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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 5

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 Adrian Peterson will not be featured. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Byes: Le'Veon Bell, Doug Martin, Alfred Morris, Adrian Peterson

Start of the week


Ray Rice at Miami Dolphins: The folks on Twitter are all up in arms over Rice, who has been a disappointment to this point in the season. Well, he needs to remain in your starting lineup this week against the Dolphins. Their defense has struggled against the run, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to runners. Look for Rice to rebound. (Maximum value: High-RB1)

Start 'em


DeMarco Murray vs. Denver Broncos: The seventh-ranked running back in fantasy football based on points, Murray is on pace to rush for over 1,400 yards based on his current totals. He has a solid matchup on paper this week against the Broncos, who have surrendered seven total touchdowns and the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. (Maximum value: High-RB2)

Eddie Lacy vs. Detroit Lions: Assuming Lacy is back on the field after missing time with a concussion, he needs to be back in your starting fantasy lineup this weekend. The Lions have had a tough time with running backs, allowing seven total touchdowns and the third-most fantasy points to the position after the first four weeks. (Maximum value: High-RB2)

Maurice Jones-Drew at St. Louis Rams: Let's face it: Jones-Drew has been a bust so far. But we are in the bye weeks, so he's going to be active in a lot of fantasy leagues even if it's as a flex starter. No team has allowed more fantasy points to runners than the Rams, so it's time for MJD to step up -- or risk becoming fantasy bench fodder. (Maximum value: Mid-RB2)

Sleeper alert -- David Wilson vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Wilson has been a huge fantasy disappointment. After four weeks, 64 running backs have more fantasy points. But when you are in the middle of the bye weeks at a shallow position, sometimes you have to take a risk. The Eagles have struggled to stop the run, so Wilson has flex-starter value. (Maximum value: High-RB2)

Sit of the week


McCoy still the one
LeSean McCoy tweeted Adam Rank requesting to remain the No. 1 fantasy RB. Not that it was completely necessary. More ...

Ryan Mathews at Oakland Raiders: In a season that has seen several bad run defenses from a season ago become far more formidable, the Raiders have allowed an average of just 14.43 fantasy points to running backs after four weeks. That's bad news for Mathews, who has 19 touches and 116 scrimmage yards in two career meetings against Oakland. (Maximum value: Mid-RB2)

Sit 'em


Rashard Mendenhall vs. Carolina Panthers: Mendenhall remains the top back on the Cardinals depth chart, but he's drawn the ire of coach Bruce Arians in recent weeks. He's been average in fantasy land too, scoring more than seven points just once. He needs to ride the fantasy pine against a Panthers defense that has improved against the run. (Maximum value: Low-RB3)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis vs. New England Patriots: We are starting to see a transition in the Bengals backfield from Green-Ellis to Giovani Bernard, who is a far more talented runner. As a result, it's tough to trust the Law Firm against his old team. The Patriots have allowed an average of just 13.25 fantasy points to running backs on the road. (Maximum value: Mid-RB3)

Daryl Richardson vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: The Rams have a great matchup this week against the Jags, but how can you trust Richardson? Coach Jeff Fisher said he's going to use all of his running backs, and Richardson told a fan on Twitter that he isn't expecting to start. It's a good situation gone bad in fantasy land, so sit D-Rich. (Maximum value: Low-RB3)

Owners beware -- Chris Johnson vs. Kansas City Chiefs: There is a good chance you can't afford to sit Johnson during the bye weeks, but owners with backfield depth should at least consider it. He's just 26th in fantasy points among running backs, and this week's opponent, the Chiefs, have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to running backs. (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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