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
Bengals defense vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Mon.): The Steelers are a mess on offense, as the loss of C Maurkice Pouncey and a questionable running game make them a prime matchup for fantasy defenses. That includes the Bengals, who will be fired in their home opener in the Queen City. If you own the Bengals, you're likely to reap the Week 2 rewards.(Maximum value: High-DEF1)
Texans defense vs. Tennessee Titans: The Pittsburgh Steelers defense scored just four fantasy points against the Titans last week, but this is still a nice matchup for the Texans. This unit is loaded with playmakers, and the Titans offense has questions marks in the pass attack. If you're the lucky owners of the Texans in your league, start them. (Maximum value: High-DEF1)
Chiefs defense vs. Dallas Cowboys: In a matchup of the two highest-scoring fantasy defenses in Week 1, the Chiefs should come out as the better option this week. Playing in front of their fans and with Tony Romo (ribs) and Dez Bryant (foot) banged up, Kansas City's defense should find success. They're still available in plenty of fantasy leagues on NFL.com. (Maximum value: Low-DEF1)
Sleeper alert - Raiders defense vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: If you're one of those owners who likes to stream defenses each week, take a chance on the Raiders based on a nice matchup against the Jaguars. Their offense didn't score a single point last week, and their line allowed six sacks of their quarterback. Oakland's defense is available in most leagues. (Maximum value: Low-DEF1)
Sit of the week
Rams defense at Atlanta Falcons: The Rams have a young, up-and-coming fantasy defenses, but this is not the week to start them. That's due to a road matchup against Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who field one of the most potent offenses in the league. This game could turn into a shootout, which is almost never good for defensive production in fantasy. (Maximum value: Low-DEF2)
Giants defense vs. Denver Broncos: It's the Manning Bowl in New York, as Peyton and Eli face off in a brother vs. brother battle. The elder Manning is coming off a ridiculous seven-touchdown game in Week 1, so the banged-up Giants pass defense could be in a whole lot of trouble. After scoring just four fantasy points last week, this is clearly a unit to avoid at this point. (Maximum value: Mid-DEF2)
Redskins defense at Green Bay Packers: The Redskins scored 12 fantasy points last week, but six came on a fluky backwards pass that was returned for a touchdown. Regardless, the Skins are not an attractive option this week in what could turn into a shootout against the Packers at Lambeau Field. There are better options on the waiver wire in most leagues. (Maximum value: Low-DEF2)
Owners beware - Steelers defense at Cincinnati Bengals (Mon.): The Steelers used to field an elite defense, but that was then and this is now. Last week, this unit mustered four fantasy points in what looked like a good matchup against the Titans. Next up is a tough road game against the Bengals, which makes the Steelers less of a fantasy option. (Maximum value: Low-DEF2)
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!