be a long game. And also this. (Both guys are on new teams this year, it should be pointed out.)

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