Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 13

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

Start of the week


Andre Brown at Washington Redskins: Brown has been as good as advertised in his return to action, scoring no fewer than 9.3 fantasy points in each of his last three games. He's a good bet to post another nice stat line in Washington, as the Redskins have surrendered an average of nearly 20 fantasy points per game to running backs at home. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

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Start 'em


Frank Gore vs. St. Louis Rams: Gore hasn't been great for owners in recent weeks, but can you really afford to sit him against the Rams? Their defense has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points (24.0 PPG) to opposing running backs on the road, so Gore will be in a great position. to find success. Keep him in your lineup this weekend. (Maximum value: Mid RB1)

Fred Jackson vs. Atlanta Falcons (Toronto): Jackson should be fresh coming off a bye week, and a matchup against the Falcons makes him a nice option in fantasy leagues. Their defense has been bad against the run, allowing the third-most fantasy points (24.1 PPG) to opposing running backs on the road. C.J. Spiller is also a viable flex. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Chris Ivory vs. Miami Dolphins: Assuming the ankle injury Ivory suffered last week isn't too serious, he's a solid option for fantasy owners against the Dolphins. Their defense has been just plain bad against the run, allowing the fifth-most receiving yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and the seventh-most fantasy points to runners in 2013. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Sleeper alert - Donald Brown vs. Tennessee Titans: Trent Richardson has been an enormous bust since he was traded to Indianapolis, so Brown becomes an attractive option against a Titans defense that struggles to stop the run. Back in Week 11, Brown put up 94 scrimmage yards, two TDs and 21.4 fantasy points against Tenneessee. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Sit of the week


Stevan Ridley at Houston Texans: This has less to do with the matchup and more to do with Ridley's recent case of fumbilitis. Benched for coughing up the football last week, Ridley is in danger of being in the middle of a backfield committee with Shane Vereen, Brandon Bolden and LeGarrette Blount. He's someone to avoid if possible. (Maximum value: Low RB2)

Sit 'em


Pierre Thomas at Seattle Seahawks: Thomas is on a nice hot streak, ranking ninth in fantasy points among running backs over the last four weeks. However, this week's matchup against the Seahawks is not at all favorable. Their defense has been tough on backs, allowing an average of 14.3 fantasy points per game to the position in Seattle. (Maximum value: High RB2)

Ryan Mathews vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Mathews has played better in recent weeks, but he's dealing with a hamstring aggravation and a tough matchup against the Bengals. This defense has been a nightmare for opposing running backs, allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points (14.9 PPG) to the position on the road this season. (Maximum value: Mid RB2)

Lamar Miller at New York Jets: Here's the good news for Miller owners -- the loss of Daniel Thomas should mean more carries. Now the bad news -- you still want nothing to do with him against the Jets. Their defense has been plain stingy against the run, allowing an average of 13.3 fantasy points per game to runners at home. (Maximum value: Mid RB3)

Owners beware - Bobby Rainey at Carolina Panthers: The bloom is off Rainey's rose after last week's poor stat line, and an upcoming matchup against the Panthers isn't going to improve his stock. The Panthers have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points (12.5 PPG) to opposing running backs on their home field, so keep Rainey on the bench. (Maximum value: Mid RB3)


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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