Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 2

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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


Marshawn Lynch vs. San Francisco 49ers: Why do I have Lynch listed as a start 'em? Well, a ton of people on Twitter are freaking out about him after last week and a tough upcoming game against the Niners. "Beast Mode" has rushed for 100-plus yards against San Francisco in three straight games and has scored a rushing touchdown in two of those contests. (Maximum value: High-RB1)

Start 'em


Darren McFadden vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: McFadden posted a nice line last week against the Indianapolis Colts, scoring one touchdown and 12.60 fantasy points. He's a recommended start once again against the Jaguars, who have all kinds of question marks on both sides of the football. What's more, Jamaal Charles beat them for a touchdown and 16 fantasy points in the season opener. (Maximum value: High-RB1)

Eddie Lacy vs. Washington Redskins: Despite facing the Niners and losing a fumble, Lacy still scored 11.20 fantasy points in his NFL debut. This week he'll face a much less formidable run defense, as the Redskins allowed the third-most fantasy points to running backs in Week 1. Lacy makes for an attractive flex starter with upside in this NFC contest. (Maximum value: Mid-RB2)

DeAngelo Williams at Buffalo Bills: Williams posted 100 scrimmage yards against a tough Seahawks defense last week, so I'm expecting better things against a less formidable Bills team. This unit allowed the sixth-most fantasy points and the second-most rushing yards to backs in Week 1, which makes the veteran a pretty viable flex starter. (Maximum value: Low-RB2)

Sleeper alert -- Daryl Richardson at Atlanta Falcons: Richardson didn't set the fantasy world on fire last week, but he did score just under 10 fantasy points - not bad for a player who is considered a flex starter. He's a nice option in that spot against the Falcons, who surrendered the eighth-most fantasy points to running backs in their home-opening contest. (Maximum value: High-RB3)

Sit of the week


Ryan Mathews at Philadelphia Eagles: Mathews had a decent line against the Houston Texans, but did you know it was Ronnie Brown, not Mathews, who led the Chargers' backs in snaps? And if you take away his touchdown catch off a Texans turnover that occurred deep in their own territory, Mathews would have finished with fewer than five fantasy points. (Maximum value: High-RB3)

Sit 'em


BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Law Firm found the end zone in a loss to the Chicago Bears, but he's a hard sell in fantasy leagues. I'd keep him on the bench Monday night, as he'll face a Steelers defense that held him to just 83 rushing yards last season. Plus, Green-Ellis hasn't scored against the Steelers in five career meetings. (Maximum value: High-RB3)

Rashard Mendenhall vs. Detroit Lions: The Lions allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs last week, but that was against Adrian Peterson. My friends, Mendenhall is no Peterson. The veteran out of Illinois also lost carries to Alfonso Smith, which has to be a concern for a player who has had major knee issues over the last two years. (Maximum value: High-RB3)

Montee Ball at New York Giants: Ball has the most upside of all the Broncos runners, but it's still hard to trust a player who doesn't start and loses carries to not one but two teammates. In Week 1, he was limited to eight carries for 24 yards - and that was in a platoon role. At this point, there isn't a Broncos back to trust in most fantasy formats - including Ball. (Maximum value: Low-RB3)

Owners beware -- Frank Gore at Seattle Seahawks: If Gore is on your roster, chances are you have to start him. Just keep this in mind -- he has scored just one rushing touchdown in his last six games against the Seahawks. Furthermore, Gore has rushed for fewer than 85 yards in each of his last six trips to the Great Northwest. This is a brutal matchup. (Maximum value: High-RB2)


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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