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
DeMarco Murray vs. Bills: Murray has been a beast since taking over the starting role in Dallas, averaging a ridiculous 8.4 yards per carry in his last three games. He should find continued success against the Bills -- their defense has allowed 10 touchdowns to running backs and has lost NT Kyle Williams for the season.
Quarterbacks - start 'em
Tim Tebow at Chiefs: In six career starts at the NFL level, Tebow has scored more than 20 fantasy points five times. That includes a 24.76-point performance in a win over the Raiders. This week Tebow faces a Chiefs defense that made Matt Moore look like Dan Marino, so consider the Florida product a very nice starting option.
Eli Manning at 49ers: The Niners have one heck of a run defense. In fact, this unit has allowed no rushing touchdowns and the fewest fantasy points to opposing backs. As a result, I expect Manning to throw the football a ton. In the midst of his best statistical season, Peyton's little brother has become a star in fantasy land this season.
Matt Ryan vs. Saints: If you're in need at quarterback, you could do worse than start Ryan in what could be a shootout against the Saints. New Orleans has surrendered two or more touchdowns to four quarterbacks this season, including Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Josh Freeman (all road games). Having rookie Julio Jones back is a positive too.
Matt Cassel vs. Broncos: When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong -- and Cassel didn't perform as well as I thought he would last week. Still, he's a viable matchup-based starter against weaker opponents. That's what he will face in Week 10, as the Broncos have allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than any other team in the NFL.
Mark Sanchez vs. Patriots: Sanchez is very inconsistent from a fantasy perspective, but owners in deep leagues who need a quarterback should consider him a legitimate one-week option. The USC product goes up against the Patriots, who have given up an average of close to 20 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season.
Sleeper alert - Christian Ponder at Packers (Mon.): Fantasy owners in deeper leagues or those that start two quarterbacks can do worse than roll the dice on Ponder. He posted close to 16 fantasy points against the Packers back in Week 7, and their defense has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to field generals overall.
Quarterbacks - sit 'em
Josh Freeman vs. Texans Freeman has been inconsistent at best from a fantasy perspective, ranking an unimpressive 16th in points at his position after the first nine weeks. He'll be hard pressed to improve that mediocre status against the Texans, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing signal-callers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at Cowboys: Fitzpatrick had a hot start to the season, but he's cooled down considerably in recent weeks. In fact, the Harvard product has averaged just 11.7 fantasy points in his last five games. With a matchup against a tough Cowboys pass defense up next, Fitzpatrick isn't likely to produce major numbers.
Jay Cutler vs. Lions: Cutler had a surprisingly good stat line for fantasy owners last week, scoring 16.32 fantasy points in a win over the Eagles. Still, I wouldn't trust him against a Lions defense that has a far superior pass rush. Detroit's defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
Matt Hasselbeck at Panthers: Hasselbeck is coming off a nice performance against the Bengals, posting 19.18 fantasy points in a 24-17 loss. He's still a risky play this week, however, as the Panthers have allowed an average of fewer than 15 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. There are clearly better options at the position.
Sam Bradford at Browns: In his first game back from a bad ankle sprain, Bradford threw for 255 yards and scored a mere 8.40 fantasy points against a questionable Cardinals defense. Now he faces the Browns, who have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. He needs to be placed on the fantasy sidelines.
Owners beware - Ben Roethlisberger at Bengals: It's tough to bench a quarterback like Roethlisberger, but take this into account: In his last five games against the Bengals, who have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2011, he has averaged 222 yards with a combined three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Running backs - start 'em
Chris Johnson at Panthers: Johnson started to show some signs of his past brilliance last week, posting four catches with 110 scrimmage yards while averaging 4.6 yards per carry against the Bengals. I'd keep him active against the Panthers, who have allowed more fantasy points to running backs than any other team in the league.
Willis McGahee at Chiefs: Who says older running backs can't produce good fantasy totals? McGahee shredded the Raiders for 163 yards and two touchdowns last week, and an upcoming matchup against the Chiefs makes him an attractive option once again. Kansas City has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis at Jets: Green-Ellis has been terrible in the stat sheets in recent weeks, scoring a combined 14.7 fantasy points in his last three games. I'd still roll the dice with him as a potential flex starter, however, as the Law Firm faces a Jets defense that allowed close to 27 points to him in Week 5.
Ben Tate at Buccaneers: Need a flex starter this week? It's not a bad idea to roll with Tate, who has rushed for 100-plus yards in two of the last three games. Sure, playing behind Arian Foster makes him a risk -- but Tate is seeing enough touches to produce and the Buccaneers have been below average against the run.
Sleeper alert - Jonathan Stewart vs. Titans: Stewart has become the better fantasy option in Carolina's backfield, and this week's matchup against the Titans makes him a legitimate flex starter in most leagues. Tennessee's defense has allowed seven total touchdowns and an average of 20.48 fantasy points to runners.
Running backs - sit 'em
Ahmad Bradshaw at 49ers: Whether it's Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs or both in the Giants backfield this weekend, fantasy owners shouldn't expect a whole lot of production against the 49ers. LB Patrick Willis and his crew have allowed no rushing touchdowns and the fewest fantasy points to opposing backs in 2011.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Texans: Blount's return from a bad knee was an unimpressive one, as he totaled just 65 scrimmage yards and 6.50 fantasy points in a loss to the Saints. He'll be hard pressed to make a major impact this week as well, as the Texans have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Cedric Benson vs. Steelers: Since Arian Foster ran all over them in Week 4, the Steelers defense has been far more difficult for running backs to score against. In fact, the last five starting runners to go up against them have averaged a miniscule 8.52 fantasy points. That makes Benson no better than a flex option.
Marshawn Lynch vs. Ravens: Lynch ran well in last week's loss to the Cowboys, posting 135 yards and a touchdown for a total of 20.30 fantasy points. However, he has little to no chance to even post half of that total against the Ravens -- their defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Joseph Addai vs. Jaguars: Addai has been active in the last two games, but he hasn't scored a single fantasy point as Donald Brown and Delone Carter have dominated the backfield touches. The Jaguars have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to runners this season, so owners shouldn't trust Addai or his teammates.
Owners beware - Beanie Wells at Eagles: On paper, Wells has a tremendous matchup against the Eagles -- their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs in 2011 -- just keep in mind that Wells' bum knee seems to have sapped him of some of his speed and effectiveness. Start him with caution.
Wide receivers - start 'em
Jeremy Maclin vs. Cardinals: If you didn't already know, it's pretty clear now that Maclin, not DeSean Jackson, is the best fantasy wideout in an Eagles uniform. The Missouri product needs to be active this week against the Cardinals, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2011.
Jordy Nelson vs. Vikings (Mon.): Nelson might not be the top fantasy wideout in Green Bay, but did you know that he has scored more fantasy points than Larry Fitzgerald and Brandon Marshall? He's a nice option this week against the Vikings, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Santonio Holmes vs. Patriots: Holmes hasn't put up a ton of yardage this season, but he has found the end zone in three of his last four games. That includes a Week 5 contest against the Patriots, who have given up more fantasy points to wide receivers than any team in the league. That makes Holmes a nice option.
Dez Bryant vs. Bills: The Cowboys will be without Miles Austin for the next several weeks, so Bryant will be the top option in the pass attack for Tony Romo. That's good news from a fantasy perspective, as the talented Oklahoma State product should see an increase in targets against the Bills and moving forward.
Julio Jones vs. Saints: Jones was featured in the start 'em portion of this column last week, and he responded with a monster stat line. While scoring another two touchdowns isn't likely, the rookie remains a nice option against a Saints defense that is tied for sixth in allowing the most touchdowns to wideouts.
Sleeper alert - Steve Breaston vs. Broncos: The Chiefs' corps of receivers is crowded with the return of Jon Baldwin, so consider Breaston and the rookie as potential sleepers this week. This duo has a great matchup against the Broncos, who have given up the second-most fantasy points to their position this year.
Wide receivers - sit 'em
Brandon Lloyd at Browns: Lloyd's value rose when he was reunited with OC Josh McDaniels, but he's still not a must-start wideout in fantasy land. In fact, he's someone to avoid this week against CB Joe Haden and the Browns. Just one opponent's No. 1 wideout has scored in double digits against them since Week 1.
Sidney Rice vs. Ravens: It's been another case of a good wideout going to Seattle to die, as Rice has posted double-digit fantasy points just once since Week 4. In fact, he's averaging a meager 6.1 fantasy points in his last four games. With a matchup against the Ravens up next, Rice is a serious risk for owners.
Reggie Wayne vs. Jaguars: Wayne used to be a must-start option in fantasy land, especially when facing the Jaguars. However, the absence of Peyton Manning has turned Wayne into waiver-wire fodder in some leagues. What's more, Jacksonville's defense has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.
Mike Williams vs. Texans: Williams was the top-scoring rookie in fantasy football last season. But much like former Buccaneers wideout Michael Clayton, he's been a bust in his sophomore season. That trend will continue in Week 10, as Williams goes up against a Texans team that ranks second in pass defense.
A.J. Green vs. Steelers: It's tough to bench Green, but Steelers CB Ike Taylor has been keeping opposing wideouts in check for most of this season. In fact, no opposing No. 1 receiver has scored double-digit points against the Steel Curtain since Week 1. That makes the rookie a risk-reward option.
Owners beware - Larry Fitzgerald at Eagles: Chances are you'll be starting Fitzgerald, but be aware that the Eagles have been tough on opposing No. 1 receivers. In fact, top wideouts have averaged fewer than eight fantasy points per game against them since Week 2. Oh, and John Skelton will be under center.
Tight ends - start 'em
Owen Daniels at Buccaneers: Daniels has been a top 10 fantasy tight end in 2011, and his statistical success should continue against the Buccaneers. After the first nine weeks, Tampa Bay's defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends. With Andre Johnson still hurt, Daniels will be targeted often.
Brandon Pettigrew at Bears: The Bears defense is a dreadful 26th against the pass, and a lot of the damage done has been against tight ends. In fact, no team has given up more fantasy points to the position. That's good news for Pettigrew, who scored a touchdown against this NFC north rival earlier this season.
Greg Olsen vs. Titans: Olsen, still a free agent in over 30 percent of NFL.com leagues, should be considered a solid option this week against the Titans. Tennessee's defense has allowed an average of over nine fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, so look for Olsen to be a focal point for Cam Newton.
Sleeper alert - Jake Ballard at 49ers: One of the league's more underrated tight ends, Ballard is 10th in fantasy points at his position -- and he's still a free agent in 87.1 percent of NFL.com leagues. He's a nice option against the 49ers, who have allowed 45 catches to tight ends. That's tied for the fifth-most.
Tight ends - sit 'em
Vernon Davis vs. Giants: Someone should put an APB out on Davis, because he's disappeared in the stat sheets. Over his last three games, the veteran has scored a combined 5.6 fantasy points while leaving owners shaking their heads. This week he faces the Giants, who have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Kellen Winslow vs. Texans: Winslow has put together two straight solid games from a fantasy perspective, averaging better than eight points. However, he's still a risk this week against the Texans and their improved defense. Houston has surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, so Winslow could struggle.
Dustin Keller vs. Patriots: Despite another hot start, Keller is once again taking a nosedive from a statistical standpoint. He's failed to score seven or more fantasy points in every game since Week 3, and he's been held to fewer than four points in three of his last four games against the Pats. He's clearly a major risk.
Owners beware - Rob Gronkowski at Jets: If Gronkowski is on your roster, chances are he's going to be active. Just keep this in mind -- in three career games against the Jets, Gronkowski has averaged an awful 19 yards with no touchdowns. The Men in Green have also given up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Kickers - start 'em
Mason Crosby vs. Vikings (Mon.): Crosby should put up a major stat line on Monday night, as the Vikings have allowed more fantasy points to kickers than any other team in the league. In fact, two of the last three kickers to face them have scored 15 or more points -- that includes Crosby's 17 points back in Week 7.
Billy Cundiff at Seahawks: Cundiff, who is a free agent in close to 50 percent of NFL.com leagues, is fifth in fantasy points at his position and has a great matchup this week. The Seahawks have surrendered an average of over nine fantasy points per game to kickers -- that's the fourth-most in the whole league.
Alex Henery vs. Cardinals: A rookie out of Nebraska, Henery is a middle-of-the-road 13th in fantasy points at his position after nine weeks. Still, his upcoming game against the Cardinals makes him a nice option across the board. Arizona has given up an average of more than nine fantasy points per game to kickers.
Sleeper alert - Dan Carpenter vs. Redskins: If you're looking for a kicker this week, take a chance on Carpenter based on his favorable matchup against the Redskins. After nine weeks, Washington has given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing kickers. He's a free agent in more than 50 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Kickers - sit 'em
Adam Vinatieri vs. Jaguars: Vinatieri was once considered one of the elite kickers in fantasy football. Unfortunately, the loss of Manning and playing behind an offense that's lacking firepower has left him with fewer opportunities to score. What's more, the Jaguars have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to kickers.
Nick Folk vs. Patriots: Folk is coming off an 11-point performance last week, but that alone isn't enough to start him against the Patriots. In his last game against New England, he was held to a meager three fantasy points. What's more, Folk has scored a combined six points in his last two games against the AFC East rival.
Mike Nugent vs. Steelers: Believe or not, Nugent is in the top 11 in fantasy points among kickers on NFL.com. While that is a nice little nugget, he's still more of a matchup-based option. This week Nugent goes up against the Steelers, who have allowed fewer fantasy points to kickers than any other team in the NFL.
Owners beware - Dan Bailey vs. Bills: Bailey has emerged into one of the better kickers in fantasy land, ranking seventh in points at his position. However, he could struggle to produce this week at the Jerry Dome against the Bills. Their defense has surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers in 2011.
Defenses - start 'em
Lions defense at Bears: Fresh off a bye, DT Ndamukong Suh and the Lions will be smelling blood against the Bears and their inconsistent offensive line. That makes this skilled unit well worth starting in all fantasy leagues. The Lions have recorded the fourth-most fantasy points among defenses this season, so their success should continue.
Eagles defense vs. Cardinals: The Eagles are coming off a week to forget, allowing Cutler and the Bears to shred them for 30 points on Monday Night Football. With that said, this unit should be fired up to rebound on their home field against a Cardinals offense that's likely to be led by the unimpressive John Skelton in Week 10.
Texans defense at Buccaneers: Coordinator Wade Phillips has turned the Texans into one of the top defenses in the league -- and in fantasy football. In fact, this unit ranks sixth in fantasy points among defenses after nine weeks. Owners should keep the Texans active against the Buccaneers, who have been inconsistent at best on offense.
Sleeper alert - Browns defense vs. Rams: If you're in dire straits at defense this week, it makes sense to roll the dice on the Browns. The 25th-ranked defenses in all of fantasy football, this unit faces the Rams in Cleveland -- opposing defenses facing St. Louis have combined to score the second-most fantasy points at the position.
Defenses - sit 'em
Cowboys defense vs. Bills: Here's an odd stat for you to wrap your fantasy brain around -- opposing defenses facing the Bills have combined to average an awful 3.63 fantasy points per game. That's the second fewest in the league and bad news for the Cowboys. There are better matchups to exploit, so put the Pokes on the pine if possible.
Vikings defense at Packers (Mon.): If there's one thing we've learned over the last couple of years, it's that you don't start a fantasy defense that has to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers explosive offense. Such is the task for the Vikings, who put up a mere five fantasy points against them back in Week 7. This is a matchup to avoid.
Giants defense at 49ers: Big Blue ranks in the top 10 in fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com after nine weeks, but facing Alex Smith (yes, that Alex Smith) and the surging 49ers makes them a risk. In fact, opposing defenses facing San Francisco have combined to score the fifth-fewest fantasy points (4.50 PPG) at the position.
Owners beware - Jets defense vs. Patriots: Much like teams facing Rodgers and the Packers, defenses going up against Tom Brady and the Patriots are mostly unattractive from a fantasy perspective -- even for a top fantasy unit like the Jets. In the last meeting between these two teams, the Men in Green scored just five fantasy points.