Start Em Sit Em

Foster, Collie should both continue to roll in Week 4

Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at weekly matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy team. Sleeper alert features a player who's under the radar and could produce good numbers. Owners beware features a player who's a regular fantasy starter but could fail to meet expectations. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the Week

Arian Foster at Raiders: Foster has been a fantasy monster this season, and owners who were clever enough to draft him should keep him in their lineup against the Raiders. The Silver & Black have allowed an average of more than 21 fantasy points per game to opposing runners, so Foster should find continued success.

Quarterbacks - Start 'Em

Michael Vick vs. Redskins: How's this for the unpredictable NFL -- Vick, who wasn't even drafted in most leagues, now leads the fantasy universe in points among all players on NFL.com. Unless you have Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning, Vick needs to be in your starting lineup against the Washington Redskins.

Matt Ryan vs. 49ers: Ryan is coming off a nice performance in Week 3, posting 228 yards and two touchdown in a win over the Saints. He should put up another nice stat line against the 49ers, who have allowed seven touchdown passes and the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Consider Ryan a viable starter.

Mark Sanchez at Bills: Sanchez didn't have the best start to the season, but he's been on absolute fire ever since. In wins over the Patriots and Dolphins, he's thrown for six touchdowns with no interceptions. Now Sanchez faces the hapless Bills, who have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Chad Henne vs. Patriots (Mon.): Henne is coming off a monster performance against the Jets, throwing for 363 yards and two touchdowns. His next game is against the Patriots, who have allowed an average of more than 18 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. That makes Henne a nice option.

Bruce Gradkowski vs. Texans:Fantasy owners who need a quarterback for a one-week start should consider Gradkowski, who has a better matchup than any other player at his position. The veteran out of Toledo faces the Texans, who have allowed more fantasy points to signal-callers than any other NFL team.

Sleeper alert -- Sam Bradford vs. Seahawks: Bradford isn't the sexiest fantasy pick in the world, but he could be in line for a nice weekend. The rookie could be forced to throw more often with Steven Jackson injured, and he's facing a Seahawks defense that was shredded by Kyle Orton in their first road game of the year.

Quarterbacks - Sit 'Em

Joe Flacco at Steelers: Flacco is coming off a spectacular performance against the Browns, throwing for three touchdowns passes in a 24-17 win. Unfortunately, he has a much more difficult task ahead, facing S Troy Polamalu and the Steel Curtain at Heinz Field. That makes Flacco a major risk for fantasy owners.

Alex Smith at Falcons: Smith has had an up-and-down season, so it's hard to trust him regardless of the opponent. This week he faces the Falcons, who have allowed an average of fewer than 10 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Unless you're in desperate need at the position, Smith should be on your bench.

David Garrard vs. Colts: Garrard scored an impressive 19.80 fantasy points in the Jaguars' season opener against the Broncos. Since then he's played some of the worst football of his career, putting up a combined 7.32 points in losses to the Chargers and Eagles. He should be benched (or dropped altogether) this week.

Shaun Hill at Packers: In two starts in the absence of starter Matthew Stafford, Hill has averaged a respectable 286 passing yards with a combined three touchdown passes. However, he's still not much of an option in standard fantasy leagues on the road against the Packers and their stout pass defense.

Charlie Batch vs. Ravens: Batch came out of nowhere to produce three touchdown passes and 18.04 fantasy points in last week's win over the Buccaneers, but he'll be hard pressed to duplicate those totals against the Ravens. After three weeks, no team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Owners beware -- Carson Palmer at Browns: Palmer has a nice matchup on paper, but the Browns defense can be tough on their home field. In fact, four of the last six quarterbacks to face them on their turf failed to throw for a single touchdown. Unless you're hurting at the position, Palmer should be benched.

Running backs - Start 'Em

Cedric Benson at Browns: Benson is coming off a nice statistical week, scoring 21 fantasy points on the strength of 81 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Owners should keep him active against the Browns, who have allowed Benson to rush for an average of over 122 rushing yards in their last two meetings in Cleveland.

Darren McFadden vs. Texans: McFadden wasn't even the first Raiders running back drafted in a lot of fantasy leagues, but he's certainly been the best. After three weeks, he's fifth in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com. Owners should continue to start McFadden against the Texans while he's on such a torrid streak.

Ryan Mathews vs. Cardinals: Barring a setback in his return from an injured ankle, Mathews should be considered a fine start against the Cardinals. Their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season, including 18.20 to McFadden in Week 3. Look for Mathews to find success.

Matt Forte at Giants: Forte has rushed for an average of just 36 yards per game in 2010, but he's still eighth in fantasy points at his position because of his prowess in the Bears passing game. The Giants have allowed an average of close to 20 fantasy points to opposing runners in their first three games, so Forte should remain active.

LaDainian Tomlinson at Bills: Tomlinson will never re-gain the elite fantasy status he once held with the Chargers, but he's clearly the most valuable running back on the Jets roster right now. The future Hall of Famer is a viable No. 2 fantasy option against the Bills, who have one of the league's more vulnerable defenses.

Sleeper alert -- Justin Forsett at Rams: Forsett is seeing most of the carries in the Seahawks backfield, and this week's matchup against the Rams makes him a nice sleeper. In his last game in St. Louis, Forsett put up 130 rushing yards and scored two touchdowns. Consider him a viable flex starter in most leagues.

Running backs - Sit 'Em

Clinton Portis at Eagles: Portis was once considered one of the best running backs in fantasy football. But that was then and this is now. The veteran out of Miami is now a shell of his former self, so much so that he's losing carries to Ryan Torain. Unless you are in dire straits, Portis needs to be benched.

Jerome Harrison vs. Bengals: The emergence of Peyton Hillis as a featured back has left Harrison with very little fantasy appeal. A hero for countless owners at the end of last season, Harrison is now no more than a handcuff for Hillis in a best-case scenario. Keep him on the sidelines.

Marshawn Lynch vs. Jets: Lynch has re-emerged as the No. 1 running back in Buffalo, but he's still no closer to being a featured runner. What's more, he'll have a hard time finding running room against the Jets - they've allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing backs after the first three weeks of the year.

Tim Hightower at Chargers: Hightower was a nice fantasy option during the first two weeks, but the return of Beanie Wells has put a major dent into his value. In fact, Wells led the Cardinals in carries last week and averaged an impressive 5.4 yards per attempt. At best, Hightower is now a PPR flex option.

Brandon Jacobs vs. Bears: The Giants backfield has clearly become the domain of Ahmad Bradshaw, leaving Jacobs on the sidelines and with little fantasy appeal. In his last two games, the bruising runner has a combined total of eight carries. Keep Jacobs on the bench this weekend - or drop him altogether.

Owners beware -- Ray Rice vs. Steelers: The Steelers have reduced Michael Turner and Chris Johnson to mere mortals this season, so Rice will be in for a long afternoon at Heinz Field. He's also dealing with a sore knee, which doesn't help his outlook. If Rice is out, Willis McGahee will do no better this week.

Wide receivers - Start 'Em

Austin Collie at Jaguars: Collie has been hotter than the summer sun, posting more fantasy points than any other wide receiver in the entire league after the first three weeks. With Pierre Garcon still banged up and a matchup against the Jaguars on the schedule, Collie needs to be active in all fantasy leagues.

Malcom Floyd vs. Cardinals: With Vincent Jackson out of the mix, Floyd has become the top wideout in the Chargers' pass attack. Furthermore, he's now 11th in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com. Consider Floyd a borderline No. 2 or 3 wideout against a Cardinals defense that's been mediocre this season.

Jeremy Maclin vs. Redskins: Maclin, a preseason sleeper on NFL.com, has become the new Cris Carter -- all he does is score touchdowns. He has found the end zone four times in three games and has developed a great rapport with Vick, who'll no doubt look to Maclin often against the Redskins' leaky pass defense.

Donald Driver vs. Lions: Driver's yardage totals after three weeks leave something to be desired, but he's still a strong play for fantasy owners against the Lions. In his last four games against the Motor City kitties, Driver has hauled in a ridiculous 27 catches for 412 yards with three touchdowns.

Braylon Edwards at Bills: I'm not a huge fan of Edwards, but he has been putting up some decent numbers for fantasy owners. His success should continue against the Bills, who have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Consider Edwards a viable No. 3 fantasy option across the board.

Mark Clayton vs. Seahawks: Since joining the Rams, Clayton has hauled in 17 passes and caught two touchdowns as the main option in the passing game for Bradford. It's a good idea to use him while he's hot, especially against the Seahawks. They've given up an average of 24 fantasy points to opposing wideouts.

Sleeper alert -- Louis Murphy vs. Texans: Owners looking for a great sleeper should consider Murphy, who has been on fire the last two weeks. He has a nice rapport with Gradkowski, and this week's road matchup against the Texans is favorable. They've allowed an average of 31 fantasy points to wide receivers.

Wide receivers - Sit 'Em

Steve Smith at Saints: It's hard to bench a wideout of Smith's caliber, but his value is taking a hit with Jimmy Clausen under center. Last week, he was targeted just five times and finished with a very poor stat line. Next up for Smith are the Saints, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wideouts.

Michael Crabtree at Falcons: Last week, I expressed some concerns about Crabtree's lack of production and advised owners to sit him. Well, I'm even more worried about him now than I was a week ago. Crabtree has been invisible in the 49ers pass attack and is clearly a major risk against an improved Falcons defense.

Robert Meachem vs. Panthers: Meachem played a mere 14 snaps in Week 2 and was targeted just twice in last week's loss to the Falcons, so he's clearly not seeing enough time to warrant a prominent role on fantasy teams. In fact, owners in leagues with 12 or fewer teams should consider releasing him at this point.

Lee Evans vs. Jets: The change at quarterback from Trent Edwards to Ryan Fitzpatrick did improve the value of Evans, who caught five passes for 54 yards last week against the Patriots. Still, Evans is hard to trust as a fantasy starter against CB Antonio Cromartie and a very tough Jets defense.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh at Steelers: Houshmandzadeh was one of the best wideouts in fantasy football at one time in his career, but now he's not even worth a roster spot in most leagues. He has just two catches for 31 yards the entire season and won't soon improve on his numbers against a ferocious Steelers defense.

Owners beware -- Calvin Johnson at Packers: I have Megatron in a number of fantasy leagues, and I'm going to start him this week. However, that doesn't mean I'm filled with confidence. The Packers have been tough on opposing wideouts, and facing CB Charles Woodson will be a difficult task. Start Johnson with caution.

Tight ends - Start 'Em

Jermichael Finley vs. Lions: Finley is fast becoming one of the top tight ends in fantasy football. He's fourth in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com, and this week's matchup against the Lions makes him even more attractive. In fact, owners should be starting most of their top Packers this week.

Dustin Keller at Bills: In what has been a very surprising start, Keller has outscored every tight end in the league not named Antonio Gates. He should continue to produce terrific numbers against the Bills, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Zach Miller vs. Texans: Miller is coming off his best game of the season, catching four passes for 64 yards with one touchdown in a loss to the Cardinals. Owners should keep him active against the Texans, who have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends after three weeks.

Aaron Hernandez at Dolphins: Hernandez has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners. He's tied for 10th in points at his position on NFL.com, and this week's matchup in Miami makes him an attractive option. The Dolphins have allowed an average of over 10 fantasy points per game to tight ends.

Greg Olsen at Giants: With four fantasy starting tight ends on a bye this week, Olsen is going to be active in more than his share of leagues. Coming off a 64-yard, one-touchdown performance against the Packers, Olsen is a nice one-week option facing the Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium.

Sleeper alert -- John Carlson at Rams: Carlson has become a popular target in the pass attack for Matt Hasselbeck, hauling in a combined 10 passes for 109 yards with one touchdown in his last two games. This week he faces the Rams, who rank 24th in the league in receiving yards allowed this season.

Tight ends - Sit 'Em

Owen Daniels at Raiders: Daniels has been absolutely non-existent for fantasy owners after three weeks. While he does have a good matchup against the Raiders, it's hard to trust Daniels right now. Consider him a low-end No. 1 option at best, at least until his overall numbers start to improve.

Heath Miller vs. Ravens: Miller has done a disappearing act this season, catching a combined eight passes for 68 yards with no touchdowns. While his value should rise again once Ben Roethlisberger returns, Miller shouldn't be starting in fantasy leagues -- especially not against the Ravens defense.

Todd Heap at Steelers: There aren't going to be a lot of attractive fantasy options in this week's Ravens-Steelers tilt, and Heap is no different. In his last four games against this AFC North foe, Heap has caught a combined four passes for 67 yards. He's clearly not usable in most fantasy leagues.

Jermaine Gresham at Browns: Gresham has had a nice start to his rookie season, catching 13 passes for 99 yards with one touchdown. However, he'll be hard to trust this week against a Browns defense that has surrendered an average of just four fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Tony Scheffler at Packers: Scheffler had a nice performance against the Vikings, but don't expect the same sort of success in Week 4. The Packers will be motivated to put last Monday's bad loss behind them and feast on the Lions. Plus, Scheffler will continue to lose targets to Brandon Pettigrew.

Owners beware -- Marcedes Lewis vs. Colts: Lewis started off the season with a bang, but he lost some value with a three-catch flop against the Eagles. I'd keep him on the bench this week -- Lewis has averaged just 34.5 yards with one touchdown in his last six games against the Colts.

Kickers - Start 'Em

Jeff Reed vs. Ravens: Reed is currently the second-highest scoring kicker in fantasy football after three weeks, and the Ravens have allowed the second-most fantasy points to kickers. As a result, it only makes sense to start Reed in a game where he could see a number of field-goal opportunities.

Robbie Gould at Giants: Gould has re-emerged into a viable fantasy starter this season, posting a combined 24 points (tied for eighth among kickers) on NFL.com. He's a nice option against the Giants, who have surrendered more fantasy points to kickers than any other team in the NFL.

Sebastian Janikowski vs. Texans: Janikowski did miss a chip shot to beat the Cardinals last week, but he's still the third-best kicker in fantasy football. He should remain active this week against the Texans, who are allowing an average of more than eight fantasy points per game to kickers.

Sleeper alert -- Dan Carpenter vs. Patriots (Mon.): Carpenter is coming off a huge 13-point performance against the Jets, and he'll be a great fantasy option once again in Week 4. The Patriots have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing kickers, so consider Carpenter if he's available.

Kickers - Sit 'Em

John Kasay at Saints: Kasay led all kickers in Week 1 with 12 fantasy points. Since then, he's scored a combined two points behind an offense that is struggling to move the football. With Jimmy Clausen under center, Kasay doesn't figure to see a great increase in opportunities against the Saints.

Lawrence Tynes vs. Bears: Tynes has averaged just five fantasy points in his first three games of the season, and this week's contest against the Bears is anything but favorable. The new Monsters of the Midway have surrendered an average of just 4.7 fantasy points to opposing kickers this year.

Billy Cundiff at Steelers: Cundiff was a productive fantasy option during the second half of last season, but he's had a slow start to the 2010 campaign. In fact, he ranks just 25th in fantasy points among kickers. Cundiff should be on the fantasy sidelines in a tough game against the Steelers.

Owners beware -- Garrett Hartley vs. Panthers: The Saints have signed the ageless John Carney, meaning Hartley is no lock to even be active this week against the Panthers. That's a situation that fantasy owners should avoid at all costs, so look for more reliable options off the waiver wire.

Defenses - Start 'Em

Saints defense vs. Panthers: As I mentioned in my note on Kasay, Clausen will continue to start for the Panthers this week. That's good news for the Saints, who will no doubt look to put a ton of pressure on what has become an easy offense to stop. Start the Saints with a boatload of confidence.

Colts defense at Jaguars: The Jaguars offense has been dreadful over the last two weeks, scoring a combined 16 points in losses to the Chargers and Eagles. With David Garrard struggling to do anything, the Colts defense is a very attractive option in fantasy leagues.

Falcons defense vs. 49ers: After the first three weeks of the season, defenses facing Smith and the 49ers have scored the third-most fantasy points. That's good news for the Falcons, who have an improved defense and warrant starting consideration based on this matchup.

Sleeper alert -- Seahawks defense at Rams: Believe it or not, the Seahawks have scored the second-most fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com. A big part of that is Leon Washington, who scored two return touchdowns last week. Regardless, the Seahawks are a nice play against Bradford and the Rams.

Defenses - Sit 'Em

49ers defense at Falcons: It's really hard to fathom, but the Niners defense has scored the fewest fantasy points of any defensive unit on NFL.com. As if that weren't enough to bench them, this week's road game against Matt Ryan and a hot Atlanta offense is the epitome of a terrible matchup.

Redskins defense at Eagles: How bad was the Redskins defense last week? Well, it mustered just four fantasy points against a rookie quarterback and a Rams offense that lost it's best player in Steven Jackson. The Skins won't do much better against Vick and a productive Eagles offense.

Patriots defense at Dolphins (Mon.) The Patriots offense can put points on the scoreboard, but their defense hasn't been able to stop the opposition from doing the same. If you lose points for excessive scoring or yardage allowed, the P-Men shouldn't be seen as a viable starting option.

Owners beware -- Ravens defense at Steelers: The Purple and Black attack will be active in most fantasy leagues this week, but don't be shocked if it doesn't produce solid fantasy totals at Heinz Field. Defenses facing the Steelers have averaged a mere 3.0 fantasy points this season.

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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