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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 15

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. Seattle Seahawks (Toronto): Spiller was a fantasy disappointment last week, but he's in line to see more carries moving forward in the absence of Fred Jackson (knee, injured reserve). While the Seahawks have been pretty tough on the run overall, this unit has surrendered an average of close to 17 fantasy points per game to running backs on the road.

Start 'em


Darren McFadden vs. Kansas City Chiefs: McFadden has been tough to trust in 2012, but it's even harder not to like this week's matchup against the Chiefs. Their defense has given up an average of 19.04 fantasy points per game to running backs overall, including 13.70 to McFadden back in Week 8. Even if he's just your flex, McFadden should be active in most fantasy leagues.

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Reggie Bush vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: While he's been inconsistent in the stat sheets in 2012, Bush is still a tremendous option for fantasy owners this week. That's based on a great matchup against the Jaguars, who have given up the second-most fantasy points to backs overall. In fact, their defense has allowed over 26 points to the position in two straight games.

Shonn Greene at Tennessee Titans (Mon.): 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 Titans. Their defense has allowed 13 total touchdowns and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs, so both Greene and Powell could be attractive options in Week 15.

Sleeper alert - Knowshon Moreno at Baltimore Ravens: Moreno has earned the featured backfield role in Denver, and his huge workload last week proves it. A viable fantasy flex starter across the board, he has a great matchup this week against a Ravens defense that has allowed an average of just under 20 fantasy points per game to runners on the road.

Sit of the week


Michael Turner vs. New York Giants: Turner seems to find the end zone more often than not, and even more so when he's playing at the Georgia Dome. Just keep in mind that this week's matchup against the Giants isn't a favorable one. In fact, the defending Super Bowl champions have given up the second-fewest fantasy points to running backs on the road (10.83 PPG).

John Froschauer/Associated Press
LaDainian Tomlinson gives his insight on why Marshawn Lynch is the most consistent RB in fantasy football. (Click image for further analysis.)

Sit 'em


DeAngelo Williams at San Diego Chargers: Williams put up a nice stat line last week with 112 scrimmage yards and one touchdown against the Falcons. However, it was the first time he has been in double-digits since Week 4. The Chargers have also been tough at home against running backs, allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to the position this season.

Beanie Wells vs. Detroit Lions: 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.

Vick Ballard at Houston Texans: Ballard has taken over the top spot on the depth chart with Donald Brown done for the season, but I'd be afraid to start him even as a flex player in Week 15. The Texans have an overrated pass defense, but their run defense is stout. In fact, Houston has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing runners at home in 2012.

Owners beware - Matt Forte vs. Green Bay Packers: Chances are you can't afford to bench Forte during the fantasy postseason, and you shouldn't, without solid alternatives. Just keep this in mind. Forte has never rushed for 100 yards against the Packers. Ever. What's more, the veteran out of Tulane has scored just one touchdown against them in his whole career.

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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