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
Matt Ryan vs. Oakland Raiders: How good has Ryan been this season? Well, Drew Brees is the lone player in the NFL to score more fantasy points. This week, the Boston College product faces a Raiders defense that has given up nine touchdown passes and the second-most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers. I'd start Ryan over every other quarterback in Week 6.
Peyton Manning at San Diego Chargers (Mon.): Outside of his 7.54-point blunder against the Falcons in Week 2, Manning has scored 20-plus fantasy points in every game this season. What's more, he has thrown for a combined 683 yards and six scores in his last two starts. This week he faces the Chargers in what figures to be a shootout, so keep the veteran active.
Andrew Luck at New York Jets: This isn't a good matchup on paper, as the Jets field one of the better defenses against the pass. That's because most teams run on them, leaving the passing game as a second option. The Colts don't have an explosive ground attack, though, and Luck has been on serious fire with 19-plus fantasy points in each of his last three games.
Kevin Kolb vs. Buffalo Bills: Kolb was trampled by the St. Louis Rams last week, but he had averaged almost 18.3 fantasy points in his three previous games. A free agent in close to 90 percent of NFL.com leagues, Kolb has a brilliant matchup at home against the Bills in Week 6. No team has allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks than the Bills, so Kolb should fly high.
Sleeper alert - Christian Ponder at Washington Redskins: Need a quarterback this week? Take a look at Ponder. Sure, he has been a bit inconsistent this season, but it's tough not to salivate over this week's matchup against the Redskins. Their defense has given up 12 touchdown strikes and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers in 2012.
Sit of the week
Tony Romo at Baltimore Ravens: Romo, oh Romo, wherefore art thou Romo? The 30th-ranked quarterback in the NFL based on fantasy points, he's been an absolute poison potion for his owners this season. He's not likely to break the spell against the Ravens, who have allowed just two touchdown passes and the fifth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Joe Flacco vs. Dallas Cowboys: Typically, I would tell fantasy owners to start Flacco on his home field. After all, he's averaged 279 yards with 11 total touchdowns in his last five games at M&T Bank Stadium. However, he's a risk against the Cowboys. Their improved defense has allowed an average of just 12.22 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.
Carson Palmer at Atlanta Falcons: Palmer had a fast start to the season, scoring 17-plus fantasy points in his first three contests. His last stat line was unimpressive, however, and this week's contest against the Falcons is not an attractive one. Atlanta's defense has surrendered an average of fewer than 14 fantasy points to opposing signal-callers.
Ryan Fitzpatrick at Arizona Cardinals: Is the Fitz-magic over? After a fast start to the 2012 campaign, he was held to a meager 3.14 fantasy points in last week's loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Next on the schedule is a road game at Arizona against a Cardinals defense that has given up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks after five weeks.
Owners beware - Matthew Stafford at Philadelphia Eagles:Fantasy owners worried about Stafford can't be too thrilled with this week's road matchup against the Eagles, who have allowed an average of just 11 fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers. So if you have a viable replacement with a nice matchup, sitting Stafford is worth considering.