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
Randall Cobb at New York Giants: Believe it or not, but Cobb is the highest-scoring wide receiver in Green Bay based on fantasy points right now. He's also in the top 10 at the position with more points than Andre Johnson, Percy Harvin and Wes Welker. He needs to remain in fantasy lineups against the Giants, who have given up more fantasy points to wideouts at home than any other team in the NFL.
Reggie Wayne vs. Buffalo Bills: Wayne, who has had a rebirth with Andrew Luck under center, has put up an average of over 16 fantasy points in his last three home games. His statistical success should continue against the Bills, who have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers on the road (24.45 PPG) in 2012. Wayne needs to be active in all leagues, especially those PPR formats.
Hakeem Nicks vs. Green Bay Packers: Nicks has been a huge disappointment this season due to a combination of injuries and sagging stats. He's told the media that he's healthier than his been as year, though, and he dominated the Packers last season with a combined 14 catches, 253 yards and four touchdowns in two meetings. Even if he's just your third wideout, Nicks should be active on your fantasy team.
Steve Johnson at Indianapolis Colts: Johnson hasn't been a great option in standard leagues, but he has scored 13-plus fantasy points in four of his last five games in PPR formats. So if you get points for catches, the veteran remains a nice option against the Colts. Their defense has given up the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, allowing an average of 26.80 points to the position overall.
Sleeper alert - Michael Crabtree at New Orleans Saints: Crabtree has been a bit more reliable in recent weeks, scoring double-digit fantasy points in two of his last three games as defenses continue to focus on Vernon Davis. The veteran will serve as a nice No. 3 fantasy option against the Saints, who have given up more fantasy points to wide receivers overall (29.72 PPG) than any other NFL defense.
Sit of the week
Mike Wallace at Cleveland Browns: First it was Ben Roethlisberger. Then it was Byron Leftwich. Both were injured in recent weeks, leaving the Steelers to give the reins of their offense to Charlie Batch. That's bad news for Wallace, who hasn't been all the great this season regardless. If CB Joe Haden returns to action, Wallace is all of the sudden an even riskier option for fantasy owners this week.
DeSean Jackson vs. Carolina Panthers (Mon.): I would like Jackson a touch more if Michael Vick were to return on Monday night, but Jackson remains a gamble overall. He's scored more than seven fantasy points just once in his last six games, and this week's matchup against the Panthers is a tough one. Their defense has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the road (18.33 PPG).
Mike Williams vs. Atlanta Falcons: Is Williams' run as a solid No. 3 fantasy wideout all but over? He's failed to score seven fantasy points in each of his last two games and three of his last five overall. The Syracuse product also has a tough matchup against the Falcons, who have given up the fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts on the road (15.48 PPG) of any team in the entire league.
Malcom Floyd vs. Baltimore Ravens: Floyd had put up consecutive double-digit games before last week, when he had just 6.70 fantasy points in a loss to the Denver Broncos. He has a tough matchup coming up against the Ravens, who have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers on the road (15.60 PPG). Floyd is also losing more targets to Danario Alexander in recent weeks.
Owners beware - Torrey Smith at San Diego Chargers: Remember what I said about Joe Flacco in the sit 'em portion of the quarterbacks? Well, Smith is directly connected to his quarterback. In five road games, the wideout has one touchdown and is averaging a mere 4.86 fantasy points per game. So while the Chargers don't have the best pass defense, this trend makes it tough to start Smith with confidence.