Fantasy mailbag: End of the line for Matt Ryan?

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Waiver wire: Right as Rainey

First Doug Martin, then Mike James. Now Michael Fabiano says Bobby Rainey is the next waiver wire star. More ...

Will Bobby Rainey become a legitimate No. 2 fantasy running back? - @DomLaF10 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: I give Rainey a ton of credit -- while the Atlanta Falcons defense has been bad against the run, he did show some real potential out there for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and fantasy owners alike. With that said, I don't know that I'd consider him a week-in and week-out No. 2 fantasy running back. Instead, I'd be starting him as a flex with upside when the matchup is favorable. This week Rainey goes up against the Detroit Lions, who have allowed the fewest fantasy points runners (7.23 PPG) over the last four weeks. With a game against the Carolina Panthers after that in Week 13, Rainey has flex value at the best in his next two contests.

Can I believe in Ray Rice again? - @braddoherty9 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Despite his struggles this season, Rice should still be consider no worse than a flex starter in most leagues. Much of his appeal will come based on matchups, though, and that hasn't been the case for most of his pro career. I wouldn't expect Rice to put up another monster stat line this week against the New York Jets, who have allowed fewer fantasy points to running backs than any other team in the league. He has more favorable opponents the following two weeks against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings, but finishes with the Lions and the New England Patriots in Week 16.

Is Matt Ryan worth holding onto, or is it time to start looking for other options? - @JJanderson49 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Ryan has been a bit of a fantasy bummer, scoring no more than 14.2 fantasy points since Week 7. Of course, a lot of that can be attributed to the fact that he lost Julio Jones for the season and has been throwing to a hobbled Roddy White (when he's been active). The good news is that four of the next five teams he faces have allowed an average of 16 fantasy points per game to signal-callers, including the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins. So while I wouldn't consider Ryan a No. 1 fantasy quarterback like he was in 2012, I wouldn't release him either.

Is it time to throw in the towel of C.J. Spiller, or can he become a No. 2 running back for the fantasy postseason? - @MKen124 (via Twitter)

Schein: Down and out in Week 11

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It wasn't a great week to be in the shoes of Robert Griffin III or Matt Schaub. Adam Schein recaps a gaffe-filled Sunday. READ

M.F.: Spiller has now taken the lead over Rice for fantasy football bust of the season, but I still wouldn't release him. That's due in large part to Fred Jackson's recent proneness to injuries. He hasn't played in a full 16 games since 2010, and we've seen Jackson suffer a few bumps and bruises in recent weeks. Now I'm not telling you to start Spiller, as he's been tough to trust even when the matchup is favorable. What I am telling you is to sit back and stash him on your roster for the next few weeks.

Do you think Rashad Jennings is the real deal going forward? - @Brent_Blackwell (via Twitter)

M.F.: He sure has looked like the real deal, scoring a combined 55.1 fantasy points over his last three games. Jennings also has a great matchup next on the schedule, as the Tennessee Titans have one of the worst run defenses in the entire league. What worries me is the potential return of Darren McFadden (whenever that happens), which could turn Jennings from a featured back into a committee runner. For now, you should start Jennings as at least a flex starter with major upside when the matchup is favorable.

Which quarterback do you trust the rest of the season -- Tony Romo or Russell Wilson? - @mattlindsay44 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Wilson appears to be the answer in a vacuum, but have you seen Romo's schedule the rest of the season? Over the next five weeks, four of his starts will come against teams that have allowed an average of 16-plus fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Now let's look at Wilson's slate of games -- he won't help you in Week 12 (bye), and three of his next four opponents have given up an average of fewer than 16 fantasy points per game to signal-callers. In fact, two of those teams (New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers) have surrendered an average of under 13. So while Wilson has been the better quarterback for owners to this point (barely), I think Romo will be a hero for fantasy leaguers down the stretch.

Is it time to release Hakeem Nicks? I can add Jarrett Boykin instead. - M. Brown (via Facebook)

M.F.: If you're in a PPR league, I would make the move. Boykin is catching more passes even with Scott Tolzien under center, and he's been a better fantasy option than Nicks in such formats. The Giants wideout does have some value this weekend, though, as a matchup with the Dallas Cowboys is favorable. Earlier this season, Nicks scorched their defense for five catches and 114 yards. The Cowboys have also allowed the 10th-most fantasy points per game to wide receivers over the last four weeks.

Would you drop Andre Ellington? Thanks! - @devour167 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I couldn't have been more wrong about Ellington last week. Despite a strong matchup on paper against the Jaguars, he had more of his dreadlocks pulled out (5-7) then he had rushing yards (3). He also continues to lose carries to Rashard Mendenhall, who doesn't have half the upside but remains a favorite of coach Bruce Arians. With that said, I wouldn't release Ellington because he had one stinker of a stat line. If your league is competitive, I can almost guarantee that someone else will pick him up during the following waiver process.

Lamar Miller -- keep or drop? - @ghostrider3333 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Just when you thought Miller was starting to turn things around in Weeks 8-9, he puts up to stinkers in his last two games. Part of the reason for his struggles is an offensive line that's in shambles. It's also hard for a running back to produce when he's not seeing consistent touches each week. Owners in smaller leagues can release him back into the free agent pool, but I'd keep him for pure depth purposes if you're in a larger league. Regardless, you're not going to want to start him in Week 12 against the Panthers and their ferocious run defense.

What in the world do I do about Trent Richardson? - @AveryMcCrury (via Twitter)

M.F.: You can't start him anymore, that's for sure. Richardson has scored 64.4 fantasy points this season, which is 5.8 fewer than Zac Stacy has scored in his last four games! He's also taken a back seat in the Colts backfield to Donald Brown if we're talking about fantasy football production. The same situation applies here with Richardson as it does with Miller -- I wouldn't release T-Rich unless you're in a smaller league, but there's no way he even sniffs my starting lineup unless he shows some signs of life in the next few weeks.

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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