Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 4

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

Trent Richardson at Jacksonville Jaguars Richardson had a nice start to his Colts career, scoring a touchdown in a win over the San Francisco 49ers. Next up is a great matchup against the Jaguars, who have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to runners. Consider Richardson a strong starting option. (Maximum value: Mid-RB1)

Start 'em

DeMarco Murray at San Diego Chargers: Murray recorded a solid stat line against the St. Louis Rams, rushing for 175 yards and one touchdown. Next up is a date with the Chargers, who rank a meager 28th against the run and have allowed an average of over five yards per carry. That's pretty good news for Murray. (Maximum value: Low-RB1)

Darren McFadden vs. Washington Redskins: McFadden is coming off a strange stat line - nine rushing yards, one rushing touchdown and one touchdown pass against the Denver Broncos. This week he goes up against the Redskins, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to opposing runners. As long as McFadden is on the field, keep him active. (Maximum value: Low-RB1)

Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Indianapolis Colts: Jones-Drew's first two weeks left a lot to be desired in the stat sheets, but he did post a decent line against the Seattle Seahawks. He has a much more attractive matchup upcoming against the Colts, who have struggled to start the run in 2013. He's not the Jones-Drew of old, but he is a nice option this week. (Maximum value: High-RB2)

Sleeper alert - Bilal Powell at Tennessee Titans: This isn't a good or bad matchup on paper - the Titans have allowed the 14th-most fantasy points to running backs - but I still like Powell as a flex starter this weekend. That's due to the expected absence of fellow running back Chris Ivory, who is once again dealing with an injured hamstring. (Maximum value: Mid-RB2)

Sit of the week

C.J. Spiller vs. Baltimore Ravens: If you drafted Spiller, chances are you don't have the depth to bench him. Just keep in mind, though, that he's dealing with a sore quadriceps and a tough matchup against the Ravens' fifth-ranked run defense awaits. Baltimore has also allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs this season. (Maximum value: High-RB2)

Sit 'em

David Wilson at Kansas City Chiefs: Wilson's name is among the first that come to mind when fantasy owners think of the biggest running back disappointments after three weeks. In an offense that has been dreadful, it's tough to advise starting Wilson against the Chiefs - their defense has allowed an average of just 13.43 fantasy points to runners. (Maximum value: Mid-RB3)

Ryan Mathews vs. Dallas Cowboys: Outside of a fortunate touchdown catch in Week 1, Mathews has been invisible in the stat sheets. In fact, he's losing carries to both Ronnie Brown and Danny Woodhead in a new backfield committee. He should be on your bench if possible this week, as the Cowboys have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to backs. (Maximum value: High-RB3)

Rashard Mendenhall at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mendenhall has been an all-or-nothing fantasy running back this season, and I expect him to be closer to the nothing side this week. The Buccaneers field one of the league's most ferocious defenses, allowing no touchdowns and an average of fewer than 15 fantasy points to opposing runners this season. (Maximum value: Low-RB3)

Owners beware - Stevan Ridley at Atlanta Falcons: If you have Ridley on your fantasy team, well, I don't have to tell you how bad his numbers have been this season. And with a tough matchup against the Falcons up next, Ridley is no lock to see his fortunes reversed. Atlanta has allowed the fourth-fewest rushing yards to running backs this season. (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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