Fantasy Mailbag  

 

NFL fantasy football: Luck is good, Manning is better

Which quarterback should I start in Week 9 between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck? I know how good the rookie is at home, so I am a little conflicted. - @@Tgoogs13 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: Luck is a terrific option for fantasy leaguers this week against the Miami Dolphins, in part because (as you mentioned) he has been ultra productive at Lucas Oil Stadium. With that said, I still don't see how you can put Manning on your bench. Outside of one bad stat line in a loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the veteran has scored 20-plus fantasy points in every single start this season. Not bad for a quarterback who is coming off multiple neck surgeries. He also has a good matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are allowing an average of close to 17 fantasy points per game to signal-callers.

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I have had it with Calvin Johnson! What should I do with him? - N. Rukstales (via Facebook)

M.F.: Unless you can find someone in your league who wants to buy low on him (and I wouldn't advise that), you should start Johnson and hope he can turn things around. That's the bottom line in this situation, because you're not going to get good value in return for Megatron in a potential trade. He has been an enormous fantasy disappointment, scoring a mere one touchdown in seven games. In 2011, he had 10 scores in that same time. He also admitted earlier this week that his sore knee has hindered him (Madden curse, anyone?). While he has some favorable matchups upcoming against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Green Bay Packers (2) and Indianapolis Colts, unfortunately Johnson hasn't been consistent regardless of the opponent. That puts you in between a rock and a hard place in terms of your starting lineup. The moral of the story here is simple - don't draft players on the cover of the Madden game!

Is it time to get off the Cam Newton train, or am I at the point of no return? - L. Anthony (via Google+)

M.F.: Actually, I think you should start Newton this week against the Washington Redskins. Their defense has been one of the most vulnerable in the league against the pass, allowing 19 touchdown tosses and an average of 19.67 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks. If he posts a nice stat line against the Skins, at that point it makes sense to put Newton on the trade block if you still prefer to deal him. Also, keep in mind that he has five contests (Weeks 9-16) against teams ranked in the top 16 in terms of allowing the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Which running back should I start this week: Chris Johnson or Ryan Mathews? I'm definitely starting Alfred Morris and we don't have a flex position. - @@mariah10412 (via Twitter)

M.F.: As good as Johnson has been in the stat sheets in recent weeks, he is the runner to bench in this situation. The Titans have a tough matchup against the Chicago Bears, who have allowed just one rushing touchdown and the fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. On the flip side, Mathews faces a Kansas City Chiefs unit that has surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to the position. So despite the fact that the offense around him is not performing well, the matchup makes Mathews the better option.

What are your thoughts Reggie Bush? Is he worth keeping or should I look to make a trade? - G. Theodoropoulos (via Facebook)

M.F.: Bush hasn't been consistent at all, but he is on pace for 1,126 rushing yards and right around seven total touchdowns. Those aren't terrible numbers for someone who is likely filling your No. 2 running back or flex starter spot. What's more, Bush has a cupcake schedule over the next several weeks with games against the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills. All three of those teams are allowing an average of over 21 fantasy points per game to opposing backs. He also has solid matchups during most of the fantasy postseason, facing the Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 14) and Bills (Week 15). If you still decide to deal him, I would wait a few weeks so he has a chance to bolster his market value.

Which wide receivers should I target in a trade for Adrian Peterson? - J. Talamantes (via Google+)

M.F.: Peterson, who is an absolute medical freak, is second in fantasy points among running backs with a combined 914 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns. That's impressive for an athlete coming off major knee reconstruction. With his value back to where it was before he was injured, I think you can land an elite wide receiver in return. That means targeting the likes of A.J. Green, Percy Harvin and Brandon Marshall (to name a few). Don't take anything less than the best in a trade.

Philip Rivers is killing me this season. Would you deal him and Jimmy Graham for Josh Freeman and Martellus Bennett? - @MatthewPcola (via Twitter)

M.F.: Yes, Rivers has been an unbelievable disaster for fantasy owners. Believe it or not, Jay Cutler, Kevin Kolb and Mark Sanchez have all scored more fantasy points than the Chargers quarterback. That's not a misprint, even Sanchez has been better! I could research Rivers' schedule over the next few weeks as a reason to start, bench or waive him, but he hasn't been able to exploit good matchups on a consistent basis. That was evident in Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns, who had allowed a boatload of fantasy points to quarterbacks - Rivers put up a dreadful 6.16 points. With that said, I still don't like the trade you have been offered. Freeman has been hot in recent weeks, but can he keep it up all season long? That remains to be seen. I also don't like losing Graham for Bennett, which is a huge downgrade at tight end.

Which quarterback should I start in Week 9: Matt Schaub or Joe Flacco? - R. Leville (via Facebook)

M.F.: Flacco is on the road against the same Browns defense that held Rivers to minimal numbers last week, and the fact that the game is in Cleveland makes him even less attractive. As you might already know, Flacco is more of a risk for fantasy owners while playing on the road due to a noted decline in production. That's part of the reason I have more faith in Schaub, who has a great matchup at home against the Buffalo Bills. Their defense has surrendered 14 touchdown passes and the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Can Titus Young emerge into a consistent fantasy producer the rest of this season? - S. Muralidhar (via Google+)

M.F.: I think Young should be added off the waiver wire in all fantasy football leagues, but I don't think he'll be overly consistent. That's the problem we have encountered with a lot of free-agent fantasy wideouts in 2012, a list that includes Kevin Ogletree, Andre Roberts, Andrew Hawkins and Brian Hartline (to name a few). Once you grab them off waivers, well, a high level of production isn't guaranteed. Does that mean you shouldn't start Young if you need a No. 3 wideout or flex starter? Of course not. But if you are adding him with the expectation that he'll produce double-digit fantasy points on a regular basis, you are more than likely to be disappointed.

I have Owen Daniels and Jason Witten and can start just one each week. How should I handle this situation? - @KilahWhale (via Twitter)

M.F.: You should put both players on the trade block and see what offers are made. Like I always say, there's no reason to have fantasy stars on your bench when you can deal them to improve a weaker part of your roster. Also, don't be afraid to be proactive and search the rest of the teams in your league to find a squad in need of a tight end. If someone else is rolling with, for example, Jermichael Finley or Brandon Pettigrew, you should make an offer that helps both your team and theirs for the stretch run.

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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