Published: Dec. 30, 2015 at 10:22 a.m.
Updated: Jan. 2, 2016 at 05:03 p.m.

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 17: Running backs

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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. All starts and sits are based on standard scoring leagues. Obvious fantasy starters like Tom Brady and Adrian Peterson will not be featured. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start 'Em

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Start of the Week - Tim Hightower vs. Atlanta Falcons

Hightower, listed as a start 'em last week, put up a monster stat line (28.9 points) in a win over the Jaguars. I'd keep him active this week against the Falcons, who have allowed an average of more than 21 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in 2015. Start Hightower with confidence in what could be a shootout.

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DeAngelo Williams vs. Cleveland Browns

Williams, who is the Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year if you ask me, is a must-start runner across the board if you have your championship this week. First, the Steelers still need a win to have a shot at a postseason berth. Second, the Browns have allowed an average of close to 20 fantasy points per game to running backs.

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Frank Gore vs. Tennessee Titans

Gore, listed as a start 'em last week, found the end zone twice and helped countless owners to a fantasy championship. Next up is a date with the Titans, who have allowed an average of 19.68 fantasy points per game to running backs this season. That's the fifth-most in the league. Gore is also on the cusp of a 1,000-yard campaign.

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James White vs. Miami Dolphins

White has been a touchdown machine in recent weeks, finding the end zone six times in his last six games. While predicting what coach Bill Belichick will do with his backfield is tough, White has at least been "reliable" in terms of fantasy stats. With a matchup against the Dolphins up next, White is a very solid flex starter.

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Rashad Jennings vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Jennings has put up 10-plus fantasy points in three straight games, and he'll be in a good position to make it four when the G-Men host Philadelphia. The Eagles have been brutal against the run, allowing more fantasy points to backs than any other team in the last four weeks. Look for Jennings to serve as a solid flex option.

Good matchups: Jeremy Langford vs. Lions, Ryan Mathews at Giants, C.J. Anderson vs. Chargers

Sit 'Em

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Sit of the Week - Jeremy Hill vs. Baltimore Ravens

Hill has scored double-digit touchdowns this season, but his yardage and overall fantasy totals aren't what most owners expected from him as a first- or second-round pick. He'll be a tough sell this week against the Ravens, who can be tough on the run. In fact, Baltimore held Hill to no scores and 2.1 fantasy points in Week 3.

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Lamar Miller vs. New England Patriots

Miller has been a real conundrum in recent weeks, as he's had success on the ground but doesn't see enough work to post big fantasy totals. In fact, he's been losing carries to Jay Ajayi more often as the Dolphins get a look at the rookie out of Boise State. A matchup against the Patriots doesn't bode well for Miller either.

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Latavius Murray vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Murray was a fantasy hero for owners in Week 16 championships, so he's going to be tough to bench for those whose finals extend to the regular season's final weekend. Still, keep in mind that Kansas City has allowed an average of fewer than 15 fantasy points a game to runners. That could make it tough to Murray to produce.

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Darren McFadden vs. Washington Redskins

McFadden is tough to bench because of the volume of touches he receives each week, but this week's matchup against the Redskins isn't a good one on paper. He's also going to see stacked fronts with Kellen Moore under center, as the Cowboys have thrown in the towel on the 2015 season. Beware of Run DMC in the weekend finale.

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Isaiah Crowell vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Crowell has put 14-plus fantasy points in two of his last three games, scoring a combined three touchdowns during that time. Despite his recent success, I'd still sit the second-year runner against the Steelers. Their defense has been tough on backs, giving up an average of fewer than 14 fantasy points a game to the position.

Bad matchups: Karlos Williams vs. Jets, Cameron Artis-Payne vs Buccaneers, Christine Michael at Cardinals

In the latest episode of the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast, the gang weighs in on some Week 17 matchups they like and don't like and talk about some lessons that they have learned during the 2015 fantasy season. Don't forget to subscribe to the show or download each episode HERE!

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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