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.
Start of the week
Lions defense vs. New York Giants: The Lions defense might not have a better matchup ever than the one that awaits this week at Ford Field. The Giants are an absolute mess, and defensive units are taking advantage. In fact, home defenses going up against New York have combined to score the second-most fantasy points (15.0 PPG) in 2013. (Maximum value: High DEF1)
Bengals defense vs. Minnesota Vikings: The Bengals are a little banged up on defense, but that doesn't change the fact that this weekend's matchup against the Vikings is an extremely favorable one. In fact, home defenses going up against Minnesota's offense have combined to record the fifth-most fantasy points (11.4 PPG) this season. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)
Chargers defense vs. Oakland Raiders: The Chargers defense played inspired football in last week's win over the Denver Broncos, and an upcoming matchup against the Raiders is a favorable one. Over the most-recent four weeks of the 2013 season, defensive units going against Oakland have combined to average close to 10 fantasy points per game. (Maximum value: Low DEF1)
Sleeper alert - Broncos defense at Houston Texans: The Broncos have had an average-to-mediocre fantasy defense this season, but a matchup against the Texans makes it a viable option in Week 16. Opposing defenses have combined to record the fourth-most fantasy points (11.0 PPG) when facing Houston at Reliant Stadium, so Denver has value. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)
Sit of the week
Packers defense vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Packers defense has more name value than actual value, as this unit ranks a mere 19th in fantasy points at the position this season. Their fortunes won't be reversed against the Steelers, who have been one of the two toughest teams for defenses to score fantasy points against since Week 12. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)
Colts defense at Kansas City Chiefs: The Colts put up an impressive 17 fantasy points in last week's win over the Texans, but that won't be the case in a tough roadie against the Chiefs. Over the last four weeks, opposing defenses have combined to score the fewest fantasy points (0.50 PPG) when facing Alex Smith and Kansas City's offense. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)
Saints defense at Carolina Panthers: The Saints defense scored a respectable nine fantasy points against the Panthers back in Week 14, but that game was in New Orleans. This weekend's contest is in Carolina, where opponent's defenses have combined to score the third-fewest fantasy points (3.8 PPG). Keep the Saints on the fantasy bench. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)
Owners beware - Cardinals defense at Seattle Seahawks: It's tough to bench an aggressive and elite fantasy defense like the Cardinals, but fantasy owners should keep this nugget in mind. Opposing defenses facing the Seahawks in Seattle have combined to score the fourth-fewest fantasy points (4.0 PPG) this season. That's a tough matchup. (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**!