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
Matt Prater at Kansas City Chiefs: Prater is on a hot streak, scoring a combined 24 fantasy points in his last two games. He should continue to thrive against the Chiefs, who have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing kickers at home (11.20 PPG). In a game that should be high scoring, at least for the Broncos, Prater should have more than his share of opportunities to put up points.
David Akers at New Orleans Saints: Akers has seen his fantasy stock fall this season, as he ranks just 14th in fantasy points at his position after the first 11 weeks. Still, he's coming off a nice 12-point performance against the Chicago Bears and now has a great matchup against the Saints up next. This unit has given up the third-most fantasy points to kickers at home (11.40 PPG) this season.
Rob Bironas at Jacksonville Jaguars: Bironas is no longer among the elite kickers in fantasy football, but he can still produce when the matchup is favorable. That's the case this week, as he goes up against the Jaguars on their home field. Outside of the Oakland Raiders, no team has given up more fantasy points to opposing kickers on the road than Jacksonville after the first 11 weeks.
Sleeper alert - Mike Nugent vs. Oakland Raiders: Fantasy owners in deep leagues in need of a kicker should consider Nugent, who is still a free agent in most formats. He has a nice matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed more fantasy points to kickers on the road than any other team in the league. In what could end up being a high-scoring game, Nugent should see more than his share of scoring opportunities.
Sit of the week
Garrett Hartley vs. San Francisco 49ers: Hartley has been a major disappointment in fantasy land, ranking 28th in fantasy points among kickers despite playing behind an explosive offense. He also hasn't scored double-digit points in a single game since Week 2. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to kickers on the road (3.25 PPG) than the Niners, so Hartley's fortunes aren't likely to improve.
Shaun Suisham at Cleveland Browns: Suisham started the season well from a fantasy perspective, but he's failed to score double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. This week he goes up against the Browns, who have given up 15 field-goal conversions overall and the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers at home (5.60 PPG) this season. Keep Suisham on the sidelines this weekend.
Connor Barth vs. Atlanta Falcons: Barth was in the start 'em portion of this column last week, and he responded with a very respectable nine fantasy points. And while he has been pretty hot in recent games, Barth's matchup against the Falcons this weekend is not favorable. In fact, Atlanta has surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing kickers on the road (5.20 PPG) this season.
Owners beware - Greg Zuerlein at Arizona Cardinals: "Legatron" has slowed down in recent weeks, putting up a combined eight fantasy points in his last three games. He's also scored double-digit points just once in his last six contests. The Cards also held Zuerlein to just seven fantasy points in their first meeting of the 2012 season, so the rookie appears to be a real risk based on the numbers.