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
Vernon Davis vs. Buffalo Bills: Davis is coming off his worst stat line of the season, posing 2.80 fantasy points in a win over the New York Jets. His fortunes should improve against the Bills, who have seen opposing tight ends targeted 38 times - that's the fourth-most in the league. Davis has also scored nine touchdowns in his last eight home games including the playoffs.
Tony Gonzalez at Washington Redskins: If you're looking for the fountain of youth, ask Gonzalez for the location. Despite his extended age, the veteran tight end continues to put up bananas numbers for the Falcons and fantasy leaguers alike. This week he faces the Redskins, who have allowed three touchdowns and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends in 2012.
Antonio Gates at New Orleans Saints: The Saints have allowed the fewest fantasy points to tight ends after their first four games, but this is a difficult week for the position in terms of the matchups and numbers. So in a game that could turn into a scoreboard scorcher at the Superdome, I'd still stick with Gates despite the fact that he's been mediocre at best this season.
Dennis Pitta at Kansas City Chiefs: Pitta and I scored the same number of fantasy points last week - none. But one bad stat line isn't going to scare me when he'd been so good in the previous three weeks. Furthermore, Pitta has a great matchup ahead against a Chiefs defense that has surrendered three touchdowns and the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
Sleeper alert - Kyle Rudolph vs. Tennessee Titans: Like Pitta, Rudolph did a Houdini act in the stat sheets last weekend. But once again, I'm not going to bench a player because he had one bad performance. In fact, I like Rudolph to rebound and post a nice total against the Titans. No team has allowed more receptions, receiving yards, touchdowns and fantasy points to tight ends.
Sit of the week
Jermichael Finley at Indianapolis Colts: Finley has not lived up to expectations, ranking a mere 18th in fantasy points among tight ends. While he's still tough to bench during the bye weeks, keep in mind that the Colts have allowed one touchdown and the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Finley has also averaged just four points in his last three contests.
Scott Chandler at San Francisco 49ers: Chandler has been on fire, catching at least one touchdown pass in three of four games and ranking fifth in fantasy points among his peers. I think the law of averages catches up with him in San Francisco. While the Niners have allowed four scores to tight ends, their defense has also given up the fifth-fewest yards to the position.
Heath Miller vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Miller has been a pleasant surprise in fantasy land, scoring at least one touchdown in all three of his games. But much like Chandler, I think his recent hot streak ends this week. The Eagles have allowed the second-fewest yards and the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, so Miller could be in for a hard afternoon at Heinz Field.
Coby Fleener vs. Green Bay Packers: A preseason sleeper, Fleener has been asleep in the stat sheets in recent weeks. After posting 82 yards in his regular-season debut, Fleener has recorded a mere 16 yards over his last two games. This week's opponent, the Packers, have allowed an average of just 42.75 yards to tight ends, so Fleener's fortunes aren't very likely to change.
Owners beware - Martellus Bennett vs. Cleveland Browns: Like Miller, Bennett has been a great find for fantasy owners. He's seventh in points among tight ends and a tough player to sit in most leagues. Just keep in mind that the Browns have been tough on tight ends, allowing the fourth-fewest yards and the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position over the first four weeks.