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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Week 15

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 Start of the week


Nick Foles at Minnesota Vikings: Foles has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in fantasy football, scoring no fewer than 19.5 fantasy points in each of his last five starts. He should continue to shine against the Vikings, who have surrendered more fantasy points (22.8 PPG) to quarterbacks than any other home defense this season. (Maximum value: High QB1)

QB Start 'em


Andrew Luck vs. Houston Texans: Luck put up a huge stat line last week against what is a stout Cincinnati defense on the road, so fantasy leaguers can enter Week 15 with a little more faith in the talented quarterback. He's been better in the stat sheets at home too, and he ripped the Texans for 24.8 fantasy points back in Week 9. (Maximum value: Mid QB1)

Alex Smith at Oakland Raiders: I have a tough time recommending Smith, who has failed to exploit a few very good matchups this season. With that said, I will tell you that this week's game against the Raiders is very favorable -- their defense has surrendered the second-most fantasy points (21.2 PPG) to quarterbacks among all home teams. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Matt Ryan vs. Washington Redskins: Ryan has not been among the top fantasy football quarterbacks over the last few weeks, but an upcoming matchup against the Redskins makes him a very viable option. Their defense has struggled against the pass, allowing five of the last seven opposing quarterbacks to score at least 18 fantasy points. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Sleeper alert - Ryan Tannehill vs. New England Patriots: Over the last four weeks, Tannehill has scored more fantasy points than Andrew Luck, Drew Brees and Matthew Stafford. I like him this week in an AFC East battle against New England, who has allowed the third-most fantasy points (21.1 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks since Week 11. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

QB Sit of the week


Carson Palmer at Tennessee Titans: Have you been riding Palmer's hot streak over the last several weeks? Well my friends, it's time to jump off the bandwagon. The veteran out of USC has a brutal matchup next against the Titans, who have surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points (11.6 PPG) to quarterbacks among home defenses. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

QB Sit 'em


Joe Flacco at Detroit Lions (Mon.): The Lions don't have the best pass defense in the world, but can you really trust Flacco on the road in your fantasy postseason? The reigning Super Bowl MVP has failed to score more than 14 fantasy points in four of his last five roadies and has averaged a mere 12.9 fantasy points in those contests. (Maximum value: Low QB2)

Eli Manning vs. Seattle Seahawks: Manning was once considered a viable No. 1 fantasy quarterback, but that was then and this is now. The 2013 version of Manning has been a statistical disaster, and a matchup against the Seahawks makes him that much less attractive. Their defense is among the best in the NFL at stopping quarterbacks. (Maximum value: Mid QB2)

Jason Campbell vs. Chicago Bears: Campbell is coming off a huge performance against the Patriots, but I would advise you not to chase the fantasy points here. He has a much more difficult matchup this weekend against the Bears, who have surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points (12.9 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks since Week 11. (Maximum value: High QB2)

Owners beware - Ben Roethlisberger vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Roethlisberger has been on fire over the last four weeks, which makes it hard to bench him. Keep in mind, though, that he has not done well in his career against the Bengals. In fact, he's thrown for one or fewer touchdowns in nine of his last 10 contests against them overall. (Maximum value: Low QB1)


RB Start of the week


DeMarco Murray vs. Green Bay Packers: Murray has been hot in recent weeks, ranking among the 10 best running backs based on fantasy points since Week 11. He should remain in your starting lineup in what is a terrific matchup against the Packers, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points (27.1 PPG) to runners in the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

RB Start 'em


Eddie Lacy at Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have an atrocious run defense, as running backs have scored more fantasy points (24.4 PPG) against them than any other team in the league. So whether it is Lacy (ankle) or James Starks in the Packers backfield, fantasy leaguers have to like their prospects of putting up some tremendous numbers. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Shane Vereen at Miami Dolphins: Over the last four weeks, Vereen has recorded more receiving yards than any other running back in the entire league. It's those pass-catching skills that make him a PPR monster. Vereen's matchup against the Dolphins and their vulnerable run defense makes him a very solid option across all fantasy formats. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Zac Stacy vs. New Orleans Saints: Stacy's numbers have fallen a bit in recent weeks, but he's still an attractive option in most fantasy leagues in Week 15. The rookie has produced better numbers on his home field, while the Saints have had a tougher time against running backs on the road. Consider Stacy a viable No. 1 or 2 runner. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Sleeper alert - Chris Ogbonnaya vs. Chicago Bears: The Browns will be without Willis McGahee, meaning Ogbonnaya will take over lead-back duties in what is a tremendous matchup against the Bears. Chicago has surrendered the second-most fantasy points (25.6 PPG) to opposing running backs on the road, so Ogbonnaya is a nice sleeper. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

RB Sit of the week


C.J. Spiller at Jacksonville Jaguars: You might look at this matchup against the Jaguars and assume it's an attractive one, but take this into consideration. Over the last four weeks, only three teams have allowed fewer fantasy points per game to running backs than Jacksonville. Oh, and Spiller hasn't exactly been consistent either. (Maximum value: High RB2)

RB Sit 'em


Bobby Rainey vs. San Francisco 49ers: Rainey has been a strong fantasy play on his home field, but his two big performances came against bad run defenses (Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills). This week he faces the Niners, who have surrendered an average of fewer than 14 fantasy points per game to running backs over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Chris Ivory at Carolina Panthers: Ivory is coming off a solid performance against the Oakland Raiders, but can you trust him against a more formidable opponent like the Panthers? Only the Arizona Cardinals have allowed fewer fantasy points (11.7 PPG) to opposing runners on their home field, so Ivory could struggle to post nice totals. (Maximum value: High RB2)

DeAngelo Williams vs. New York Jets: Williams is in line for a bigger role in the offense in the absence of Jonathan Stewart, but facing the Jets makes him a major risk nonethless. The Men in Green have allowed fewer fantasy points (7.7 PPG) to home running backs than any other team in the league, so beware starting Williams in Week 15. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Owners beware - Chris Johnson vs. Arizona Cardinals: Johnson is tough to bench, and you shouldn't do it unless you have a legitimate alternative with a solid matchup. Just keep in mind that this week's contest against Arizona isn't a favorable one -- their defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (13.2 PPG) to home running backs. (Maximum value: High RB2)


WR Start of the week


DeSean Jackson at Minnesota Vikings: Jackson has scored double-digit fantasy points just once in his last three games, but owners should still keep him active in a plus matchup against the Vikings. Their defense has surrendered the third-most fantasy points (29.4 PPG) to opposing wide receivers at home, so start Jackson this week. (Maximum value: High WR1)

WR Start 'em


Torrey Smith at Detroit Lions (Mon.): Smith hasn't been the most consistent wide receiver in fantasy land, but he does rank among the 20 best players at his position based on points. He's also a nice option against the Lions, who have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points (25.13 PPG) to opposing wide receivers since Week 11. (Maximum value: Low WR1)

Alshon Jeffery at Cleveland Browns: A mere three wide receivers have scored more fantasy points than Jeffery over the last four weeks, so he's too hot to bench regardless of the opponent. So whether or not CB Joe Haden is covering him this week, Jeffery needs to be in your starting lineup despite having an unfavorable matchup on paper. (Maximum value: Low WR1)

Roddy White vs. Washington Redskins: If you're in a PPR league, White has re-emerged as a wideout to trust. Over the last two weeks, the veteran out of UAB has recorded an impressive 18 receptions for 217 yards. Washington's pass defense can be vulnerable too, so White becomes a nice option in both PPR and standard formats this week. (Maximum value: High WR2)

Sleeper alert - Cordarrelle Patterson vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Patterson has looked like a first-round star in recent weeks, scoring two touchdowns and a combined 20.8 fantasy points. Available in most leagues, he has a solid matchup against an Eagles defense that has allowed the most fantasy points (32.9 PPG) to wideouts on the road. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

WR Sit of the week


Mike Wallace vs. New England Patriots: Wallace had scored a combined 32.9 fantasy points in two games before last week's 1.9-point stinker in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, so he isn't at all consistent for owners. What's more, he was limited to 41 receiving yards and 4.9 fantasy points in his last contest against the Patriots. (Maximum value: High WR2)

WR Sit 'em


Michael Crabtree at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Crabtree might be getting closer to being in true football shape, but this still isn't the week to start him. The Niners travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers, where CB Darrelle Revis will be waiting for Crabtree in what should be a terrific one-on-one matchup. Keep him on the sidelines. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

Hakeem Nicks vs. Seattle Seahawks: A massive disappointment in fantasy land, Nicks has failed to score a touchdown and is a meager 48th in points among wide receivers in 2013. Couple that with a tough matchup against the Seahawks, and Nicks is tough to start. The same goes for Victor Cruz, who is suffering through a bad season too. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

Michael Floyd at Tennessee Titans: Floyd had a nice hot streak a few weeks back, but an injured ankle appears to have slowed the Notre Dame product. If that weren't enough to bench him, consider this week's game in Tennessee -- the Titans defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points (8.9 PPG) to wide receivers on the road in 2013. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

Owners beware - Vincent Jackson vs. San Francisco 49ers: Most owners can't afford to bench Jackson, so consider this a warning to temper your expectations this week. The veteran faces a tough Niners defense that has allowed six touchdown receptions and the fourth-fewest fantasy points (17.6 PPG) to opposing wide receivers this season. (Maximum value: High WR2)


TE Start of the week


Tony Gonzalez vs. Washington Redskins: Gonzalez is likely playing in one of the final three games of his illustrious NFL career, and this week's matchup against the Redskins bodes quite well for his chances to find success. Their defense has surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points (10.1 PPG) to opposing home tight ends this year. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

TE Start 'em


Dennis Pitta at Detroit Lions (Mon.): Pitta came back from an injured hip last week and shined, scoring a touchdown and double-digit fantasy points in a win over the Minnesota Vikings. While this week's game against the Lions isn't favorable on paper, it's tough to not consider Pitta a viable No. 1 tight end in most fantasy leagues. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

Greg Olsen vs. New York Jets: Olsen has seen his fantasy point totals decline in each of the last four weeks, but I'd still start him if you're in need at the tight end position. That's due in part to a good matchup against the Jets, who have surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points (9.3 PPG) to opposing tight ends overall this season. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

Delanie Walker vs. Arizona Cardinals: Walker has been dealing with a concussion, so owners need to keep close tabs on his status for Week 15. If he's active, the veteran has a great matchup against Arizona. Their defensive unit has surrendered more fantasy points (14.5 PPG) to opposing tight ends than any other team in the entire NFL. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

Sleeper alert - Charles Clay vs. New England Patriots: Clay is coming off a two-touchdown performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers and has scored eight or more fantasy points in three of his last four games, so he is clearly trending in the right direction. This weekend's AFC East matchup against the Patriots is favorable as well. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

TE Sit of the week


Jared Cook vs. New Orleans Saints: Cook was in the sit 'em portion of this column last week, and he put up a mediocre 4.9 fantasy points in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Next on the schedule ia a tough matchup against the Saints, who have given up the sixth-most fantasy points (6.5 PPG) to opposing tight ends on the road this year. (Maximum value: Mid TE2)

TE Sit 'em


Garrett Graham at Indianapolis Colts: Graham is a hot asset in fantasy land, as he's coming off a 13.3-point performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With that being said, this week's game in Indianapolis isn't favorable -- the Colts have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points (3.1 PPG) to tight ends on their home field. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Heath Miller vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Miller has been anything but consistent, and this week's matchup against the Bengals doesn't bode well for his chances to post a nice stat line. The veteran has one touchdown in seven career home games against Cincinnati, and has fewer than 60 yards in each of his 15 career meetings against them. (Maximum value: High TE2)

Timothy Wright vs. San Francisco 49ers: How's this for an odd trend -- Wright has scored no more than 1.7 fantasy points in each of his last two games played in odd-numbered weeks. He also has a tough upcoming matchup against the Niners, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points (4.7 PPG) to opposing tight ends on the road this season. (Maximum value: High TE2)

Owners beware - Martellus Bennett at Cleveland Browns: This has less to do with the matchup and more to do with Bennett's recent lack of production. Since scoring 19.6 fantasy points in Week 2, he's recorded nine or more points just twice including seven games with fewer than five points. That makes Bennett too much of a risk in the playoffs. (Maximum value: Low TE1)


K Start of the week


Justin Tucker at Detroit Lions (Mon.): Forget about Tucker's three-point performance last week, as the game was played in wintry weather conditions. He'll be warm and cozy at Ford Field this week, though, as the matchup is a favorable one. The Lions have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points (9.5 PPG) to kickers on their home field. (Maximum value: High K1)

K Start 'em


Robbie Gould at Cleveland Browns: Gould has scored eight or more fantasy points in three of his last four games, including a solid 13-point performance against the Dallas Cowboys last week. Next up is a contest with the Browns, who have surrendered an average of 10.2 fantasy points per game to opposing kickers over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid K1)

Alex Henery at Minnesota Vikings: Henery's numbers suffered last week due to a major snow storm in the Philadelphia area, but he's be warm and toasty in a dome against the Vikings. Their defense has allowed an average of right around nine fantasy points per game to kicker, so Henery should see more than his share of opportunities to produce. (Maximum value: Mid K1)

Sleeper alert - Graham Gano vs. New York Jets: A free agent in over 80 percent of NFL.com leagues, Gano is a nice streaming option among kickers based on what is a favorable matchup against the Jets. The Men in Green have surrendered the second-most fantasy points (12 PPG) to opposing kickers since Week 11, making Gano an attractive candidate. (Maximum value: Mid K1)

K Sit of the week


David Akers vs. Baltimore Ravens (Mon.): Akers was snowed into a big, fat zero in the stat sheets last weekend in Philadelphia, and an upcoming matchup against the Ravens doesn't make him much more attractive. Baltimore has pretty been tough on kickers, giving up the fourth-fewest fantasy points (5.7 PPG) to the position since Week 11. (Maximum value: High K2)

K Sit 'em


Matt Bryant vs. Washington Redskins: Bryant has been a disappointment this season, even more so when he's playing at the Georgia Dome. Over his last four home games, the veteran kicker has scored a combined 24 fantasy points. The Redskins have been tougher on kickers on the road this year too, so the numbers don't bode well for Bryant. (Maximum value: High K2)

Sebastian Janikowski vs. Kansas City Chiefs: SeaBass is in the midst of one of his worst seasons, ranking 24th in fantasy points among kickers. He's unlikely to reverse those fortunes against the Chiefs, who held Janikowski to just one point in Week 6 and have surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points (6.1 PPG) to kickers this season. (Maximum value: Mid K2)

Owners beware - Garrett Hartley at St. Louis Rams: Hartley is in a statistical slide, scoring a combined 13 fantasy points over the last three weeks. His lack of production could continue against the Rams, who have surrendered fewer fantasy points (4.7 PPG) to opposing kickers on their home field than any other team in the NFL this year. (Maximum value: Low K1)


DEF Start of the week


Panthers defense vs. New York Jets: Forget that the Panthers scored one fantasy point last week in New Orleans against Drew Brees, because next on the schedule is the turnover-prone Geno Smith and the New York Jets. Opposing defenses facing this offensive "attack" have combined to score the second-most fantasy points (12.2 PPG) in 2013. (Maximum value: High DEF1)

DEF Start 'em


Chiefs defense at Oakland Raiders: After putting up some forgettable numbers a few weeks back, the Chiefs returned with a vengeance to post 26 fantasy points in Week 14. This unit should remain active in leagues against the Raiders, who have been a pretty good source of fantasy points for opposing defenses for most of the 2013 campaign. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Saints defense at St. Louis Rams: New Orleans had a nine-point performance last week against the Panthers, and an upcoming matchup in St. Louis bodes well for their chances of posting back-to-back attractive stat lines. Over the last four weeks, opposing defenses have recorded the eighth-most fantasy points (9.0 PPG) when facing the Rams. (Maximum value: Low DEF1)

Sleeper alert - Jaguars defense vs. Buffalo Bills: Did you know that the Jags defense has outscored the Chiefs, Panthers and Ravens in the last four weeks? This unit now has some deep sleeper appeal against the Bills -- defenses have combined to score 31 fantasy points against EJ Manuel and his offense over their last two contests overall. (Maximum value: Low DEF1)

DEF Sit of the week


Rams defense vs. New Orleans Saints: St. Louis boasts one of the 10-best defenses in fantasy football this season, but facing Brees and an explosive Saints offense isn't what I call an attractive opponent. In fact, opposing defensive teams facing the Saints have combined to score the third-fewest fantasy points (4.5 PPG) this season. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

DEF Sit 'em


Packers defense at Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys defense stinks, but fantasy defenses don't score a lot of points against their offense. In fact, opposing defensive teams have combined to record the fifth-fewest fantasy points (4.8 PPG) when facing Dallas at Jerry World this season. That makes the Packers less of an option in all leagues. (Maximum value: High DEF2)

Jets defense at Carolina Panthers: The Jets scored the sixth-most fantasy points among defenses last week, but that was against Matt McGloin and the Raiders. This week comes a much tougher task, as New York travels to Carolina to face a Panthers team that will be salty after last week's embarrassing loss to the Saints on a national stage. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)

Owners beware - Bengals defense vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The season-long numbers suggest this is a good matchup for the Bengals, but look at the last four weeks. During that time, defenses have combined to score the second-fewest fantasy points (0.7 PPG) when facing Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Start the Bengals with caution. (Maximum value: Low DEF1)


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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