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

Start of the week


DeMarco Murray vs. Green Bay Packers: Murray has been hot in recent weeks, ranking among the 10 best running backs based on fantasy points since Week 11. He should remain in your starting lineup in what is a terrific matchup against the Packers, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points (27.1 PPG) to runners in the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

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Start 'em


Eddie Lacy at Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys have an atrocious run defense, as running backs have scored more fantasy points (24.4 PPG) against them than any other team in the league. So whether it is Lacy (ankle) or James Starks in the Packers backfield, fantasy leaguers have to like their prospects of putting up some tremendous numbers. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Shane Vereen at Miami Dolphins: Over the last four weeks, Vereen has recorded more receiving yards than any other running back in the entire league. It's those pass-catching skills that make him a PPR monster. Vereen's matchup against the Dolphins and their vulnerable run defense makes him a very solid option across all fantasy formats. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Zac Stacy vs. New Orleans Saints: Stacy's numbers have fallen a bit in recent weeks, but he's still an attractive option in most fantasy leagues in Week 15. The rookie has produced better numbers on his home field, while the Saints have had a tougher time against running backs on the road. Consider Stacy a viable No. 1 or 2 runner. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Sleeper alert - Chris Ogbonnaya vs. Chicago Bears: The Browns will be without Willis McGahee, meaning Ogbonnaya will take over lead-back duties in what is a tremendous matchup against the Bears. Chicago has surrendered the second-most fantasy points (25.6 PPG) to opposing running backs on the road, so Ogbonnaya is a nice sleeper. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Sit of the week


C.J. Spiller at Jacksonville Jaguars: You might look at this matchup against the Jaguars and assume it's an attractive one, but take this into consideration. Over the last four weeks, only three teams have allowed fewer fantasy points per game to running backs than Jacksonville. Oh, and Spiller hasn't exactly been consistent either. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Sit 'em


Bobby Rainey vs. San Francisco 49ers: Rainey has been a strong fantasy play on his home field, but his two big performances came against bad run defenses (Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills). This week he faces the Niners, who have surrendered an average of fewer than 14 fantasy points per game to running backs over the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Chris Ivory at Carolina Panthers: Ivory is coming off a solid performance against the Oakland Raiders, but can you trust him against a more formidable opponent like the Panthers? Only the Arizona Cardinals have allowed fewer fantasy points (11.7 PPG) to opposing runners on their home field, so Ivory could struggle to post nice totals. (Maximum value: High RB2)

DeAngelo Williams vs. New York Jets: Williams is in line for a bigger role in the offense in the absence of Jonathan Stewart, but facing the Jets makes him a major risk nonethless. The Men in Green have allowed fewer fantasy points (7.7 PPG) to home running backs than any other team in the league, so beware starting Williams in Week 15. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Owners beware - Chris Johnson vs. Arizona Cardinals: Johnson is tough to bench, and you shouldn't do it unless you have a legitimate alternative with a solid matchup. Just keep in mind that this week's contest against Arizona isn't a favorable one -- their defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (13.2 PPG) to home 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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