Start Em Sit Em

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Week 16

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.

QB Start of the week

Philip Rivers vs. Oakland Raiders: The Raiders defense has been absolutely dreadful in recent action, surrendering the second-most fantasy points (22.6 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks in their last four games. That's good news for Rivers, who has thrown eight touchdown passes in four career December meetings against the Silver and Black. (Maximum value: High QB1)

QB Start 'em

Jay Cutler at Philadelphia Eagles: Cutler returned to action last week, scoring nearly 20 fantasy points in a win over the Cleveland Browns. He's a solid option in Philadelphia, as the Eagles have surrendered 17-plus fantasy points to three of the last four quarterbacks they've faced, including 29.2 points to Matt Cassel last weekend. (Maximum value: High QB1)

Colin Kaepernick vs. Atlanta Falcons (Mon.): Kaepernick is heating up in the stat sheets for fantasy owners, scoring 17-plus fantasy points in three of his last four games. His recent hot streak should continue against the Falcons, who have allowed 30 scores and the fifth-most fantasy points (18.8 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks this season. (Maximum value: High QB1)

Andy Dalton vs. Minnesota Vikings: Since Week 12, there hasn't been a better fantasy matchup for opposing quarterbacks than the Vikings. Their defensive unit has allowed more fantasy points (25.7 PPG) to the position than any other team in that time, so Dalton is a nice option for owners without an elite quarterback in championship week. (Maximum value: Mid QB1)

Sleeper alert - Kirk Cousins vs. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys defense is historically awful this season, so I would have a lot of confidence in starting Cousins if you're in need at quarterback. This defense has surrendered more fantasy points (23.7 PPG) to opposing signal-callers on the road than any other team in the entire league in 2013. (Maximum value: Mid QB1)

QB Sit of the week

Matt Ryan at San Francisco 49ers (Mon.): Ryan is in the midst of one of his worst statistical stretches, and things don't look to improve much on the road against the Niners. In fact, their defense has surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points (12.3 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks at home this season, so keep Ryan on the fantasy sidelines. (Maximum value: High QB2)

QB Sit 'em

Tony Romo at Washington Redskins: This week's matchup against the Redskins is a favorable one ... or is it? Romo has never thrown for 300 yards in his career in Washington, and he's put up the same number of interceptions (6) as touchdown passes (6) in his last three meetings against them overall. Just some food for thought. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Carson Palmer at Seattle Seahawks: Palmer's numbers have started to recede in recent weeks, as his fantasy totals have declined in each of the last five weeks. That trend could continue in Seattle, which is where fantasy points go to die. No team has surrendered fewer points (8.7 PPG) to opposing quarterbacks at home than the Seahawks. (Maximum value: Low QB2)

Eli Manning at Detroit Lions: Manning has been dreadful this season, and a matchup against the Lions isn't going to reverse his fortunes. In fact, Detroit has surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points (11.4 PPG) to quarterbacks on their home field. That's bad news for Manning, who is barely even an option in two-quarterback formats. (Maximum value: Mid QB2)

Owners beware - Tom Brady at Baltimore Ravens: Brady is tough to bench in title week, and you shouldn't do it without a legitimate replacement. Just keep in mind that he has struggled against the Ravens in his career. In eight starts including the playoffs, Brady has thrown for an average of 253.4 yards with eight touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. (Maximum value: Mid QB1)


RB Start of the week

DeMarco Murray at Washington Redskins: Murray has been hot in recent weeks, ranking among the 10 best running backs based on fantasy points since Week 11. He should remain in your starting lineup in what is a plus matchup against the Redskins, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points (22.5 PPG) to runners on their home field. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

RB Start 'em

Alfred Morris vs. Dallas Cowboys: Morris hasn't been all that productive for owners in recent weeks, but he still needs to be in your lineup against the Cowboys. He has owned Dallas, scoring five times in three career meetings against them. The last time Morris faced the 'Boys in Washington, he rushed for 200 yards and three scores. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Ryan Mathews vs. Oakland Raiders: Mathews is finally starting to reach his fantasy potential, scoring a combined 60 fantasy points in his last four games. He's a good bet to post another nice stat line against the Raiders, who have surrendered more fantasy points (32.6 PPG) to running backs than any other team in the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Frank Gore vs. Atlanta Falcons (Mon.): Gore has scored double-digit fantasy points just once in his last five games, but owners should still stick with him as a No. 2 or flex starter against the Falcons. Their defense has been bad against the run, allowing the second-most fantasy points (25.5 PPG) to opposing runners on the road. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Sleeper alert - Jordan Todman vs. Tennessee Titans: In the event that Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) is unavailable once again, Todman becomes a nice backup option. He scored better than 15 fantasy points last week, and an upcoming matchup against the Titans is favorable. Their defense is among the NFL's worst against running backs. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

RB Sit of the week

Andre Brown at Detroit Lions: Brown is tough to bench, and you shouldn't do it unless you have a legitimate alternative with a solid matchup. Just keep in mind that this week's contest against Detroit isn't favorable -- their defense has given up the second-fewest fantasy points (11.7 PPG) to running backs at home this season. (Maximum value: High RB2)

RB Sit 'em

C.J. Spiller vs. Miami Dolphins: If we have learned anything, it's that you can't trust Spiller regardless of the matchup. The Dolphins have been better against the run, allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points (11.1 PPG) to runners over the last four weeks, so Spiller doesn't even have that going for him. I'd keep him on the bench. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Rashard Mendenhall at Seattle Seahawks: Believe it or not, Mendenhall has been the 10th-best running back based on fantasy points over the last four weeks. With that said, he's still a major risk against the Seahawks. Their defense has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points (13.6 PPG) to runners on their home field in 2013. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Pierre Thomas at Carolina Panthers: Thomas has cooled off in recent weeks, scoring more than nine fantasy points just once in his last five games. That includes a 2.1-point stinker in Week 14 against the Panthers. Unless you're in a PPR league, both Thomas and Darren Sproles should be considered huge risks. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Owners beware - Steven Jackson at San Francisco 49ers (Mon.): Jackson has been hot, scoring 58.6 combined fantasy points over the last four weeks. Still, this week's matchup against the Niners is not a favorable one. In fact, their defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (9.4 PPG) to runners over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: High RB2)


WR Start of the week

Antonio Brown at Green Bay Packers: Championship week is the time to stick with your studs, and Brown fits the bill in a plus matchup against the Packers at Lambeau Field. Green Bay's defense has surrendered the fifth-most yards (740) and the fifth-most fantasy points (26.6 PPG) to opposing wide receiver over the last four weekends. (Maximum value: High WR1)

WR Start 'em

Keenan Allen vs. Oakland Raiders: Allen has been one of the hottest wide receivers in fantasy football, scoring a combined 53.8 fantasy points over the last four weeks. He should remain active in a plus matchup against the Raiders, who gave up 115 yards, one touchdown and 17.5 fantasy points to Allen in their first meeting of the year. (Maximum value: Mid WR1)

Pierre Garcon vs. Dallas Cowboys: It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that starting offensive skill position players against the Cowboys is a smart move right now. Their defense has been dreadful over the last few weeks, and Garcon will no doubt look to exploit what is a porous secondary in this important NFC East matchup. (Maximum value: High WR1)

Mike Wallace at Buffalo Bills: Wallace has been tough to trust this season, but he is on a hot streak with 14-plus fantasy points in three of his last four games. This week he heads to Buffalo, where the Bills have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points (25.7 PPG) to wide receivers this season. Consider Wallace a nice No. 3 option. (Maximum value: High WR2)

Sleeper alert - Kendall Wright at Jacksonville Jaguars: Wright has lacked a consistent level of production in standard formats, but he is coming off a 15-point performance in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. He's a viable No. 3 option with added value in PPR leagues against the Jaguars, who have allowed 17 touchdowns to wide receivers. (Maximum value: High WR2)

WR Sit of the week

Roddy White at San Francisco 49ers (Mon.): White appears to be closer to 100 percent, but owners in standard leagues have to be concerned about this week's matchup against the Niners on "Monday Night Football." San Francisco has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points (14.8 PPG) to opposing wide receivers over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

WR Sit 'em

Marques Colston at Carolina Panthers: Colston has been hot in recent contests, but beware this matchup. This week's NFC South battle will be in Carolina, where the Panthers defense has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points (14.4 PPG) to wide receivers. Colston also has not scored against the Panthers in their last five road meetings. (Maximum value: High WR2)

Greg Jennings at Cincinnati Bengals: Jennings went off last week, posting 163 yards, one touchdown and 22.3 fantasy points in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles. However, it's still tough to start him against the Bengals in what will be a tough road battle. Also keep in mind that Jennings has scored double digits twice since Week 4. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

Hakeem Nicks at Detroit Lions: A massive disappointment in fantasy land, Nicks has failed to score a touchdown and is a meager 50th in points among wide receivers in 2013. So even with a favorable matchup on paper and the potential absence of Victor Cruz (concussion, knee), there's no way for fantasy owners to trust Nicks this weekend. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

Owners beware - Larry Fitzgerald at Seattle Seahawks: If Fitzgerald (concussion) is cleared for Week 16, he'll be tough to bench. Just keep in mind that the Seahawks have given up the second-fewest fantasy points (12.5 PPG) to wideouts on their home field. What's more, Fitzgerald has had a mere 19 yards in his last two games against them. (Maximum value: Low WR1)


TE Start of the week

Jason Witten at Washington Redskins: Witten hasn't posted enormous yardage totals this season, but he's found the end zone eight times and has a chance to tie his career-best of nine. He could do it against the Redskins, who have surrendered a scoring reception to Witten in each of their last two meetings at FedEx Field. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

TE Start 'em

Charles Clay at Buffalo Bills: Clay has quietly been one of the better tight ends in the world of fantasy football, and this weekend's matchup against the Bills makes him a viable option in title week. He scored against Buffalo in Week 7, and their defense has allowed a tight end to find the end zone in each of their last four contests. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Dennis Pitta vs. New England Patriots: Over the last four weeks, the Patriots have surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points (11.8 PPG) to opposing tight ends. That's good news for Pitta, who will no doubt see more opportunities in the pass attack from Joe Flacco. The veteran tight end is still a free agent in most leagues on NFL.com. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

Delanie Walker vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Walker has been solid in recent weeks, scoring one touchdown in three of his last four full contests. That includes a 12.2-point performance against this week's opponent, the Jaguars. When you consider the matchup, Walker should be considered a legitimate No. 1 fantasy tight end in Week 16. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

Sleeper alert - Zach Miller vs. Arizona Cardinals: Owners in deeper leagues looking for a sleeper should consider Miller against the Cardinals. No team has allowed more fantasy points (14.3 PPG) to opposing tight ends, making this is a tremendous matchup. Back in Week 7, Miller scored a touchdown and 10 fantasy points against them. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

TE Sit of the week

Martellus Bennett at Philadelphia Eagles: Bennett's numbers have tumbled in recent weeks, as he's failed to score six-plus fantasy points in six of his last seven games. His fortunes don't figure to improve against the Eagles, who have surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points (5.2 PPG) to tight ends on their home field this season. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

TE Sit 'em

Coby Fleener at Kansas City Chiefs: Fleener has seen his fantasy point totals decline in each of the last three weeks, culminating in a zero-point performance against the Houston Texans. He should remain on your bench against the Chiefs, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points (4.8 PPG) to tight ends at Arrowhead Stadium. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Heath Miller at Green Bay Packers: Miller has been anything but consistent in the stat sheets, and this week's matchup against the Packers doesn't bode well for his chances to post a nice stat line. Over the last four weeks, Green Bay's defense has surrendered an average of fewer than seven fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. (Maximum value: High TE2)

Timothy Wright at St. Louis Rams: Wright has scored a touchdown in each of his last two games, but take a look at this week's matchup against the Rams. This defensive unit is tough at home against tight ends, allowing the third-fewest fantasy points (4.7 PPG) to the position on their home field. Start Wright with extreme caution. (Maximum value: High TE2)

Owners beware - Greg Olsen vs. New Orleans Saints: The Saints have been tough against tight ends on the road, surrendering the seventh-fewest fantasy points (6.7 PPG) to the position this season. That's bad news for owners of Olsen, who was held to 40 yards and just four fantasy points the last time he faced New Orleans (Week 14). (Maximum value: Mid TE1)


K Start of the week

Alex Henery vs. Chicago Bears: Henery has been a start 'em in back-to-back weeks now, and I like him to post another nice stat line against the Bears. No team has given up more fantasy points (10.3 PPG) to kickers on the road than Chicago, so Henery is in a good position to find success. He's also a free agent in most NFL.com leagues. (Maximum value: High K1)

K Start 'em

Phil Dawson vs. Atlanta Falcons (Mon.): Dawson has been on absolute fire for fantasy leaguers, scoring a combined 50 fantasy points over the last four weeks. His success in the stat sheets should continue against the Falcons, who have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points (10.1 PPG) to opposing kickers on the road this season. (Maximum value: High K1)

Mason Crosby vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: One of the most consistent kickers in the land, Crosby has scored eight or more fantasy points in four of his last five games overall. The veteran also has a nice matchup against the Steelers, who have surrendered an average of close to nine fantasy points per game to opposing kickers this season. (Maximum value: Mid K1)

Sleeper alert - Nick Novak vs. Oakland Raiders: Looking for a hot kicker? Take a chance on Novak, who has scored no fewer than nine fantasy points in four of his last five games. The matchup is a favorable one too, as the Raiders have surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points (10.2 PPG) to opposing kickers over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid K1)

K Sit of the week

Matt Bryant at San Francisco 49ers (Mon.): Bryant has alternated good and bad stat lines over the last four weeks, and he's due for a stinker in Week 16 if this trend continues. The matchup isn't very good either, as the Niners have surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points (5.8 PPG) to opposing kickers on their home field in 2013. (Maximum value: High K2)

K Sit 'em

Jay Feely at Seattle Seahawks: Feely was in the start 'em portion of this column last week, and he rewarded owners with 13 fantasy points. It's tough to trust him this week, though, as a matchup in Seattle makes him a bust candidate. No team in the league has allowed fewer fantasy points (4.6 PPG) to kickers on their home field in 2013. (Maximum value: High K2)

Sebastian Janikowski at San Diego Chargers: SeaBass has been a disappointment this season, scoring fewer than nine fantasy points in four of his last six games overall. He'll be hard-pressed to find very much success in San Diego, as the Chargers have surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points (5.7 PPG) to opposing kickers at home. (Maximum value: Mid K2)

Owners beware - Adam Vinatieri at Kansas City Chiefs: Vinatieri has been one of the better kickers in fantasy football this season, but this week's matchup against the Chiefs makes him a bit of a risk. Kansas City's defensive unit has allowed an average of fewer than seven fantasy points per game to opposing kickers at Arrowhead Stadium. (Maximum value: Low K1)


DEF 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)

DEF Start 'em

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)

DEF 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)

DEF Sit 'em

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!

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