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
Demaryius Thomas at San Diego Chargers (Mon.): Thomas has emerged into a major threat for Peyton Manning, catching 30 passes for 513 yards while posting 100-plus yards in each of his last two contests. The Chargers have surrendered the ninth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, so look for the Georgia Tech product to shine in what could be a high-scoring affair.
Reggie Wayne at New York Jets: If you're in a PPR league, Wayne has been an absolute beast. Overall, he ranks in the top 10 in fantasy points among wideouts and has had no fewer than six receptions in any game to this point. So despite what looks like a tough matchup against Jets CB Antonio Cromartie, Wayne still need to be active in fantasy leagues this week.
Dwayne Bowe at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It looks like the Chiefs are going with Brady Quinn over the injured Matt Cassel, so Bowe won't have his top quarterback throwing him the football this weekend. Still, it's tough to pass on a matchup against the Buccaneers, who have allowed the second-most yards and the third-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts in 2012.
Andre Roberts vs. Buffalo Bills:Larry Fitzgerald and Roberts both have a terrific matchup this week, playing against a Bills defense that has allowed 10 touchdowns and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts in 2012. Fitzgerald, while inconsistent in the stat sheets, is a must-start. Roberts, who has four touchdowns, is a nice bye-week replacement.
Sleeper alert - Andrew Hawkins at Cleveland Browns: Hawkins is a playmaker, which he proved in Week 2 when he posted 56 yards and one touchdown in a win over the Browns. With CB Joe Haden back in the mix, Hawkins should see 10-15 targets from Andy Dalton against a Browns defense that has surrendered 10 touchdowns and the second-most fantasy points to wideouts.
Sit of the week
Vincent Jackson vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Jackson has been inconsistent at best, alternating good and bad stat lines in his first four games of the season. This week he faces the Chiefs, who have been tough on wide receivers in recent weeks. In fact, Kansas City has given up fewer than 14 fantasy points to opposing wideouts in three of its last four games.
Jordy Nelson at Houston Texans: Remember last season when Nelson scored 15 touchdowns? That was nice, but this is 2012 and the Kansas State product isn't even in the top 30 in fantasy points at his position. If that weren't enough to scare you, then consider that this week's opponent, the Texans, have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.
Brandon Lloyd at Seattle Seahawks: I'm not going to tell you to sit players like Tom Brady, Wes Welker or Rob Gronkowski, but you need to keep in mind that the Seahawks' defense is wicked on its home field. Just ask Aaron Rodgers. This unit is tough across the board, so Lloyd and his teammates could find it difficult to post attractive stat lines this week.
Jeremy Maclin vs. Detroit Lions: Maclin had a hot start to the season, but he scored more points in Week 1 (15.60) than he's had in his last three games combined (12.90). That's not an attractive stat, and this week's matchup against the Lions isn't so hot either. Detroit has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to wideouts, so Maclin could struggle.
Owners beware - Torrey Smith vs. Dallas Cowboys: Smith has had a hot start to the season, recording 56.30 fantasy points on the strength of 370 yards and three touchdowns. And while I wouldn't bench him unless I had a legitimate alternative, keep in mind that the Cowboys have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to wideouts. Expect a defensive battle.