As fantasy football winds down, it's more important now than ever to be educated on your players' matchups. Playing the wrong player at any position could potentially eliminate you from the playoffs or even lose you a playoff game. In arguably fantasy football's most important position, running back, here is a list of players to start and sit this weekend.
Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns
Richardson's rookie season has been very good, as he has rushed for 755 yards and six touchdowns for the lowly Browns. This weekend, he will see a very favorable matchup against the Oakland Raiders.
The Browns should go to the ground early as they look to take pressure off of rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden, who has struggled at times this season. The volume of carries if nothing else will be beneficial to fantasy owners.
Also, Oakland ranks 28th in rushing yards allowed, allowing 131 yards per game. Just four weeks ago, Doug Martin of Tampa Bay pummeled Oakland for 250 yards and four touchdowns. Expect at least 80 yards and a touchdown from Richardson this week.
Jonathan Dwyer, Isaac Redman, Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Rainey, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers' four-headed rushing attack is always a hit-or-miss play. Many weeks, it is tough to predict which of the four will receive the bulk of the carries or get in the end zone. However, this week, my suggestion is to avoid all of them.
Against Cleveland last week, each of the four lost a fumble and none seem to be running well at all right now. Also, Jonathan Dwyer was their leading rusher last week with just 19 yards.
This week, the Steelers will play against a stout Ravens run defense that can be problematic for many run offenses. Stay away from Pittsburgh's backfield this week.
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
This is a given, but Peterson is primed for a huge weekend against Green Bay. Last Sunday, the Giants' running game ran over the sometimes strong Green Bay defense for 147 yards and two touchdowns.
After coming into this season as a huge question mark, Peterson has impressed, running for 1236 yards and seven touchdowns with five games left to play.
Expect Peterson to continue the trend of pounding the rock in Green Bay.
Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks
This is a very interesting matchup of a hot running back against a hot run defense. Lynch has run for 100 or more yards in four of his last five games and is always very difficult to keep out of the end zone. He has compiled five touchdowns on the season.
The Chicago Bears, however, rank eighth in the NFL in run defense, allowing just under 97 yards per game. They also are among the leaders in fumbles forced and recovered, recovering 13 of their 18 forced fumbles this season.
Lynch is usually a good option on a week-to-week basis, but I would steer clear of any matchup against the stingy Bears front seven.