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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 17

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. New York Jets: Spiller has re-emerged into an elite fantasy back, and this week's matchup against the Jets is a favorable one. New York has one of the worst run units in the NFL, and Spiller scored close to 24 fantasy points against them back in Week 1.

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Start 'em


Alfred Morris vs. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have allowed 29-plus fantasy points to backs in two of their last four games, so Morris should put up a nice stat line. Back in Week 12, he rushed for 113 yards with one touchdown and scored 17.30 points against them as well.

Shonn Greene at Buffalo Bills: The Men in Green have just one viable fantasy option on their roster, and it's Greene. He's worth at least a flex start against the Bills, who have surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing running backs on their home field.

Sleeper alert - DeAngelo Williams at New Orleans Saints: Williams proved last week that he is still tough to trust in fantasy land, but he has flex-starter value against the Saints. Their defense has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to runners overall in 2012.

Sit of the week


Mikel Leshoure vs. Chicago Bears: Leshoure is a tough runner to bench, as he's found the end zone in five of his last six games. Still, the Bears have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to backs overall and held Leshoure to a mere 6.30 points back in Week 7.

Sit 'em


Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
LaDainian Tomlinson joins the crew for a look at his top running backs for 2013. (Click image for further analysis.)

Michael Turner vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers have the NFL's top-ranked run defense, and I'm concerned that Turner will be rested (at least for a half) this week so he'll be fresh for what could be a long postseason run for the Falcons. He's a risk-reward option.

Vick Ballard vs. Houston Texans: Ballard was a disappointment for owners last weekend against the Kansas City Chiefs, posting just 6.90 fantasy points. This week he faces the Texans, who have allowed the seventh-fewest points to opposing running backs on the road in 2012.

Owners beware - Steven Jackson at Seattle Seahawks: Jackson has been hot, posting 11-plus fantasy points in five straight games. So while it's tough to bench him, keep in mind that the Seahawks have allowed single-digit points to backs in their last three home games.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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