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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Tight ends for Week 9

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 - New England Patriots, New York Jets, St. Louis Rams, San Francisco 49ers

Start of the week


Owen Daniels vs. Buffalo Bills: This is another one of those weeks where several good tight ends are on byes, so fantasy leaguers really need to stick with their most consistent options. That includes Daniels, who ranks fourth in fantasy points at the position and faces a Bills defense that ranks an unimpressive 29th in the league against the pass.

Start 'em


Tony Gonzalez vs. Dallas Cowboys (Mon.): The third highest-scoring tight end in fantasy football has struggled in recent weeks, but I expect him to see plenty of targets against the Cowboys. With Roddy White and Julio Jones facing top CBs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, look for Matt Ryan to look to Gonzalez often if his wideouts can't get open.

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Heath Miller at New York Giants: Miller, who is somehow still a free agent in almost 30 percent of NFL.com leagues, has found the end zone in five of his seven games and ranks among the top tight ends in fantasy football this season. That alone makes him a solid option against the Giants, who have surrendered the third-most yards to tight ends.

Greg Olsen vs. Washington Redskins: Need some help at the tight end position this week? Go out and grab Olsen, who is a free agent in more than 65 percent of NFL.com leagues. While he has been inconsistent overall, the veteran has a great matchup against the Redskins. The team's defense has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to tight ends.

Sleeper alert - Jermaine Gresham vs. Denver Broncos: Gresham, a free agent in around 85 percent of NFL.com leagues, is well worth a look as a one-week starter against the Broncos. The team's defense is tied for the third-most touchdowns and has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to tight ends, so Gresham will clearly be in a position to succeed.

Sit of the week


Jermichael Finley vs. Arizona Cardinals: Dennis Pitta. Joel Dreessen. Anthony Fasano. Those are just a few of the tight ends with more fantasy points than Finley. He's been a complete statistical disaster since Week 1, so much so that he's now being dropped in a lot of leagues. Keep him benched against the Cardinals, who are tough on tight ends.

Sit 'em


Brandon Pettigrew vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Pettigrew has been a real disappointment, posting fewer than eight fantasy points in all seven of his games. He's also averaged just five fantasy points in his last three games. His fortunes aren't likely to improve against the Jaguars, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to his position.

Sharon Ellman/Associated Press
Jason Witten is back to being Tony Romo's top target, notching 22 of them in Week 8. Is there more where that came from? (Click image for further analysis.)

Dennis Pitta at Cleveland Browns: Remember when Pitta looked like a fantasy sleeper earlier in the season? Well, he's been asleep over his last three games with a combined 8.80 fantasy points. Next on the schedule is a date with the Browns, who have allowed two touchdowns and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. That's bad news for Pitta.

Anthony Fasano at Indianapolis Colts: Sure, Fasano has found the end zone in each of his last two games. But even with those scores, he has averaged mediocre numbers because of his pedestrian reception and yardage totals. Keep him on the bench against the Colts, who have allowed one touchdown and the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends.

Owners beware - Brent Celek at New Orleans Saints (Mon.): This looks like a tremendous matchup on paper, as the Saints rank 30th in pass defense in 2012. However, did you know that this unit has also allowed just one touchdown and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends? If you do start Celek, don't expect him to put up a monster stat line.

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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