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 Peyton Manning and LeSean McCoy will not be featured. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.
Start of the week
Arizona Cardinals D/ST at New York Giants: Turnovers are huge in fantasy football from a defensive perspective, so you want to target quarterbacks who turn the ball over often. That fits Eli Manning to a tee. In his last 17 games, the veteran has thrown 19 touchdown passes ... and 29 interceptions. The G-Men don't look all that comfortable in the new offense of coordinator Ben McAdoo at this point either, so the Cardinals should soar.
Houston Texans D/ST at Oakland Raiders : The Texans defense made one heck of a 2014 debut for owners, posting an impressive 20 fantasy points in a win over the Washington Redskins. While the loss of Jadeveon Clowney for several weeks with a bum knee hurts the pass rush, J.J. Watt is still on the line ... and a matchup against the Raiders and rookie quarterback Derek Carr makes this unit attractive in fantasy leagues.
Denver Broncos D/ST vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The Broncos scored a respectable seven fantasy points on NFL.com last week, and I'm looking for even more in their upcoming matchup against the Chiefs. Their offensive line is a mess, which will allow pass rushers like DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller to make plays against Alex Smith in this AFC West battle. Expect this new version of the Orange Crush to finish with solid fantasy totals.
Sleeper alert - Buccaneers D/ST vs. St. Louis Rams: It didn't matter if the Rams quarterback was Shaun Hill or Austin Davis, the Rams offense had all the looks of a car riding on a flat tire in Week 1. The loss of Sam Bradford is massive, making St. Louis a target for fantasy owners who like to stream defensive units. This week, that unit is the Buccaneers, who are still on the waiver wire in more than 80 percent of NFL.com leagues.
Sit of the week
Minnesota Vikings D/ST vs. New England Patriots: The Vikings were marvelous last week, recording five sacks, two interceptions with one touchdown while allowing just six points to the Rams. That equated to 22 fantasy points. Unfortunately, the Vikes are going to be hard pressed to duplicate that level of success against Tom Brady and a Patriots team that wants to avoid starting the season 0-2. Keep Minnesota on the waiver wire.
Kansas City Chiefs D/ST at Denver Broncos: Remember last season, when the Chiefs had the best defense in fantasy football? Well, the start of the 2014 campaign has not been kind. Not only did this unit score just four fantasy points against the Tennessee Titans, but it also lost Derrick Johnson for the season to a torn Achilles. When you couple all that with a matchup against the Broncos, and the Chiefs should be benched.
Detroit Lions D/ST at Carolina Panthers: The Lions opened the 2014 season with two sacks, two interceptions and seven fantasy points in a win over the Giants. However, an upcoming matchup against Cam Newton and the Panthers isn't as favorable as one against turnover machine Eli Manning. Detroit also hasn't played as well on the road as it has at Ford Field, so don't rush out to pick up this unit off the Week 2 waiver wire.
Owners beware - Chicago Bears D/ST at San Francisco 49ers: There was a time when the Bears had the best defense in fantasy football. Unfortunately, this unit has been trending in the wrong direction in recent seasons. After finishing 18th in fantasy points among defenses a year ago, Chicago gave up 23 points to an EJ Manuel-led offense and finished with three fantasy points. Things don't figure to improve on the road against Colin Kaepernick.