Start ’em Sit ’em is our weekly look at favorable and unfavorable match-ups and how they might affect lineup decisions for your fantasy football team. Other than a few elite players, no one should be classified as a must start every week, and analyzing match-ups can go a long way to giving your team a weekly edge. If you have any start’em sit’em questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.

Quarterbacks

Tony Romo DAL vs. HOU: Start’em

I know Romo is basically always a must start but we love him this week and here is why. Two quick facts about the first two weeks of the season, first the Texans have given up almost 900 yards in air and Tony Romo is first in the league in passing attempts at 98 (15 ahead of anyone else). Based on Romo always throwing the ball, he is now second in the league in passing yards. Ok, so that was three but do the math, Romo is in line for a monster day.

Michael Vick PHI vs. JAC: Start’em

Michael Vick is a starter again in the NFL and fantasy owners could not be happier. Sure he gets a good amount of points with his legs but this week he is a must start because of his arm. Jacksonville is terrible against the pass allowing on average 420 yards a game in this short season. Now there is no chance Vick throw for 400 yards but there is a great chance he has another good day.

Joe Flacco BAL vs. CLE: Start’em

Flacco is a great buy low candidate this week but will not be next week. Flacco owners might be thinking of benching him based on two poor performances but he has faced two top five passing defenses in weeks one and two. This week he will face a decent Browns secondary but I expect him and Ray Rice to finally have a good day. (little foreshadowing there)

Donovan McNabb WAS vs. STL: Spot Start

Sure the Rams are ranked almost dead last against the pass after two weeks but this is more of a testament to the Redskins lack of a running game. They cut Larry Johnson this week and Clinton Portis has looked awful. McNabb is used to throwing the ball 40+ times a game and we believe he will be called on to do that again this week on the road. Poor secondary plus a ton of passes will equal a solid day for McNabb.


Running Backs

Cadillac Williams TB vs. PIT: Sit’em

Williams is the starter, there is no doubt about that. He has gotten a ton of carries so he is fantasy relevant but we don’t think he will be this week. The Steelers just came off a game of where they shut down (and shut down might be an under statement) Chris Johnson. Their defense is healthy and looks great. They have been stellar against the run giving up an average of 52 yards on the ground per game thus far. Sit Williams at all costs.

Ray Rice BAL vs. CLE: Start’em

Normally Rice will never make this article but we have seen forum questions about trading and benching him due to a poor start. It is week two, just give him some time. This is short he is a stud and should be in the line-up every week until otherwise noted.

Clinton Portis WAS vs. STL: Risky Start

Larry Johnson was cut so one would think that Portis’ value would go up but we do not believe that is the case. Last week Portis scored well but that is because he back doored himself into two short touchdown runs. Other than that the Skins could get nothing together on the ground. You should probably get him into the line-up due to the match-up but he needs to be noted as a risky start due to his early season troubles.

Pierre Thomas NO vs. ATL: Start’em

Thomas had the most touches out of any player on the Saints last year and has the most touches out of any Saints this year thus far. Which means, we liked him before the Bush injury but now he is going to get even more work. We think it is a good idea to start the guy on the Saints offense that is going to touch the ball the most. If that was not enough the Falcons are giving up over a 100 yards on the ground (true a few long runs kind of taint this stat but it is what it is).

Wide Receivers

Larry Fitzgerald ARZ vs. OAK: Risky Start

Sure, it looks like it would be a great match-up but Derek Anderson was still missing Fitzgerald by literally 3 to 5 feet on some plays. This week Fitz will be shadowed by Asomugha all over the field making it even tougher for Anderson. I see the Cardinals welcoming back Beanie Wells by giving him a ton of work mainly to keep the ball out of Derek Anderson hands. He is Larry Fitzgerald so he could have a big day but we are not betting on it.

Steve Smith CAR vs. CIN: Risky Start

I wonder how good this guy would have been if he was drafted by the Colts or Pats years ago. Smith has had sub par quarterbacks throwing to him for what feels like forever now and this week Carolina is starting Jimmy Clausen. Cincy has a beast secondary and we believe Clausen will struggle meaning so will Smith. He will be hard to bench but if you got some since talent on your bench I might give it one week to see how the chemistry will be with Clausen.

Dez Bryant DAL vs. HOU: Spot Start

See Tony Romo above. The Texans give up a ton of yards and Tony throws the ball a lot. All Cowboys wideouts will have the numerous targets in this game and that includes Bryant.

Tight Ends

John Carlson SEA vs. SD: Spot Start

San Diego has been terrible defending against a tight end in recent years and it looks like not much has changed. They have given up a total of three touchdowns to tight ends in their first two games so that makes John Carlson an interesting spot start this week.

Jason Witten DAL vs. HOU: Start’em

Notice a theme yet? I believe the Cowboys will have a big day in the air so I have to include Witten has a confident must start. He has been cleared to practice and with a few more tests he will be cleared to play this week after getting a concession last. The Texans gave up a touchdown to Dallas Clark week one, a touchdown to Chris Cooley week two, so I figure it is Witten’s turn to find the end zone.

Defense

Redskins WAS vs. STL: Pick-up and Play

Dustin spoke about this pick in his Week 3 Waiver Wire show so we had to back him up and add them in here. You might think since the Texans threw for a million yards against them we would be down on the Skins but that is not the case. The breakout campaign of Arian Foster (I had to get his name somewhere in here) makes the Texans a well rounded team and a defensive coordinator’s nightmare. This is not the case with Rams, sure Steven Jackson is a great back but Bradford is a rookie and has very little weapons other than Jackson on this team. Expect the Rams not to score too many points and the Skins to get a more than a few sacks.

Patriots NE vs. BUF: Pick-up and Play

Lets face it the Bills are just not a good team, if the Pats and their sub par defense have a good day then you might as well just expect whoever plays the Bills to be a pick up and play defense section. It worked two years ago with the Lions and I think the Bills might be even worse. It is not the Pats defense it is more of the Bills having a tough time to score points. They have a total of 17 on the season.

Week 3 Expert Picks
FST EXPERTS STUD DUD SLEEPER
Brent Tony Romo Clinton Portis John Carlson
Dustin Joe Flacco Darren McFadden Fred Jackson
Mike Drew Brees Eli Manning Jeremy Maclin

If you have any start’em sit’em questions feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.