Don't be afraid to start the Chiefs' defense

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I have lost Arian Foster for the season. Which running back do you recommend adding off the waiver wire? - @o_delicious (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: The first name that comes to mind is Andre Brown, who was an absolute beast last week in a win over the Oakland Raiders. Despite an extended absence due to a broken leg, he carried the ball 30 times and scored 17.90 fantasy points in his first game of the 2013 campaign. I expect Brown to be the featured back for Big Blue moving forward. If he's not available, Ben Tate becomes your next target. Shane Vereen, who is returning from an injured wrist, is another option. So is Rashad Jennings, who will remain the top runner in Oakland while Darren McFadden is out.

Should I be concerned about Jimmy Graham? - P. Rodak (via Facebook)

M.F.: I'm not sure if concerned is the word, but I would temper expectations from week to week. He's dealing with a painful plantar fascia ailment that could limit his snaps at times the rest of the season. In Week 9, Graham played close to 77 percent of the offensive snaps and put up nice totals in New York. Against the Dallas Cowboys, however, he was in on just 33 snaps and missed some red-zone opportunities. Of course, the Saints were putting a butt kicking on the 'Boys so Graham wasn't needed late in the contest. Keep in mind that Graham playing at 50 percent is better than most tight ends at 100 percent, so continue to start him even if the threat of limited snaps remains.

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The Chiefs defense has been lights out all season, but can I trust them against the Denver Broncos in two of the next three weeks? - @mjw_86 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Great question. Defenses have combined to score the fewest fantasy points (3.67 PPG) against Peyton Manning and his band of offensive stars, so it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know this is a bad matchup for the Chiefs. As a fantasy owner who has Kansas City's defense in several leagues, I will be looking to stream a legitimate replacement at the position. Based on the Week 11 games, teams like the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans all make sense as potential waiver-wire options. With that said, I wouldn't force it -- if another formidable defense with a tremendous matchup isn't available, I would have no problems sticking with the Chiefs.

What do you think about Mark Ingram's performance against the Dallas Cowboys? Is he the real deal? - @Tgoogs13 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I need to see more good performance from Ingram before I start him (or add him for that matter). The Cowboys defense is riddled with injuries and an absolute mess, so much so that it allowed a ridiculous 63.90 fantasy points to Saints running backs last week. That was more than double what the second-worst defense of the week (Atlanta Falcons) surrendered in their loss to the Seattle Seahawks. I have another reason to doubt Ingram -- he'll continue to share carries with Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles in what remains a backfield committee. Oh, and New Orleans is facing the San Francisco 49ers next.

I'm about to give up on Colin Kaepernick. Would you start Nick Foles or Case Keenum ahead of him this week? - @BBJhawk77 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I wouldn't give up on Kaepernick altogether (don't do something crazy like drop him), but I wouldn't be opposed to benching him if he has a difficult matchup. That's the case this week, as the Saints have allowed the third-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks from a fantasy perspective. Foles has a much more favorable opponent, as the Washington Redskins have given up an average of close to 19 fantasy points per game to signal-callers. Keenum is also in a good position to find success, as he faces a Raiders defense that has also surrendered close to 19 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. If I had to choose one of the three to start this week, it would be Foles.

I need to trade for a tight end. What sort of player can I expect in return for either Giovani Bernard or Zac Stacy? - @drunknothings (via Twitter)

M.F.: Good running backs like Bernard and Stacy are very valuable, as the position has been an absolute disaster at the top. Foster and Doug Martin are both out for the season, while Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller and Trent Richardson have all been gigantic busts. As a result, you need to get maximum return on a trade for either of them -- I'd even offer Stacy for Graham. It can't hurt to try! I would also offer them up for one of Rob Gronkowski (Stacy), Julius Thomas (Stacy) or Jordan Cameron (Bernard). Before you make a deal, though, make sure that you have enough backfield depth to make up for losing one of these young studs.

Victor Cruz has been killing me! Would you sit him down in favor of someone like Dexter McCluster? - S. Brooks (via Facebook)

M.F.: You're right, Cruz has been a massive disappointment this season. In fact, he hasn't even been one of the 40 best wide receivers in fantasy football over the last four weeks. Heck, Eli Manning's last five touchdown passes have all gone to Rueben Randle! Unless you're loaded at wide receiver, though, sometimes you have to start a struggling star and hope he shakes off his bad fortunes. That means keeping Cruz active and leaving McCluster on your bench. If there was one wideout I would start over Cruz who is likely still on the waiver wire in many leagues, it would be Riley Cooper.

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Should Andre Brown or Chris Ivory be considered must-start running backs now? - @insted22 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Brown is on the fast track to becoming a must start after his monster stat line against the Raiders. Of course, I wouldn't start him if my running backs were, for example, Jamaal Charles and Moreno. If he can avoid injuries, which have been a huge problem in his career, Brown will be a real hero for fantasy owners who were lucky enough to land him. Ivory's arrow is clearly pointing in the right direction, as he's posted 10-plus fantasy points in two of his last three games. Still, calling him a must-start runner is premature -- I like him as more of a matchup-based option right now.

Is Trent Richardson just wasting a roster spot on our fantasy teams right now? - @Mjridiculouz (via Twitter)

M.F.: If you're in a smaller fantasy league, I have no problem with owners who decide to release Richardson. A total off 55 running backs have more fantasy points over the last four weeks, and the Alabama product has failed to score more than six fantasy points in a game since Week 4. I have him in one 12-team league and I'm holding him because finding starting running backs on the waiver wire is next to impossible in most weeks. Still, he's no more than an weak matchup-based flex starter at this point.

What are your thoughts on Percy Harvin? Would you start him this week, assuming he comes back? - @DylanReichman (via Twitter)

M.F.: It looks like Harvin will return in Week 11, so he needs to be owned in all fantasy leagues right now. Does that mean he's a must-start wideout right out of the gate? No, unless you are in dire straits at the position. Reports suggest he'll be on a snap count, which is never something you want to hear about one of your fantasy starters. One twist is that Harvin would be facing his old team, the Minnesota Vikings, so he could be motivated to post a solid stat line.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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