Start Em Sit Em

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em for Week 9

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

Tony Romo vs. Minnesota Vikings: The fourth-highest scoring player in fantasy football with 153.84 points, Romo has been one of the better draft bargains of the 2013 campaign. He's quite a strong play for fantasy owners against the Vikings, who have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: High QB1)

QB Start 'em

Philip Rivers at Washington Redskins: Speaking of bargains, Rivers was waiver wire-fodder in most leagues at the start of the season -- now he's one of the better quarterbacks in fantasy leagues. The veteran is a nice option against the Redskins, who have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points (20.6 PPG) to quarterbacks at home. (Maximum value: High QB1)

Russell Wilson vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: In his last three games played in odd-numbered weeks, Wilson has scored no fewer than 20.30 fantasy points. The Wisconsin product has also averaged close to 19 fantasy points per game in his last two starts at home, which makes him a far more attractive option against the Buccaneers this weekend. (Maximum value: Mid QB1)

Alex Smith vs. Buffalo Bills: I have little faith in Smith as a consistent fantasy point producer, but he does have a great matchup against the Bills. Over the last four weeks, Buffalo's defense has allowed the third-most fantasy points (21.65 PPG)to signal-callers. With six teams on a bye, Smith is worth a look if you're in dire need. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

Sleeper alert - Terrelle Pryor vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Pryor doesn't need to find success in the air to score fantasy points, as he proved last week in a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Next up is a date with the Eagles, who have allowed an average of over 20 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks on the road this season. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

QB Sit of the week

Tom Brady vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Over the last four weeks, 28 quarterbacks have scored more fantasy points than Brady. That is a truly eye-opening stat for the former stud. He needs to remain on the sidelines against the Steelers, who have surrendered an average of fewer than 14 fantasy points to quarterbacks on the road. (Maximum value: High QB2)

QB Sit 'em

Ben Roethlisberger at New England Patriots:Big Ben has been a shell of his former fantasy self, ranking just 24th in fantasy points among quarterbacks after eight weeks. His fortunes aren't likely to improve against the Patriots, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (9.3 PPG) to opposing signal-callers at home this season. (Maximum value: Mid QB2)

Joe Flacco at Cleveland Browns: To put it lightly, Flacco has been a statistical wasteland playing in Cleveland during his career. Not only has he passed for fewer than 160 yards in four straight road meetings against the Browns, but Flacco has also recorded 17 completions or fewer in each of his five career road meetings against them. (Maximum value: Mid QB2)

Jake Locker at St. Louis Rams: I'm a fan of Locker for most of the remainder of the season, but this week's matchup against the Rams is a tough one. Over the last four weeks, St. Louis has given up an average of fewer than 14 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. Their defense is also tougher at home against signal-callers. (Maximum value: High QB2)

Owners beware - Andrew Luck at Houston Texans: With six teams on a bye this week, Luck is going to be very tough to bench -- and you shouldn't do it unless you have a viable replacement. His matchup is tough, though, as the Texans have allowed an average of just 14.2 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks on their home field in 2013. (Maximum value: Low QB1)

RB Start of the week

Eddie Lacy vs. Chicago Bears: Lacy is getting his groove on in the stat sheets lately, scoring 56.20 combined fantasy points over the last four weeks. He should continue to thrive on Monday night against the Bears, who have surrendered more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the entire league since Week 5. (Maximum value: High RB1)

RB Start 'em

DeMarco Murray vs. Minnesota Vikings: Murray (knee) is expected to return to the Cowboys backfield this weekend, and he should also be back in fantasy football lineups. The Oklahoma product has a favorable matchup against the Vikings, who have allowed more fantasy points (26.2 PPG) to opposing running backs on the road than any team. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Ryan Mathews at Washington Redskins: Mathews is on a hot streak, scoring 10-plus fantasy points in three of his last four games. That includes a 17-point explosion against the Jacksonville Jaguars before San Diego's bye. He's a nice option versus the Redskins, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points (25.4 PPG) to backs at home. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Stevan Ridley vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Invisible in the stat sheets earlier in the season, Ridley has scored a combined 48.20 fantasy points over the last four weeks and is back in the good graces of owners. He's a solid start against the Steelers, who have given up the seventh-most fantasy points (21.3 PPG) to running backs on the road. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Sleeper alert - Zac Stacy vs. Tennessee Titans: Stacy has been on real fire, scoring double-digit fantasy points in two straight games against two tough foes (Carolina, Seattle). He has a much easier matchup this week against the Titans, so get him into your starting lineup. Barring any setbacks in his return from a mild ankle ailment, Stacy is a strong option. (Maximum value: Low RB1)

RB Sit of the week

Trent Richardson at Houston Texans: Richardson's value was supposed to increase with the Colts, but he's done a nosedive instead. He's posted double-digit fantasy points just once with his new team, and that was against the lowly Jaguars. With a far more difficult matchup against the Texans ahead, Richardson is tough to trust for Week 9. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

RB Sit 'em

DeAngelo Williams vs. Atlanta Falcons: Sitting Williams has less to do about the matchup and more to do with the return of Jonathan Stewart. In a backfield that is now swollen with Williams, Stewart and Mike Tolbert, not to mention a running quarterback in Cam Newton, it tough to promote anyone as more than a very weak flex starter. (Maximum value: High RB3)

Pierre Thomas at New York Jets: Thomas has been seeing more burn in the Saints offensive attack in recent weeks, but the increased work hasn't meant a major rise in his fantasy production. The veteran should be considered a risk against the Jets, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points (12.63 PPG) to opposing running backs. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Mike James at Seattle Seahawks: James will continue to start in the absence of an injured Doug Martin (shoulder), but starting for the Buccaneers and starting for your fantasy team are two different scenarios. Seattle's defense is absolutely nasty at home, allowing the fewest fantasy points (9.13 PPG) to opposing running backs this season.(Maximum value: Low RB3)

Owners beware - Steven Jackson at Carolina Panthers: Jackson returned last week after missing time with an injured hamstring, but you wouldn't know it based on his lack of production (1.30 fantasy points). The Panthers have surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points (10.5 PPG) to runners at home, so Jackson could be more trick than treat. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

WR Start of the week

Keenan Allen at Washington Redskins: Allen was on serious fire before the Chargers' bye week, scoring a combined 40.90 fantasy points in his previous three contests. He's a good bet to treat owners to some solid statistics this week against the Redskins, who have allowed the ninth-most fantasy points (25.1 PPG) to wide receivers at home. (Maximum value: Mid WR1)

WR Start 'em

Josh Gordon vs. Baltimore Ravens: Did you know that Gordon is one of the top five wide receivers in fantasy football based on points per game average? He'll continue to be highly-targeted against the Ravens, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points (28.12 PPG) to wideouts on the road. Gordon is now a must-start in most leagues. (Maximum value: Low WR1)

Pierre Garcon vs. San Diego Chargers: Garcon hasn't been great in standard leagues, but he can give you double-digit fantasy points on a regular basis in PPR formats. That should continue to be the case this week against the Chargers, who have surrendered the fifth-most fantasy points (30.87 PPG) to opposing wide receivers on the road. (Maximum value: High WR2)

Steve Smith vs. Atlanta Falcons: Smith might not be the same fantasy superstar he was a few years ago, but he can still get the job done when the matchup is favorable. That's the case this week, as he faces a Falcons defense that struggles against wideouts and has surrendered 100-plus yards to Smith in each of their last two home meetings. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

Sleeper alert - Denarius Moore vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Based on the numbers, no wide receiver has a better matchup than Moore in Week 8. The Eagles have allowed more fantasy points (37.92 PPG) to wideouts on the road than any other NFL team, making Moore an attractive option. He's also scored double-digits in two of his last three games. (Maximum value: Mid WR2)

WR Sit of the week

Torrey Smith at Cleveland Browns: It's tough to bench a wideout of Smith's caliber -- especially during the bye weeks -- but owners do need to temper their statistical expectations when he faces the Browns and CB Joe Haden. The shutdown corner has been a fantasy trick to the value of opposing wide receivers in the stat sheets all season. (Maximum value: High WR2)

WR Sit 'em

Marques Colston at New York Jets: How's this for a stat? Over the last four weeks, a total of 104 wide receivers have scored more fantasy points than Colston. No, that's not a misprint! And with a matchup against a Jets defense that is much tougher against the pass at home than on the road, Colston is clearly a big risk this weekend. (Maximum value: Low WR3)

Dwayne Bowe at Buffalo Bills: Bowe has a fantastic matchup against the Bills, but is that enough to start him in fantasy leagues? I say no, as the Chiefs offense -- and Alex Smith's tendency to dink and dunk rather than look downfield -- makes Bowe a major risk regardless of the opposition. He's just so tough to trust, even in the bye weeks. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

Steve Johnson vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Johnson has been anything but consistent, scoring double-digit fantasy points just once in his last four games. So while he's still tough to bench during the bye weeks in some leagues, the Chiefs do have one of the league's more formidable defenses against wide receivers. Maximum value: Low WR3)

Owners beware - Danny Amendola vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Amendola scored just 1.50 fantasy points in his return to the gridiron last week, and he's scored double-digit fantasy points just once all season long. When you couple those stats with a matchup against a tough Steelers pass defense, and it's clear Amendola should be on your bench. (Maximum value: Mid WR3)

TE Start of the week

Jason Witten vs. Minnesota Vikings: Witten has struggled in recent weeks, scoring an average of just three fantasy points in his last three games. Regardless, he remains a legitimate No. 1 fantasy tight end against the Vikings -- their defense has allowed an average of nearly 10 fantasy points per game to tight ends on the road in 2013. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

TE Start 'em

Antonio Gates at Washington Redskins: Gates is firmly back on the radar this season, ranking fifth in fantasy points among tight ends after eight weeks. He'll remain a strong option against the Redskins, who have surrendered an average of nearly 10 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends on their home field. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Martellus Bennett at Green Bay Packers (Mon.) Still a free agent in over 40 percent of NFL.com leagues, Bennett should be considered a legitimate No. 1 option this week when the Bears face the Packers in Green Bay. Their defensive team has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points (10.8 PPG) to opposing tight ends at Lambeau Field. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Kyle Rudolph at Dallas Cowboys: Rudolph hasn't been consistent at all this season, but he's still a viable bye-week replacement based on a nice matchup against the Cowboys. No defense has allowed more fantasy points (12.65 PPG) to opposing tight ends on their home field, so Rudolph should treat owners to a nice stat line. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

Sleeper alert - Jordan Reed vs. San Diego Chargers: Reed isn't even truly a fantasy sleeper anymore, but he needs to be mentioned as a starter. Over the last four weeks, he's scored the third-most fantasy points among tight ends and is seeing a ton of targets from Robert Griffin III. If available, add and start Reed this week. (Maximum value: Mid TE1)

TE Sit of the week

Heath Miller at New England Patriots: Miller has yet to post a big stat line in his return from major knee reconstruction, and this weekend's matchup in New England is anything but atractive. In fact, the Patriots have surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points (3.32 PPG) to opposing tight ends on their home field so far this season. (Maximum value: High TE2)

TE Sit 'em

Jared Cook vs. Tennessee Titans: Cook was an absolute statistical beast in Week 1, scoring 24.10 fantasy points. However, he's scored a combined 23.40 points in his last six contests. While he might be motivated to produce big totals against his old team, Cook remains a major risk and should be sidelined in most leagues. (Maximum value: Mid TE2)

Scott Chandler vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Did you know that Chandler is in the top eight in fantasy points among tight ends over the last four weeks? Regardless, he's still going to be a gamble against the Chiefs defense this week -- Kansas City has surrendered the fewest fantasy points (3.44 PPG) to tight ends over the last month. (Maximum value: Mid TE2)

Timothy Wright at Seattle Seahawks: Wright has posted nine-plus fantasy points in two of his last three games and is a nice option off the waiver wire. However, he's not someone you want to start this week against the Seahawks -- their defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (2.26 PPG) to tight ends on their home field. (Maximum value: Mid TE2)

Owners beware - Tony Gonzalez at Carolina Panthers: Gonzalez has struggled in recent weeks, and his history against the Panthers isn't good. He's recorded fewer than 85 yards in 10 straight games against them and has just one touchdown in six career road games in Carolina. Gonzalez is tough to bench, though, so temper expectations. (Maximum value: Low TE1)

K Start of the week

Mason Crosby vs. Chicago Bears (Mon.): Crosby, still a free agent in more than 40 percent of NFL.com leagues, has averaged more fantasy points per game than any other kicker in the NFL this season. He should continue to thrive against the Bears, who have allowed more fantasy points (12 PPG) to kickers on the road than team in the NFL. (Maximum value: High K1)

K Start 'em

Dan Bailey vs. Minnesota Vikings: The fourth-ranked kicker in fantasy football based on points, Bailey is coming off a monstrous 16-point performance against the Detroit Lions. He should remain in starting lineups against the Vikings, who have allowed an average of more than nine fantasy points per game to opposing kickers on the road. (Maximum value: High K1)

Steven Hauschka vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Though he posted a two-point stink bomb against the St. Louis Rams last week, Hauschka remains one of the top kickers in fantasy football. He should rebound in a contest against the Buccaneers, who have surrendered an average of 10 fantasy points per game to opposing kickers on the road in 2013. (Maximum value: High K1)

Sleeper alert - Ryan Succop at Buffalo Bills: You might not know it, but Succop has averaged close to 10 fantasy points per game over the last four weeks. That's convenient, because his next game is in Buffalo against the Bills -- their defense has allowed an average of (you guessed it) 10 fantasy points per game to opposing kickers at home. (Maximum value: Low K1)

K Sit of the week

Greg Zuerlein vs. Tennessee Titans: The man called "Legatron" has been mediocre at best this season, ranking just inside the top 20 among kickers based on fantasy points. He doesn't figure to make a huge impact against the Titans, either. Their defense has surrendered an average of 3.66 fantasy points per game to kickers on the road. (Maximum value: Mid K2)

K Sit 'em

Robbie Gould at Green Bay Packers (Mon.): Gould has been on fire, scoring 10 or more fantasy points in four of his last five games before Chicago's bye week. Still, he's a tough sell based on this week's matchup in Green Bay -- the Packers have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points (4.66 PPG) to opposing kickers at home in 2013. (Maximum value: Mid K2)

Alex Henery at Oakland Raiders: Henery was hot earlier this season, but he's trending in the wrong direction now with a combined 11 fantasy points in his last three games. He'll find it tough to put up improved numbers against the Raiders, who have surrendered the third-fewest fantasy points (4.50 PPG) to kickers on their home turf. (Maximum value: Mid K2)

Owners beware - Matt Bryant at Carolina Panthers: The Falcons are struggling to win games, and Bryant is struggling to help owners in fantasy land. He's scored seven or fewer fantasy points in each of his last three games, and Carolina has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (4.50 PPG) to kickers on their home field this season. (Maximum value: Low K1)

DEF Start of the week

Cowboys defense vs. Minnesota Vikings: The Cowboys might give up a boatload of points, but this unit also forces turnovers and scores a pile of fantasy points. Opposing home defenses have put up the fifth-most fantasy points (11.66 PPG) combined when facing the Vikings, so look for Dallas to post a nice stat line. (Maximum value: High DEF1)

DEF Start 'em

Chiefs defense at Buffalo Bills: The Chiefs have hit a dry spell in the stat sheets, scoring a combined 12 fantasy points over the last two weeks. Still, the best defense in fantasy land needs to be active against the Bills -- opposing teams facing Buffalo have combined to score an average of 10.75 fantasy points over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: High DEF1)

Saints defense at New York Jets: Rookie quarterback Geno Smith might be better at home than on the road, but he still has a tendency to turn the football over pretty often regardless. Defenses have combined to score the third-most fantasy points (13.25 PPG) against the Jets over the last four weeks, so consider the Saints a nice option. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

Sleeper alert - Colts defense at Houston Texans: The Colts have been a nice fantasy defense, ranking 10th in points at the position. Couple that with a matchup against the Texans, who have given up more fantasy points to road defenses than any team in the league, and it's clear why Indianapolis is well worth a look if you need a defense. (Maximum value: Mid DEF1)

DEF Sit of the week

Texans defense vs. Indianapolis Colts: This is a bad matchup on paper for Andrew Luck, but he doesn't give up fantasy points to opposing defenses. In fact, home defenses have combined to score the second-fewest fantasy points (4.25 PPG) versus Luck and his offense. The Texans are also a bit banged up on defense, so avoid this unit if possible. (Maximum value: Mid DEF2)

DEF Sit 'em

Bills defense vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The Bills defense has scored a respectable 64 fantasy points this season -- that's just six fewer than the Chicago Bears -- but this is still not a team to start against the Chiefs. Defensive units going up against Alex Smith and his crew have averaged a mediocre 5.63 fantasy points per game in 2013. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

Vikings defense at Dallas Cowboys: The Vikings were in the sit 'em portion of this column last week and finished with a mere four fantasy points. Unfortunately, this isn't a team that's going to see much improvement against the Cowboys -- opposing road defenses have combined to score the fourth-fewest fantasy points (3.00 PPG) in Dallas. (Maximum value: Low DEF2)

Owners beware - Bears defense at Green Bay Packers (Mon.): The Bears were a must-start defense last season, but that was then and this is now. Aside from the injuries this unit has endured, a game against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers isn't favorable -- road defenses facing Green Bay have combined to average one fantasy point per game. (Maximum value: High DEF2)

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!

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.