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Start 'Em, Sit 'Em: Running backs for Week 7

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 at Buffalo Bills: Is it time to trust Johnson? Well, he has scored double-digit fantasy points in two of his last three games. The veteran also has a great matchup this weekend against the Bills, who have surrendered eight total touchdowns and the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. With six teams on a bye, CJ2K is a nice option.

Start 'em

Stevan Ridley vs. New York Jets: Ridley, who was in the sit 'em portion of this column last week, posted one of his worst stat lines against the Seattle Seahawks. He should rebound against the Jets, as the Men in Green have been anything but good against the run. In fact, this unit has surrendered the second-most rushing yards and the ninth-most fantasy points to backs.

Doug Martin vs. New Orleans Saints: Martin has started to lose a few touches to LeGarrette Blount, but he's still the lead back in Tampa Bay and a nice option this weekend against the Saints. The rookie, who totaled 13.10 fantasy points in last week's win over the Kansas City Chiefs, goes up against a Saints defense that has allowed the most fantasy points to runners.

C.J. Spiller vs. Tennessee Titans: Spiller would be a must-start runner in all formats if he were a featured back, but the presence of Fred Jackson has hurt his value. Still, he's the most explosive offensive option on the roster and remains a nice choice when the matchup is favorable. The Titans have really struggled to stop the run in 2012, so look for Spiller to shine.

Sleeper alert - Felix Jones at Carolina Panthers: The Cowboys have ruled DeMarco Murray out for Week 7 with an injured foot, so Jones is now the top back on the depth chart. He was solid in Murray's absence last week, and an upcoming matchup against the Panthers makes Jones a strong choice. Carolina has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs.

Sit of the week

Steven Jackson vs. Green Bay Packers: Did you know that 27 running backs have more fantasy points than Jackson this season? He's now mired in a backfield committee with Daryl Richardson, and this weekend's matchup against the Packers is anything but favorable. Their defense has held opposing running backs to an average of 76.6 rushing yards in their last three games.

Sit 'em

Mikel Leshoure at Chicago Bears (Mon.): Leshoure is entrenched as the top back in Detroit after the recent report that Jahvid Best (concussions) still hasn't been cleared to return to the field. However, the Illinois product will have a tough time finding room to roam against the Bears. Their defense has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to running backs in 2012.

William Powell at Minnesota Vikings: Powell, the new top runner in Arizona, was a popular name on the waiver wire this week. But while he is still worth adding in most leagues, I wouldn't trust him as even a flex starter against the Vikings. No team has allowed fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs, so Powell is better off left on the fantasy sidelines.

Mark Ingram at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Yes, you might be desperate for a running back with six teams on a bye. But you can't be that desperate to start Ingram in what is a tough matchup. The Alabama product has done a Houdini act in the stat sheets, and the Buccaneers have allowed an average of just 12.38 fantasy points per game to opposing runners this year.

Owners beware - Shonn Greene at New England Patriots: I must be mad to suggest sitting Greene, right? After all, he scored 34.10 fantasy points in Week 6! Well, that total is more than he had posted in his previous five games combined! That also came against the Colts, not the Patriots. New England is stout against the run, so Greene could be in for a tough game.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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