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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Quarterbacks for Week 3

Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the weekly NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team. Sleeper alert features an under-the-radar player who could produce good numbers. Owners beware features a regular fantasy starter who could fail to meet expectations based on the strength of his opponent. Obvious fantasy starters like Aaron Rodgers and Arian Foster will not be featured in this column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the week


Robert Griffin III vs. Cincinnati Bengals: You have heard me state it throughout the preseason - I love me some RG3, and the fantasy man crush has done nothing but increase after he put up yet another monster stat line against the St. Louis Rams. Next on the schedule is a game against the Bengals, who have allowed an average of over 21 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.

Start 'em


Matthew Stafford at Tennessee Titans: I have Stafford in the start 'em portion of this column in an attempt to ease the anxiety of fantasy owners who drafted him. Yes, he has had a slow start (Christian Ponder has more fantasy points), but he is going to bust out this week against the Titans. Their defense has surrendered an average of close to 20 fantasy points per game to signal-callers in 2012.

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Tony Romo vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Romo was good in Week 1, but not so terrific in Week 2. Fear not, anxious fantasy leaguers, the Cowboys quarterback is a tremendous option based on favorable matchup against the Buccaneers. No defenses has given up more passing yards (813) after the first two weeks. The Bucs have also allowed 19.36 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, so Romo should shine.

Matt Cassel at New Orleans Saints: If you need a one-week start at the quarterback spot, Cassel is well worth a look off the waiver wire. Available in over 95 percent of NFL.com leagues, he's averaged a solid 17.43 fantasy points in his first two games and how has a nice matchup against the Saints at the Superdome. Their defense has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Sleeper alert - Alex Smith at Minnesota Vikings: Smith, who ranks in the top 10 in fantasy points at his position after two weeks, has developed into a viable option if you're in need of a quarterback. This week he goes up against the Vikings, who have allowed 19 or more fantasy points to each of the first two field generals they have faced. Smith is still available in over 50 percent of leagues.

Sit of the week


Carson Palmer vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Believe it or not, but Palmer is eighth in fantasy points among quarterbacks heading into Week 3 despite throwing just two touchdown passes. He could find it difficult to pile up the yardage against the Steelers, who have surrendered the fifth-fewest passing yards (391) in their first two contests. I need to see more from Palmer before I trust him as a starter.

Sit 'em


Sam Bradford at Chicago Bears: Bradford is coming off one of his best fantasy performances of his career, throwing for 310 yards with three touchdowns in a win over the Washington Redskins. Unfortunately, he'll find the sledding to be tougher at Solider Field against the Bears. In their last contest, these new Monster of the Midway held fantasy superstar Aaron Rodgers to a meager 10.16 fantasy points.

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Eli Manning exploded in Week 2, but can he be depended on in Week 3? (Click image for further analysis.)

Jake Locker vs. Detroit Lions: A popular fantasy sleeper in the preseason, Locker has been asleep in the stat sheets. After two weeks, a total of 28 signal-callers have scored more fantasy points (including Kevin Kolb and Ryan Tannehill). Until he starts to show some signs of fantasy life, the Locker needs to be on fantasy sidelines - especially when facing such an aggressive defense like the Lions.

Josh Freeman at Dallas Cowboys: Remember when the Cowboys were a defense to target in the fantasy quarterback matchups? Well, the addition of CBs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have now made this unit one to fear. In fact, this team has given up just two touchdown passes and an average of 12.68 fantasy points to opposing signal-callers. That's bad news for Freeman, who is off to a mediocre start.

Owners beware - Peyton Manning vs. Houston Texans: Which Manning will we see in Week 3? The one who torched the Steelers in the opener, or the quarterback who three three picks in a loss to the Falcons? Regardless, he is a risk for owners in what could be a defensive battle against the Texans. Their defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, so start Manning with caution.

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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