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
Josh Freeman at New Orleans Saints: Freeman is a terrific fantasy option this week, as he faces a Saints defense that has allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks overall than any other team in the league. Back in Week 7, Freeman ripped this unit for 420 yards, three scoring passes and 30.10 fantasy points. Expect another productive stat line for the veteran.
Matt Schaub vs. Indianapolis Colts: Schaub has been inconsistent overall from a statistical perspective, but he has recorded 18-plus fantasy points in each of his last three home games. This week's matchup against the Colts is a favorable one, as their defense has allowed an average of close to 18 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks on the road.
Carson Palmer vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Palmer hasn't been the most consistent fantasy option in 2012, but he's a viable starter when the matchup is favorable. That's the case this week, as he faces a Chiefs defense that has allowed 25 touchdown passes overall and an average of 18.22 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. That makes Palmer well worth a look.
Russell Wilson at Buffalo Bills (Toronto): Wilson didn't put up a good stat line last week, but he was rested for much of the second half in a blowout win over the Arizona Cardinals. He should see a full game's worth of snaps against the Bills, who have given up 22 touchdown passes and an average of just under 18 fantasy points per game to signal-callers overall.
Sleeper alert - Colin Kaepernick at New England Patriots: Kaepernick, who is still a free agent in a ton of NFL.com leagues, has scored 17-plus fantasy points in four of his last five games and is now a legitimate option. The Patriots have given up an average of over 17 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks overall, so don't be afraid to start Kaepernick.
Sit of the week
Philip Rivers vs. Carolina Panthers: Rivers is coming off a nice stat line against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but can you trust him in the fantasy postseason? I'd be concerned, and this week's matchup against the Panthers isn't as favorable as you might think. In fact, Carolina has allowed an average of fewer than 13 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks on the road.
Jay Cutler vs. Green Bay Packers: Cutler is expected to play this week, but he's not a good option against the Packers. The veteran has averaged just 217 yards with seven touchdowns and 15 interceptions (a career high vs. one team) against Green Bay during his career with the Bears. He has also thrown for fewer than 225 yards in four of his last six games against the Pack.
Joe Flacco vs. Denver Broncos: Flacco isn't on the road, so why is he a sit 'em? Well, he needs to have a good matchup to be trusted. That's not the case against the Denver Broncos, who have given up an average of fewer than 13 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks on the road. Also, Flacco scored just 7.42 fantasy points in his last home game (vs. Steelers).
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Seattle Seahawks (Toronto): Fitzpatrick has struggled in the stat sheets in recent weeks, posting 13-plus fantasy points just once in his last four starts. I'd keep him on the fantasy pine this weekend against the Seahawks, who have surrendered just 14 touchdown passes and the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks overall in 2012.
Owners beware - Eli Manning at Atlanta Falcons: This game in Atlanta could turn into a shootout, but the numbers don't bode well for Manning. In fact, the Falcons have allowed just 12.36 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks at home. This unit also forced Eli's big brother, Peyton, to throw three interceptions and post his worst fantasy stat line of the whole year.