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
Antonio Gates at Kansas City Chiefs: Gates has not been good this season, and that's an understatement. Guys like Matthew Mulligan and Jeff Cumberland (who?) have more fantasy points! However, I'll preach patience with Gates based on a matchup against the Chiefs. He has dominated this team for most of his career, and K.C. has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends in 2012.
Tony Gonzalez vs. Carolina Panthers: Gonzalez appears to have found the fountain of youth, because he's producing on the level of a player 10 years his junior. The veteran has already scored three touchdowns and ranks second in fantasy points at his position with 39.40 on NFL.com. I'd keep him active against a Panthers defense that has surrendered two touchdowns to tight ends in three games.
Brandon Pettigrew vs. Minnesota Vikings: Pettigrew had a nice stat line last week, catching an impressive eight passes in a loss to the Titans. He should remain active in most leagues (and all PPR formats) against the Vikings, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to tight ends. Pettigrew also shredded them for a combined 17 catches, 169 yards and one touchdown in 2011.
Owen Daniels vs. Tennessee Titans: Daniels has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners, posting 13 catches for 160 yards and one visit to the end zone. He'll remain a viable option against the Titans, who have given up league highs in receptions (28), yards (288) and touchdowns (5) to tight ends after three weeks. Daniels is still a free agent in over 70 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Sleeper alert - Kyle Rudolph at Detroit Lions: One of the hottest tight ends in fantasy football, Rudolph has scored three times in his last two games. Still a free agent in countless leagues, the former Notre Dame standout has a terrific matchup this week against the Lions. Their defense has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends after three weeks.
Sit of the week
Jared Cook at Houston Texans: Cook was one of the top-scoring fantasy tight ends last week, posting 77 yards and one touchdown in a win over the Lions. Unfortunately, the sledding will be far rougher against a Texans defense that has given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Cook has also averaged just 41.7 yards and scored once in his last four games against Houston.
Fred Davis at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It was good to see Davis back involved in the pass attack last week, as he caught seven passes and recorded 90 yards against the Bengals. He has a tougher test on paper this weekend against the Bucs, who have allowed an average of just 6.5 fantasy points to their opponent's top tight end. I'd consider Davis a low-end, risk-reward option as a result.
Greg Olsen at Atlanta Falcons: Olsen is coming off his best stat line of the season, catching seven passes for 98 yards in a loss to the Giants. While that increases his value, it doesn't make him a rock-solid fantasy starter by any stretch. In fact, this week's matchup against the Falcons isn't favorable. Their defense has surrendered the eighth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Jermaine Gresham at Jacksonville Jaguars: Much like Olsen, Gresham posted his best numbers of the young season in Week 3 with 64 yards and his first touchdown of 2012. This week's opponent, the Jaguars, have allowed the second-most receptions to tight ends. However, their defense also hasn't surrendered a touchdown and has given up an average of just 6.07 fantasy points to the position.
Owners beware - Jason Witten vs. Chicago Bears (Mon.): Thirty-four. That's the number of tight ends who have scored more fantasy points than Witten this season. The usually sure-handed tight end leads the league in dropped passes as well, so his value is in a serious state of emergency. Unless he starts showing signs of his former glory, it's tough to start Witten with confidence.