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 Arian Foster will not be featured in this column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.
Start of the week
Patriots defense at Buffalo Bills: In a case of a good, aggressive defense facing a rookie quarterback, the Patriots defense is one of the most attractive options of the week going up against the inexperienced EJ Manuel. In fact, the P-Men should be considered the top fantasy defensive unit to start in Week 1. This team should be active in all formats. (Maximum value: High-DEF1)
Buccaneers defense at New York Jets: Here's a rule of thumb if you like to stream fantasy defenses -- start anyone going up against the Jets. The Buccaneers draw that favorable matchup in Week 1, and will face rookie quarterback Geno Smith and an offense that doesn't have much firepower. This unit is available in a lot of leagues. (Maximum value: Mid-DEF1)
Rams defense vs. Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals should be more formidable on offense this season with the addition of new coach Bruce Arians and veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, but there are still a lot of question marks with their offensive line. That's very good news for a young and aggressive Rams defense going into this weekend. (Maximum value: Mid-DEF1)
Sleeper alert - Colts defense vs. Oakland Raiders: I am on the record -- I think Terrelle Pryor can turn into a viable fantasy option during the 2013 season. However, I also know that he's going to be prone to more than his share or turnovers. That makes me like the Colts defense, which is available in a ton of leagues and is a great streaming option. (Maximum value: Low-DEF1)
Sit of the week
Packers defense at San Francisco 49ers: The Packers have the potential to be a top-10 fantasy defense this season, but it's tough to trust this unit against Colin Kaepernick and the Niners on their home field. In 2012, opposing defenses averaged fewer than seven fantasy points per game against San Francisco. Keep the Pack on the sidelines if possible. (Maximum value: Low-DEF2)
Chargers defense vs. Houston Texans (Mon.): The Chargers ranked sixth in fantasy points among defenses in 2012, but that was then and this is now - and this week's matchup against the Texans isn't very favorable. With Arian Foster looking to be close to 100 percent and DeAndre Hopkins in the mix, the Texans will be running on all cylinders. (Maximum value: Low-DEF2)
Harrison: Power Rankings
With the 2013 campaign finally upon us, Elliot Harrison compiles his first Power Rankings of the regular season. More ...
Cowboys defense vs. New York Giants: The addition of new DC Monte Kiffin and DL coach Rod Marinelli could very well make the Cowboys defense more attractive in fantasy land, but I'd take a wait-and-see approach against the Giants. This game has all the looks of a shootout, making the 'Boys and the G-Men both unattractive defensive choices. (Maximum value: Low-DEF2)
Owners beware - Falcons defense at New Orleans Saints: I have a sneaking suspicion that Saints coach Sean Payton wants to come out with a major offensive bang after being suspended for the entire 2012 campaign. That's bad news for the value of the Falcons defense, which projects to give up a whole bunch of points to star Drew Brees and crew.(Maximum value: Low-DEF2)