Moreno, Flacco have great matchups in first postseason week

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Start 'em & sit 'em is the ultimate look at weekly matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy team. Sleeper alert features a player who's under the radar and could produce good numbers. Owners beware features a player who's a regular fantasy starter but could fail to meet expectations. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the week

Knowshon Moreno at Cardinals: Moreno has been on fire in recent weeks, averaging a stout 18.2 fantasy points on NFL.com in his last four games. His statistical rise to stardom should continue against the Cardinals, who have allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the National Football League.

Quarterbacks - start 'em

Joe Flacco at Texans (Mon.): If you've been playing the matchups at the quarterback position, you know that facing the Texans is quite an attractive advantage. That is the situation with Flacco, who faces their porous pass defense on Monday night. The Texans have allowed an average of 20 fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers.

Kyle Orton at Cardinals: Orton posted a 2.68-point dud last week against the Chiefs, but that's not enough reason to bench him if you've been riding him all season. The veteran out of Purdue has a great matchup next on the schedule, facing a Cardinals defense that's allowing an average of close to 29 points per game.

Jay Cutler vs. Patriots: The Patriots defense was superb last week against Mark Sanchez, holding him to a mere 2.56 fantasy points on NFL.com. Still, the P-Men have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks overall. That makes Cutler worth a look if you don't have an elite signal-caller.

David Garrard vs. Raiders: Garrard hasn't put up huge numbers, but he is averaging a respectable 15.4 fantasy points in his last four games. This week he faces a Raiders defense that has surrendered around 16 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, so Garrard has some value if you lack a more reliable option.

Josh Freeman at Redskins: Fantasy owners playing in deeper leagues or that are required to start two quarterbacks should consider Freeman, who has been a nice option in his first full season as an NFL starter. He has a great matchup upcoming against the Redskins, who have allowed an average of 16.4 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

Sleeper alert - Jon Kitna vs. Eagles: Kitna is no Tony Romo, but he's actually been putting up some respectable fantasy numbers. In his last four games, the veteran has averaged an impressive 19.8 fantasy points on NFL.com. The Eagles are tied for third in touchdown passes allowed (24), so Kitna does have some deep-league appeal.

Quarterbacks - sit 'em

Matt Ryan at Panthers: Ryan has had a solid season overall for the Falcons, but his numbers have dipped a bit over the last two weeks. Next on the schedule is a date with the Panthers, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2010. Ryan, who is also less productive on the road, is a bit of a risk this week.

Carson Palmer at Steelers: Palmer is on pace to throw for 27 touchdowns based on his numbers, but he's also in line to record 23 total turnovers. That makes him a far less attractive option against a tough pass defense like the Steelers, who have allowed just 13 touchdown passes and an average of 12.3 fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Donovan McNabb vs. Buccaneers: McNabb might be on pace for the first 4,000-yard season of his NFL career, but he's still not having a great fantasy season. In fact, he's put up multiple touchdown passes in just one of his 12 starts. With a matchup against an underrated Buccaneers defense next, McNabb's fortunes aren't likely to improve.

Sam Bradford at Saints: Bradford is putting up terrific numbers in his rookie season, and there's no doubt that his future fantasy appeal is on the rise. But it's tough to trust him during the fantasy postseason, especially against the Saints. Their defense has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing signal-callers.

Brett Favre vs. Giants: Whether it's Favre of Tarvaris Jackson, neither of the Vikings quarterbacks is worth starting on fantasy teams this week. The Giants have been tough on opposing signal-callers, allowing an average of just 11.6 fantasy points per game to the position. It's a good idea to look elsewhere for help in most leagues.

Owners beware - Ben Roethlisberger vs. Bengals: It might be tough to bench Big Ben, and I wouldn't do it unless I had a solid option like Flacco or Michael Vick. However, Roethlisberger will be playing with a busted nose and a bad foot in what could be a snowstorm. What's more, he's posted very minimal totals in his last four games against the Bengals.

Running backs - start 'em

Matt Forte vs. Patriots: Forte is in the middle of his most consistent stretch of the entire season, scoring no fewer than 13.90 fantasy points on NFL.com in his last three games. Owners should continue to use him while he's hot against the Patriots, who have allowed an average of 18.5 fantasy points per game to running backs.

Fred Jackson vs. Browns: Jackson's 4.80-point stinker last week might scare some fantasy leaguers, but he's still worth starting as a No. 2 back or flex starter. In his previous three games, Jackson averaged 24.7 fantasy points on NFL.com. Look for him to rebound and post a nice stat line against the Browns at Orchard Park.

LeGarrette Blount at Redskins: Anyone who saw Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs run all over the Redskins last week know exactly why Blount is a nice fantasy option. The rookie was impressive last week against a tough Falcons run defense, so the sledding should be much easier for a Skins unit that just suspended DT Albert Haynesworth.

Tashard Choice vs. Eagles: Choice is coming off his best performance of the season, rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Colts. While he will be in a committee with Felix Jones, Choice is still a viable flex starter against an Eagles defense that has allowed an average of 17.8 fantasy points per game to running backs.

James Starks at Lions: Starks, who led the Packers in rushing attempts last week, has sudden value as a flex starter in larger leagues based on a matchup against the Lions. Their defense has allowed 17 total touchdowns and an average of 21.7 fantasy points to opposing running backs, so the rookie out of Buffalo is well worth the start.

Sleeper alert - Anthony Dixon vs. Seahawks: Brian Westbrook remains atop the 49ers depth chart in the absence of Frank Gore, but Dixon saw more touches last week against the Packers. That makes the rookie worth using as a flex starter in deeper leagues against the Seahawks and their porous defense. Westbrook is also worth starting.

Running backs - sit 'em

Jahvid Best vs. Packers: After a fast start to the season, Best has done a Houdini act in the stat sheets. He's scored double-digit fantasy points just once since Week 2 and was held to 9.7 points last week. The rookie is dealing with a problematic case of turf toe as well, so you simply can't trust him in a prominent role right now.

Marshawn Lynch at 49ers: Lynch was one of the hottest names on the waiver wire this week after posting three touchdowns against the Panthers, but that doesn't make him a must-start back in Week 14. In fact, he could be a bust against LB Patrick Willis and a 49ers defense that has allowed just five rushing touchdowns this season.

Ronnie Brown at Jets: Is it just me, or do you think the Jets defense is going to be really ticked off after being humiliated on Monday night? That scenario would be bad news for Brown and all of the Dolphins prominent offensive players. Despite the Jets' recent struggles on defense, I'd still avoid using the Auburn product in Week 14.

Pierre Thomas vs. Rams: Thomas, who has missed most of the season due to an injured ankle, will be back in action this week for the Saints. However, he shouldn't be active in the majority of fantasy leagues. Chris Ivory has earned the right to see a good chunk of the carries, so Thomas is not lock to even see 10 touches against the Rams.

Beanie Wells vs. Broncos: Wells has a tremendously good matchup this week against the Broncos, who have struggled to stop the run all season. But how can you trust him? Wells has averaged 5.3 carries in his last three games and is still behind Tim Hightower on the depth chart. If you roll with a Cardinals runner, it shouldn't be Wells.

Owners beware - Cedric Benson at Steelers: Benson was a matchup-proof running back last season, but that hasn't been the case in 2010. In fact, he's struggled to do much of anything against the league's tougher run defenses. That makes Benson a real risk for owners against the Steelers, who have put the clamps on countless runners.

Wide receivers - start 'em

DeSean Jackson at Cowboys: Jackson has averaged 53.3 yards with no touchdowns in his last three starts, but fantasy owners should stick with him against the Cowboys. Their defense has allowed 19 touchdown catches and the most fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, so Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are both nice options.

Anquan Boldin at Texans (Mon.): Boldin, who had been in a statistical hibernation in recent weeks, awoke with a big stat line (118 yards, TD) against the Steelers last week. His success should continue on Monday night, as he'll face a Texans defense that's surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2010.

Mike Wallace vs. Bengals: Wallace, one of the most talented young wideouts in the league, is a solid option for owners this week against the Bengals. In three career games against this AFC North opponent, Wallace has two 100-yard games. That includes a 110-yard, one-touchdown performance in Week 9. He's a rock-solid No. 2 fantasy option.

Mike Williams at Redskins: One of the most productive rookies in the NFL, Williams had six catches and posted his seventh touchdown of the season last week against the Falcons. He should remain active for fantasy owners as a No. 3 wideout in Week 14, as Williams goes up against the Redskins and their vulnerable pass defense.

Michael Crabtree vs. Seahawks: Crabtree is coming off a weak performance against the Packers, but he has scored a touchdown in five of his last eight games. He has a chance to improve that stat against the Seahawks, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. Consider Crabtree a strong No. 3 fantasy option.

Sleeper alert - Donald Driver at Lions: Driver has had a forgettable season for the most part, but he's still worth starting as a No. 3 fantasy wideout based on this week's matchup with the Lions. In his last five games against this NFC North foe, Driver has posted a combined 30 catches for 501 yards with four touchdown catches.

Wide receivers - sit 'em

Chad Ochocinco at Steelers: Ochocinco is all over the entertainment world, both in reality shows and commercials. Unfortunately, that does nothing to help his value. He's currently on pace to finish the season with a mere 965 yards and five touchdowns, and this week's matchup against the Steelers makes him even less of an option.

Brandon Marshall at Jets: Marshall has missed some time due to an injured hamstring, but all indications are that he'll be back in Week 14. That's good news for the Dolphins, but facing the Jets and CB Darrelle Revis makes Marshall a huge risk in fantasy leagues. If you can afford to bench him, it makes sense to consider the move.

Randy Moss vs. Colts (Thurs.): It's hard to believe that Moss, who has just 27 catches all season, was a second-round pick in most fantasy drafts. The fading wideout has done next to nothing as a member of the Titans, and the expected return of Kenny Britt makes him even less of an option. Moss should be benched, if not dropped altogether.

Deion Branch at Bears: Branch has been productive in recent weeks, scoring three touchdowns in his last two games. Unfortunately, he has little chance to keep up that pace against the Bears. Their defense has allowed just seven touchdown catches and an average of 17.0 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season.

Steve Smith vs. Falcons: Smith has a solid matchup this week against a Falcons team that has allowed a ton of fantasy points to wide receivers. But how can you trust him one week after he caught just three passes against the Seahawks? If you do decide to start Smith, even as a No. 3 fantasy wideout, it's a major roll of the dice.

Owners beware - Larry Fitzgerald vs. Broncos: It's close to impossible for most owners to bench a player of Fitzgerald's caliber, but don't be shocked if he has a rough time in Week 14. Not only does he face Broncos CB Champ Bailey, but Fitzgerald will be catching his passes from inexperienced rookie quarterback John Skelton.

Tight ends - start 'em

Jacob Tamme at Titans (Thurs.): Tamme has been one of the unsung heroes in fantasy leagues. Since the loss of Dallas Clark, he's hauled 42 catches for 416 yards with three touchdowns in six games. Those are impressive totals from a relatively unknown player. Look for Tamme's success to continue against a porous Titans pass defense.

Brandon Pettigrew vs. Packers: Pettigrew hasn't scored a ton of touchdowns this season, but he has caught five or more passes in three straight games and is clearly a reliable option in the pass attack for Drew Stanton. He also has a great matchup this week against the Packers, who have struggled to shut down opposing tight ends in 2010.

Tony Gonzalez at Panthers: Gonzalez suffered an ankle sprain in last week's win over the Buccaneers, but he is expected to play when the Falcons head to Carolina to face the Panthers. Their defense has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, so Gonzalez should remain active in most leagues (barring a setback).

Marcedes Lewis vs. Raiders: Lewis can be inconsistent in the stat sheets, but he still ranks third in fantasy points among tight ends on NFL.com on the strength of his eight touchdowns. He's well worth starting against the Raiders, who have allowed an average of close to seven fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Benjamin Watson at Bills: Watson came out of nowhere to produce an enormous stat line last week, posting 10 catches for 100 yards with one touchdown. While he won't duplicate those huge numbers, Watson is a nice option against the Bills. Their defense has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2010.

Sleeper alert - Ed Dickson at Texans (Mon.): If Todd Heap is forced to miss this week's game due to an injured hamstring, Dickson is well worth a look for fantasy owners in need of a tight end. The Texans have given up more fantasy points to the position than any other team in the league, so the rookie could have a surprising stat line.

Tight ends - sit 'em

Dustin Keller vs. Dolphins: In Keller's first game of the season against the Dolphins, he went off for 98 yards and two touchdowns. Since then, however, he has put up an average of just 36.5 yards per game. With Santonio Holmes now in the mix and taking targets away from Keller, he is clearly a risk despite his success earlier in the season.

Kellen Winslow at Redskins: Once considered an elite fantasy tight end during his time with the Browns, Winslow has been a real disappointment as a member of the Buccaneers. The veteran has averaged an unimpressive 5.2 fantasy points on NFL.com this season, and you shouldn't expect much more than that this week against the Redskins.

Aaron Hernandez at Bears: Hernandez is coming off an 11-point performance against the Jets on Monday night, so chances are he'll be active in a lot of fantasy leagues. However, the rookie out of Florida could struggle to produce against the Bears -- their defense has allowed an average of just 4.9 fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Giants: Shiancoe, who was one of the top tight ends in fantasy football last season, has seen his numbers and value sink like the Titanic in 2010. In his last four games, Shiancoe has averaged a mere 2.65 fantasy points on NFL.com. Those are not the type of numbers you want from your tight end in the fantasy playoffs.

Owen Daniels vs. Ravens (Mon.): Daniels, who has missed several weeks with an injured hamstring, is expected to return to action on Monday night. However, the fact that he plays the last game of the week against a tough Ravens defense makes it almost impossible to start him. If you need a tight end this week, look elsewhere.

Owners beware - Zach Miller at Jaguars: Earlier in the season, Miller had emerged into one of the top tight ends in fantasy football. Unfortunately, an injured foot has really hurt his production in recent weeks. In fact, Miller has scored just 2.8 fantasy points on NFL.com since Week 8. That makes him hard for owners to start him.

Kickers - start 'em

David Akers at Cowboys Akers has been putting up some great stat lines for owners in recent weeks, and his success should continue on Sunday night against the Cowboys. Their defense has allowed an average of close to nine fantasy points per game to opposing kickers, so look for Akers to shine in what could be a shootout.

Matt Bryant at Panthers: Bryant, who is surprisingly owned in less than 65 percent of NFL.com leagues, is in the top five in fantasy points among kickers entering Week 14. His statistical success should continue against the Panthers, who have allowed an average of more than nine fantasy points per game to the position this season.

Adam Vinatieri at Titans (Thurs.):  Vinatieri has posted some disappointing fantasy numbers with the Colts in recent seasons, but he's back on the radar and producing well in 2010. The veteran should remain a solid fantasy starter this week against the Titans, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing kickers this season.

Sleeper alert - Garrett Hartley vs. Rams: Hartley has been a major disappointment between the white lines in 2010. While he can't be trusted as a regular fantasy starter, Hartley is still worth a look when the matchup is right. That's the case this week against the Rams, who have allowed a ton of points to opposing kickers.

Kickers - sit 'em

Robbie Gould vs. Patriots: A veteran out of Penn State, Gould has failed to make much of an impact for owners. In fact, he's scored double-digit fantasy points just once in his last seven games. The Patriots have been tough on opposing tight ends for most of the season, so keep Gould on the fantasy sidelines -- or cut him altogether.

Lawrence Tynes at Vikings: Tynes has struggled to make much of an impact for fantasy owners this season, scoring double-digit fantasy points just four times in his first 12 games. Considering that the Vikings have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing kickers this season, Tynes isn't in a great position to produce.

Jeff Reed vs. Seahawks: Reed scored 10 fantasy points in his debut with the 49ers, but that doesn't mean fantasy owners should run out and grab him. In fact, this week's matchup against the Seahawks isn't favorable. Their defense has allowed just 16 field-goal conversions and an average of 6.3 fantasy points per game to kickers.

Owners beware - Nate Kaeding vs. Chiefs: Outside of an enormous 20-point effort against the Colts back in Week 12, Kaeding has really been a mediocre option in fantasy leagues. In fact, he's scored single-digit fantasy points in 78 percent of his games this season. Consider him a low-end option at best this week against the Chiefs.

Defenses - start 'em

Jets defense vs. Dolphins: As I mentioned earlier in this column, I think the Jets are going to come out on their home field and play angry football after getting their backsides whipped by the Patriots. That's bad news for Chad Henne and the Dolphins, who could struggle to move the ball against what should be a motivated defensive unit.

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Giants defense at Vikings: No matter if it's Favre or Jackson under center for the Vikings, the Giants defense is still a solid starting option in fantasy leagues. Defensive units facing the Vikes have combined to score the third-most fantasy points in 2010, so look for the G-Men to produce a nice stat line in this NFC battle.

Falcons defense at Panthers: The Falcons haven't had much success on the defensive side of the football from a fantasy perspective, but this unit is still well worth starting against the Panthers in Week 14. Defenses facing rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen and his shaky offense have combined to score the most fantasy points in 2010.

Sleeper alert - Broncos defense at Cardinals: Starting the Broncos defense is a serious gamble at this point in the fantasy season, but this unit is worth a look based on a matchup against rookie quarterback Skelton and the Cardinals. The Fordham product has never made a start at the NFL level, so he'll have a bullseye on his back.

Defenses - sit 'em

Ravens defense at Texans (Mon.): The Ravens defense will be a popular option based on their past success and a great performance against the Steelers, but don't get too excited about his unit. They're ranked an unimpressive 23rd in fantasy points among defense on NFL.com, and Monday's matchup against the Texans could be a shootout.

Titans defense vs. Colts (Thurs.): Sure, Peyton Manning has been throwing interceptions like mad in recent weeks. But opposing defenses facing the Colts have still averaging the eighth-fewest fantasy points this season. The Titans have also been giving up a ton of passing yards lately, so this is a unit to avoid in most leagues.

Cowboys defense vs. Eagles: The Cowboys are coming off a monster performance against the Colts, scoring 29 fantasy points on NFL.com. But fantasy leaguers shouldn't start the Polks based on the past. In fact, this is actually a unit to avoid against Michael Vick and an Eagles offense that has been scoring a ton of points this season.

Owners beware - Bears defense vs. Patriots: The Bears defense has been solid all season, scoring the second-most fantasy points at the position on NFL.com. However, Tom Brady and a red-hot Patriots offense is coming to town. That makes the new Monster of the Midway a risk. Don't drop the Bears, but seek a better option if at all possible.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Leave it in our comments section or send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com!

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