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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 1: Defenses

Stick with your trusted defenses in Week 1 of the NFL season and don't chase the matchup play yet

Start ‘Em, Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams, or Travis Kelce. Instead, I'll look at the players you have the most questions about to help you set the most effective starting lineup possible. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the 2021 NFL season.

Week 1 Start ‘Em: Defenses

Start of the Week

San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner

49ers D/ST at Lions (1 p.m. ET, FOX): The Lions' offense could be one of the worst in the league this season, making the 49ers one of the best options among defenses this week. While it will be interesting to see the Lions upgraded offensive line in action, the Niners' front-seven will still put the clamps (and pressure) on Jared Goff all afternoon.

Week 1 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em


MORE: Week 1 Hub: Rankings, Articles & More

Start ‘Em

Broncos D/ST at Giants (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): The Giants offense has several issues heading into the regular season, including the statuses of stars Saquan Barkley, Kenny Golladay, and Evan Engram. Daniel Jones hasn't been the consistent quarterback, and he could struggle if his offense is a patchwork unit. That makes Denver a nice choice.

Packers D/ST at Saints (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): The Saints' offense could take a major step backward after the retirement of Drew Brees and the loss of Michael Thomas to start the season. Jameis Winston looked good in the preseason, but he threw 30 picks in his last full season as a starter, and the Saints also lack experienced receivers.

More Starts

  • Ravens D/ST at Raiders (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)
  • Panthers D/ST vs. Jets (1 p.m. ET, FOX)

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DFS Bargains

  • Dolphins D/ST at Patriots (DraftKings: $2,900)
  • Falcons D/ST vs. Eagles (DraftKings: $2,000)

Week 1 Sit ‘Em: Defenses

Sit of the Week


Browns D/ST at Chiefs (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS): The Browns defense added some real talent in the offseason and should be an asset to fantasy fans this season. But in Week 1, this unit needs to be on the sidelines based on a matchup against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Defenses averaged 3.1 fantasy points a game against them in 2020.

Sit ‘Em

Saints D/ST vs. Packers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): The Packers' offense was one of the most lethal in the league a season ago, at that shouldn't change with Aaron Rodgers back under center. This is a home game for the Saints, but it's in Jacksonville due to Hurricane Ida. That's a disadvantage for this unit, as is the matchup, so sit the Saints.

Bears D/ST at Rams (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC): It wasn't too long ago when the Bears had one of the best defenses in fantasy football, but that wasn't the case a season ago. Not only did Chicago falter in point production, but a matchup against Matthew Stafford and the Rams isn't what you would call favorable either. Keep the Bears on the bench.

More Sits

  • Cardinals D/ST at Titans (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Eagles D/ST at Falcons (1 p.m. ET, FOX)

DFS Fades

  • Giants D/ST vs. Broncos (DraftKings: $3,800)
  • Steelers D/ST at Bills (DraftKings: $2,800)

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!