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Start & Sit: Washington's Fantasy Outlook Vs. Giants

Jonathan Allen, Chase Young and Jon Bostic tackle Dalton Schultz during the Washington Football Team's 25-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys. (Elijah Walter Griffin/Washington Football Team)
Jonathan Allen, Chase Young and Jon Bostic tackle Dalton Schultz during the Washington Football Team's 25-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys. (Elijah Walter Griffin/Washington Football Team)

With nine games left, there is still time for teams to make a push for the postseason, but in fantasy football, that window is getting smaller with five weeks left before the playoffs in many leagues.

Like the Washington Football Team, NFL fans are adjusting their fantasy rosters to put themselves in position for a strong finish to the season. They're scrolling through fantasy analyses to find the move that will give them a big payoff on Sunday.

So, let's take a look at who fantasy owners should start and sit ahead of Washington's matchup with Daniel Jones and the New York Giants.

(NOTE: All rankings are based on ESPN Standard scoring, which includes one point per reception.)

Start: Washington's defense

Washington's defense started the season off with a bang in Week 1 by holding the Philadelphia Eagles to just 17 points fueled by two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a league-high eight sacks. The unit's 17 fantasy points were tied with the New Orleans Saints for the best performance of any defense in Week 1.

Washington has allowed the fourth-fewest total yards, but that has not led to fantasy success as it allowed at least 30 points in Weeks 2-5. That has resulted in Washington's defense accounting for four fantasy points in those games combined.

But those numbers have slowly started to improve in the past two games. The defense allowed 14 points against the Giants in Week 6 in addition to grabbing its seventh interception, which tied the unit for 10th in fantasy points that week. One week later, it performed even better by holding the Dallas Cowboys to three points with help from six sacks and another pick. That accounted for the second-best fantasy performance behind the Kansas City Chiefs.

Washington, which is available in 27.1% of leagues, is ranked as the seventh-best defense this week. The coaching staff feels like the unit is making progress, and combined with its nine turnovers, it could be primed for another big day against a 31st-ranked Giants offense led by Jones, who has nine interceptions and five fumbles this year.

Sit: Sterling Shepard

Giants receiver Sterling Shepard has been one of New York's most productive fantasy players since he was activated off Injured Reserve on Oct. 22. Thanks to six receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown, Shepard scored 17.9 fantasy points. Then, one week later, he scored 15.4 from eight receptions for 74 yards.

It's true that Washington has given up big games to receivers in the past, including 22.8 points from DeAndre Hopkins, 17.1 points from Robert Woods and 15.5 points Amari Cooper. But Washington's secondary has given up a league-low 185.9 yards per game and held Jones to 112 yards in its first matchup with the Giants.

What's more, Kendall Fuller is playing like one of the best cornerbacks in the league. He has as many interceptions (4) as he does first downs allowed. Quarterbacks also have a passer rating of 9.3 when targeting him, which leads the league among cornerbacks.

Explosive plays have been an issue for the defense, but defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio said it has been working hard to minimize those issues. Stopping Shepard, as well as the rest of New York's wide receivers, is the first opportunity following the bye week to do that.

"I like the way our group has worked at it," Del Rio said. "I think we're an improving group, but we have a lot of work to do yet as we get into the second half of the year."