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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Week 13

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


Tom Brady at Houston Texans: Remember just a few weeks ago when fantasy owners had to consider putting Brady on the bench? Well, he has his weapons back and his fantasy value is now on the rise. He should post a nice stat line against the Texans, who have allowed 18-plus fantasy points to two of the last three quarterbacks to face them in Houston. (Maximum value: High QB1)

QB Start 'em


Nick Foles vs. Arizona Cardinals: You might see this matchup and think it's bad on paper, but the Cardinals have actually allowed an average of right around 17 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks on the road this season. Foles has also been too hot to bench, unless of course you have one of the elite quarterbacks in fantasy football. (Maximum value: Mid QB1)

Philip Rivers vs. Cincinnati Bengals: You might look at this seemingly bad matchup against the Bengals and cringe, but take a look at this little nugget. While Cincinnati has been quite tough on quarterbacks at home (9.2 fantasy PPG), their defense has surrendered an average of over 18 fantasy points per game to the position on the road. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Andy Dalton at San Diego Chargers: Dalton hasn't been the most consistent quarterback in the world, but he can make some noise in the stat sheets when the matchup is favorable. That's the case this week in San Diego, where the Chargers have allowed an average of nearly 20 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks on their home field. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Sleeper alert - Josh McCown at Minnesota Vikings: McCown has done a wonderful job filling in for an injured Jay Cutler, and fantasy leaguers need to take notice. In fact, he's a viable starter in a road game against the Vikings -- no home defense has surrendered more fantasy points (22.9 PPG) to quarterbacks than the Purple People Eaters. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

QB Sit of the week


Matt Ryan at Buffalo Bills (Toronto): Ryan has gone from fantasy star to a major risk who is being dropped in some leagues. The Bills pass defense can be vulnerable, but overall it's allowed quarterbacks an average of just under 16 fantasy points per game. Considering Ryan's poor offensive line as well, he's just better left on the bench. (Maximum value: High QB2)

QB Sit 'em


Russell Wilson vs. New Orleans Saints (Mon.): It's tough to bench a solid signal-caller like Wilson when he's playing at home, and you shouldn't do it unless you have a viable alternative. Just keep in mind that this week's opponent, the Saints, have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points (13.8 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks on the road. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Eli Manning at Washington Redskins: This is a great matchup on paper, but can you trust the untrustable 2013 version of Eli Manning? He's also been awful in his career against the Redskins -- the veteran has 14 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions overall and has thrown one scoring strike or fewer in 16 of his 17 career meetings with them. (Maximum value: High QB2)

Mike Glennon at Carolina Panthers: Glennon was in the sleeper portion of this column last week, but fantasy leaguers should look to avoid him this week in Carolina. Few teams in the league have been tougher on opposing quarterbacks at home, as the Panthers have surrendered an average of just 11.1 fantasy points per game to the position. (Maximum value: Mid QB2)

Owners beware - Andrew Luck vs. Tennessee Titans: Luck has failed to throw for multiple touchdowns in each of his last three games, including a Week 11 start against the Titans when he was held without a scoring strike. So while it's tough to bench Luck when he's playing at home, keep in mind that Tennessee is plain tough on quarterbacks. (Maximum value: Low QB1)


RB Start of the week


Andre Brown at Washington Redskins: Brown has been as good as advertised in his return to action, scoring no fewer than 9.3 fantasy points in each of his last three games. He's a good bet to post another nice stat line in Washington, as the Redskins have surrendered an average of nearly 20 fantasy points per game to running backs at home. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

RB Start 'em


Frank Gore vs. St. Louis Rams: Gore hasn't been great for owners in recent weeks, but can you really afford to sit him against the Rams? Their defense has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points (24.0 PPG) to opposing running backs on the road, so Gore will be in a great position. to find success. Keep him in your lineup this weekend. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Fred Jackson vs. Atlanta Falcons (Toronto): Jackson should be fresh coming off a bye week, and a matchup against the Falcons makes him a nice option in fantasy leagues. Their defense has been bad vs. the run, allowing the third-most fantasy points (24.1 PPG) to opposing running backs on the road. C.J. Spiller is also a viable flex. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Chris Ivory vs. Miami Dolphins: Assuming the ankle injury Ivory suffered last week isn't too serious, he's a solid option for fantasy owners against the Dolphins. Their defense has been just plain bad against the run, allowing the fifth-most receiving yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points to runners in 2013. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Sleeper alert - Donald Brown vs. Tennessee Titans: Trent Richardson has been an enormous bust since he was traded to Indianapolis, so Brown becomes an attractive option against a Titans defense that struggles to stop the run. Back in Week 11, Brown put up 94 scrimmage yards, two touchdowns and 21.4 fantasy points against Tenneessee. (Maximum value: High RB2)

RB Sit of the week


Stevan Ridley at Houston Texans: This has less to do with the matchup and more to do with Ridley's recent case of fumbilitis. Benched for coughing up the football last week, Ridley is in danger of being smack in the middle of a backfield committee with Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount. He's someone to avoid if possible. (Maximum value: Low RB2)

RB Sit 'em


Pierre Thomas at Seattle Seahawks: Thomas is on a nice hot streak, ranking ninth in fantasy points among running backs over the last four weeks. However, this week's matchup against the Seahawks is not at all favorable. Their defense has been tough on backs, allowing an average of 14.3 fantasy points per game to the position in Seattle. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Ryan Mathews vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Mathews has played better in recent weeks, but he's dealing with a hamstring aggravation and a tough matchup on paper against the Bengals. This defense has been a nightmare for opposing running backs, allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points (14.9 PPG) to the position on the road this season. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Lamar Miller at New York Jets: Here's the good news for Miller owners -- the loss of Daniel Thomas should mean more carries moving forward. Now the bad news -- you still want nothing to do with him against the Jets. Their defense has been plain stingy against the run, allowing an average of 13.3 fantasy points per game to runners at home. (Maximum value: Mid RB3)

Owners beware - Bobby Rainey at Carolina Panthers: The bloom is off Rainey's rose after last week's poor stat line, and an upcoming matchup against the Panthers isn't going to improve his stock. The Panthers have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points (12.5 PPG) to opposing running backs on their home field, so keep Rainey on the bench. (Maximum value: Mid RB3)


WR Start of the week


Josh Gordon vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: One of the hottest wide receivers in fantasy football, Gordon has more points than any player at his position over the last two weeks. This week's matchup is neither favorable or unfavorable on paper, but Gordon is too good to be on anyone's fantasy bench against the Jaguars -- or any other team. (Maximum value: High WR1)

WR Start 'em


Keenan Allen vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Allen went off last week against a tough Chiefs defense, reminding fantasy owners that he's one of the better young wideouts in the league -- despite the matchups. He's been especially solid at home, averaging close to 10 fantasy points per game over his past three contests down in sunny San Diego. (Maximum value: Mid WR1)

Harry Douglas at Buffalo Bills (Toronto): It's been a lost season for the Falcons, but Douglas has been one of the lone bright spots. Now a viable No. 2 or 3 fantasy wideout, he's a nice option this week against the Bills -- their defense has surrendered the third-most fantasy points (28.6 PPG) to opposing wide receivers this season. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

Michael Floyd at Philadelphia Eagles: Floyd has been on fire, posting a combined 297 yards with one touchdown over his last two games. The Eagles have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points (26.3 PPG) to opposing wide receivers at home, so the Notre Dame Golden Domer will be in a good position to find continued stat success in Week 13. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

Sleeper alert - Kendall Wright at Indianapolis Colts: Wright is an under-rated star in PPR formats. In fact, he's scored a combined 64 fantasy points over the last four weeks in such leagues. Wright should remain active this weekend against the Colts, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points (31.3 PPG) to wideouts since Week 9. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

WR Sit of the week


Marques Colston at Seattle Seahawks (Mon.): The Seahawks have some issues in their defensive backfield, but that doesn't change the fact that this unit has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (14 PPG) to wide receivers on their home field. That's bad news for Colston, who is in the midst of his worst statistical season in the NFL. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

WR Sit 'em


T.Y. Hilton vs. Tennessee Titans: Hilton has gone cold in recent weeks, posting a combined 8.2 fantasy points over his last two games. That includes a Week 11 contest in Tennessee where he recorded just 44 yards. The Titans have allowed the fewest fantasy points (9.3 PPG) to wideouts in the last four weeks overall, so Hilton is a risk. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

Cecil Shorts at Cleveland Browns: Antonio Brown might have gotten the best of Browns CB Joe Haden last week, but he's been one of the few exceptions to the rule this season. That doesn't bode very well for Shorts, who has failed to score more than eight fantasy points in standard leagues since Week 5. He's better left to the sidelines. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

Tavon Austin at San Francisco 49ers: Austin has been hot, scoring a combined 43.2 fantasy points in his last two games. Of course, 12.5 of those points came on a rare 65-yard touchdown run in last week's win. He'll struggle against the Niners, who have surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points (14.6 PPG) to receivers since Week 9. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

Owners beware - Mike Wallace at New York Jets: Wallace is coming off a huge game, and that was against a stout Carolina pass defense. So why is he a risk against the hapless Jets? Well, the veteran has score more than five fantasy points just once on the road this season. And to be honest, I just don't trust him to have two big weeks in a row. Maximum value: High WR2)


TE Start of the week


Jordan Cameron vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Over the last four weeks, a combined 47 tight ends have scored more fantasy points than Cameron. Still, I'm preaching patience this week due to a great matchup against the Jaguars -- their defense has surrendered more fantasy points (12.8 PPG) to tight ends than any other squad since Week 9. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

TE Start 'em


Coby Fleener vs. Tennessee Titans: Fleener has been hotter than a sweet potato on Thanksgiving Day, ranking third in fantasy points (35.9) among tight ends since Week 9. That includes a 107-yard performance against the Titans back in Week 11. Tennessee has struggled to stop tight ends most of the season, so Fleener is a nice starter. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

Greg Olsen vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Olsen has been a touchdown machine in recent weeks, finding the end zone in four of his last five games. That includes one score against the Buccaneers back in Week 8. Tampa Bay has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points (12.5 PPG) to tight ends since Week 9, so Olsen remains an attractive choice. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Martellus Bennett at Minnesota Vikings: Bennett hasn't been all that consistent in the stat sheets, but this week's matchup against the Vikings is tough to ignore. Earlier this season, he took them apart for two touchdowns and 19.6 fantasy points in a 31-30 win. The Vikings have continued to struggle against tight ends, so start Bennett. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Sleeper alert - Brent Celek vs. Arizona Cardinals: Celek hasn't been much of a factor in fantasy land, but a date with the Cardinals has him back on the fantasy radar. No team has allowed more touchdown catches (11) or fantasy points (14.0 PPG) to opposing tight ends, so Celek will have a legit chance to make an impact in Week 13. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

TE Sit of the week


Jared Cook at San Francisco 49ers: Cook has scored a combined two touchdowns and nine-plus fantasy points in two of his last three games, but can owners trust him in a tough matchup against the Niners? Their defense has been tough on tight ends, allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points (5.1 PPG) to the position at home this season. (Maximum value: High TE2)

TE Sit 'em


Antonio Gates vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Gates has cooled off in recent weeks, scoring one touchdown and more than 5.3 fantasy points just once in his last six games. With Ladarius Green emerging as a reliable option in the pass attack, not to mention a difficult matchup against the Bengals, Gates is someone who could continue to disappoint. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Brandon Myers at Washington Redskins: Myers found the end zone and scored 9.9 fantasy points in last week's loss to the Dallas Cowboys, but that was his first game with more than five fantasy points since Week 2. So despite the fact that the Redskins have struggled to stop tight ends, Myers is a major risk as a starter in fantasy land. (Maximum value: Mid TE2)

Zach Miller vs. New Orleans Saints (Mon.): Miller is an all-or-nothing tight end, and he's been on the bad side of that trend for each of his last three games. He's not going to be in a good position to reverse that trend against the Saints, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points (4.8 PPG) to tight ends on the road this season. (Maximum value: Mid TE2)

Owners beware - Tony Gonzalez at Buffalo Bills (Toronto): This has been a forgettable season for Gonzalez, who has scored fewer than five fantasy points in four of his last six games. His streak of mediocre stat lines could continue, as the Bills have given up the third-most fantasy points (4.5 PPG) to the position in the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Low TE1)


K Start of the week


Robbie Gould at Minnesota Vikings: Gould has alternated good and bad stat lines for fantasy owners ever since Week 9. If this odd trend continues, he'll be due to put up some nice totals against the Vikings. This is a good matchup too, as Minnesota has surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points (9.2 PPG) to opposing kickers this season.(Maximum value: High K1)

K Start 'em


Adam Vinatieri vs. Tennessee Titans: The last time Vinatieri went up against the Titans, he scored an impressive 14 fantasy points. Couple that with the fact that Tennessee has given up the third-most fantasy points (10.2 PPG) to kickers over the last four weeks, and it's easy to see why the old veteran makes for a very nice fantasy option. (Maximum value: High K1)

Blair Walsh vs. Chicago Bears: Walsh was unreliable earlier in the season, but he's heating up with a combined 32 fantasy points in his last three games. Owners should add him this week against the Bears, who coughed up 12 fantasy points to Walsh back in Week 2. The talented kicker is a free agent in over 25 percent of NFL.com leagues. (Maximum value: Mid K1)

Sleeper alert - Nick Folk vs. Miami Dolphins: Folk has scored five combined fantasy points in his last two games, but that's what makes him a potential sleeper this week. The Dolphins have been quite a nice opponent for kickers lately, surrendering an average of 10.0 fantasy points per game to the position over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid K1)

K Sit of the week


Greg Zuerlein at San Francisco 49ers: Zuerlein is coming off an impressive 10-point performance in a win over the Bears, but fantasy owners shouldn't go out and chase those points. He'll struggle to have a repeat performance against the Niners, who have surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points (5.8 PPG) to kickers at home this season. (Maximum value: Mid K2)

K Sit 'em


Alex Henery vs. Arizona Cardinals: Henery had been hot earlier in the season, but he's cooled off to the tune of a combined 26 fantasy points over his last five games. He's not likely to turn up the fantasy heat against the Cardinals, either. Their defense has allowed the second-most fantasy points (3.7 PPG) to kickers since Week 9. (Maximum value: Mid K2)

Matt Bryant at Buffalo Bills (Toronto): Atlanta's offense has struggled mightily in recent weeks, so it's no surprise that Bryant's numbers are down as well. In fact, he hasn't recorded double-digit fantasy points in a single game since Week 4. Bryant has also averaged fewer than seven fantasy points over his last four contests. (Maximum value: Mid K2)

Owners beware - Garrett Hartley at Seattle Seahawks: Hartley appears to have rebounded from some midseason struggles, but he's still not a must-start kicker, regardless of the opponent. This week he goes up against the Seahawks, who have surrendered an average of fewer than six fantasy points per game to opposing kickers on their home field. (Maximum value: Mid K1)


DEF Start of the week


Patriots defense at Houston Texans: A top-10 fantasy football defense, the Patriots should be considered quite an attractive option this weekend in Houston. Despite some offensive improvements with Case Keenum under center, opposing defenses facing the Texans at home have still combined to score the second-most fantasy points (12.5 PPG) at the position. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

DEF Start 'em


Bills defense vs. Atlanta Falcons (Toronto): The Falcons have been a disaster on offense, as pass protection and injuries have become a huge issue. This has also affected Matt Ryan, who has more interceptions (9) than touchdowns (5) in his last five contests. This all makes Buffalo's defense quite a nice streaming option this weekend. (Maximum value: Low DEF1)

Browns defense vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Cleveland's defense hasn't been very good in fantasy leagues in recent weeks, but a favorable matchup against Chad Henne and the Jaguars makes them a viable streaming option this week. Defenses facing Jacksonville this season have combined to score the fourth-most fantasy points (12.6 PPG). (Maximum value: Low DEF1)

Sleeper alert - Dolphins defense at New York Jets: Geno Smith has been an absolute turnover machine under center, making most defenses facing the Jets a viable option in fantasy leagues. In fact, defenses have combined to record the fourth-most fantasy points (12.3 PPG) when facing the Men in Green since Week 9. That makes the Dolphins worth a look. (Maximum value: Low DEF1)

DEF Sit of the week


Chiefs defense vs. Denver Broncos: The Chiefs defense has fallen apart in recent weeks, as injuries and a tougher schedule have led to a decline in production. In fact, Kansas City has scored four or fewer fantasy points in three of its last four games. This is a unit to avoid this weekend with Peyton Manning and the Broncos in town. (Maximum value: High DEF2)

DEF Sit 'em


Rams defense at San Francisco 49ers: Over the last four weeks, no defense has scored more fantasy points than the Rams. While that's an impressive feat, this week's matchup in San Francisco is a tough one. Defenses have combined to score the fifth-fewest fantasy points (5.9 PPG) when facing Colin Kaepernick and his offensive mates. (Maximum value: High DEF2)

Buccaneers defense at Carolina Panthers: The Buccaneers scored an impressive 18 fantasy points on defense last week, but owners who choose to start them in Week 13 will be simply chasing points. To this point in the season, defenses facing Cam Newton and the Panthers in Carolina have combined to score the fourth-fewest fantasy points. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)

Owners beware - Bengals defense at San Diego Chargers: The Bengals have an impressive fantasy defense, ranking fourth in points at the position. Still, keep in mind that the Chargers have not been kind to fantasy defenses. In fact, opposing units facing Philip Rivers and his crew have combined to score the fourth-fewest fantasy points. (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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