Michael Fabiano: Trading for injured players is a risk-reward transaction. Jackson has been ruled out for Week 6, and there's no guarantee he will return for Week 7. In fact, I'd be shocked if he was active against Seattle (Oct. 21) based on how fast St. Louis grounded him for this week. Johnson didn't practice at all last week, so chances are he will miss this week's contest at Jacksonville. Whether he is able to return for Week 7 remains to be seen, but it doesn't appear he will miss the rest of the season. Still, the prospect of a team that has Jackson and Johnson for the stretch run is quite a temptation and worth the risk -- as long as the loss of Barber doesn't cripple your current backfield.
Were Jon Kitna’s first few weeks a fluke? Will he continue to produce or should I alternate between Kitna and Brian Griese? Also, should I release Derrick Mason or Shaun McDonald? -- C. Ardelean, Europe
M.F.: I don't feel Kitna's numbers were a fluke at all. In fact, I think he'll finish in the top five in passing yards and throw 25-plus touchdowns when the season is finished. Remember that Detroit is a throw-first offense under Mike Martz, so Kitna will recorded solid numbers most of the time as a result. Sure, he'll have a few off weeks like he did against Washington, but overall he's still a must-start quarterback in most formats. Of course, Kitna needs to be reserved this week as the Lions are one of six teams on a bye. I would release McDonald and add Mason, who is on pace for 141 receptions. That would be second all time behind Marvin Harrison's 143 catches in 2002.
|Nick Lahman / Getty Images|
|Eli Manning threw for 186 yards and two touchdowns in Week 5.|
Who should I start in Week 6: Eli Manning or Vince Young? -- N. Roen, Eau Claire, Wis.
M.F.: Young was taken ahead of Manning in most drafts, but the latter has been a better option for owners. Headed into this week, Manning is on pace to finish the season with over 3,400 passing yards and 29 touchdowns. Those numbers are far superior to Young, who is on pace for under 2,400 passing yards, 492 rushing yards and a mere 16 total touchdowns. Manning also has a better matchup this week against an Atlanta defense that has allowed an average of 21.5 points and 224.5 passing yards per game at home, so start the Giants quarterback.
I’m 3-2, but injuries have killed me this season. I have Steven Jackson and Brian Westbrook (I also have Correll Buckhalter), and I have been offered Larry Johnson and Laveranues Coles for Cedric Benson and Terrell Owens. I also have Steve Smith. Should I make this deal? -- S. Custer, Beeville, Pa.
M.F.: Injuries have killed a lot of owners (me included), so it's more important than ever to make trades and watch the waiver wire. The fact that I received tons of trade questions this week shows that most people are in the process of trying to improve their patchwork rosters. Since you have one runner hurt for an extended period (Jackson) and one that is prone to injuries (Westbrook), I would make the deal to add Johnson in order to have some semblance of backfield depth. Furthermore, I'm not a real fan of Benson and would rather have L.J. despite his horrid start to the season.
Should I sit Terrell Owens in Week 6 and start Bobby Engram or Vincent Jackson instead? -- L. Sanchez, Fla.
M.F.: Owens has had two consecutive poor statistical starts, but he will be extra motivated this week against Randy Moss and the New England Patriots. I realize the matchup is not favorable -- plus Engram is a solid sleeper with Deion Branch out -- but in this case I would stick with the stud and keep T.O. active.
I have been offered Carson Palmer, Shaun Alexander and Brandon Marshall for Peyton Manning and Larry Fitzgerald. I could use some running back help with Reggie Bush, Warrick Dunn, Leon Washington and DeShawn Wynn on my roster. Should I accept the offer? -- D. Vandegrift, Birmingham, Ala.
M.F.: I think this trade makes sense, but make sure you can't do better than Palmer, Alexander and Marshall in exchange for Manning and Fitzgerald. Put your talented duo on the trade block and see if a better offer is made. Alexander has not lived up to expectations in the same season he turned 30 (coincidence?), but he's far better than three-fourths of your current running backs. Palmer is not Manning but he's solid nonetheless, and Marshall is on pace for over 1,100 yards and six touchdowns.
What is the status of Vernon Davis? Should I release him or add a new tight end? -- P. Cueto, Canada
M.F.: Reports out of San Francisco indicate Davis, who is out with an injured knee, has a "decent chance" to return in Week 7. The 49ers have a bye in Week 6, so Davis has some extra time to heal. Unless you're in a smaller league or someone like Owen Daniels is available, I would hang onto Davis and hope he doesn't suffer setbacks.
Who should I start in Week 6: Earnest Graham or Chester Taylor? -- J. Ring, Lawrence, Kan.
M.F.: This question shows how depleted some fantasy rosters have become, especially at the running back position. Neither back has a favorable matchup (Graham faces Tennessee's third-ranked run defense while Taylor faces Chicago's 12th-ranked run defense), but I would start Graham based on the fact that the Buccaneers have fewer options in their backfield. The team has lost Cadillac Williams and Michael Pittman in consecutive weeks, and the addition of Zack Crockett isn't a long-term solution. As a result, Graham should see most of the carries against the Titans and is a better option than Taylor, who will lose a lot of carries to rookie standout Adrian Peterson.
I have been offered David Garrard and Roddy White for Matt Schaub and James Jones. I need to find a quarterback that doesn’t have a bye in Week 10 (Tom Brady and Schaub are my current quarterbacks). What should I do? -- J. Street, Boise, Idaho.
M.F.: Before I made this trade, I would check out the waiver wire to see if there are any viable quarterbacks with a decent matchup in Week 10. Here's the bottom line: Schaub has a lot of value (especially when Andre Johnson returns), so you'll be dealing a solid quarterback for lesser players in order to fill a one-week void. I'd rather look to add someone like Brian Griese (at Oakland), Steve McNair (vs. Cincinnati) or Kurt Warner (vs. Detroit) rather than deal value for a minimal return.
I have been offered Adrian Peterson and Alge Crumpler for Roy Williams and Tony Gonzalez. My running backs are Cedric Benson, Warrick Dunn and Steven Jackson, and my wideouts are Chris Chambers, Laveranues Coles, Marvin Harrison and Wes Welker. Should I make the trade? -- F. Dy, Philippines
M.F.: I like this trade if you aren't rewarded points for catches, since the combination of Williams and Gonzalez has more value than Peterson and Crumpler is such a league. Anytime you can add a back the caliber of Peterson (in a standard format) when most runners have been statistical disappointments, I would pull the trigger. The loss of Williams will hurt, but you still have Harrison, Chambers, Coles and Welker at wide receiver. What's more, it's much easier to find a viable wideout on waivers than it is to find a back.