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 Adrian Peterson will not be featured. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.
Start of the week
Jordan Cameron vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The loss of Josh Gordon for the season makes Cameron the unquestioned top option in the Cleveland pass attack. Furthermore, the USC product is projected to be a potential top-five tight end in fantasy leagues for the 2014 campaign. In his last game against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, Cameron was targeted seven times and caught five passes for 69 yards. Those are good totals from a tight end.
Vernon Davis at Dallas Cowboys: Another position, another player facing the Cowboys who finds himself in the "start" portion of the column. While I'm projecting Davis to have a down season in the stat sheets overall, it's hard to ignore a solid matchup against the 'Boys from Big D. In 2013, only three teams allowed more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than the Cowboys. That's great news for Davis' potential numbers.
Dennis Pitta at Cincinnati Bengals: This is a bad matchup on paper, but take a look at what Pitta has done against the Bengals. He's recorded five or more catches and at least 62 yards in three of his last four games versus the AFC North foe. What's more, Pitta has found the end zone twice in those four contests. Also, he tied for the team lead with 33 targets and 20 catches during his four-game stint in the lineup last year.
Martellus Bennett vs. Buffalo Bills: Some players start slowly in the stat sheets, while others get out of the gate quickly. Bennett is more of the latter, as he has recorded an average of 52 yards per game and a combined six touchdowns in his last eight September contests (Bears -- four games, Giants -- four games). If you don't have an elite fantasy tight end, Bennett is worth a roll of the dice based on his September success.
Sleeper alert - Zach Ertz vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: I'm on record as being a huge fan of Ertz, who flashed during the latter part of his rookie campaign and looks ready to break out in 2014. He opens with a tremendous matchup against the Jaguars, who gave up the fifth-most receiving yards (997), the fifth-most touchdown catches (nine) and the third-most fantasy points (9.61 PPG) to opposing tight ends last season. That makes Ertz a nice pick.
Sit of the week
Jared Cook vs. Minnesota Vikings: In the first week of the 2013 regular season, Cook went off for seven catches, 141 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, that would make up a huge portion of the statistical production he had for the whole season. Cook has also recorded 50 or more yards once and scored just two touchdowns in his last seven home games, so even a favorable matchup against the Vikings makes him a real risk.
Delanie Walker vs. Kansas City Chiefs Walker finished a respectable 12th in fantasy points among tight ends last season, finishing his first campaign in Tennessee with career bests across the board. However, the veteran out of Central Missouri State was inconsistent and difficult to trust against a formidable opponent. This week he faces the Chiefs, who allowed the third-fewest fantasy points (5.98 PPG) to tight ends in 2013.
Tyler Eifert vs. Baltimore Ravens: Eifert has some long-term upside, but it's hard to trust him in fantasy land until he puts together a string of good performances. He's also dealing with a bum shoulder, which kept him out of Cincinnati's third week of the preseason, and Jermaine Gresham remains in the offensive mix. With a tough matchup on the road against the Ravens upcoming, Eifert isn't an attractive fantasy option.
Eric Ebron vs. New York Giants: Ebron was highly-touted coming out of North Carolina, drawing comparisons to Vernon Davis because of his size and skill set. However, even a player with his potential isn't guaranteed to produce immediately in the stat sheets. Most rookie tight ends fail to post numbers good enough to warrant much more than a reserve spot in fantasy leagues (at best), and Ebron projects to be no different.
Owners beware - Coby Fleener vs. Denver Broncos: Fleener emerged into a viable fantasy option during a portion of last season, but the addition of Hakeem Nicks and return of Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen hurts his value for 2014. In fact, the Stanford product is almost certain to see a decline in per game production. So despite what looks like a good matchup on paper against the Broncos, Fleener isn't someone to start in fantasy land.