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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 16

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 Washington Redskins: 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 plus matchup against the Redskins, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points (22.5 PPG) to runners on their home field. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Start 'em


Alfred Morris vs. Dallas Cowboys: Morris hasn't been all that productive for owners in recent weeks, but he still needs to be in your lineup against the Cowboys. He has owned Dallas, scoring five times in three career meetings against them. The last time Morris faced the 'Boys in Washington, he rushed for 200 yards and three scores. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Ryan Mathews vs. Oakland Raiders: Mathews is finally starting to reach his fantasy potential, scoring a combined 60 fantasy points in his last four games. He's a good bet to post another nice stat line against the Raiders, who have surrendered more fantasy points (32.6 PPG) to running backs than any other team in the last four weeks. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Frank Gore vs. Atlanta Falcons (Mon.): Gore has scored double-digit fantasy points just once in his last five games, but owners should still stick with him as a No. 2 or flex starter against the Falcons. Their defense has been bad against the run, allowing the second-most fantasy points (25.5 PPG) to opposing runners on the road. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Sleeper alert - Jordan Todman vs. Tennessee Titans: In the event that Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) is unavailable once again, Todman becomes a nice backup option. He scored better than 15 fantasy points last week, and an upcoming matchup against the Titans is favorable. Their defense is among the NFL's worst against running backs. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Sit of the week


Andre Brown at Detroit Lions: Brown 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 Detroit isn't favorable -- their defense has given up the second-fewest fantasy points (11.7 PPG) to running backs at home this season. (Maximum value: High RB2)

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Sit 'em


C.J. Spiller vs. Miami Dolphins: If we have learned anything, it's that you can't trust Spiller regardless of the matchup. The Dolphins have been better against the run, allowing the fifth-fewest fantasy points (11.1 PPG) to runners over the last four weeks, so Spiller doesn't even have that going for him. I'd keep him on the bench. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Rashard Mendenhall at Seattle Seahawks: Believe it or not, Mendenhall has been the 10th-best running back based on fantasy points over the last four weeks. With that said, he's still a major risk against the Seahawks. Their defense has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points (13.6 PPG) to runners on their home field in 2013. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Pierre Thomas at Carolina Panthers: Thomas has cooled off in recent weeks, scoring more than nine fantasy points just once in his last five games. That includes a 2.1-point stinker in Week 14 against the Panthers. Unless you're in a PPR league, both Thomas and Darren Sproles should be considered huge risks. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Owners beware - Steven Jackson at San Francisco 49ers (Mon.): Jackson has been hot, scoring 58.6 combined fantasy points over the last four weeks. Still, this week's matchup against the Niners is not a favorable one. In fact, their defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (9.4 PPG) to runners over the last four weeks. (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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