Fantasy Football Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 2: Defenses That Are Must-Starts

Tyler HixsonContributor IIISeptember 14, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09:  Dont'a Hightower #54 and Chandler Jones #95 of the New England Patriots pursue quarterback Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans during their season opener at LP Field on September 9, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Week 1 of the new NFL season has passed and so has the first week of fantasy football madness.

Some of us got supremely lucky, while others are looking down a long road ahead. Don't fret, sad-faced frat guy that had Ryan Tannehill as your starting QB. There's a way to remedy the situation.

Last week we saw outstanding performances on both sides of the ball all over the league. The New England Patriots had a solid, all-around performance against the Titans, where Chris Johnson was limited to five yards on the ground.

The Ravens exploded for a 44-13 win over the Bengals in the second half, stifling Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati offense in the second half. 

Fantasy football requires you to be ruthless, so here are my picks for defenses that must start for your team. 


Houston Texans

The Houston Texans are continuing to look like a scary-good team.

Last week, the Texans held rookie Ryan Tannehill to 219 yards and picked him off three times. They also shut down Reggie Bush, who only got 69 yards on the ground. 

Since it was against the Dolphins, it's too early to consider the Texans as defensive world-beaters, and their game on Sunday is against Jacksonville, who is hardly better than Miami. Second-year QB Blaine Gabbert looked way more composed in the pocket and much more like a NFL QB last week against Minnesota, but they still lost to Minnesota. 

If the Texans can disrupt Gabbert's passing game, shut out Justin Blackmon (who wasn't really a factor against the Vikings) and stifle Maurice Jones-Drew—which they are more than capable of doing—then the Texans defense should be a good bet to start. 


Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens blew out the Cincinnati Bengals last week 44-13, but it was 17-10 at halftime. 

Benjarvus Green-Ellis did a great job of running the ball against Baltimore, racking up 91 yards and a TD. It was how poorly Andy Dalton threw the ball against the Ravens that decided the game. Dalton threw 22-for-37 for 221 yards and was picked off once. 

The Ravens play Philadelphia on Sunday, who is coming off an undeserved win over the Cleveland Browns. Michael Vick managed a win despite throwing four interceptions. 

Despite the unconvincing start, LeSean McCoy ran for 110 yards and Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson got 96 and 77 yards, respectively in the air, which is cause for some concern for Ravens fans.

However, when you have Ray Lewis and Ed Reed out in the secondary, you have to feel a little better about your chances. The Ravens are a much better defensive team than the Browns, so don't expect those numbers from Philly's offensive weapons to replicate themselves. 


Dallas Cowboys

It seems like it's been awhile since the Cowboys beat defending Super Bowl champs New York Giants last Wednesday 24-17 in the season opener. 

The Cowboys defense limited Eli Manning to only 217 yards and the Giants running game to a mere 36 yards on the ground—stifling.

The Giants receivers weren't allowed much space in the air, and Victor Cruz didn't have the explosive game so many of us have come to expect. 

The Cowboys' next game is against rookie QB Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, who are coming off a hard-to-swallow loss to the Arizona Cardinals. 

The 'Boys defense should have no problem shutting Wilson down, who only threw for 153 yards in his NFL debut. The Seahawks offensive line has a couple holes that the Cowboys should be able to exploit. 


New England Patriots

I never thought I would be writing about how good the Patriots defense is, but, you should start the Pats defense if you can.

After a season-long, sieve-like performance last season, the Patriots completely shut down the Titans offense last week, limiting Chris Johnson—a 2,000-plus yard rusher a couple season ago—to five yards all game.

Jake Locker threw for 229 yards before getting hurt trying to tackle Patrick Chung on an interception, which didn't end up counting. 

The Pats are up against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, whose offensive line looks awful. They didn't open any holes for the running backs against the Seahawks, and they allowed John Skelton to get hurt.

Chandler Jones and the Pats defense are just going to rip the Cardinals apart.