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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 3

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 Arian Foster will not be featured in this column. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

Start of the week

Chris Johnson vs. San Diego Chargers: Johnson hasn't had a huge start to the season, but I'm expecting him to explode this week against the Chargers. The Bolts have struggled to stop running backs, allowing an average of 166.5 scrimmage yards to the position in their first two games. Start Johnson as your No. 2 runner in this AFC battle in Tennessee. (Maximum value: High-RB1)

Start 'em

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Reggie Bush at Washington Redskins: Bush is dealing with a sore knee and could be a question mark to face the Redskins. But regardless if it's Bush or Joique Bell, fantasy leaguers should start whichever running back is expected to start in this contest. Washington's defense has surrendered the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs after two weeks. (Maximum value: High-RB1)

Frank Gore vs. Indianapolis Colts: Gore was in the sit 'em portion of this column last week, and he finished with a meager three points in a loss to the Seattle Seahawks. He should bounce back in a battle with the Colts, though. Indianapolis has allowed one 100-yard rusher (Terrelle Pryor) and two starting backs (Darren McFadden, Lamar Miller) to score touchdowns. (Maximum value: High-RB2)

DeMarco Murray vs. St. Louis Rams: Back in his rookie season, Murray rushed for a Cowboys-record 253 yards and one touchdown against this week's opponent, the Rams. And with coach Jason Garrett saying the Cowboys need to run the ball more, this is the perfect time to unleash the Oklahoma product. Consider him as viable No. 2 or 3 fantasy option this week. (Maximum value: High-RB2)

Sleeper alert - Knowshon Moreno vs. Oakland Raiders (Mon.): Moreno is coming off a monster game against the Giants, scoring two touchdowns and over 20 fantasy points. He's a solid flex option against the Raiders, who have been strong against the run so far but have yet to face a team with the offensive firepower of the Broncos. Moreno makes for a nice starter. (Maximum value: Mid-RB2)

Sit of the week

Maurice Jones-Drew at Seattle Seahawks: A total of 44 running backs have scored more fantasy points than Jones-Drew this season. That's a ton. And when you consider he's dealing with a bad ankle and has to face the Seahawks in Seattle, well, he needs to be benched if at all possible. The Seahawks have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs in 2013. (Maximum value: High-RB3)

Sit 'em

David Wilson at Carolina Panthers: Wilson has seen action in two games this season, and he's still at minus-0.40 fantasy points. Heck, even Brandon Jacobs has already outscored him. He's a tough sell right now as anything but a flex starter, especially against a Panthers defense that held Marshawn Lynch to just 5.20 points in their first home game of the year. (Maximum value: Mid-RB3)

James Starks at Cincinnati Bengals: Starks went off against the Redskins last week, posting 22.80 fantasy points in the absence of Eddie Lacy. But let's be honest, Washington's run defense is like swiss cheese. If Starks does draw the start in Week 3, expect him to see far less statistical success against a Bengals defense that is tougher to penetrate in the ground game. (Maximum value: High-RB3)

Montee Ball vs. Oakland Raiders (Mon.): Ball continues to see his share of the totes in Denver's backfield committee, but he lost a fumble last week and seems to be behind Knowshon Moreno when it comes to the team's pecking order. The rookie needs to be stashed on fantasy benches against the Raiders, who have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to runners. (Maximum value: Low-RB3)

Owners beware - Stevan Ridley vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Did you know that 47 running backs have scored more fantasy points than Ridley? And while it's tough to bench a player you took in either the second or third round, this week's matchup against the Buccaneers isn't favorable at all. Their defense has surrendered the eighth-fewest fantasy points to backs. (Maximum value: Low-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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