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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Wide receivers for Week 8

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 - Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans

Start of the week


Mike Wallace vs. Washington Redskins: Wallace had a case of the dropsies last weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals, but there's no benching a wideout of his caliber when the matchup is this favorable. No team has allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers than the Redskins, making Wallace and Antonio Brown both solid options. Look for a shootout at Heinz Field this week.

Start 'em


Reggie Wayne at Tennessee Titans: Wayne's numbers have dipped a bit over the last two weeks, as he's averaged just seven fantasy points in standard leagues during that time. Still, he remains a very solid option (especially in PPR leagues) against the Titans. Their defense has allowed an average of close to 23 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers in 2012.

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Eric Decker vs. New Orleans Saints: Calling all fantasy owners, if you have any Broncos they need to be in your starting lineup this week. That includes Demaryius Thomas and Decker, who should both put up solid totals against the Saints. Their defense has allowed 10 touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts, so look for a real shootout in Denver.

Miles Austin vs. New York Giants: Austin hasn't been consistent this season, but it's tough not to like him against the Giants. Their defense has allowed 10 touchdowns and the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Another reason to like Austin - he has found the end zone in three of his last four games against New York. Start Austin and Dez Bryant in Week 8.

Sleeper alert - Kenny Britt vs. Indianapolis Colts: Britt was a disappointment last week, scoring just three points against the Buffalo Bills. Regardless, I'd still start him as a No. 3 wideout or flex player with a matchup against the Colts on deck. Indianapolis has allowed 11 touchdowns and the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, so the numbers are on Britt's side.

Sit of the week


Steve Smith at Chicago Bears:  Andrew Hawkins. Jeremy Kerley. Mike Williams. Those are just some of the wide receivers with more fantasy points than Smith this season. The veteran hasn't scored double digits since Week 3, and playing the Bears isn't going to help reverse that trend. Just ask Calvin Johnson, who was shut down by Charles "Peanut" Tillman this past Monday night.

Scott A. Miller/Associated Press
Josh Freeman and Vincent Jackson are quickly becoming one of the more explosive tandems, but how long can they keep it up? (Click image for further analysis.)

Sit 'em


Brandon Lloyd at St. Louis Rams (London): Speaking of disappointing receivers, Lloyd has yet to get his groove on with the Patriots. In fact, he has just 0.60 more fantasy points than Smith! He has a very tough matchup across the pond this week against the Rams, who boast one of the better cornerback duos in the league. If you have wideout depth, sitting Lloyd makes sense.

Michael Crabtree at Arizona Cardinals (Mon.): Crabtree is turning in a bust for both the Niners and fantasy fans alike. Outside of his 113-yard, one-touchdown performance back in Week 5, he's failed to put up double digits in fantasy production all season. The Cardinals have been tough on wide receivers, so Crabtree isn't likely to break out on "Monday Night Football".

Brian Hartline at New York Jets: Hartline was a hot name on the waiver wire after posting 253 yards and one touchdown back in Week 4, but he's been inconsistent overall. In fact, he's being dropped in a lot of leagues. If you still have Hartline, keep him on your bench against CB Antonio Cromartie and a Jets defense that has been one of the toughest for wide receivers in 2012.

Owners beware - DeSean Jackson vs. Atlanta Falcons: Countless fantasy owners don't have the depth to bench Jackson, but this week's matchup against the Falcons is a difficult one. These birds have allowed just four touchdowns and the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. If you do start Jackson, don't look for him to post a huge stat line in this NFC battle.

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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