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Torain, Roethlisberger should be fantasy treats in Week 8

Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at weekly matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy team. Sleeper alert features a player who's under the radar and could produce good numbers. Owners beware features a player who's a regular fantasy starter but could fail to meet expectations. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the week

Ryan Torain at Lions: Torain has been a superstar off the waiver wire, rushing for a combined 225 yards and two touchdowns in his last two games. His success should continue against the Lions, who have surrendered more fantasy points (24.3) per game to opposing running backs than any team in the National Football League.

Quarterbacks - start 'em

Ben Roethlisberger at Saints: Roethlisberger has slashed up the competition like Freddy Krueger on Nightmare on Elm Street, posting 559 yards and five scores in wins over the Browns and Dolphins. This week he faces a road game against the Saints, who are ranked third in pass defense but have faced a lot of mediocre quarterbacks.

Kyle Orton at 49ers (London): Orton, who ranks third in fantasy points among all players on NFL.com, faces a Niners defense that allowed close to 19 fantasy points to Matt Moore last week. What's more, three of the four teams to play in London the last two seasons have scored 32 or more points. That's an interesting trend.

Matt Cassel vs. Bills: Cassel isn't an elite fantasy quarterback, but he can be useful when the matchup is favorable. That's been the case in the past two weeks, and he's delivered with a combined five touchdown passes. Next on the schedule are the Bills, who have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2010.

Matt Stafford vs. Redskins: If you're an unfortunate owner who lost Tony Romo or simply need a bye-week replacement, Stafford is worth a look. The talented quarterback will return from an injured shoulder in Week 8 to face the Redskins, who have allowed close to 16 fantasy points per game to signal-callers in 2010.

Donovan McNabb at Lions: McNabb hasn't thrown for more than one touchdown pass in a game this season, so maybe he's due to put up a scary good stat line against the Lions. Their defense hasn't been great against opposing quarterbacks, so McNabb is worth a roll of the dice if you're in need of a bye-week replacement.

Sleeper alert - Jon Kitna vs. Jaguars: The Jaguars defense to opposing quarterbacks is like a camp counselor at Crystal Lake to Jason Voorhees in Friday the 13th -- a helpless victim. In short, signal-callers have slashed this unit to death. That's good news for Kitna, who is a nice sleeper if you need help at the position in Week 8.

Quarterbacks - sit 'em

Matt Schaub at Colts (Mon.): With six teams on a bye, chances are Schaub will be under center for a lot of fantasy teams this week. However, don't be shocked if his numbers are mediocre on Monday night. In his last four games against the Colts, Schaub has averaged just 234.5 passing yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Brett Favre at Patriots: Whether or not Favre is active this week remains to be seen, but even if he suits up for the Vikings I'd avoid him in fantasy leagues. Yes, the matchup against the Patriots is favorable on paper. But Favre has done little in the stat sheets, even with Randy Moss, and his troublesome ankle makes him a bigger risk.

Mark Sanchez vs. Packers: Sanchez has been inconsistent for owners. He threw for a combined eight touchdowns with no interceptions during a three-game stretch (Weeks 2-4) before tossing one score and two picks in his last two starts. That makes Sanchez hard to trust against the Packers, who have allowed just eight touchdown passes.

Chad Henne at Bengals: Henne has been a nice fantasy option at times in 2010, but he's been too inconsistent to be a regular starter in most standard leagues. I'd avoid him this week against the Bengals, who have surrendered an average of just 9.13 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in two games on their home field this season.

Vince Young at Chargers: Whether it's Young or Kerry Collins under center for coach Jeff Fisher in Week 8, it's hard to promote a Titans quarterback based on this week's tough road matchup against the Chargers. After seven games, their defense has surrendered the fewest fantasy points (7.4) per game to opposing signal-callers in 2010.

Owners beware - Tom Brady vs. Vikings: If you own Brady in a fantasy league, chances are you have to start him -- especially with six teams on a bye. But his numbers without Randy Moss have been scarier than the original Halloween. In fact, Brady has averaged 11.12 fantasy points since the wideout was traded to the Vikings.

Running backs - start 'em

Marshawn Lynch at Raiders: Lynch hasn't been a great fantasy option since joining the Seahawks, but he is averaging better than 20 carries in two games with his new team. Those opportunities should equate to fantasy points in Week 8, as Lynch faces a Raiders defense that's allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Jamaal Charles vs. Bills: Whether you have Charles or Thomas Jones, you should be starting them against the Bills. Their defense has been dreadful against the run, allowing an average of close to 22 fantasy points per game to opposing backs. Look for Charles and Jones to both see enough carries to be productive for owners in Week 8.

Beanie Wells vs. Buccaneers: Wells is clearly emerging as the top running back in Arizona, as he's averaged 17 carries over his last two games. Tim Hightower has also had major fumbling issues in recent weeks, so Wells should see a very healthy workload against a Buccaneers defense that has struggled to stop the run all season.

Felix Jones vs. Jaguars: Jones is seeing much more work in recent weeks, as the Cowboys have turned to him as a more prominent backfield option than Marion Barber. The Jaguars have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2010, so Jones is well worth a look as a high-end flex option in most leagues.

Fred Jackson at Chiefs: Jackson is a talented player with some upside against this week's opponent, the Chiefs, who have allowed an average of close to 18 fantasy points per game to opposing runners. With six teams on a bye, owners could do worse than use Jackson as a potential flex starter in leagues that require the position.

Sleeper alert - LeGarrette Blount at Cardinals: Had it not been for two offensive penalties, Blount would have rushed for better than 100 yards in last week's win over the Rams. With an increased workload and a favorable matchup against the Cardinals next, owners in deeper leagues should consider Blount as a potential flex option.

Running backs - sit 'em

DeAngelo Williams at Rams: Williams has been a horrific disappointment for fantasy football owners this season, and now comes word that he's dealing with an injured foot. Even if he's active in Week 8, there's a chance that Williams could lose work to Jonathan Stewart. If you're deep at running back, Williams should be reserved.

Ryan Mathews vs. Titans: I'll argue until the cows come home that Mathews is a talented runner, but it's hard to produce when you're seeing fewer than 10 carries per game. That's what he's received since Week 4. Until Mathews sees an increased offensive workload, owners have little choice but to put him on the fantasy sidelines.

Brandon Jackson at Jets: Jackson is coming off a nice performance against the Vikings, posting 16.40 fantasy points in a 28-24 win. However, he's still a risk for owners this week against the Jets. The Men in Green have surrendered the fewest fantasy points (6.8) per game to opposing running backs, so Jackson could really struggle.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. Vikings: The Vikings defense hasn't been impenetrable against the run this season, but it's still allowed fewer than 14 fantasy points per game to opposing backs. Enter Green-Ellis, who has scored in two straight games but has rushed for a combined 44 yards in those contests. He's no more than a flex option.

Chris Ivory vs. Steelers: With Pierre Thomas (ankle) and Reggie Bush (leg) both out of action, Ivory is going to once again see a decent workload. But against the Steelers, who have surrendered the second-fewest fantasy points (8.3) per game to opposing runners, he's likely to leave owners with more tricks than treats in Week 8.

Owners beware - Cedric Benson vs. Dolphins: Benson has scored six or fewer fantasy points in two of this last three games, including a 5.6 dud last week against the Falcons. While it's still hard to bench him, keep in mind that Benson next faces a Dolphins defense that's allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Wide receivers - start 'em

Terrell Owens vs. Dolphins: Despite his age, Owens is still on pace to finish the season with an impressive 107 catches, 1,504 yards and eight touchdowns based on his current numbers. His success should continue against the Dolphins, who have allowed an average of close to 22 fantasy points to wide receivers this season.

Dwayne Bowe vs. Bills: Bowe has been one of the hottest wide receivers in fantasy football over the past two weeks, scoring a combined four touchdowns and 42.90 fantasy points on NFL.com. I'd keep him active against the Bills, who have surrendered a combined eight touchdowns to wide receivers in their first six games.

Pierre Garcon vs. Texans (Mon.): The Colts offense has been depleted due to injuries, as Dallas Clark (wrist) and Austin Collie (hand) are both out of action. That leaves Garcon to see an increase in targets, not to mention more opportunities to score fantasy points, against a very porous Texans pass defense on Monday Night Football.

Santana Moss at Lions: Moss hasn't been a touchdown machine with McNabb under center, but he's seeing plenty of targets in the passing game. After seven weeks, he's on pace to post 96 receptions -- that would be the highest total of his entire career. With a matchup against the Lions next, Moss should be active in most fantasy leagues.

Dez Bryant vs. Jaguars: The Cowboys might have lost Romo, but even Kitna can exploit the swiss cheese Jaguars defense. That's good news for Miles Austin, Roy E. Williams and Bryant. The rookie had a coming out party of sorts last week, scoring a combined three touchdowns in a loss to the Giants. Keep him active in Week 8.

Sleeper alert - Steve Johnson at Chiefs: Johnson might be the most underrated fantasy wideout in the league. After seven weeks, he's scored more fantasy points than Austin, Andre Johnson and Brandon Marshall. He's also scored at least one touchdown in each of his last four games. Johnson should be active in most leagues this week.

Wide receivers - sit 'em

Michael Crabtree vs. Broncos (London): Crabtree has been an enigma wrapped inside of a mystery this season -- he's either very productive or absolutely invisible. I think the latter will be the case this week, as he'll face Broncos CB Champ Bailey at Wembley Stadium. Crabtree will also have Troy Smith, not Alex Smith, playing quarterback.

Donald Driver at Jets: Unlike T.O., age seems to have made Driver more of a liability than an asset in fantasy leagues this season. The 35-year-old wideout failed to catch a pass last week, breaking a streak of 133 straight games with at least one reception. He's also dealing with an injured quadriceps, which makes Driver even more of a risk.

Deion Branch vs. Vikings: Branch made an instant impact in his first game back with the Patriots, but he disappeared last week with a mere 39 yards in a win over the Chargers. This week's opponent, the Vikings, have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to opposing wideouts, so Branch could be in for another nightmarish stat line.

Santonio Holmes vs. Packers: Holmes has played in two games for the Jets this season. In those contests, he's averaged a mere 4.10 fantasy points on NFL.com. While he should eventually emerge as a more productive option for owners, it's hard to trust Holmes right now. Unless you need a third wideout, he's better left on the sidelines.

Danny Amendola vs. Panthers: Amendola has become a nice option for owners in PPR leagues, as he's on pace to post close to 90 receptions based on his current totals. However, this week's matchup against the Panthers makes the Wes Welker clone a bit of a risk. Their defense has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers.

Owners beware - Marques Colston vs. Steelers: Colston had his first monster game of the season last week, posting 10 catches for 112 yards and one touchdown. Of course, that came against the Browns. This week's matchup against the Steelers, who have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to wideouts, makes Colston a riskier option.

Tight ends - start 'em

Jason Witten vs. Jaguars: Witten had a slow start to the season, but he's been on fire in recent weeks. In fact, he was the most targeted tight end in the league in Week 7. Witten should continue to see opportunities with Kitna under center and is a must-start option against a Jaguars defense that's been dreadful against the pass.

Tony Moeaki vs. Bills: The Bills defense has been extremely vulnerable to opposing tight ends this season, allowing more touchdown catches (7) and fantasy points per game (13.3) to the position than any team in the league. That's really good news for Moeaki, who should be considered a solid bye-week replacement in fantasy leagues.

Kellen Winslow at Cardinals: Winslow hasn't caught a touchdown pass this season, but he is being targeted often in the Buccaneers passing game. In his last three games, the veteran has averaged a very solid six receptions. He also has a good matchup against the Cardinals, who have been vulnerable to opposing tight ends.

Visanthe Shiancoe at Patriots: Had it not been for a questionable call from the officials, Shiancoe would have scored his second touchdown of the year in last week's loss to the Packers. Regardless, he's a viable bye-week replacement this week against a Patriots defense that has allowed the third-most fantasy points to tight ends.

Brandon Pettigrew vs. Redskins: Pettigrew is quietly on pace to post a very solid 88 receptions for 896 yards based on his current numbers, so owners that need a tight end should look to add him off the waiver wire. Pettigrew should continue to see more than his share of targets with Stafford back at the helm of the offense.

Sleeper alert - Jacob Tamme vs. Texans (Mon.): With Clark out for the remainder of the season, Tamme is expected to take over the starting role for the Colts. He won't post huge numbers, but he is worth a look off the waiver wire in deeper leagues. The Texans have allowed the second-most points to opposing tight ends.

Tight ends - sit 'em

Aaron Hernandez vs. Vikings: Hernandez is very likely to be active in a lot of fantasy football leagues this week, but don't be shocked if his stat line is uglier than Leatherface in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre movies. The Vikings have surrendered a mere 27 catches and two touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season.

Marcedes Lewis at Cowboys: Lewis had a hot start to the season, but he's averaged just 41.5 yards with no touchdowns in his last two games. The UCLA product also has a tough matchup next on the schedule, facing a Cowboys defense that has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season.

Jeremy Shockey vs. Steelers: With six teams off this week, Shockey could find himself active in some fantasy leagues. But based on his lack of statistical success in recent games (he has a combined 81 yards since Week 5) and a tough matchup against the Steelers, Shockey is better left to the fantasy sidelines on Sunday night.

Jermaine Gresham vs. Dolphins: Gresham, a rookie out of Oklahoma, is on pace to post a very respectable 69 receptions this season based on his current numbers. But against the Dolphins, he's no more than a low-end fantasy option. Their defense has allowed just 24 receptions and two touchdowns to opposing tight ends this season.

Donald Lee at Jets: The loss of Jermichael Finley is very hard to overcome, both for the Packers and fantasy football owners alike. Lee has averaged a mere two catches in his last two games as the starter and is losing some targets to Andrew Quarless. Unless he starts to produce, Lee shouldn't be trusted in fantasy leagues.

Owners beware - Owen Daniels at Colts (Mon.): Daniels has started to show signs of life after a slow start to the season, but this week's matchup against the Colts makes him a bit of a risk. Their defense has allowed fewer yards and fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any other team in the league after seven weeks.

Kickers - start 'em

Nick Folk vs. Packers: Folk was so bad last season that the Cowboys released him. Well, a change of scenery has done him well. Folk is currently fourth in fantasy points among kickers on NFL.com, and this week's game against the Packers is favorable. They have allowed an average of more than nine fantasy points per game to kickers.

Josh Scobee at Cowboys: A veteran out of Louisiana Tech, Scobee ranks sixth in fantasy points among kickers on NFL.com. With six teams on a bye, that makes him one of the better options at his position in Week 8. Scobee also has a favorable matchup, facing a Cowboys defense that's allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to kickers.

Matt Prater at 49ers (London): Prater should be considered a solid option in this weekend's annual London game, as long as Mother Nature doesn't get involved. He has a great matchup against the 49ers, who have surrendered an average of 9.9 fantasy points per game to opposing kickers. That's the third-most in the league in 2010.

Sleeper alert - Ryan Succop vs. Bills: If you like to play the matchups each week at the kicker position, then Succop is the player to add off the waiver wire for Week 8. The South Carolina product faces a Bills defense that has surrendered more fantasy points (11.8 PPG) to kickers than any other team in the NFL.

Kickers - sit 'em

Stephen Gostkowski vs. Vikings: Gostkowski was one of the top-rated kickers in fantasy football during the preseason, but he's been less than stellar to this point. In six games, he's averaged an unspectacular 8.5 fantasy points on NFL.com. Gostkowski could disappoint against the Vikings, who have been tough on kickers in 2010.

Garrett Hartley vs. Steelers: Hartley is proof that you should never go after a kicker before the very last round on draft day. Despite his lofty preseason ranking, he's just 31st in fantasy points among kickers on NFL.com based on points. Hartley also hasn't scored double-digit fantasy points for owners since Week 2.

Olindo Mare at Raiders: Mare came out of nowhere to lead all kickers in fantasy points (18.0) last week, but that's no reason to start him in fantasy leagues. In fact, Mare's matchup against the Raiders is anything but favorable. Their defense has allowed an average of fewer than six fantasy points per game to kickers.

Owners beware - Mason Crosby at Jets: Crosby, one of the better fantasy kickers in the league in recent seasons, is averaging a very pedestrian 7.3 fantasy points per game on NFL.com after seven weeks. His mediocre production could continue against the Jets, who have allowed an average of just 5.5 fantasy points to kickers.

Defenses - start 'em

Titans defense at Chargers: Believe it or not, but the Titans have scored more fantasy points than any other defense based on NFL.com's standard scoring system. Couple that with the fact that defenses facing the Chargers are averaging the third-most fantasy points, and it's pretty apparent why the Titans are a nice choice.

Patriots defense vs. Vikings: The Patriots defense has been inconsistent for owners in 2010, but this weekend's home matchup against the Vikings (with or without Favre) makes them a viable option. Despite all of their offensive talent, defenses facing the Vikes have averaged the fifth-most fantasy points this season.

Cowboys defense vs. Jaguars: Finding a good fantasy defense can be tough with six teams on a bye, so the Cowboys are worth a look despite their awful showing last Monday night. The Jaguars offense is shaky at best and can be prone to committing turnovers, and Bryant's emergence on special teams is a plus for owners as well.

Sleeper alert - Rams defense vs. Panthers: The Panthers offense is a bit more formidable with Moore under center, but it's still a unit to target when playing the defensive matchups. Opposing defenses have scored more fantasy points against the Panthers than any other offense in the entire league, so the Rams have some value.

Defenses - sit 'em

Vikings defense at Patriots: One of the most highly-rated fantasy defenses in the preseason, the Vikings have been more disappointing than Poltergeist II. In fact, they're ranked 27th based on fantasy points among defenses on NFL.com. That alone is enough to bench (or cut) the Vikings for their road matchup against the Patriots.

Saints defense vs. Steelers: Last season, the Saints had one of the better defenses in fantasy football. Unfortunately, that success hasn't bled into 2010. After seven weeks, this unit ranks a mere 21st in fantasy points on NFL.com. Against Roethlisberger and the Steelers, the Saints defense should be shelved across the board.

49ers defense vs. Broncos (London): Much like the Vikings, the Niners were a highly-touted defense in most preseason rank lists. But to this point in the season, this unit has been a major disappointment. Considering that the last two London games have produced a ton of points, the Niners should be considered a major risk.

Owners beware - Packers defense at Jets: The Packers defense has seen more than its share of major injuries, which has in turn affected the unit's fantasy value. Opposing defenses have also scored the fewest fantasy points per game against the Jets, which means owners should look elsewhere for a defense in Week 8.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Leave it in our comments section or send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com!

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