Cutler's schedule makes him more fantasy relevant

Which quarterback should I pick up off the waiver wire: Jay Cutler or Carson Palmer? -- Breesus2009 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: This is a close call, but I would side with Cutler based on the matchups. Over the next four weeks, the Bears face all of the teams in the AFC West (Chargers, Raiders, Chiefs, Broncos). Combined, these defenses have allowed an average of 17.33 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. What's more, Cutler faces the Packers in Week 16 (fantasy championship week) -- their defense has given up an average of close to 18 fantasy points per game. With that said, fantasy owners who need a quarterback should also consider Palmer off the waiver wire. Over his next six games, he faces five teams that have allowed 15 or more fantasy points per game to signal-callers. That includes a game in Week 16 against the Chiefs, who are dealing with several injuries on both sides of the football and could be vulnerable to Palmer and the pass attack later in the season.

Are you the president of the Tim Tebow fan club? I shouldn't joke around because I picked him up and he's been awesome, outside of that one hiccup against the Lions. Do I dare start him against the Jets, or should I go back to starting Tony Romo? -- D. Ellis (via Facebook)

M.F.: Wait, you've been starting Tebow over Romo the last few weeks? Now that's bold. To answer your question, there's no way I'm rolling with Tebow against the Jets -- their defense has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. What's more, the Men in Green have allowed an average of just under nine fantasy points to running backs over their last two contests. That's something to consider, since Tebow is for all intents and purposes like a running back. While Romo's contest against the Redskins isn't favorable on paper (he scored just 8.10 fantasy points against them in Week 3), I feel comfortable starting him over Tebow.

I'm thin at wide receiver with Julio Jones' latest injury. Can you give me some good waiver-wire pickups? -- VAWSE (via Twitter)

M.F.: There are a ton of wideouts to target this week, a list that includes Jason Avant (94.8 percent), Earl Bennett (90.5 percent), Antonio Brown (48.8 percent), Laurent Robinson (82.1 percent), Denarius Moore (79.8 percent) and Damian Williams (99.5 percent). As you can tell, most of them are available on NFL.com -- just keep in mind that Brown has a bye this week, so he can't help you until Week 12. If Jones is forced to miss a game due to his hamstring ailment, Harry Douglas would also have some value off the waiver wire. Don't add Leonard Hankerson, though, as he will miss the rest of the season with a torn labrum after a breakout performance.

What do I do with Michael Vick? -- J. Pagliaro (via Facebook)

M.F.: If Vick (ribs) is able to play with his latest ailment, I'd keep him in your lineup unless you have a viable No. 2 option with a solid matchup -- or you snagged Cam Newton off waivers in Week 2. The fact that Vick is struggling isn't a surprise, as he was never going to duplicate the ridiculous numbers he recorded in 2010. That's a topic I talked about during the lockout -- fantasy owners always need to beware what I like to call the "magical season." It's also happened to Peyton Hillis, who is suffering from the Madden curse, and it's making Vick far less valuable. In the event that he is inactive against the Giants, consider Mark Sanchez (at Broncos), Palmer (at Vikings), Alex Smith (vs. Cardinals), Andy Dalton (at Ravens), Tarvaris Jackson (at Rams) or Matt Moore (vs. Bills) off the waiver wire.

Steve Johnson has been terrible for me the last few weeks. Is it time to bench him in favor of Earl Bennett? -- TENTE51 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Johnson had a nice start to the season, but he's been quiet in recent weeks. In fact, the Kentucky product has averaged an awful 5.5 fantasy points in his last six games. With that said, I would roll with him ahead of Bennett for one more week based on a matchup against the Dolphins. Their defense has been vulnerable to wide receivers, allowing the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the position. If Johnson flounders against the Fish, he'll be hard to start moving forward unless the matchup is favorable. You'll be benching him regardless in Week 12, as Johnson will visit the Jets and spend some unproductive time on Revis Island.

What is the status of A.J. Green for Week 11? Also, would you trade Tom Brady for LeSean McCoy if you had Newton? I'm hurting at running back with Chris Johnson, Cedric Benson and Shonn Greene all posting inconsistent numbers. -- A. Lee (via Facebook)

M.F.:Bengals coach Marvin Lewis suggested that his superstar wideout won't miss any time, but Green considers himself a game-time decision with a knee ailment. The Georgia product is on pace to have one of the best rookie seasons of all time, projecting to finish with better than 1,100 yards and double-digit touchdowns based on his current numbers. If he's active, he should be in fantasy lineups this week despite a tough matchup against the Ravens in Baltimore. To answer your second question, I would first attempt to deal Newton for McCoy -- that's a deal I made in the NFL Network League when I traded Newton and Aaron Hernandez to Marshall Faulk's squad for McCoy and Victor Cruz. Since I have Ben Roethlisberger and Jimmy Graham on that team, it didn't hurt me much to part with two stars. If the other owner in your league is steadfast in his request for Brady, I'd still make the move. That gives you one of the elite runners in the league to go along with Newton, who actually has around five more fantasy points than the Patriots quarterback at this point in time.

Dwayne Bowe is killing me! He's ranked highly every week but yet he disappoints me. Is it time to let him go? -- McKeich03 (via Twitter)

M.F.: You should be thrilled that Bowe is killing you in just one league. I have him in four, and I'm going to attempt to deal him if at all possible. The loss of Matt Cassel is a huge blow for Bowe, who'll now be catching passes from Tyler Palko. And no, that wasn't the name of Keanu Reeves' character in "The Replacements" (that was Shane Falco). Regardless, Palko has thrown a mere 13 passes at the NFL level. In 17 career preseason appearances, he's thrown for 1,423 yards with five touchdowns and a combined 17 turnovers. Not good. I wouldn't release Bowe altogether if you can't deal him. Who knows, maybe Palko will develop a case of tunnel vision to Bowe like Tyler Thigpen did with Tony Gonzalez back in 2008. That's a glass half full outlook. The glass half empty outlook is that the Chiefs and Bowe will struggle to produce on offense the rest of the season.

What would you do with Jahvid Best? Is he going to be out for the rest of the season? One other question -- would you start Josh Freeman this week? I just lost Matt Schaub and Cassel! -- R. Adamson (via Facebook)

M.F.: There is no timetable for Best's return to action, but I wouldn't do anything hasty like release him back to the waiver wire. Instead, keep him stashed away with the hope that he'll return sooner than later. In the meantime, expect Maurice Morris to lead the Lions in backfield touches with Keiland Williams and Kevin Smith also seeing some work. Morris isn't a terrible flex option this week against the Panthers, who have allowed more fantasy points to running backs than any other team in the league. But clearly, the ceiling on the veteran is far lower than it would be with Best in the mix. At the quarterback position, Freeman isn't a bad one-week option against the Packers, as their defense has surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2011. The Bucs signal-caller hasn't been good, however, so this is a risk-reward decision.

Would you start Marshawn Lynch over LeGarrette Blount this week? -- jbates8488 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I'm not about to call Lynch a "must-start" in fantasy leagues, but he's been much better than I expected over the last several weeks. In fact, he's found the end zone in five consecutive starts and has rushed for 98 or more yards three times in his last four games. The most impressive of those performances came against the Ravens, who entered last week allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing running backs. Lynch went on to bash them for five catches, 167 scrimmage yards and one touchdown. This week he faces a favorable matchup against the Rams, who rank dead last in the league against the run. On the flip side, Blount has been a disaster since returning from a bum knee, scoring a combined 11.4 fantasy points in his last two games. So based on the numbers, it's pretty clear that Lynch should be in your starting lineup ahead of Blount this weekend.

I'll give you credit for the calls on Deion Branch and Laurent Robinson last week. I started both and won by a landslide! Would you start them ahead of Mike Williams (Buccaneers), Darrius Heyward-Bey and Eric Decker? I'm in a deep league that starts three receivers and a flex. -- P. Garza (via Facebook)

M.F.: There's no doubt about it -- Branch and Robinson are better options than Williams, Heyward-Bey and Decker this week. Williams has been a complete bust in his second season, making it hard to trust him even against the Packers' questionable pass defense. Heyward-Bey has disappeared off the face of the earth the last two weeks, as Palmer has looked more often to Jacoby Ford (Week 9) and Denarius Moore (Week 10). Decker scored 11.60 fantasy points last week, but that was on one 56-yard touchdown pass from Tebow. This Thursday night he faces the Jets and CB Darrelle Revis, so I wouldn't start him unless I was absolutely, positively desperate.

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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