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
Cam Newton at Kansas City Chiefs: Newton is once again in the good graces of fantasy football owners, scoring 18-plus fantasy points in three of his last four games overall. He should be in all starting lineups against the Chiefs, who have surrendered an average of over 18 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks on their home field.
Tony Romo vs. Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles defense has been awful in recent weeks, allowing over 30 fantasy points to quarterbacks in their last two games. What's more, opposing signal-callers have scored 15-plus fantasy points against them in their last six games overall. That makes Romo well worth starting in most fantasy leagues this week.
Andy Dalton at San Diego Chargers: Dalton has been on absolute fire for owners in recent weeks, putting up 20-plus fantasy points in three straight games. The Chargers also have allowed 20 or more fantasy points to each of the last three quarterbacks to face them, so Dalton has a chance to keep up the stat-sheet success in this AFC battle.
Matt Schaub at Tennessee Titans: Schaub has not been the most consistent player in fantasy land, but he has scored 18-plus points in three of his last five starts overall. He also has a great matchup this weekend against the Titans, who have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to quarterback on their home field this season.
Sleeper alert - Colin Kaepernick at St. Louis Rams: Kaepernick has scored close to 40 combined fantasy points in his last two games, so his value is on the rise. Assuming he remains atop the 49ers' depth chart, he should post a great total against a Rams defense that has allowed an average of 17.82 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks at home.
Sit of the week
Philip Rivers vs. Cincinnati Bengals: If we have learned anything about Rivers this season, it's that you can't trust him to post good totals. In fact, he's posted fewer than 15 fantasy points in five of his last six games. The Bengals have allowed the ninth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks overall, so the matchup isn't good for Rivers either.
Josh Freeman at Denver Broncos: It's very hard to bench a quarterback who has been as good as Freeman, and you shouldn't do it without a viable alternative. Just keep in mind that the Broncos defense has allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing signal-callers, so Freeman is no lock to rebound from last week's weak stat line.
Joe Flacco vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Flacco has been a good fantasy option at home overall, but this week's matchup against the Steelers makes him a risk. In four career home games against them, the veteran has averaged just 224 yards with five touchdowns. Pittsburgh has also had one of the toughest defenses against quarterbacks in 2012.
Russell Wilson at Chicago Bears: A sleeper last week, Wilson had a terrific stat line with over 20 fantasy points against the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately, he's likely to struggle this week against the Bears. Their defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks at home, so Wilson could be in for a difficult afternoon.
Owners beware - Eli Manning at Washington Redskins: This is a great matchup on paper, as the Redskins have been brutal against the pass in 2012. Just keep these nuggets in mind - Manning has 13 touchdown passes in 16 career games against the Skins. He also has just eight scoring passes and six interceptions in eight career games in Washington.