How will the addition of Brandon Lloyd impact the fantasy value of Steven Jackson? He's on my fantasy team. -- TheBigO21 (via Twitter)
Michael Fabiano: Lloyd won't do anything but help the Rams' offense, including keeping defenses at least slightly more honest when defending the run. Without a major threat in the pass attack, it was far easier for opponents to focus on stopping Jackson. But with Lloyd now in the mix, defensive coordinators are going to have respect the pass. With that said, you shouldn't expect Jackson to morph into the fantasy superstar he was back in 2006. At this point, he's no more than a No. 2 fantasy runner. He also has a tough matchup in Week 7, facing a Cowboys team that's been stout against the run.
M.F.: To answer your second question, no you should not pass on Tebow to land Bradford. Tebow has more upside in fantasy land because of his running skills -- think Cam Newton without the rocket arm. In terms of Bradford's impact, we might have to wait to see how that works out. Bradford is dealing with what Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo called "a high ankle sprain," so it's possible that he'll be unavailable vs. the Cowboys. In the event that Bradford is out, Lloyd would be a bit less attractive with A.J. Feeley under center. Once he is back, though, Bradford's value will rise now that he has Lloyd at his disposal. Remember, the veteran wideout was the top-scoring player at his position last season under the guidance of Josh McDaniels -- now the offensive coordinator in St. Louis.
M.F.: Jackson has been unreal this season, leading all running backs in fantasy points despite an ADP (average draft position) of Round 9 on NFL.com. Forte has also been a beast, posting monster yardage totals. But if I had to trade for one of this trio, it would be McCoy. I love his versatile skill set and Andy Reid's offense is a perfect fit for McCoy. In fact, it's hard not to see Brian Westbrook when you watch him between the white lines. The second-ranked running back based on fantasy points in standard leagues, McCoy will continue to post solid totals as an integral component of the Eagles' offense. He also has a great schedule in the fantasy postseason with matchups against the Dolphins and Jets before a meeting with the Cowboys in Week 16.
M.F.: Jackson, who is dealing with a bum hamstring, is a major risk for fantasy leaguers this week. He was held to just 3.4 fantasy points in Denver before his team's bye week and missed practice on Monday. Aside from the fact that he's not 100 percent, Jackson is also facing a date with Jets CB Darrelle Revis. He'd have a tough time facing the shutdown cornerback at full strength, so Jackson's chances of success at less than that aren't great. Gates was able to practice on Monday, but he's still not making any guarantees about his status. I wouldn't be shocked to see him listed as questionable or a game-time decision vs. the Jets, so continue to monitor his status. As far as Mathews goes, he was also able to practice on Monday and looks like a good bet to be ready. He's a must-start if active.
M.F.: Battle, who is coming off a solid performance against the Chiefs before a bye week, has a great matchup against the Raiders -- their defense has allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. So while I am keeping my expectations somewhat modest in a backfield that also includes Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster, I do think Battle is a borderline No. 2 or 3 back in leagues with 12-plus teams this week. If you are looking for a running back to start, I would also go after Demarco Murray. Felix Jones could be out three to four weeks with an injured ankle, so the rookie is next in line to see carries for coach Jason Garrett. Murray, who will lose some work to Tashard Choice but has far more upside, also has a great matchup against a Rams defense that's struggled to stop the run.
Would you look to pick up Danario Alexander off the waiver wire? He looked pretty good last week in Lambeau Field. Also, should I start Philip Rivers or Tim Tebow this week? -- M. Nelson (via Facebook)
M.F.: Alexander was one of the players I liked coming out of Sunday's game, but the addition of Lloyd and Bradford's questionable status makes him far less attractive as a waiver-wire option. Also keep in mind that Mark Clayton is eligible to return to action this week. He had a great rapport with Bradford in limited time last season, and I wouldn't be shocked if he ultimately passes Alexander on the depth chart. You might think I'm nuts, but I would start Tebow over Rivers. Hear me out. First, Tebow has averaged better than 11 fantasy points per half in the last four games he's played at quarterback. Second, he's facing a Dolphins defense that has allowed a ton of fantasy points to quarterbacks. Third, he's playing back in the state of Florida where he thrived as a collegiate player and will be motivated to produce. My last point might be the most important, however -- Rivers is going up against a Jets defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing signal-callers. And with Jackson and Gates at less than 100 percent, Rivers is no lock for success.
M.F.: Let me think, what can you get for Hillis? Maybe an old football and an empty video game case of Madden '12? Seriously, this is not the time to deal him -- not only has he had a terrible start to the season, but Hillis is also dealing with an injured hamstring that could limit or keep him out of action altogether this week against the Seahawks. I don't know if it's the Madden curse at work again, but Hillis is on pace to finish the season with fewer than 800 rushing yards based on his current numbers -- and that's assuming he plays every game the rest of the way. Compare that to the 1,177 yards he rushed for in 2010, and well, you tell me if he's the latest victim of the Madden curse. You can always put Hillis on the trade block and field offers, but I don't know that you'd land more than a No. 2 quarterback, or a No. 3 runner or wideout in a potential trade unless someone in your league is a major Browns fan. In the meantime, you'd be wise to add Montario Hardesty off the waiver wire in case Hillis is forced to miss time with his bum hamstring.
M.F.: You have to start Fitzgerald, despite the fact that he has a tough matchup against Ike Taylor and the Steelers. The second start is Garcon, who has been on fire in recent weeks and now ranks an amazing seventh in fantasy points among wide receivers -- this after he was mostly invisible in the first two games of the season. I would also start Nelson, who is on pace to have his best statistical season and is a more reliable option than either Holmes or Moss. In terms of defenses that could be added, I like the Cowboys and Saints this week based on their respective matchups.
M.F.: Good question. Maybe it's his knee, maybe it's the fact that Matt Ryan has been less effective this season. In Week 6, his lack of production came from the game plan against the Panthers -- he led the Falcons with a meager five targets as the team focused on running the ball with Michael Turner. It can't get much worse for White, who remains one of the league's most talented wideouts but still ranks an unimpressive 18th in fantasy points at his position. I wouldn't trade him because his recent struggles have hurt his overall stock, so you will be hard pressed to receive fair value in a deal. Instead, continue to start him and hope he turns things around. This week's game against the Lions could be a serious shootout, so look for White to get back on track.
M.F.: I'm going with Graham (assuming LeGarrette Blount is out again), as he showed last week that he still has some gas left in his tank. He rushed for 109 yards on 17 carries and scored a solid 13.10 fantasy points on NFL.com. McGahee, who is another older back still making a fantasy impact, has a nice matchup against the Dolphins but is now in danger of losing a bit of his luster with a running quarterback like Tebow. It's a close call, but I roll with Graham against the Bears in London. To answer your second question, I would definitely deal Wayne for Bryant. While Bryant has been a bit injury prone, he has massive upside in the Cowboys' offense. On the flip side, Wayne has been turned into a mortal with Peyton Manning on the sidelines and Curtis Painter under center.