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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Week 12

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 Adrian Peterson will not be featured. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

QB Byes: Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, EJ Manuel, Russell Wilson

QB Start of the week


Matthew Stafford vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Stafford is on fire, throwing 13 touchdown passes while scoring 18-plus fantasy points in his last five games. An even more dangerous passer at home, he should feast on the Buccaneers -- their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (21.8 PPG) to quarterbacks since Week 8. (Maximum value: High QB1)

QB Start 'em


Colin Kaepernick at Washington Redskins (Mon.): Kaepernick has posted two straight poor stat lines for fantasy owners, but he should bounce back against the Redskins. Their defense has struggled to stop the pass all season long, surrendering an average of 20.2 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks while playing at FedEx Field. (Maximum value: Mid QB1)

Eli Manning vs. Dallas Cowboys: Manning has been tough to trust both on the field and in fantasy land, but owners who need a one-week quarterback fix should consider the veteran signal-caller. The Cowboys have had serious problems on defense, surrendering the second-most fantasy points (22.3 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks on the road. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Joe Flacco vs. New York Jets: Like Manning, Flacco has been no walk in the park for owners. In fact, he ranks a mediocre 18th in fantasy points among quarterbacks. Still, keep in mind that this week's matchup is a favorable one -- the Jets have given up the third-most fantasy points (21.8 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks on the road. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Sleeper alert - Case Keenum vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Keenum has been named the starter for coach Gary Kubiak this week, and a matchup against the Jaguars is favorable enough to make him worth a roll of the dice. Jacksonville's Swiss cheese defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (20.8 PPG) to signal-callers on the road. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

QB Sit of the week


Philip Rivers at Kansas City Chiefs: Rivers has recorded 15-plus fantasy points in just two of his last five games, and Kansas City has been very tough on quarterbacks -- their defense has allowed 13.6 fantasy points per game to the position. Rivers has also thrown at least one pick in five straight games against them. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

QB Sit 'em


Ben Roethlisberger at Cleveland Browns: Roethlisberger went off in the stat sheets last week at home against the Detroit Lions, but can you trust him to do it again in Cleveland? He's recorded just three touchdown passes in his last four road games against the Browns, and their defense has been very tough against quarterbacks at home. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Alex Smith vs. San Diego Chargers: Smith has a favorable matchup on paper, but he's been the anti-matchup quarterback of the 2013 season. In fact, he seems to put up mediocre or worse totals when the opponent is favorable -- check out his poor numbers in games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills. (Maximum value: High QB2)

Carson Palmer vs. Indianapolis Colts: Palmer was a fantasy beast last week, scoring 24.5 points against the Jaguars. However, that was the first time he recorded 17-plus points since Week 1. The Colts have given up the third-fewest fantasy points (12.7 PPG) to quarterbacks on the road, so don't expect a repeat performance. (Maximum value: Mid QB2)

Owners beware - Robert Griffin III vs. San Francisco 49ers (Mon.): It's pretty tough to bench a solid player like RG3 when he's hot, and you shouldn't do it unless you have a viable replacement. Just keep in mind that the Niners have surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points (13.6 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks on the road in 2013. (Maximum value: Low QB1)


RB Byes: Giovani Bernard, Fred Jackson, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, C.J. Spiller

RB Start of the week


Zac Stacy vs. Chicago Bears: Stacy has been burning up the stat sheets, scoring over 70 combined fantasy points in his last four games. His success should continue against the Bears, who have been awful against the run. In fact, their defense has allowed the second-most fantasy points (26.2 PPG) to running backs in the last four weeks. (Maximum value: High RB1)

RB Start 'em


Andre Brown vs. Dallas Cowboys: The last time the Cowboys played a game, their defense allowed a ridiculous 63.9 fantasy points to the New Orleans running backs. So, it's no surprise to see Brown on the start 'em list. While he could lose some goal-line work to Brandon Jacobs, he's still a lock to lead the G-Men in backfield touches. (Maximum value: High RB1)

Rashad Jennings vs. Tennessee Titans: Jennings has become a tremendous pick-up off the waiver wire for owners, scoring a combined 55.1 fantasy points in his last three games. He should remain active against the Titans, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points (24.9 PPG) to opposing runners over the last four weeks of NFL action. (Maximum value: Low RB1)

Frank Gore at Washington Redskins (Mon.): Gore has hit a bit of a bump in the road, as he's rushed for a combined 130 yards with just 15.9 fantasy points in his last two games. Still, he needs to be in your fantasy lineup against the Redskins -- their defense has given up the third-most fantasy points (22.3 PPG) to runners on the road. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Sleeper alert - Ben Tate vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Tate hasn't posted spectacular numbers, but he is seeing most of the backfield touches in the absence of Arian Foster. He'll be in a good position to find success against the Jaguars, as their defense has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points (24.3 PPG) to running backs since Week 8. (Maximum value: High RB2)

RB Sit of the week


Trent Richardson at Arizona Cardinals: Richardson has been a disaster in the stat sheets, ranking 59th in fantasy points among running backs over the last four weeks. He's almost impossible to trust as a result, especially against a Cardinals defense that has surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points (11.2 PPG) to runners at home. (Maximum value: Low RB3)

RB Sit 'em


Chris Ivory at Baltimore Ravens: Ivory is tough to bench now, as he's recorded 15-plus fantasy points in each of his last two games. Just keep in mind that this week's matchup in Baltimore is a very difficult one -- their defense has given up an average of fewer than 13 fantasy points per game to running backs on their home field. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Ryan Mathews at Kansas City Chiefs: Mathews is on a nice hot streak of his own, posting 12-plus fantasy points in two straight games and three of his last four. That streak is in some real danger this week, though, as no team in the NFL has allowed fewer fantasy points (9.74 PPG) to opposing running backs on their home field. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Lamar Miller vs. Carolina Panthers: Over the last two weeks, Miller has scored a combined 4.8 fantasy points. That's not exactly what you're looking for in your fantasy running back. He'll be hard pressed to improve against the Panthers, who have surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points (11.7 PPG) to runners in the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid RB3)

Owners beware - Ray Rice vs. New York Jets: Fantasy owners are absolutely giddy after Rice's huge statistical performance against the Bears last weekend. Still, he's no lock to post another good stat line against the Jets. The Men in Green have surrendered the fewest fantasy points (10.4 PPG) to running backs on the road this season. (Maximum value: Low RB1)


WR Byes: Doug Baldwin, Riley Cooper, A.J. Green, DeSean Jackson, Marquise Goodwin, Percy Harvin, Steve Johnson, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Golden Tate, Robert Woods

WR Start of the week


Larry Fitzgerald vs. Indianapolis Colts: Fitzgerald has been anything but consistent in 2013, but he is coming off a 12.1-point performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He should remain in your starting lineup against the Colts, who have allowed more fantasy points to wide receivers over the last four weeks than any other team. (Maximum value: Mid WR1)

WR Start 'em


Victor Cruz vs. Dallas Cowboys: Cruz has struggled in recent weeks, scoring seven-plus fantasy points just once in his last six games. Still, owners need to keep him active in what should be a nice matchup against the Cowboys. Back in Week 1, Cruz went off for 118 yards, three touchdowns and an impressive 29.8 fantasy points against them. (Maximum value: Mid WR1)

Torrey Smith vs. New York Jets: The Jets have been most impressive against the run, but their defense against the pass has been anything but solid. In fact, CB Antonio Cromartie and his mates in the defensive backfield have allowed the second-most fantasy points (32.3 PPG) to wideouts on the road. That makes Smith a nice starting option. (Maximum value: Low WR1)

Danny Amendola vs. Denver Broncos: Amendola has been a disappointment this season, but I still like him as a PPR wideout in this week's matchup against the Broncos. Their defense has been more than a bit vulnerable to wideouts, as their defense has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points (28.3 PPG) to wide receivers on the road this year. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

Sleeper alert - Kendall Wright at Oakland Raiders: Wright hasn't been a decent option in standard leagues, but did you know he's 22nd in fantasy points among wideouts in PPR formats? Owners who are in such leagues should start him against the Raiders, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points (30 PPG) to wideouts at home this season. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

WR Sit of the week


Mike Wallace vs. Carolina Panthers: Wallace has seen a drastic decline in his level of statistical success as a member of the Dolphins, and his chances to reverse those fortunes this week are not very good. Carolina's defense is just plain nasty, surrendering the second-fewest fantasy points (12.9 PPG) to opposing wideouts on the road. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

WR Sit 'em


Pierre Garcon vs. San Francisco 49ers (Mon.): Fantasy owners in standard scoring leagues who have wideout depth should consider their options this week, as Garcon has a tough matchup against the Niners. Their defense has been solid against the pass, surrendering the fifth-fewest fantasy points (15.7 PPG) to wide receivers on the road. (Maximum value: High WR2)

Cecil Shorts at Houston Texans: Shorts had some choice words for his coaches after last week's loss to the Arizona Cardinals, and the squeaky wheel often gets the grease. Still, a matchup against the Texans makes him a risk -- their defense has surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points (17.4 PPG) to wide receivers this season. (Maximum value: Low WR3)

Steve Smith at Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins haven't been able to stop the run all season long, but their pass defense is a unit to be reckoned with on the gridiron. In fact, Miami has surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points (16.5 PPG) to wide receivers on their home field, so starting the veteran Smith is a major risk. (Maximum value: High WR3)

Owners beware - Antonio Brown at Cleveland Browns: Brown has been one of the hottest wideouts in fantasy in recent weeks, so it's tough to bench him. However, No. 1 wide receivers going up against Browns CB Joe Haden have not fared well. Just ask A.J. Green, whom Haden held to a mere seven yards with no touchdowns last weekend. (Maximum value: High WR2)


TE Byes: Brent Celek, Scott Chandler, Tyler Eifert, Zach Ertz, Jermaine Gresham, Zach Miller

TE Start of the week


Vernon Davis at Washington Redskins (Mon.): Davis has scored double-digit fantasy points just once in his last four games, but he remains one of the elite players at his position. Owners should roll with him on Monday night against the Redskins, who have allowed an average of 10.2 fantasy points per game to tight ends since Week 8. (Maximum value: High TE1)

TE Start 'em


Greg Olsen at Miami Dolphins: Olsen has been hot lately, scoring three touchdowns while averaging 8.3 fantasy points in his last four games. He's also looking at a great matchup in Week 12, as the Dolphins have surrendered the sixth-most receiving yards and the fourth-most fantasy points (10.6 PPG) to opposing tight ends this season. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Coby Fleener at Arizona Cardinals: Fleener has turned into a viable No. 1 fantasy option, scoring eight-plus fantasy points in three of his last four games. He's a solid option this weekend against the Cardinals, who have surrendered the most receiving yards, the most touchdowns and the most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2013. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Delanie Walker at Oakland Raiders: You might not know it, but Walker has scored more fantasy points (27.3 PPG) than any other tight end in the league over the last two weeks. He's in line for yet another nice stat line against the Raiders, who have given up an average of close to 10 fantasy points per game to tight ends since Week 8. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Sleeper alert - Garrett Graham vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Graham went off for 17.6 fantasy points last week, and an upcoming matchup against the Jaguars will make him a legitimate starting option once again. Jacksonville's defense has given up more fantasy points (14.2 PPG) to tight ends than any other team in the league since Week 8. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

TE Sit of the week


Martellus Bennett at St. Louis Rams: Bennett's level of production has slowed down, as he's scored a combined 11.3 fantasy points since Week 8. He should be on your bench this weekend, as the Bears face a Rams defense that has given up the second-fewest fantasy points per game (2.7 PPG) to opposing tight ends over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: High TE2)

TE Sit 'em


Jordan Cameron vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Cameron has struggled in recent weeks, and his rapport with Jason Campbell needs some work. In fact, he's scored a combined 11.4 fantasy points in his last three games. Cameron has also found the end zone just one time in his last six games overall, so he's no longer a must-start at the position. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

Timothy Wright at Detroit Lions: Wright was a hot waiver add a few weeks back, but his production has dropped over the last two games with a combined 3.2 fantasy points. This week he faces a tough Lions defense that has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points (6.4 PPG) to opposing tight ends this season. Keep that in mind in Week 12. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Rob Housler vs. Indianapolis Colts: Housler has caught fire in recent weeks, recording 127 yards, one score and the fifth-most fantasy points (18.7) among tight ends over his last two contests. Still, this week's matchup is tough -- the Colts have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points (5.9 PPG) to opposing tight ends on the road. (Maximum value: High TE2)

Owners beware - Antonio Gates at Kansas City Chiefs: It's tough to bench Gates, who's in the midst of a bounce-back 2013 campaign and coming off a nice stat line in Miami. Keep in mind, though, that the Chiefs have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points (3.5 PPG) to opposing tight ends while playing at Arrowhead Stadium this season. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)


K Byes: Dan Carpenter, Steven Hauschka, Alex Henery, Mike Nugent

K Start of the week


Nick Folk at Baltimore Ravens: Folk has been productive for fantasy owners in recent weeks, scoring 11 or more fantasy points in three of his last four games. Still available in a lot of leagues on NFL.com, Folk has a nice matchup against the Ravens -- their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (9.6 PPG) to kickers in 2013. (Maximum value: High K1)

K Start 'em


Dan Bailey at New York Giants: Bailey's numbers have declined a bit in recent weeks, but he's still a solid option for fantasy owners in what will be an important NFC East game in New York against the Giants. Back in Week 1, the veteran kickers scored 12 fantasy points in a win over the G-Men. He's a free agent in plenty of leagues. (Maximum value: High K1)

Graham Gano at Miami Dolphins: Owners looking for a nice sleeper at the kicker position should consider Gano, who has one of the better matchups this weekend. Miami has been unable to stop kickers at home, allowing the most fantasy points (12.4 PPG) to the position. Gano is also a free agent in most leagues on NFL.com. (Maximum value: Low K1)

Sleeper alert - Rian Lindell at Detroit Lions: With windy weather conditions potentially wreaking havoc across the northeast, Lindell becomes a nice one-week option in fantasy leagues. First, he's playing against a Lions defense that has surrendered the second-most fantasy points (12 PPG) to kickers. Second, he's playing in a dome. (Maximum value: Low K1)

K Sit of the week


Robbie Gould at St. Louis Rams: Gould had produced well for owners in recent weeks, scoring nine or more fantasy points in four of his last five games. The upcoming matchup against the Rams isn't very favorable, though, as their defense has surrendered the fewest fantasy points (2.0 PPG) to opposing kickers over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Low K1)

K Sit 'em


Nick Novak at Kansas City Chiefs: Novak has scored a combined 20 fantasy points over the last two weeks, but he's been tough to trust in fantasy leagues due to his lack of consistent production. This week he goes up against the Chiefs, who have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points (5.8 PPG) to opposing kickers this season. (Maximum value: Low K1)

Adam Vinatieri at Arizona Cardinals: Vinatieri has been tough to trust in recent weeks, scoring seven or fewer fantasy points in two of his last three games including a zero-point stink bomb in Week 10. His next matchup is against the Cardinals, who have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points (5.0 PPG) to kickers since Week 8. (Maximum value: Low K1)

Owners beware - Sebastian Janikowski vs. Tennessee Titans: Janikowski has more name value than fantasy appeal, as he ranks an unimpressive 30th in fantasy points at his position after the first 11 weeks. His fortunes won't improve against the Titans, who have surrendered the fewest fantasy points (3.5 PPG) to opposing kickers on the road.(Maximum value: Mid K2)


DEF Byes: Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks

DEF Start of the week


Ravens defense vs. New York Jets: The Jets have been a fantasy defense's dream come true when playing on the road this season. In fact, opposing home defenses facing rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the Men in Green have combined to score the second-most fantasy points (17.0 PPG) in 2013. Start the Ravens with confidence this week. (Maximum value: High DEF1)

DEF Start 'em


Rams defense vs. Chicago Bears: The Rams have quietly posted solid fantasy totals, recording 32 sacks with 11 interceptions, five total touchdowns and the fifth-most fantasy points at the position. This aggressive unit has been particularly tough on their home field in the second half of the season too, so go ahead and roll with the Rams. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Texans defense vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Texans defense has not been much of a fantasy football option this season, but a matchup at home against the Jaguars is enough to make it a viable start. To this point in the season, opposing defenses have combined to score the second-most fantasy points (13.1 PPG) against Jacksonville. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Sleeper alert - Titans defense at Oakland Raiders: The Titans are available in over 70 percent of NFL.com leagues, and this weekend's matchup against the Raiders make them a nice one-week option. To this point in the season, defenses have combined to score the fifth-most fantasy points (10.2 PPG) when facing Oakland's inconsistent offensive attack. (Maximum value: Low DEF1)

DEF Sit of the week


Patriots defense at Denver Broncos: The Patriots have scored at least 10 fantasy points in three of their last four games, but this week's matchup against Peyton Manning and the Broncos is anything but favorable. In fact, opposing defenses have combined to score the fewest fantasy points (3.50 PPG) when going up against Denver in 2013. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)

DEF Sit 'em


Chargers defense at Kansas City Chiefs: Since putting up a 15-point effort against the Jaguars in Week 7, the Chargers defense has scored a combined 17 fantasy points in its last three games. The next opponent on the slate is Kansas City -- defenses have combined to score the fifth-fewest fantasy points (5.7 PPG) against them in 2013. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)

Dolphins defense vs. Carolina Panthers: The Dolphins rank among the 15-best defenses in the NFL based on fantasy points, but this unit has scored a huge percentage of those points in three games. This isn't a week to start them, as the Panthers have been very tough on defensive scoring from a fantasy perspective (6.3 PPG) this season. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

Owners beware - Cardinals defense vs. Indianapolis Colts: The Cardinals have scored double-digit fantasy points in two of their last three games, but a matchup against Andrew Luck and the Colts is anything but favorable. In fact, opposing home defenses facing Indianapolis have combined to score the second-fewest fantasy points (3.0 PPG). (Maximum value: High 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!

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