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.

Each week we will breakdown several players into the following categories:

Start’em – Players that have favorable match-ups and should perform above their season average. Start these players with confidence.

Sit’em – Players that have unfavorable match-ups and might perform below their season average. If you have better options on the bench you might want to stick them into your line-up instead of these players.

Spot Start – Players that are normally on your bench that could make your starting line-up based on their match-ups. If your regular starters have unfavorable match-ups or if you have bye week issues these are some guys you should certainly considering replacing them with.

Risky Start – Top Players that have an unfavorable match-up however, based on their talent might be tough to get them out of your line-up. You should lower your expectations of these players if they are labeled as risky for the given week.

Pick up and play – Players that are not universally owned that you might want to pick-up and plug into your line-up due to a good match-up that week.

Quarterbacks

Jay Cutler CHI vs. DET: Start’em

I know what you are thinking, Jay Cutler the same guy that threw for 26 picks last year? Jay Cutler the guy that has looked all kinds of confused this pre-season in the new Mike Martz offense? Yes that Jay Cutler, simple fact is he will throw the ball a ton and the Lions were ranked dead last against the pass last season. Expect a big game for Cutler and to find out who his favorite target will be this season since they all should be open.

Joe Flacco BAL vs. NYJ: Risky Start

Revis Island has signed, the Jets are at home, and Flacco is still a younger quarterback. All of these reasons make us a little hesitant of starting Flacco this week. To put it into perspective FST_Dustin is considering benching Flacco in favor of Derek Anderson this week (playing against the Rams) in our two quarterback expert league.

Derek Anderson ARZ vs. STL: Spot Start

Derek Anderson has big shoes to fill now that Kurt Warner is gone however, he could not have picked a better team to open against week one. In a 14-team or two quarterback league we love Anderson as a spot start and to rise to the occasion week one against the terrible secondary of the Rams.

Wide Receivers

Michael Crabtree SF vs. SEA: Start’em

Michael Crabtree has had an impressive training camp/pre-season and is ready to prove to the NFL why he believes he could be one of the elite receivers in the league. He gets a great match-up week one against the Seahawks who have trouble stopping anyone’s passing game. Expect the 49ers to run early to set up the pass and once Seattle is forced to put eight in the box to stop Frank Gore, Crabtree should have a field day.

Malcom Floyd SD vs. KC: Start’em

With all the news in Chargers camp being about Vincent Jackson this entire pre-season, I am sure that Malcom Floyd is ready to prove to the world that they will not miss him that much. Floyd proved last season that he can put up big numbers ending the year with a 9 catch 140 yard performance.


Mike Sims-Walker JAC vs. DEN: Sit’em

Champ Bailey is pretty good at football he will be all over Sims-Walker all game long. We would not be shocked if Jacksonville targeted Sims-Walker less than five times in their season opener.

Johnny Knox CHI vs. DET: Spot Start

If you drafted Johnny Knox you know all about Mike Martz’ system and how wide receivers normally excel. Knox and Cutler were college teammates and reportedly worked out a good deal together in the off-season. As stated above when discussing Cutler, the Lions secondary was dead last a year ago so Knox and all Bears receivers should have a good day.

Running Backs

Cadillac Williams TB vs. CLE: Spot Start

The Browns gave up the 5th most rushing yards a season ago and Cadillac Williams has looked 100% healthy this preseason. If you drafted Williams this might be a good game to get him into your flex position. (you might not have many chances since his knees are always one play away from putting him back on the IR)

Shonn Greene NYJ vs. BAL: Risky Start

We came into the season loving Shonn Greene based upon his playoff run last year. We still think he will have a good season just not the best start. The Ravens are a tough team to run against between the tackles and that is Greene’s game.

Michael Turner ATL vs. PIT: Risky Start

Michael Turner when healthy has certainly been a stud running back and has had phenomenal numbers. The one part of his game that he does not excel in is catching the ball out of the backfield. This week Turner faces a Steelers defense that is tough against the run. Due to the Steelers focus on stopping the run between the tackles they are sometimes susceptible to screens out of the back field. Since Turner does not catch too many balls he might be a little bit of a risky start in point per reception formats.

Tight Ends

Heath Miller PIT vs. ATL: Start’em

Atlanta could not stop anyone in the air consistently a season ago and with Dennis Dixon at the helm expect Steelers to try to get him in a rhythm by calling short easy passes. Here is where we believe Health Miller could have a nice week. We expect Dixon to target Miller early and often and certainly look for him in the red zone.

Brent Celek PHI vs. GB: Risky Start

This is a combination of the Packers passing defense which was top five a season ago and the fact Kevin Kolb has been terrible in the pre-season. Most likely you do not have a better option than Celek, so start him, just lower you expectations a little.

Defense

Arizona Cardinals vs. St. Louis Rams: Pick-up and Play

Sure the Cardinals gave away a few key defensive players in the off-season and the rookie Sam Bradford has looked steady in the pre-season but he is rookie and he has a weak receiver core. It is not uncommon for number one overall draft picks to struggle their first game in the pros making the Cardinals a nice pick-up play defensive this week.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers: Risky Start

The Eagles have a solid blitzing defense and might get to the quarterback however, if you league count high scores against your defense very negatively you might need to find a replacement since the Packers could throw up anywhere between 30-35 points this weekend.

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