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
Eli Manning vs. Washington Redskins: Manning has started the season well in the stat sheets, ranking in the top 10 in fantasy points among quarterbacks. This week he has a great matchup against the Redskins, who have allowed a total of 14 touchdown passes and the fourth-most fantasy points to signal-callers. Look for Manning to be huge in this NFC East battle.
Andrew Luck vs. Cleveland Browns: Luck was a disappointment last week, posting his worst stat line of the entire season. Still, take a look at what he's done at home. In three games, he has six touchdown passes and has averaged a ridiculous 23.82 fantasy points. Couple that with a good matchup against the Browns, and the star rookie needs to be in your lineup.
Carson Palmer vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Palmer hasn't been the most consistent quarterback in all of fantasy football, but you can still use him during the bye weeks when the matchup is favorable. That's the case this week, as he'll go up against a Jaguars defense that has given up an average of over 20 fantasy points to per game on the road to signal-callers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Tennessee Titans: After scoring 14-plus fantasy points in each of his first four games, including three with 18-plus, Fitzpatrick's totals have taken a nosedive. Still, it's hard to look past this week's matchup against the Titans. Their defense has been dreadful against the pass, allowing an average 20.67 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
Sleeper alert - Josh Freeman vs. New Orleans Saints: I admit, starting Freeman is a leap of faith. He's been inconsistent at best, but the Kansas State product is coming off his best performance of the season and has a great matchup upcoming versus New Orleans. The Saints have surrendered 10 total touchdowns and the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks (20.11 PPG).
Sit of the week
Joe Flacco at Houston Texans: If fantasy owners have learned anything about Flacco, it's that you can't trust him on the road. In fact, he has one touchdown pass or less in seven of his last eight games away from home. He's also thrown for fewer than 235 yards in his last five road contests. The Texans will be fired up to prove that last week was a fluke as well.
Matt Schaub vs. Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens defense is chock full of injuries, but I think that makes Arian Foster, and not Schaub, more attractive. It's also tough to trust a quarterback who has averaged just over 13 fantasy points per game and scored about a quarter of his total points in one contest. Even with six teams off, Schaub is tough to trust right now.
Christian Ponder vs. Arizona Cardinals: Did you know that Ponder has more fantasy points than Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo? Regardless, it's hard to like this weekend's matchup against the Cardinals. These birds have been pretty tough on opposing signal-callers, allowing the second-fewest fantasy points (10.72 PPG) to the position.
Sam Bradford vs. Green Bay Packers: It's tough for fantasy owners to set a starting lineup during the heavier bye weeks, but starting an inconsistent player like Bradford at quarterback is a risk. Outside of a huge game against the Washington Redskins, Bradford has also struggled at home with a combined 18.28 fantasy points (9.14 PPG) in this last two contests.
Owners beware - Matthew Stafford at Chicago Bears: You shouldn't bench Stafford unless you have a reliable alternative at the position with a great matchup. With that being said, the Bears have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. Stafford also threw for just one score with four interceptions in his last visit to Soldier Field.