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

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 Cam Newton and Antonio Brown will not be featured. For your final lineup decisions, check our lineup rankings.

RUNNING BACKS

Start 'Em

Melvin Gordon at IND: Gordon could turn into the best draft bargain in fantasy football, and he figures to see a bigger role in the San Diego offense with Danny Woodhead (knee) out for the season. He's a virtual must-start runner this week against the Colts, who have given up more fantasy points to running backs (34.5 PPG) than any other team in the league.

Todd Gurley at TB: It's come down to this ... after two bad weeks, I have to put Gurley in the start 'em portion of this column. Fans are freaking out (and with good reason), but I'm giving Gurley the benefit of the doubt ahead of what is a plus matchup against a Bucs defense that's been bad against runners. If Gurley fails here, then I'll be worried.

Mark Ingram vs ATL: The same applies to Ingram as it does to Gurley ... two bad weeks, lots of worried owners and a bunch of concerned questions from fans on Twitter. Ingram was limited to a mere 13 touches last week (for some reason), but I'm giving him another week of rope against Atlanta. He's scored five times in his last three games against them.

LeGarrette Blount vs HOU (Thur.): Blount, listed as a sleeper last week, has put up 193 rushing yards and two touchdowns in his first two games of the season. He also saw 51 total snaps (29 carries) in last week's win over the Dolphins, and I'd be shocked if he didn't continue to run a lot with rookie Jacoby Brissett projected to start versus the Texans on Thursday.

DeMarco Murray vs OAK: Murray has been one of the top runners in fantasy football to start the 2016 season, and most of his production has come as a receiver out of the backfield (21.1 points). Fantasy owners should deploy him against the Raiders, who have surrendered an average of 20 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs after two weeks.

Sleepers:
Isaiah Crowell at Dolphins, Charles Sims vs. Rams

Sit 'Em

Carlos Hyde at SEA: Hyde was a major disappointment last week in Carolina, and the schedule isn't going to get better with a date in Seattle upcoming. Most No. 1 runners have not fared well in the Pacific Northwest over the last year, as just three have scored a rushing touchdown in that time. This is a good week to keep Hyde on the fantasy sidelines.

Eddie Lacy vs DET: Was it the weight, or was it the offense? Maybe the latter was a bigger part of the problem for Lacy last season, because he's been average at best in 2016. Lacy (35) split snaps with James Starks (34) last week against the Vikings, and now he'll face a Lions defense that's held him to an average of 5.4 fantasy points in five games.

T.J. Yeldon vs BAL: Yeldon put up a 3.8-point stink bomb against the Chargers last week, which was at least in part due to the fact that Jacksonville had to abandon the run in an attempt to erase a deficit. Still, it's hard to trust a back with a 2.4 YPC average who will no doubt lose carries to Chris Ivory sooner than later. Yeldon is a flex at best.

Jeremy Hill vs DEN: Hill has been a regular member of the sit 'em running backs list, as he's rushed for a combined 53 yards over his first two contests. Last week in Pittsburgh, Giovani Bernard had more snaps (47) than Hill (29) and appeared to be the better back. Next on the schedule is a difficult home game against the Broncos, so keep Hill benched.

Matt Jones at NYG: Jones put up 12.5 fantasy points in last week's loss to the Cowboys, but I'm skeptical of his chances to put up good numbers again in what is a much tougher matchup against the Giants. Their upgraded defensive unit has looked like the real deal, holding Ezekiel Elliott and Mark Ingram to a combined 15.9 points in the first two weeks.

Busts:
Latavius Murray at Titans, Ryan Mathews vs. Steelers

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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