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
Julio Jones at Washington Redskins: A lot of fantasy owners are worried about Jones, who had just three fantasy points last week and has been mediocre at best since the season opener. I'll preach patience, however, as Jones should put up terrific totals in Washington. The Redskins have allowed the second-most yards (1,038) and the most fantasy points to opposing wideouts in 2012.
Demaryius Thomas at New England Patriots: The Patriots defense has been brutal over the last two weeks, allowing a combined four touchdowns and 73.3 fantasy points to wide receivers. That's good news for Thomas, who should be in line to post a nice stat line in what could be a shootout at Gillette Stadium. Consider the Georgia Tech product a solid option across the board this week.
Jordy Nelson at Indianapolis Colts: Nelson is coming off his best fantasy week of the season, recording 93 yards, one touchdown and 15.30 fantasy points in a win over the New Orleans Saints. This week he'll face the Colts, who have surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Nelson should also see more targets if Greg Jennings (groin) is declared as inactive.
Reggie Wayne vs. Green Bay Packers The Packers have allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, but take a look at their three Sunday contests. Aside from their Thursday nighter against the Chicago Bears, this unit has given up close to 30 points per game to the position. That makes Wayne, who is seeing a ton of targets from Andrew Luck, a solid choice.
Sleeper alert - Malcom Floyd at New Orleans Saints: Floyd has had a couple of bad stat lines in a row, posting a combined 7.50 fantasy points over his last two contests. Still, I like him this weekend at the Superdome in what could turn into a real shootout with the Saints. Over the first four weeks of the season, their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to wideouts.
Sit of the week
Antonio Brown vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Chances are you're going to start most of the wideouts I have listed in the sit 'em portion of the column, so consider them all "owners bewares." Brown, who has scored double-digit fantasy points once in his first three games, faces an Eagles defense that has given up fewer than 185 receiving yards in six of its last seven games in the Steel City.
Steve Johnson at San Francisco 49ers: The Niners defense isn't just good against the run, but it's stout against the pass as well. In fact, this unit has recorded 22 interceptions in its last 11 home games and has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers in 2012. That's bad news for Johnson, who could be hard pressed to make much of a statistical impact this week.
Pierre Garcon vs. Atlanta Falcons: Garcon, who has been dealing with a foot ailment in recent weeks, would have posted a horrid stat line last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had it not been for a recovered fumble in the end zone. Next on the schedule is a date with the Falcons, who have allowed just two touchdowns and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers.
Brian Hartline at Cincinnati Bengals: Hartline is coming off one of the greatest performances from a wide receiver, putting up 12 receptions for 253 yards and one touchdown in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. While that makes him a hot name off the waiver wire, it doesn't make him a lock fantasy starter - the Bengals have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts in 2012.
Owners beware - Dwayne Bowe vs. Baltimore Ravens: Much like Brown and Johnson, it's going to be tough to bench a player like Bowe. But here's a few nuggets that could have you a little worried about his prospects for Week 5. The Ravens defense has allowed just two touchdowns to wideouts in 2012, and has given up one receiving touchdown or less in each of its last 22 regular-season games.