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Pick up Tebow off waivers, start Torain in Week 6

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Would you use a high waiver pick on Tim Tebow this week? -- OWisecracker (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: I would, and I will in all of my fantasy leagues. Listen, people might criticize Tebow for his poor mechanics, his lack of experience at the NFL level or any number of other issues. But what I see is fantasy points -- and a lot of them -- every time he steps on the football field. Over the final three weeks of last season, Tebow scored more points than any other player. No, that's not a misprint either. And in his first real action of 2011, he scored more points than Tom Brady, Darren McFadden and Roddy White -- and he did it in less than one full half! Am I missing something? And when you consider the ridiculous numbers that quarterbacks are putting up this season and the fact that he gives you those ever-important rushing totals, well, it makes Tebow that much more attractive. Now that Broncos coach John Fox has given him the nod in Week 7, he needs to be owned in all leagues. I'd even go so far as to say that Tebow will be a top-10 fantasy points producer at his position over the team's final 11 games if he remains the starter.

I need to start three running backs from Jahvid Best, Darren McFadden, Isaac Redman and Michael Turner. Who should I choose? Also, which three wideouts would you start from Anquan Boldin, A.J. Green, Percy Harvin and Santonio Holmes? -- P. Devries (via Facebook)

M.F.: The running back to bench is Redman, who didn't do much to impress fantasy leaguers in the absence of Rashard Mendenhall last week. With that said, I wouldn't be surprised to see Best have a tough week based on his matchup against the 49ers. I know Best was a beast against the Bears, but no team has surrendered fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs than the Niners. At wide receiver, the players to start are Boldin, Green and Holmes. It's a tough call between Holmes and Harvin, who have both been major disappointments from a statistical perspective. In fact, neither wideout is even in the top 30 in fantasy points at his position. But Holmes has a slightly more attractive matchup against the Dolphins, who are in the top 10 in terms of allowing the highest average number of fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in 2011.

Can Fred Jackson continue this torrid pace, or is time to sell high on him now? -- theRiccuation (via Twitter)

M.F.: I will always keep an ear open to trade offers, no matter who the player is that's involved. However, you would have to get a king's ransom in return for Jackson right now. He's the top scoring player at his position after five weeks, and his upcoming schedule includes contests against the Giants, Redskins, Jets (2), Cowboys, Dolphins (2), Titans, Chargers, Broncos and Patriots. So in his last 11 games, he'll face a team that is in the top 15 in terms of allowing the most fantasy points to running backs a total of six times -- and that doesn't include the Broncos, who Jackson should shred in fantasy's championship week. If you do deal Jackson, it should be for someone like Adrian Peterson, Darren McFadden, Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy at the running back position or Calvin Johnson, Wes Welker, Greg Jennings or Andre Johnson (when healthy) if we're talking about wideouts.

Would you start Darrius Heyward-Bey, Mike Sims-Walker or Michael Crabtree this week? Also, is it time to cut Dallas Clark? I have Greg Olsen. -- N. Alexander (via Facebook)

M.F.: I would start Heyward-Bey out of that trio of wideouts. (Wow, did I seriously just advise you to start Darrius Heyward-Bey?) As odd as it sounds, it's true. Heyward-Bey is finally starting to show the flashes of potential that made him a first-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, posting a combined 214 yards and one touchdown over his last two games. What's more, Heyward-Bey is close to being on pace for a 1,000-yard season. This week he faces a Browns defense that could be without CB Joe Haden, who suffered a knee injury back in Week 4. If Haden is on the sidelines, it makes Heyward-Bey that much more attractive (boy, I just can't get used to saying that). To answer your second question, yes I would dump Clark if there were a hot waiver wire pickup that you could add -- someone like Tebow, for example. Clark is barely seeing any targets, and the struggles of the Colts offensive line has landed him on the sidelines more often because he's not a tremendous blocker. Unfortunately, the loss of Peyton Manning has had the greatest negative effect on Clark. What's funny is that when Manning is back (this year or in 2012), Clark will go back to being a No. 1 fantasy tight end. But without him under center, the Iowa product has gone from superstar to reserve or waiver-wire fodder in most formats.

I need to start one of LeGarrette Blount or Daniel Thomas this week. Thoughts? -- ||TONE|| (via Twitter)

M.F.: There's a good chance that you'll have no choice but to start Thomas, as Blount is dealing with a left knee injury that has his status for Week 6 in serious doubt. But starting Thomas isn't a bad thing, as he's expected to return from a hamstring ailment in time to face a porous Jets run defense on "Monday Night Football". The Men in Green have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2011, which makes the rookie a nice No. 2 back or flex starter. In the two games before he was injured, Thomas recorded a combined 202 rushing yards and one touchdown while averaging a solid 22.5 touches.

I know you have said that things should improve for Chris Johnson, and he's been better over the last two weeks. But is now the time to trade him? He doesn't look like the same running back. If you have backfield depth, would you trade him straight up for someone like Wes Welker or Greg Jennings? -- M. Sweet (via Facebook)

M.F.: While CJ2K has started to produce better numbers in recent weeks, I wouldn't be opposed to trading him right now. In fact, I'd deal him for Fred Jackson straight up if I had the chance. With one-third of the NFL season in the books, Johnson is averaging a putrid 3.0 yard per carry and is barely in the top 25 in fantasy points at his position. Willis McGahee has more points! What's more, Johnson seemed to suffer some sort of a minor hamstring ailment that forced him to the sidelines late in the game against the Steelers. Now I'm not telling you to take the equivalent of chopped liver in a trade, because Johnson's upcoming schedule is favorable -- he faces the Colts, Bengals, Panthers, Falcons, Buccaneers and Bills among his next seven games. But if you can get good value for him now, I would not be at all timid about pulling the trigger on a potential trade.

Who do I start from the Redskins backfield this week -- Tim Hightower or Ryan Torain? -- galloloco14 (via Twitter)

Matthew Emmons/US Presswire
The NFL Fantasy LIVE crew talks about the confusing running back situation in Washington, and whether to start Ryan Torain. (Click image for further analysis.)

M.F.: According to the Washington Post, Redskins coach Mike Shanahan has declined to name his starting running back for Week 6. Thanks for nothing, Mike. No really, you make fantasy football so much more enjoyable than it would be if you would just name your starter! But I digress. If I had to guess, and that's all I can do, I would expect Torain to start and be the featured back while Hightower saw work on passing downs. But again, that's just an educated guess based on what we saw in the last Redskins game. I wouldn't be shocked if Shanahan signed John Riggins out of retirement and started him at this point! What's frustrating about this situation is that the eventual starter, whether it's Torain or Hightower, faces an Eagles defense that has allowed more fantasy points to running backs than any other team. So for now I'd roll with Torain, but it's going to be important to monitor this situation.

I have been offered Matt Forte and Vincent Jackson for Arian Foster and Steve Johnson. Should I make this deal? -- P. Houser (via Facebook)

M.F.: I would pass on this trade. Now that Foster is back at 100 percent, he's been slicing up opposing defenses like Michael Myers slices up unsuspecting teenagers in the "Halloween" movies. And if you were worried about Ben Tate cutting into his carries, well, don't be -- Foster has recorded a combined 60 touches over the last two weeks. While Forte has been solid, both on the field and in fantasy circles, I'd still rather have Foster for the stretch run. You'd get the better part of the deal at wide receiver, but Jackson isn't so much better than Johnson from a fantasy perspective that it would make this deal much more appealing overall.

What should I do with Antonio Gates? I have him in two leagues -- do I wait it out or make a trade? -- xyience_worker (via Twitter)

M.F.: According to a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune, Gates plans to return to action in Week 7, after the bye, when the Chargers face the New York Jets. "If something was to change physically I would have come back (sooner)," he said. "But ideally, I knew after the bye would be good." So, will Gates' foot hold up for the rest of the season? Who knows. But if he is scheduled to be back for San Diego's next contest, which appears to be the case, I'm holding onto him because of his potential for huge fantasy production. You can try to trade him now, but I'd wait until he puts a solid game or two and his value rises back to elite fantasy status. If that happens, though, you might not be as eager to deal the All-Pro tight end.

I benched Ben Roethlisberger last week after I read it in Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, but you did make up for it with telling me to sit Blount and Dustin Keller. That makes us square! So here's my question for this week -- would you start Roethlisberger over Tony Romo? Also, is it time to drop Mike Williams (Buccaneers) and pick up Victor Cruz? -- L. Moses (via Facebook)

M.F.: Roethlisberger sure did shock the fantasy world with that five-touchdown performance against the Titans, who had previously allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. But when Curtis Painter and two kickers score more fantasy points than some of the top stars in fantasy land, well, you just have to chalk it up to being one of those weeks. Looking ahead to Week 6, I would actually start Romo ahead of Big Ben. He's facing a Patriots defense that's allowed a ton of fantasy points to quarterbacks, and Romo should have Miles Austin back from a hamstring injury. To answer your second question, I would drop Williams to land Cruz. As was predicted on NFL.com in the preseason, Williams is enduring a terrible sophomore slump that has barely even ownable in most leagues. Cruz, who has been on fire the last three weeks, is clearly the better option.

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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