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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Quarterbacks for Week 4

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.

Byes - Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers

Start of the week


Peyton Manning vs. Oakland Raiders: Manning has had an inconsistent start to the season, throwing for an average of 274.6 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions in his first three contests. But with a very favorable matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, next on the schedule, Manning should post a solid stat line.

Start 'em


Matt Ryan vs. Carolina Panthers: This week's matchup against the Panthers isn't overly favorable based on the defensive totals, but Ryan remains a terrific start in fantasy land. The veteran has thrown for a combined seven touchdowns in his last three games against the NFC South opponent. Furthermore, Ryan has thrown for multiple scores in his last four games at the Georgia Dome.

Philip Rivers at Kansas City Chiefs: If you started Rivers on your fantasy team last week (I did too), you know that his stat line was far less than impressive. I still think he's well worth a look in Week 4, however, as the Chiefs defense has given up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Rivers has also averaged 301 yards in his last eight games against this AFC West opponent.

Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. New England Patriots: Fitzpatrick has quietly been solid this season, averaging 17.48 fantasy points in his first three games. That makes him a viable option against the Patriots, who allowed 369 yards and two touchdowns to the Amish rifle in a comeback win for the Bills last season. Fitzpatrick is still a free agent in over 70 percent of NFL.com leagues, so he's out there to add.

Sleeper alert - Josh Freeman at Washington Redskins: Freeman has had a slow start to the season in the stat sheets, ranking a mere 29th in fantasy points among all quarterbacks. With that said, he's still worth considering if you're hurting at the position or need a bye-week replacement. The Redskins have allowed the third-most fantasy points, including nine touchdowns, to signal-callers.

Sit of the week


Jay Cutler at Dallas Cowboys (Mon.): Remember all the talk of Cutler being a No. 1 fantasy quarterback? Eh, not so much. He has fewer fantasy points than Blaine Gabbert and Brandon Weeden, and this week's contest against the Cowboys is anything but favorable. In their first three games, the Pokes have surrendered three touchdown passes and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Sit 'em


Tony Romo vs. Chicago Bears (Mon.): Admittedly, I'm a little worried about Romo this week. The Cowboys have major issues on the offensive line, which have left him vulnerable to big hits. This week he goes up against DE Julius Peppers and the Bears, who have surrendered the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. If you do start Romo, you need to temper your statistical expectations.

Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press
Drew Brees joined the NFL Fantasy LIVE crew and dished on what fantasy owners can expect heading into Week 4. (Click image for further analysis.)

Jake Locker at Houston Texans: Locker is coming off the best fantasy performance of his career, throwing for 378 yards with two touchdowns while scoring 24.62 fantasy points. Of course, that came against the Detroit Lions. He won't find that much success against the Texans, who have surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. Locker should be rostered, but not started.

Sam Bradford vs. Seattle Seahawks: Over the last two weeks, the Seahawks have allowed a combined 22.56 fantasy points to the duo of Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers. If you're doing the math, that's not even 12 points per game to a couple of terrific passers. That doesn't bode well for Bradford, who has been inconsistent this season and shouldn't be trusted as more than a No. 2 fantasy option.

Owners beware - Michael Vick vs. New York Giants: It's tough to bench Vick because of his upside, but owners with a solid second option should consider it. The versatile quarterback has struggled in his first three games, and this week's contest against the Giants isn't favorable. In their last two games, their defense held the combination of Freeman and Cam Newton to 24 fantasy points.

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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