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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 14

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


C.J. Spiller vs. St. Louis Rams: Spiller saw fewer touches than Fred Jackson last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but that was due to the wet weather conditions. I think he'll lead his team in touches against the Rams, who have allowed the third-most total touchdowns and an average of close to 20 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs overall.

Start 'em


Ahmad Bradshaw vs. New Orleans Saints: Bradshaw has produced two nice stat lines in a row, including a 103-yard performance last week against the Washington Redskins. He's also back to dominating the touches with Andre Brown out, so Bradshaw is a safer fantasy option. The vet also has a great matchup against a Saints defense that hasn't been able to stop the run.

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Steven Jackson at Buffalo Bills: Jackson, who is in a contract year, has been playing well in recent weeks. In fact, he has scored double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games. He's a solid fantasy option against the Bills, who have given up the second-most fantasy points to running backs at home this season. Consider Jackson a nice No. 2 option.

Michael Turner at Carolina Panthers: Turner has not been the most consistent runner in fantasy land, but he still has a nose for the end zone and remains a nice option against a weak opponent. That's the case against the Panthers, who have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to backs overall. Turner also put up 23.10 fantasy points against them back in Week 4.

Sleeper alert - Shonn Greene at Jacksonville Jaguars: Greene has been losing some carries to Bilal Powell in recent weeks, but I'd still roll the dice with him as a flex starter against the Jaguars. Their defense has allowed 13 total touchdowns and the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, and the Jets will need to run to find success this week.

Sit of the week


Ryan Mathews at Pittsburgh Steelers: My ride on the Ryan Mathews bandwagon is at an end. The talented runner hasn't posted double-digit fantasy points since Week 5, and a difficult matchup against the Steelers doesn't bode well for a reversal of fortunes. In fact, no defense has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs at home than Pittsburgh.

Timothy T. Ludwig/US Presswire
Reggie Bush joins LaDainian Tomlinson to discuss his upcoming matchup against the stout 49ers defense. (Click image for further analysis.)

Sit 'em


DeAngelo Williams vs. Atlanta Falcons: On paper, this is a good matchup. But here's my question - can you trust Williams in Round 1 of the fantasy postseason? Even with Jonathan Stewart out of action, the veteran out of Memphis has scored a combined 10.70 fantasy points in his last three games. Williams couldn't even exploit a poor Chiefs run defense in Week 13.

Beanie Wells at Seattle Seahawks: Wells was a fantasy flop last week, posting meager totals against what has been a poor Jets run defense. I'd keep him on the bench against the Seahawks, who have allowed fewer than 16 fantasy points to running backs in every home game that wasn't against Adrian Peterson. Unless you're desperate for a starter, Wells should be benched.

Alex Green vs. Detroit Lions: It looks like Green is once again the featured back in Green Bay, as James Starks suffered an injured knee last weekend. While that improves his overall value, does anyone remember how poorly he played in that role earlier in the year? Green also faces a Lions defense that has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to backs on the road.

Owners beware - Reggie Bush at San Francisco 49ers: Bush has had just one good stat line in recent weeks, and an upcoming matchup against the Niners is not favorable. Since 2011, their defense has allowed an average of 75 rushing yards, 6.66 fantasy points and no touchdowns to runners the week after a loss. San Francisco lost last week, so Bush is likely to lose now.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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