Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups of the week and how those matchups will affect your fantasy team. Sleeper alert highlights a player who's under the radar but could produce strong numbers based on the opponent. Owners beware highlights a player who's a regular starter in most fantasy leagues but could fail to meet expectations. For your final lineup decisions, check our weekly lineup rankings.

Start of the Week

Team Player Analysis

Baltimore Ravens

Ray Rice, RB
Rice has become one of the top running backs in fantasy football this season, ranking fourth at the position in fantasy points on NFL.com behind the talented trio of Maurice Jones-Drew, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson. He's a must-start on Monday night against the Browns, who rank 31st against the run and are allowing an average of close to 27 fantasy points per game to running backs.


Quarterbacks -- Start 'Em

Team Player Analysis

Minnesota Vikings

Brett Favre
Favre has been one of the best fantasy values of the season. Despite his extended age, he is on pace to finish with an impressive 32 touchdown passes. He should increase that projection this week against the Lions, who field one of the league's worst pass defenses. Detroit is allowing an average of 37.3 points and 288.2 passing yards per game on the road, so look for Favre to thrive.


Team Player Analysis

Arizona Cardinals

Kurt Warner
Warner, who's coming off a five-touchdown performance against the Bears, has a very favorable schedule down the stretch. The includes a game this week against the Seahawks, a team he's owned in recent seasons. In his last five starts against the NFC West opponent, Warner has averaged 254 yards and thrown for a combined 10 touchdowns. Look for the 38-year old veteran to heat up in the desert.


More quarterbacks with favorable matchups
1. Ben Roethlisberger vs. Bengals: Bengals rank 25th vs. the pass; allowing an average of 19.1 fantasy PPG to QBs.
2. Tony Romo at Packers: Packers have allowed 449 passing yards and seven TD passes in their last two games.
3. Jay Cutler vs. 49ers (Thurs.): 49ers rank 24th vs. the pass; allowing an average of 17.8 fantasy PPG to QBs.
4. Matt Hasselbeck at Cardinals: Hasselbeck averaging close to 240 yards with 10 TDs in last five vs. Cardinals.
5. Mark Sanchez vs. Jaguars: Jaguars rank 26th vs. the pass; allowing an average of 20.8 fantasy PPG to QBs.

Sleeper alert: Chad Henne vs. Buccaneers: Bucccaneers have allowed 18 TD passes this season.


Quarterbacks -- Sit 'Em

Team Player Analysis

Atlanta Falcons

Matt Ryan
Ryan is one of the best young quarterbacks in the league, and he's almost certain to become a star in fantasy football. But based on his recent struggles and this week's matchup against Carolina, Ryan could be in for another tough start. The Panthers rank sixth in pass defense, allowing an average of just 106.7 passing yards per game at home. Until he turns it around, keep Ryan on the fantasy sidelines.


Team Player Analysis

Cincinnati Bengals

Carson Palmer
Palmer has been a useful, albeit inconsistent, fantasy starter this season. But this is a week to keep him on the bench. The veteran quarterback faces the Steelers, who have held him to an average of just 190.3 passing yards and a combined two touchdown passes in their last three meetings. With SS Troy Polamalu back in the mix, the Steel Curtain should blanket Palmer's chance to produce points.


More quarterbacks with unfavorable matchups
1. David Garrard at Jets: Jets rank second vs. the pass; allowing an average of 11.0 fantasy PPG to QBs this season.
2. Kyle Orton at Redskins: Redskins rank first vs. the pass; allowing an average of 12.9 fantasy PPG to QBs in 2009.
3. Vince Young vs. Bills: Bills rank 10th vs. the pass; allowed six TD passes and average of 12.2 fantasy PPG to QBs.
4. Marc Bulger vs. Saints: Saints have allowed six TD passes; allowing an average of 12.8 PPG to QBs this season.
5. Jason Campbell vs. Broncos: Broncos rank seventh vs. the pass; allowing an average of 12.5 fantasy PPG to QBs.

Owners beware: Donovan McNabb at Chargers: Chargers allowing an average of 157.2 passing YPG at home.


Running backs -- Start 'Em

Team Player Analysis

Miami Dolphins

Ronnie Brown
Brown's level of production has dipped in recent weeks, as he's averaged just 7.6 fantasy points on NFL.com in his last three games. But based on a matchup against the Buccaneers, he should still be considered a must-start. The Bucs rank 30th in the league against the run, and they're allowing an average of 22.5 fantasy points to running backs. Look for the Fins to run Brown and the Wildcat with success.


More running backs with favorable matchups
1. Steven Jackson vs. Saints: Saints have allowed 11 TD runs; allowing an average of 20.4 fantasy PPG to RBs.
2. Pierre Thomas at Rams: Rams allowing an average of 22.7 fantasy PPG and 138.4 rushing YPG to RBs in 2009.
3. Thomas Jones vs. Jaguars: Jaguars rank 22nd vs. the run; allowing an average of 157.5 rushing YPG on the road.
4. Brian Westbrook at Chargers: Check injury status; Chargers allowing an average of 22.3 fantasy PPG to RBs.
5. Tim Hightower vs. Seahawks: Seahawks allowing an average of 31.7 PPG, 149.0 rushing YPG on the road.

Sleeper alert: Justin Fargas vs. Chiefs: Viable one-week flex starter; Chiefs rank 28th vs. the run this season.


Running backs -- Sit 'Em

Team Player Analysis

Detroit Lions

Kevin Smith
Smith, who ranks 21st in fantasy points among running backs on NFL.com, has struggled to produce in recent weeks. In his last four games, the second-year back has averaged a mere 7.3 points. He also hasn't found the end zone since Week 4. Based on those struggles, not to mention a matchup against the Vikings and their sixth-ranked run defense, Smith is a candidate to struggle in Week 10.


Team Player Analysis

Denver Broncos

Knowshon Moreno
Moreno has the potential to become a reliable fantasy starter at the NFL level down the line, but it's hard to trust him right now based on two factors. First is the presence of Correll Buckhalter, who continues to see his share of the carries. Second is a matchup against the Redskins, who are allowing an average of just 15.2 points per game at FedEx Field. As a result, Moreno is a real risk in fantasy circles.


More running backs with unfavorable matchups
1. Marion Barber at Packers: Packers rank ninth vs. the run; allowing an average of 97.1 rushing YPG this season.
2. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Eagles: Eagles rank 10th vs. the run; allowing an average of 88 rushing YPG on the road.
3. Cadillac Williams at Dolphins: Dolphins rank sixth vs. the run; allowing average of 88 rushing YPG on the road.
4. Jamal Lewis vs. Ravens (Mon.): Ravens rank seventh vs. the run; allowing an average of 94.9 rushing YPG.
5. Julius Jones at Cardinals: Cardinals rank third vs. the run; allowing an average of 93.1 rushing YPG this season.

Owners beware: Ryan Grant vs. Cowboys: Cowboys allowing an average of 91.0 rushing YPG since Week 5.


Wide receivers -- Start 'Em

Team Player Analysis

New Orleans Saints

Marques Colston
Colston was held to just one catch for 45 yards in last week's win over the Panthers, but that's no reason for fantasy owners to panic. The veteran wideout from Hofstra will rebound against the Rams, who enter the week ranked 20th in receiving defense. The Saints should put up huge numbers against what is clearly one of the more vulnerable units in the league. Start Colston with confidence.


Team Player Analysis

Carolina Panthers

Steve Smith
Smith has been a major disappointment from a fantasy perspective this season. After eight games, he's only on pace to finish with 68 catches for 956 yards and two touchdowns based on his current numbers. But against this week's opponent, the Falcons, Smith is still an attractive option. In his last three games against the NFC South foe, he's recorded 22 receptions, 395 yards and one touchdown.


More wide receivers with favorable matchups
1. Calvin Johnson at Vikings: Vikings rank 27th in receiving defense; allowing an average of 260.4 receiving YPG.
2. Sidney Rice vs. Lions: Lions rank 31st in receiving defense; allowing average of 288.2 receiving YPG on the road.
3. Braylon Edwards vs. Jaguars: Jaguars have allowed 15 TD passes; allowing average of 27.6 fantasy PPG to WRs.
4. T.J. Houshmandzadeh at Cardinals: Cardinals allowing average of 262.1 receiving YPG, 22.0 fantasy PPG to WRs.
5. Lee Evans at Titans: Titans allowing an average of 32.0 fantasy PPG to WRs; rank 32nd in receiving defense.

Sleeper alert: Derrick Mason at Browns (Mon.): Mason posted five catches, 118 yards, TD vs. Browns in Week 3.


Wide receivers -- Sit 'Em

Team Player Analysis

Jacksonville Jaguars

Mike Sims-Walker
It's hard to sit a wide receiver the caliber of Sims-Walker, especially when he's coming off a 147-yard, one-touchdown performance in a win over the Chiefs. But against the Jets and their second-rated receiving defense, he's not a good bet to put up big numbers. Sims-Walker, who will have to square off against CB Darrelle Revis, could be a bit of a disappointment based on this extremely difficult matchup.


Team Player Analysis

Kansas City Chiefs

Dwayne Bowe
Bowe has scored four touchdowns in seven games, but overall he's been a disappointment for fantasy leaguers. He's on pace for just 803 yards, and that projection might decrease this week in Oakland. The Raiders rank 12th in receiving defense, and Bowe will have to face off against CB Nnamdi Asomugha. He's also averaged just 64 yards with one touchdown in five career games against the Silver & Black.


More wide receivers with unfavorable matchups
1. DeSean Jackson at Chargers: Chargers allowing an average of just 14.8 fantasy PPG to WRs after eight weeks.
2. Santonio Holmes vs. Bengals: Holmes has averaged 55.6 yards and scored no TDs in last five game vs. Bengals.
3. Santana Moss vs. Broncos: Broncos rank eigth in receiving defense; allowing average of 17.7 fantasy PPG to WRs.
4. Eddie Royal at Redskins: Redskins allowing an average of 16.6 fantasy PPG to WRs; rank first in receiving defense.
5. Roy Williams at Packers: Williams has a combined six catches for 80 yards in his last two games vs.the Packers.

Owners beware: Terrell Owens at Titans: Check injury status; will face Titans CB Cortland Finnegan.


Tight ends -- Start 'Em

Team Player Analysis

San Diego Chargers

Antonio Gates
Gates has been a bit of a disappointment for fantasy owners in recent weeks, averaging a mere six fantasy points per game in his last four starts. Despite his recent failures, however, Gates should still be active in all leagues in Week 10. The veteran faces an Eagles defense that's allowing an average of 11 fantasy points per game to tight ends. Look for Gates to bounce back and produce well in the stat sheet.


Team Player Analysis

Philadelphia Eagles

Brent Celek
Celek, a preseason supersleeper on NFL.com, has become a nice fantasy starter for owners. After the first nine weeks, he's scored the fourth-most points among tight ends. Believe it or not, but he's outscored the likes of Gates and Jason Witten in the process. Celek should continue to find success against the Chargers, who have really struggled to stop opposing tight ends in recent seasons.


More tight ends with favorable matchups
1. Dallas Clark vs. Patriots: Total no-brainer; Ranks second among TEs in fantasy points on NFL.com.
2. Jeremy Shockey at Rams: Rams rank 20th in receiving defense; allowing an average of 9.4 fantasy PPG to TEs.
3. Kellen Winslow at Dolphins: Dolphins allowing average of 9.1 fantasy PPG to TEs; rank 29th in receiving defense.
4. Heath Miller vs. Bengals: Bengals allowing an average of close to eight fantasy PPG to TEs after nine weeks.
5. Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Lions: Lions allowing an average of 53.5 YPG, 10.6 fantasy PPG to TEs this season.

Sleeper alert: Brandon Pettigrew at Vikings: Vikings allowing an average of 12.0 fantasy PPG to TEs in 2009.


Tight ends -- Sit 'Em

Team Player Analysis

Seattle Seahawks

John Carlson
Carlson opened the season with a solid 21-point performance against the Rams. Since then, the Notre Dame product has averaged a mere 3.4 fantasy points. Unfortunately, injuries to the Seahawks offensive line have left Carlson on the line of scrimmage to block more often. That's limited his opportunities to make an impact in the passing game. Even against the Cardinals, Carlson is a risky option.


Team Player Analysis

New York Jets

Dustin Keller
In Keller's last game, he posted a strong performance with eight receptions, 76 yards and a touchdown in a loss to the Dolphins. That will make him a popular option in fantasy leagues this week. However, don't be shocked if Keller fails to make a significant impact against Jacksonville. The Jaguars have been tough on opposing tight ends, allowing an average of just 4.4 fantasy points to the position.


More tight ends with unfavorable matchups
1. Zach Miller vs. Chiefs: Miller has averaged three receptions, 37.8 yards and no TDs in his career vs. Chiefs.
2. Fred Davis vs. Broncos: Broncos allowing an average of 3.4 fantasy PPG, one TD catch to TEs after nine weeks.
3. Marcedes Lewis at Jets: Jets rank second in receiving defense; allowing an average of 5.6 fantasy PPG to TEs.
4. Tony Scheffler at Redskins: Scheffler averaging a mere 3.9 fantasy PPG on NFL.com after first nine weeks.
5. Benjamin Watson at Colts: Colts allowing an average of 3.6 fantasy PPG (32 receptions, 237 yards) to TEs.

Owners beware: Jason Witten at Packers: Packers rank seventh in receiving defense (196.6 YPG) this season.


Kickers -- Start 'Em

Team Player Analysis

Minnesota Vikings

Ryan Longwell
Longwell has re-emerged as one of the top kickers in fantasy football, ranking fourth in points at his position on NFL.com after nine weeks. His success should continue against the Detroit Lions, who are allowing an average of 10 fantasy points per game to kickers this season. The Vikings should score a ton of points in this game, so look for Longwell to see his share of chances to produce in Week 10.


More kickers with favorable matchups
1. David Akers at Chargers: Akers averaging 10.2 fantasy PPG this season, the most among kickers on NFL.com.
2. John Carney at Rams: Rams are allowing an average of 38.7 PPG at home, the most of any hosting defense.
3. Matt Prater at Redskins: Redskins allowing an average of 8.0 fantasy PPG (15/17 FGA) to kickers this season.
4. Steven Hauschka at Browns (Mon.) Hauschka scored 10 fantasy points in his last game vs. Browns (Week 3).
5. Rob Bironas vs. Bills: Bironas has scored a combined 24 fantasy points (5/5 FGA) in his last three games.

Sleeper alert: Sebastian Janikowski vs. Chiefs: Janikowski scored 10 fantasy points vs. Chiefs back in Week 2.


Kickers -- Sit 'Em

Team Player Analysis

Atlanta Falcons

Jason Elam
Elam hasn't lived up to fantasy expectations this season, ranking 24th in points among kickers on NFL.com. That lack of production alone is enough to bench him (or drop him altogether), but this week's matchup against Carolina makes Elam even less of an option. The Panthers have allowed an average of just 6.5 fantasy points per game and nine total field-goal conversions to kickers this season.


More kickers with unfavorable matchups
1. Nate Kaeding vs. Eagles: Hard to sit; Kickers averaging just six fantasy PPG against the Eagles this season.
2. Olindo Mare at Cardinals: Cardinals allowing an average of just 5.8 fantasy PPG (8/12 FGA) to kickers in 2009.
3. Josh Scobee at Jets: Jets allowing an average of just 5.9 fantasy PPG (10/11 FGA) to kickers this season.
4. Matt Stover vs. Patriots: Patriots allowing an average of 5.1 fantasy PPR (8/9 FGA) to kickers after nine weeks.
5. Jeff Reed vs. Bengals: Kickers averaging just 5.4 fantasy PPG (8/12 FGA) against the Bengals in 2009.

Owners beware: Nick Folk at Packers: Packers have allowed an average of 5.6 fantasy PPG (7/9 FGA) to kickers.


Defenses -- Start 'Em

Team Player

Ravens defense
The Ravens' defense has been a far less consistent fantasy option compared to recent seasons, but this unit is still a strong option in games against weaker opponents. That's the case on Monday night, as Baltimore heads to Cleveland to face QB Brady Quinn and the Browns' struggling offense. Back in Week 3, the Ravens scored a solid 24.0 fantasy points against this AFC North rival. Expect another nice stat line for the Ravens.


More defenses with favorable matchups
1. Saints defense at Rams: Saints rank first in total fantasy points among all defenses on NFL.com this season.
2. Vikings defense vs. Lions: Lions offense averaging just 269.5 YPG on the road; allowed 26 sacks overall.
3. Broncos defense at Redskins: Defenses facing the Redskins have averaged the most fantasy points per game.
4. Jets defense vs. Jaguars: Jaguars averaging just 14.0 PPG, 288.7 YPG in four road games this season.
5. Cowboys defense at Packers: Cowboys averaging 17 fantasy PPG since Week 7; Packers have allowed 37 sacks.

Sleeper alert: Cardinals defense vs. Seahawks: Cardinals scored 25 fantasy points vs. Seahawks back in Week 6.


Defenses -- Sit 'Em

Team Player

Colts defense
The Colts defense is a useful matchup-based unit for fantasy owners, but this week's game against the Patriots is anything but favorable. New England ranks fourth in scoring offense and is averaging close to 340 total yards on the road. With three important defensive backs injured, the Colts will be vulnerable to QB Tom Brady in a game that could turn into a shootout. That scenario hurts the value of both defensive units.


More defenses with unfavorable matchups
1. Bills defense at Titans: Titans have scored a combined 64 points in two games with QB Vince Young.
2. Patriots defense at Colts: Defenses facing the Colts offense are averaging the fewest fantasy PPG this season.
3. Redskins defense vs. Broncos: Defenses facing the Broncos are averaging the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG in 2009.
4. Panthers defense vs. Falcons: Falcons offense averaging 25.7 PPG and 368.5 total YPG on the road this season.
5. Packers defense vs. Cowboys: Cowboys offense averaging a solid 22.5 PPG and 408.2 YPG on the road in 2009.

Owners beware: Eagles defense at Chargers: Chargers averaging 24.0 PPG, 371.5 YPG in four home games.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Leave it in our comments section or send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com!

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