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Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 8 defense & special teams

In the past two weeks, the Chicago Bears started collecting sacks and turnovers… and they like it! But is their D/ST good enough to start ‘em in Week 8?


Sometimes, a good D/ST play is easy to spot. Other times you need to read an article like this. Here are my thoughts on which defenses are worth starting and which ones should sit. 

Start these guys: Philadelphia Eagles vs. SF

Since hanging a 22-D/ST point shellacking on the Redskins on opening day, the Eagles’ defense has been held to eight or fewer fantasy points per game. The past few weeks, they finished just outside the top ten. This week, they host the San Francisco 49ers and they will show no mercy. It will two weeks in a row of NFC East humiliation for the 49ers as the Eagles run up the sacks and turnovers. 

Sit these guys: Houston Texans at SEA

Houston comes off a bye to face the Seahawks and their 12th man. Russell Wilson is not only playing better and looking healthier, but all of his receivers are fully engaged in the program. Houston will hang tough for a while but eventually succumb to the Seahawks’ aerial assault. 

Start these guys: Cincinnati Bengals vs IND 

Cincinnati’s defense will take full advantage of the Colts’ blocking woes and harass Jacoby Brissett for most of the game. The team needs a solid game for various reasons, including winning back fan support. They will not let off the gas at all in front of their home fans. 

Sit these guys: Atlanta Falcons at NYJ  

Atlanta’s D/ST was a preseason sleeper favorite, but they have done nothing all year to get me excited about them. Yet, they are listed as a top streaming option on most major fantasy sites against the Jets at home. I’m not buying it. Josh McCown made a big mistake that cost the Jets a game last week. But his late interception didn’t do much damage to his four-touchdown NFL fantasy score. The Jets also went back to a two-man rushing attack with good effect. Look for a high-scoring affair in New Jersey and sit both these teams.

Start either: Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens

This could be the snoozer game of the week. Miami comes in with a backup quarterback throwing against one of the toughest defensive secondaries. It will help if DeVante Parker returns, but not much. Ajayi might get some yards running against the Ravens’ suspect run defense, but he has not been good in the red zone.

Meanwhile, Baltimore is missing most of its wide receivers and tight ends, as well as their starting running back. Their offense was vanilla with everybody healthy. Now it’s kind of moldy, slimy vanilla. Either defense should be worth a play in this game, with my preference being Miami. 

Sit both: Pittsburgh Steelers at Detroit Lions

What? These are two of the top defenses in the league! They are also two of the most explosive offenses. There might be enough turnovers to salvage one teams’ day, but overall, there will be points flying on offense and disappointing fantasy rankings for both D/STs. At the least, it is a risky play. If you have a good streaming option, take it.

Week 8 flash in the pan prediction

How ‘bout them Cowboys? They are feeling it in Dallas. This week, the defense joins the party Dak and ‘Zeke started last week. They come up with a defensive score, a punt return, and three turnovers on the way to a top-five D/ST fantasy finish against the rival Redskins. 

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Pat Opperman

Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.

Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 8 defense & special teams

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