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.
Start of the week
DeMarco Murray at Chicago Bears (Mon.): Murray is coming off a monster performance on Thanksgiving Day, and fantasy owners should keep him active in the first week of the postseason against the Bears. Their defense has struggled against running backs, allowing an average of 23.9 fantasy points per game to the position since Week 9. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)
Eddie Lacy vs. Atlanta Falcons: Lacy is seeing more stacked fronts with Aaron Rodgers on the sideline, but I still can't see sitting him when the matchup is favorable. That's the case this week at Lambeau Field, as the Falcons have allowed the second-most fantasy points (30.8 PPG) to running backs since Week 10. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)
Le'Veon Bell vs. Miami Dolphins: Bell is good to go after last week's scary concussion, so fantasy owners can feel safe starting him against a porous Dolphins run defense. Miami has given up 12 total touchdowns to runners this season, and Bell has scored at least 8.8 fantasy points in each of his last seven games (standard leagues). (Maximum value: Mid RB1)
Steven Jackson at Green Bay Packers: Jackson has been a disappointment overall, but he has seen his fantasy point totals increase each of the last three weeks. He's a good bet to continue this hot streak against the Packers, who have surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points (28.2 PPG) to opposing running backs since Week 10. (Maximum value: High RB2)
Sleeper alert - Bobby Rainey vs. Buffalo Bills: Rainey hasn't done much in the stat sheets since breaking out against the Falcons in Week 11, but he has flex-starter value this week based on a nice matchup against the Bills. Since Week 10, Buffalo's defense has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points (24.6 PPG) to opposing running backs. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)
Sit of the week
Trent Richardson at Cincinnati Bengals: One of the biggest busts in fantasy football, Richardson has lost his starting job to Donald Brown and much of his fantasy appeal as well. Neither Richardson nor Brown is a nice option against the Bengals, who have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points (12.0 PPG) to running backs at home in 2013. (Maximum value: Low RB3)
Zac Stacy at Arizona Cardinals: It's tough to bench a player like Stacy, who has been such a phenomenal runner for owners in recent weeks. Just keep in mind that the Cardinals have been tough at home against the run. In fact, no defensive unit in the league has allowed fewer fantasy points (10.3 PPG) to opposing running backs at home. (Maximum value: High RB2)
Ryan Mathews vs. New York Giants: Mathews is having a decent season in the stat sheets, but his point totals have dropped in each of the last three weeks. He also has a difficult matchup next on the slate against the Giants -- their defense has surrendered the ninth-fewest fantasy points (15.0 PPG) to opposing running backs this season. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)
Lamar Miller at Pittsburgh Steelers: Miller might be closer to a featured running back in the absence of Daniel Thomas, but it's still tough to trust him when the matchup isn't favorable. That's the case this week, as he'll face a Steelers defense that has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points (11.2 PPG) to runners since Week 10. (Maximum value: Mid RB3)
Owners beware - Frank Gore vs. Seattle Seahawks: Gore is tough to bench, but owners with backfield depth should consider it based on this week's matchup against the Seahawks. Since Week 10, Seattle has allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points (12.2 PPG) to runners. What's more, Gore has struggled against them in the last two meetings. (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!