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Palmer should shine against banged-up Vikings

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.

Byes: Colts, Saints, Steelers, Texans.

Quarterbacks | Running backs | Wide receivers | Tight ends | Kickers | Defenses

Start of the week

Carson Palmer at Vikings: The Vikings have been vulnerable to the pass, allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. And with CB Antoine Winfield now done for the year, Palmer will no doubt look to exploit their defensive backfield. The veteran has also averaged 18.37 fantasy points in his two starts.

Quarterbacks - start 'em

Eli Manning vs. Eagles: Manning has had his ups and downs against the Eagles, but he's too hot to bench right now from a statistical perspective. What's more, Philadelphia's defense has lost starting CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and is allowing an average of over 19 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks in their last two games.

Michael Hickey/US Presswire
The NFL Fantasy LIVE crew talks to Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew about his fantasy team and much more. (Click image for further analysis.)

Matt Ryan vs. Titans: Ryan has started to turn things around after a slow start, scoring 17 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games. He's also been impressive at home, posting 17 or more points in all but one of his starts at the Georgia Dome. Consider the Boston College if you need a starting quarterback this week.

Jay Cutler vs. Chargers: Cutler faces the first of four straight AFC West teams this week, as the Chargers visit Soldier Field for an inter-conference clash. San Diego's defense has allowed an average of more than 16 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, so Cutler has some starting value as a low-end No. 1 in most fantasy leagues.

Ryan Fitzpatrick at Dolphins: Fitzpatrick has not been good in recent weeks, so he's no more than a risk-reward option in fantasy land. But if you're desperate for a quarterback, the Amish rifle is worth a roll of the dice against the Dolphins. Their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers.

Sleeper alert - Alex Smith vs. Cardinals: Fantasy owners in deeper leagues who need a quarterback this week should look to Smith, who is a free agent in most NFL.com leagues. The Utah product has an attractive matchup against the Cardinals, who have surrendered an average of over 16 fantasy points to field generals this season.

Quarterbacks - sit 'em

Vince Young at Giants: If Michael Vick (ribs) is your quarterback, chances are you need a replacement for Sunday night. And while Young is a viable option, keep in mind that this is a bad matchup against a tough Giants defense. Back in Week 3, the G-Men held Vick to a mere 8.14 fantasy points. Young is a serious risk-reward fantasy option.

Matt Hasselbeck at Falcons: Hasselbeck had a hot start to the season, scoring 16 or more fantasy points in each of his first four contests. Since then, however, Hasselbeck has hit that mark just once -- he's also failed to score 13 or more points in four of his last five games. That makes the veteran quarterback a risk against the Falcons.

Joe Flacco vs. Bengals: Flacco has been mediocre over his last five starts, averaging just 12.5 fantasy points per game in that time. While he has been better at home, he's still a risk against the Bengals -- their defense has surrendered just nine touchdown passes and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Josh Freeman at Packers: The Packers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to quarterbacks overall, but this unit has given up an average of just 13.73 points to the position in its last five games. And when you consider the recent struggles of Freeman and the Buccaneers, well, he's a major risk in this tough road game.

Andy Dalton at Ravens: Dalton has been a pleasant surprise as a rookie, throwing for multiple touchdown passes in four of his last five games including his last three overall. However, he's still a risk this week in a difficult road game against the Ravens -- their defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Owners beware - Tony Romo at Redskins: Romo is coming off a monster game against the Bills, but don't be shocked if he falters this week. He hasn't thrown for multiple touchdowns in a road game against the Redskins since 2006, and Washington's defense has surrendered just eight touchdown passes in 2011.

Running backs - start 'em

DeMarco Murray at Redskins: Regardless of whether or not Felix Jones is back, Murray needs to be in all starting lineups this week. The rookie has scored no fewer than 18.60 fantasy points in three of his last four games, and the Redskins rank a mediocre 18th against the run. Look for Murray's success to continue this weekend.

Marshawn Lynch at Rams: Lynch has turned into a nice fantasy option in recent weeks, scoring at least one touchdown in each of his last five games. He should continue that streak of success in St. Louis, where he faces a Rams defense that has allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2011.

Michael Bush at Vikings: If the Raiders are without Darren McFadden for another week, Bush should be considered a tremendous fantasy option. The Louisville product has scored a combined 49.1 fantasy points in his last two games, and the Vikings run defense isn't what it used to be. Consider Bush as a very high-end No. 2 runner.

Reggie Bush vs. Bills: It's hard to argue with what Bush has done in recent weeks, as he scored a combined 49.3 fantasy points in his last three games. Next on the schedule is a date with the Bills, who have one of the league's most vulnerable run defenses. Consider Bush a No. 2 back or flex option in fantasy leagues.

Brandon Jacobs vs. Eagles: In the event that Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) is forced to miss another game, fantasy owners should consider Jacobs an attractive option against the Eagles. Their defense has been weak against the run in 2011, as opposing running backs have averaged 21.59 fantasy points per game against them.

Sleeper alert - James Starks vs. Buccaneers: Starks has been a mediocre fantasy back at best this season, ranking just 31st in points at the position. Still, he's worth starting in your flex spot this week against the Buccaneers. Their run defense has been shredded, allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing backs.

Running backs - sit 'em

Beanie Wells at 49ers: Wells was a fantasy star earlier this season, but a bum knee appears to have slowed him down. In fact, the Ohio State product has scored double-digit fantasy points just once in his last four games. He should be benched against the 49ers, who have given up the fewest fantasy points to running backs.

LeGarrette Blount at Packers: Blount has shown flashes of brilliance at times, but he's scored single-digit fantasy points in his last three games. This week he faces a Packers team that ranks eighth in run defense, so the Buccaneers running back could be in for another poor stat line.

Cedric Benson at Ravens: Another runner who has struggled in recent weeks, Benson has averaged a very mediocre eight fantasy points in his last four games. This trend is likely to continue against the Ravens, who have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. That makes Benson a real risk.

DeAngelo Williams at Lions: Williams signed a five-year deal before the season with $21 million guaranteed, so he's made close to $405,000 for each of his 52.90 fantasy points this season. Good, huh? Too bad he's not even in the top 30 in fantasy points at his position. Williams needs to take a seat in Detroit.

Ryan Torain vs. Cowboys: If you can figure out who will see the majority of the carries in Washington each week, please let us know. Coach Mike Shanahan hates our fantasy teams, clearly, making it nearly impossible to start Torain or Helu. Plus, the Cowboys have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to runners.

Owners beware - Chris Johnson at Falcons: CJ2K looked like the stud back we all knew and loved last week, scoring over 20 fantasy points for the first time in 2011. But will his success continue? While it's hard to bench him, the Falcons have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to backs.

Wide receivers - start 'em

Brandon Marshall vs. Bills: Marshall's value hasn't gone south since Chad Henne went down for the season. In fact, he's hauled in a combined 15 passes for 204 yards and one touchdown in the last two games. He needs to be active against the Bills, who have surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts.

Jordy Nelson vs. Buccaneers: Is Nelson now on that "must-start" level? If he isn't, he's darn close. The Kansas State product is seventh in fantasy points among wideouts and has the same number of touchdowns as his teammate, Greg Jennings. The Buccaneers rank an awful 28th in pass defense, so Nelson needs to be active.

Dwayne Bowe at Patriots (Mon.): Bowe is in a real funk, and the prospect of Tyler Palko taking over under center is not attractive. Still, I'd stick with him against a Patriots defense that has given up more fantasy points to wideouts than any other. If Bowe falters here, however, he could be bench fodder moving forward.

Brandon Lloyd vs. Seahawks: Lloyd hasn't been putting up huge fantasy numbers since joining the Rams, but he has scored a touchdown in two of his last three games. He's also seeing a ton of opportunities -- Lloyd has seen a totals of 21 more targets than the next Rams wideout over the last three weeks. He's a nice option against the Seahawks.

Denarius Moore at Vikings: Moore burst back onto the fantasy football scene last week, posting a huge stat line against the Chargers on "Thursday Night Football". Next on the schedule is a date with the Vikings and their vulnerable pass defense, so the rookie out of Tennessee is a legitimate option in Week 11. Conisder him a No. 2 wideout.

Sleeper alert - Earl Bennett vs. Chargers: Bennett has quickly become the top option in the pass attack for Cutler, leading the Bears in receiving in each of the last two games. Next on the schedule is a date with the Chargers, who made Moore look like Cliff Branch last week. Don't be afraid to start Bennett as a third wideout or flex starter.

Wide receivers - sit 'em

DeSean Jackson at Giants: Jackson will be back this week, but is he a good fantasy option? He's posted just 132 yards with no touchdowns in his last three games against the Giants, and their defense has allowed just one No. 1 wideout to score double-digit fantasy points against them in their last five games. You decide.

Dez Bryant at Redskins: It's going to be tough to bench Bryant while Miles Austin is out of action, but keep this in mind. The Redskins have allowed two touchdown catches to wide receivers all season (no, that's not a misprint), and held Bryant to just 63 yards back in Week 3. If you do start Bryant, do it with caution.

Anquan Boldin vs. Bengals: Boldin will be active in most fantasy leagues this week, but the matchup isn't at all favorable on paper. The Bengals have given up the ninth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts, including a mere six touchdown catches. What's more, Boldin posted a combined seven catches against them last season.

Greg Little vs. Jaguars: Little put up a respectable stat line last week, posting 84 yards and 9.4 fantasy points in a loss to the Rams. The rookie out of North Carolina has a much tougher matchup up next, however, against a surprising Jaguars defense that has allowed a mere six touchdown catches and the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.

Mike Williams at Packers: Williams has been brutal, but fantasy owners might be tempted to start him based on a matchup against the Packers and their 31st-ranked pass defense. Do so if you like, but keep in mind that Williams has failed to exploit good matchups all year -- and the Pack have been better in recent weeks.

Owners beware - Roddy White vs. Titans: Chances are pretty good that you can't afford to bench White, but keep these little nuggets in mind. He's just 22nd in fantasy points at his position, and facing Titans CB Cortland Finnegan is no treat. Just ask Steve Smith, who had 3.30 fantasy points in Week 11.

Tight ends - start 'em

Tony Gonzalez vs. Titans: Gonzalez has found the fountain of youth, as the future Hall of Famer is having a tremendous season for both the Falcons and fantasy leaguers alike. His success is likely to continue this week against the Titans, who have given up an average of more than eight fantasy points to tight ends.

Aaron Hernandez vs. Chiefs (Mon.): Despite the fact that he's overshadowed by Rob Gronkowski, Hernandez is still in the top 10 in fantasy points among tight ends on NFL.com. He's a nice play against the Chiefs, who have lost some key players on defense and surrendered five touchdowns to tight ends this season.

Fred Davis vs. Cowboys: Davis' numbers have slowed in recent weeks, as he's averaged a mere 6.13 fantasy points in his last three games. Still, the USC product is worth starting against the Cowboys in a big NFC East clash -- Dallas has given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends after 10 weeks.

John Bazemore/Associated Press
The NFL Fantasy LIVE crew talks about the rising fantasy value of Denarius Moore over the next several weeks. (Click image for further analysis.)

Sleeper alert - Kellen Winslow at Packers: Let's face it, Winslow isn't the same superior fantasy tight end he was during his time with the Browns. Still, he's a viable option (especially in PPR leagues) this week against the Packers. Green Bay has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to tight ends, including five touchdowns.

Tight ends - sit 'em

Brandon Pettigrew vs. Panthers: Pettigrew has been an enormous disappointment for owners lately, scoring a combined 7.70 fantasy points in his last three games. He hasn't scored a single touchdown in that time either, and has failed to post 70 or more yards since Week 3. The Panthers have allowed an average of fewer than seven fantasy points to tight ends, so Pettigrew is a risk.

Jermaine Gresham at Ravens: Gresham returned to action last week and promptly found the end zone for the fourth time in 2011. However, he'll be hard pressed to produce an attractive stat line against the Ravens and their stout defense. In fact, no team in the entire league has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Jake Ballard vs. Eagles: Ballard is a player we have been touting on NFL Fantasy LIVE as a waiver-wire pickup, but this week's matchup against the Eagles makes him a risk. Philadelphia's defense has been tough on opposing tight ends, allowing a mere 368 yards overall and an average of just 6.76 fantasy points to the position.

Owners beware - Greg Olsen at Lions: Olsen might be a top-10 fantasy tight end, but he's seen his numbers sag lately. In his last five games, Olsen has scored double-digit fantasy points just once -- he's also scored fewer than five points three times. That makes him a gamble against a tough Lions defense.

Kickers - start 'em

Dan Bailey at Redskins: Bailey, who is still a free agent in more than half of NFL.com leagues, is third in fantasy points at his position and should remain a productive option this week at FedEx Field. The Redskins have given up the second-most fantasy points to opposing kickers, including 18 points to Bailey back in Week 3.

Sebastian Janikowski at Vikings: Janikowski hasn't been as productive this season as he was in 2010, but he's still in the top 10 in fantasy points among kickers. The Florida State product should produce a nice stat line this week against the Vikings, who have allowed more fantasy points to opposing kickers than any other team.

Week 11 waiver wire
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Rob Bironas at Falcons: Once an elite fantasy kicker, Bironas has been terribly inconsistent over the last two seasons. Still, he's scored double-digit fantasy points in two of his last three games and has a great matchup this week against the Falcons -- their defense has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to kickers.

Sleeper alert - Olindo Mare at Lions: Mare was also once considered an elite fantasy option, but now he's mostly a matchup-based starter in deeper leagues. Fortunately, this week's game against the Lions makes him well worth a roll of the dice -- Detroit has given up an average of over nine fantasy points per game to kickers.

Kickers - sit 'em

Matt Bryant vs. Titans: Bryant has not lived up to the lofty expectations of fantasy owners this season, ranking a middle of the road 15th in points among kickers. His fortunes aren't likely to change against the Titans, who have allowed kickers to score an average of just 6.67 fantasy points per game after the first 10 weeks.

Phil Dawson vs. Jaguars: A veteran kicker out of Texas, Dawson has scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games including 12 last week against the Rams. Unfortunately, his luck could run out against the Jaguars -- their defense has given up the fewest fantasy points to kickers (5.78 PPG) this season.

Ryan Longwell vs. Raiders: Longwell can be a viable matchup-based starter in most fantasy leagues, but this week's game against the Raiders is not an attractive one. The Silver & Black have given up an average of just 6.78 fantasy points per game to kickers, so don't expect Longwell to post a nice total in this contest.

Owners beware - Billy Cundiff vs. Bengals: Cundiff has emerged into one of the better kickers in fantasy football, but don't be surprised if he ends up in the low end of the stat sheets this week against the Bengals. The Queen City Cats have allowed an average of just 6.44 fantasy points to kickers.

Defenses - start 'em

49ers defense vs. Cardinals: The Bears are the lone fantasy defense with more points than the Niners, who have been phenomenal for owners most of this season. Next on the schedule is a date with the Cardinals -- opposing defenses facing Arizona have scored the ninth-most fantasy points at the position after 10 weeks.

Cowboys defense at Redskins: One of the hottest teams in the entire league, the Cowboys are starting to put things together on both sides of the football. This week they'll face turnover-prone Rex Grossman and the Redskins, who have been a nice matchup for opposing fantasy defenses. Consider Dallas a solid No. 1 option.



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Patriots defense vs. Chiefs (Mon.): Tyler Palko is the quarterback of the Chiefs. Let me say that again -- Tyler Palko is the quarterback of the Chiefs. That's enough to make most defenses attractive, even a Patriots unit that ranks dead last in the league. Look for New England to have a good night in this AFC battle.

Sleeper alert - Browns defense vs. Jaguars: The Browns are available in most NFL.com leagues and worth a look off waivers if you need a defense. Opposing defensive units have scored the seventh-most fantasy points at the position, and the Jaguars have no one on offense other than Maurice Jones-Drew who has been effective.

Defenses - sit 'em

Eagles defense at Giants: Despite a bad loss to the Cardinals, the Eagles scored 14 fantasy points last week. With that said, I'd still bench them against the Giants. Back in Week 3, Philadelphia's defense scored just two points against the G-Men. New York has also been a bad matchup for defenses for most of the season.

Chargers defense at Bears: One of the more disappointing units from a fantasy standpoint, the Chargers aren't even in the top 25 in points among defenses this season. That status isn't likely to improve this week against the Bears -- defenses facing Cutler's squad have averaged a mere 6.89 fantasy points per game in 2011.

Chiefs defense at Patriots (Mon.): The Chiefs have been a viable matchup-based option for fantasy owners this season, but this is one week where the opponent couldn't be more unattractive. That opponent is Tom Brady and the Patriots, who have been tough to score on from a fantasy perspective. Keep the Chiefs on the waiver wire.

Owners beware - Ravens defense vs. Bengals: It's not easy to sit the Ravens, but let's look at the numbers. This unit has scored single-digit fantasy points in four of its last five games including one point last week. Furthermore, defenses facing the Bengals have also scored an average of just 5.11 fantasy points this year.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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