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
Ben Roethlisberger at Bills: Roethlisberger has been on fire from a statistical perspective in recent weeks, scoring a combined 61.18 fantasy points on NFL.com in his last two games. His success should continue against the Bills, who have allowed an average of over 16 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks this season.
Quarterbacks - start 'em
Michael Vick at Bears: The Bears have surrendered the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season, but that shouldn't keep you from starting Vick. In fact, the Monsters of the Midway could be a bit overrated on the defensive side of the football based on the caliber of their opponents. Look for Vick to find success in Week 12.
Tom Brady at Lions (Thurs.): Brady is listed as questionable due to a foot ailment, but it would be a shock if he didn't start on Thanksgiving Day. Assuming he is under center, Tom Terrific should be active against a Lions defense that has allowed an average of close to 16 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks in 2010.
Matt Cassel at Seahawks: Cassel has been a solid option for owners in recent weeks, throwing for multiple touchdowns in five of his last six starts. Overall, he has tossed 18 touchdown passes with a mere four interceptions. Cassel should continue to thrive against the Seahawks, who have struggled against the pass.
Shaun Hill vs. Patriots (Thurs.): If you're one of those owners who plays the matchups at quarterback each week, Hill is well worth a look. He has a great matchup against the Patriots, who have surrendered an average of 18.3 fantasy points per game to signal-callers. That's the third-most in the league.
Brett Favre at Redskins: If you are in serious need of a quarterback, I think Favre is worth a roll of the dice. Sure, he's been a turnover machine. But I think the promotion of Leslie Frazier as the interim coach will motivate Favre and his teammates. What's more, the Redskins have allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Sleeper alert - Sam Bradford at Broncos: Bradford has shown some serious flashes of potential in his rookie season, throwing for 2,158 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. If you're desperate for a quarterback or need to start two players at the position, Bradford has a tasty matchup against a porous Broncos pass defense.
Quarterbacks - sit 'em
Matt Schaub vs. Titans: Schaub has not been a reliable option for fantasy leaguers this season, and a matchup against the Titans makes him an even riskier option in Week 12. Their defense has allowed just 12 touchdown passes in their first 10 games, so look for the Texans to run it with Arian Foster more than they throw it with Schaub.
Carson Palmer at Jets (Thurs.): Palmer has put up some nice fantasy numbers this season -- many of them in garbage time -- but he could struggle to stuff the stat sheet against the Jets. The Men in Green have been tougher to throw on now that CB Darrelle Revis is 100 percent, so Palmer's prospects for Thanksgiving night aren't good.
Matt Ryan vs. Packers: Ryan has been extremely solid for fantasy owners in recent weeks, so it could be tough to bench him if you don't have another reliable option at the quarterback position. However, keep in mind that he's up against a formidable Packers defense that has surrendered a mere nine touchdown passes this season.
Joe Flacco vs. Buccaneers: The Buccaneers defense isn't the same stout unit that once fielded Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, but it is one of the more underrated teams in the league. In fact, coach Raheem Morris' crew has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks. That makes Flacco a bit of a risk in all leagues.
David Garrard at Giants: It's hard to argue with Garrard's numbers in recent weeks -- he's thrown for multiple touchdowns in five of his last six games -- but this week's road matchup against the Giants isn't at all attractive. Their defense has surrendered an average of fewer than 12 fantasy points per game to signal-callers.
Owners beware - Eli Manning vs. Jaguars: The Jaguars have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, but can Manning take advantage without Hakeem Nicks and Steve Smith? That pair has accounted for 51 percent of his passing yards and 57 percent of his touchdown passes. If you have another option, Manning should be benched.
Running backs - start 'em
Jamaal Charles at Seahawks: Charles will lose his share of touchdowns to Thomas Jones down the stretch, but he's still a yardage machine and a solid starter in fantasy leagues. Look for the explosive Charles to make some noise against the Seahawks, who have surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Benjarvus Green-Ellis at Lions (Thurs.): Green-Ellis can be inconsistent at times, but he's a solid option for owners when the matchup is favorable. That's the case on Thanksgiving Day, as he'll face a Lions defense that has surrendered the third-most fantasy points to running backs. Be sure to hire the "Law Firm" for the holidays.
Matt Forte vs. Eagles: Forte is coming off a solid performance against the Dolphins, posting 16.40 fantasy points on NFL.com. While he has been unreliable at times, Forte should be active against the Eagles in Week 12 -- their defense has allowed an average of close to 18 fantasy points per game to opposing runners in 2010.
Ronnie Brown at Raiders: Although he has been a serious disappointment for owners this season, Brown can still exploit a favorable matchup between the white lines. This week he'll face the Raiders, who have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. Consider Brown a viable No. 2 back or flex starter in most formats.
Brandon Jacobs vs. Jaguars: Jacobs, who was named the Giants' new starting running back, is still destined to share carries with Ahmad Bradshaw. However, he should still see goal-line work against a Jaguars defense that has allowed 11 rushing touchdowns to runners this season. That's the third-most in the NFL.
Sleeper alert - Mike Tolbert at Colts: If Ryan Mathews is out this week, fantasy owners should consider Tolbert a viable No. 2 back or flex starter based on a matchup against the Colts. Their defense has been porous against the run, allowing an average of close to 18 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Running backs - sit 'em
Jahvid Best vs. Patriots (Thurs.): Best is probable to face the Patriots on Thanksgiving, but he needs to be benched in fantasy leagues even if he is active. The rookie is dealing with a problematic case of turf toe that has sapped him of most of his burst. In fact, I expect Maurice Morris to see more carries in this contest.
Cedric Benson at Jets (Thurs.): Benson is coming off a huge game against the Bills, but he'll find the sledding much more difficult against another AFC East team, the Jets. Their defense has surrendered four touchdowns and the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs, so Benson could be in for a rough night in New York.
Marshawn Lynch vs. Chiefs: The Chiefs haven't been great against the run this season, but Lynch has simply been too unproductive to trust right now. In his last five games, the veteran back has averaged 5.6 fantasy points on NFL.com. What's more, Lynch was benched by coach Pete Carroll in Week 11 after two third-quarter fumbles.
Brandon Jacksonat Falcons: Jackson has been inconsistent since taking over for Ryan Grant, and this week's matchup against the Falcons is not a favorable one -- their defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs. I expect the Packers to throw it a ton in this game, leaving Jackson few chances to produce.
Beanie Wells vs. 49ers (Mon.): The Cardinals backfield rotation is one of the most confusing and frustrating in all of fantasy football. Wells hasn't separated himself from Tim Hightower, who is still seeing his share of the workload. Until (or if) this situation clears up, Wells simply can't be trusted to produce solid numbers.
Owners beware - Fred Jackson vs. Steelers: Jackson, one of the more underrated running backs in the league, has feasted on the Lions and Bengals over his last two starts. However, this week's game against the Steelers is much tougher -- their defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.
Wide receivers - start 'em
Marques Colston at Cowboys (Thurs.): Colston had a slow start to the season, but he has been an absolute fantasy football monster in his last three games. With a matchup against a weak Cowboys pass defense next on the schedule, Colston should continue to make noise for owners in what could be a Thanksgiving Day shootout.
Mario Manningham vs. Jaguars: The Giants will be without Nicks and Smith, so Manningham is now the No. 1 wideout in the pass attack. That makes him a great option in fantasy leagues against the Jaguars, who have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season. Consider Manningham a solid No. 2 wideout.
Santonio Holmes vs. Bengals (Thurs.): Holmes' tenure with the Jets got off to a slow start, but he is now putting up great fantasy totals. In his last three games, the veteran has posted a combined 316 yards and three touchdowns. The Bengals were torched by Steve Johnson last week, so Holmes is in line to have another nice outing.
Mike Williamsat Ravens: Williams, a talented rookie out of Syracuse, is on pace to finish with an impressive 69 receptions for 1,090 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Buccaneers. He should remain active in fantasy leagues this week against the Ravens -- their defense has been strong against the run but vulnerable to the pass most of the season.
Nate Burleson vs. Patriots (Thurs.): Burleson has recorded a combined 25 receptions in his last four games, so he's clearly a major part of the Lions pass attack. As a result, owners should consider him an attractive No. 3 fantasy wideout against the Patriots -- their defense has allowed the seventh-most points to wide receivers.
Sleeper alert - Sidney Rice at Redskins: In his first game back from hip surgery, Rice caught just three passes for 56 yards. However, he was targeted 10 times by Favre in the contest. With an exceptional matchup against the Redskins next on the schedule, the veteran wideout is well worth starting in most fantasy football leagues.
Wide receivers - sit 'em
Anquan Boldin vs Buccaneers: If you have depth at the wide receiver spot, it makes sense to consider benching Boldin. Did you know that one-third of his fantasy points this season have come in just one game? He also failed to score a full fantasy point on NFL.com last week. I'd start Manningham over him in Week 12.
Jeremy Maclin at Bears: Owners without depth at the wide receiver position will find it hard to bench Maclin, who ranks 10th in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com. But he could be in for a tough game at Soldier Field against a Bears defense that has allowed just five touchdown catches to wide receivers this season.
Pierre Garcon vs. Chargers: Injuries and a lack of end-zone visits have turned Garcon into an unreliable option for fantasy owners, and this week's matchup against the Chargers makes him an even greater risk. The Bolts have surrendered a mere four touchdown catches and an average of just 13.1 fantasy points per game to wideouts.
Randy Moss at Texans: I'm hoping that putting Moss in the sit 'em section of this column will cause some sort of jinx, causing him to put up a huge stat line against a bad Texans pass defense. But with rookie quarterback Rusty Smith under center and a string of poor stat lines with the Vikings and Titans, Moss a huge fantasy risk.
Steve Smithat Browns: Smith is still one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL, but he can't throw himself the football. Jimmy Clausen is slated to return to work this week, and he is an upgrade over last week's quarterback, Brian St. Pierre. That's all you need to know about Smith -- he needs to be benched.
Owners beware - Terrell Owens at Jets (Thurs.): There's a little place called Revis Island that wideouts are forced to visit when playing the Jets -- it's a place where great fantasy receivers turn into Darrius Heyward-Bey (is that too harsh?). Regardless, Owens and Chad Ochocinco are both risky fantasy options on Thursday night.
Tight ends - start 'em
Jacob Tamme vs. Chargers: The Chargers have one of the best defenses in the National Football League, but this unit has still allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. That's good news for Tamme, who has become quite a nice fantasy option in the absence of Dallas Clark. He's a legitimate No. 1 tight end.
Brandon Pettigrew vs. Patriots (Thurs.): Believe it or not, but Pettigrew is ninth in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com. The Oklahoma State product has been a nice option in the Lions pass attack for Hill, who should look to him often against the Patriots. Their defense has allowed an average of 7.6 fantasy points to tight ends.
Joel Dreessen at Titans: With Owen Daniels out of action, Dreessen has become a viable starter in fantasy leagues. Last week, he produced 106 yards and one touchdown in a loss to the Jets. Next on the schedule is a date with the Titans, who have surrendered an average of close to eight fantasy points per game to tight ends in 2010.
Kevin Boss vs. Jaguars: With Nicks and Smith out of action, Boss should see more targets in the Giants pass attack moving forward. Before last week, he had actually scored a touchdown in two straight games as an intermediate option for Manning. The Jaguars have also struggled to stop tight ends this season, so Boss is a viable starter.
Heath Miller at Bills: Miller hasn't exactly been a reliable option for fantasy owners in recent weeks, but he's still worth a look in some leagues against the Bills. Their defense has surrendered an NFL-high eight touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends, so Miller's fortunes could change soon.
Sleeper alert - Bo Scaife at Texans:Fantasy owners in deeper leagues looking for a one-week option at the tight end position can do worse than add Scaife, who has a great matchup against the Texans. Their defense has allowed more fantasy points to tight ends than any other team. What's more, Scaife will be a safety net for Rusty Smith.
Tight ends - sit 'em
Marcedes Lewis at Giants: Lewis ranks second in fantasy points among tight ends on NFL.com -- only Antonio Gates has been more productive -- but he's still a risk against the Giants. Their defense has been tremendous against tight ends, allowing just two touchdown catches and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position.
Brent Celek at Bears: Celek has gone from being a fantasy stud last season to becoming waiver-wire fodder in 2010. In the six games that Vick has played the majority of the snaps for the Eagles, he has just 11 catches for 109 yards with no touchdowns. Celek was also held without a single reception against the Giants last week.
Kellen Winslowat Ravens: Winslow posted six catches for 65 yards and scored his first touchdown of the season two weeks ago, but he failed to produce good numbers last week in a win over the Niners. Next on the schedule is a date with the Ravens, who have surrendered the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.
Todd Heap vs. Buccaneers: Heap, who ranks an impressive seventh in fantasy points among tight ends on NFL.com, is in the midst of his best statistical season since 2006. However, he could fail to produce strong fantasy numbers against the Buccaneers -- their defense has allowed just three touchdown catches to tight ends in 2010.
Tony Moeaki at Seahawks: Moeaki, who missed last week's game against the Cardinals due to a concussion, is likely to be questionable for Week 12. Even in the event that he is active, though, the rookie should be benched in fantasy leagues. He'll face a Seahawks defense that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Owners beware - Zach Miller vs. Dolphins: Earlier in the season, Miller had emerged into one of the top tight ends in fantasy football. Unfortunately, an injured foot has really hurt his production in recent weeks. In fact, Miller has scored just 1.7 fantasy points on NFL.com since Week 8. That makes him hard for owners to start him.
Kickers - start 'em
Nick Folk vs. Bengals (Thurs.): After an awful 2009 campaign with the Cowboys, Folk has scored the fourth-most fantasy points among kickers as a member of the Jets this season. His success should continue on Thanksgiving night against the Bengals -- their defense has allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to kickers in 2010.
Neil Rackers at Titans: Rackers hasn't been overly consistent this season, but he still ranks eighth in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com. He should score at will this week against the Titans, who have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to kickers overall. Rackers is still a free agent in 75 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Matt Prater vs. Rams: The Rams defense has improved greatly under coach Steve Spagnuolo in 2010, but kickers are having a field day against them. In fact, this unit has surrendered an average of close to 10 fantasy points per game to opposing kickers. That makes Prater well worth a look as a one-week option in all leagues.
Sleeper alert - Phil Dawson vs. Panthers: Dawson has averaged a solid nine fantasy points in his last three games, so his value is certainly pointing upward. This week he has a great matchup against the Panthers, who have surrendered 21 field-goal conversions and the third-most fantasy points to opposing kickers this season.
Kickers - sit 'em
Shayne Graham at Lions (Thurs.): Graham has averaged a very respectable eight fantasy points in his first two games with the Patriots, but he could struggle to reach that mark against the Lions on Thanksgiving. Their defense has surrendered just 10 field-goal conversions all season, not to mention the sixth-fewest fantasy points to kickers.
Billy Cundiff vs. Buccaneers: Cundiff is in the top 10 in fantasy points at his position on NFL.com, making him a viable starter in most leagues. However, he could be in for a rough weekend against the underrated Buccaneers. Their defense has surrendered just 10 field-goal conversions and an average of 5.5 fantasy points to kickers.
Lawrence Tynes vs. Jaguars: The Jaguars have allowed a boatload of touchdowns this season, but their defense doesn't give up a lot of field goals. In fact, kickers have posted just 11 conversions against them. That's bad news for Tynes, who will also play behind an offense that's missing two of its top playmakers in Nicks and Smith.
Owners beware - Dan Carpenter at Raiders: Carpenter scored the same number of fantasy points as I did last week -- none. That left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of fantasy owners. While he's still a solid kicker overall, Carpenter could be in for another poor week against a Raiders defense that has been tough on kickers in 2010.
Defenses - start 'em
Browns defense vs. Panthers: The Browns scored an impressive 22 fantasy points on NFL.com in last week's loss to the Jaguars, so this unit is trending in the right direction in fantasy leagues. With a matchup against Clausen and what has been a putrid Panthers offense up next, the Browns should be considered a tremendous option in Week 12.
Jets defense vs. Bengals (Thurs.): The Bengals have a ton of weapons on offense, but a combination of Palmer's turnovers and defensive touchdowns have made this a unit to target in the matchups. Enter Revis and the Jets, who will look to put the clamps on Palmer, T.O. and Ochocinco in what should be a great game on Thursday night.
Cardinals defense vs. 49ers (Mon.): The Cardinals don't have the best defense in the world of real football, but they're eighth in fantasy points on NFL.com after 11 weeks. Defenses facing the Niners have combined to score the fifth-most fantasy points, so it's pretty obvious that the Cardinals have some real value for fantasy owners.
Sleeper alert - Raiders defense vs. Dolphins:Fantasy owners in deeper leagues looking for a one-week defense should consider the Raiders based on a matchup against Dolphins. Whether it's Thigpen or Chad Henne at quarterback, opposing defenses facing the 'Fins have combined to score the ninth-most fantasy points this season.
Defenses - sit 'em
Ravens defense vs. Buccaneers: The Ravens put up their best fantasy numbers of the season last week, but that was against the Panthers. LB Ray Lewis and his crew will have a much tougher time against Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers, who are no longer the slouches of the NFC South. Don't expect the Ravens to repeat their Week 11 total.
Chargers defense at Colts: Outside of two huge performances, the Chargers defense has been less than stellar for owners this season. Next on the schedule is a game against Peyton Manning and the Colts -- that's never a good thing for the value of a defense. In fact, you can find far better options than the Bolts on the waiver wire.
Falcons defense vs. Packers:Aaron Rodgers and the Packers have one of the most explosive offenses in the entire league. That's been evident in recent weeks, as they have posted a combined 76 points in their last two games. That's bad news for the Falcons, who are vulnerable to the pass and could give up a ton of points in the contest.
Owners beware - Bears defense vs. Eagles: The Bears have one of the better defensive units in fantasy football, but don't be shocked if it has a rough outing against Vick and the Eagles. Opposing defense have combined to score the fifth-fewest fantasy points against them. I wouldn't drop the Bears, but I would bench them if possible.