Fantasy mailbag: Hasselbeck should dominate in Week 9

Should I start Derek Anderson or Matt Hasselbeck in Week 9? -- Z. Purdy, Bernardsville, N.J.

Michael Fabiano: Anderson has been phenomenal for fantasy football owners this season, but I have to side with Hasselbeck based on the matchup. The veteran out of Boston College faces the Cleveland Browns, who rank 31st against the pass and are tied with Cincinnati for the most passing touchdown allowed with 18. Seattle's pass defense ranks a middle-of-the-road 16th in the NFL, but Anderson's matchup is still less favorable than Hasselbeck's based on the numbers.

I have to start three wide receivers from Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans, Brandon Marshall, Derrick Mason and Hines Ward. What's your take? -- D. McKechnie, Sacramento, Calif.

M.F.: It's hard to sit a wideout the caliber of Boldin, even against Tampa Bay's second-ranked pass defense. Based on the matchups, I'd side with Evans against the Bengals and their 28th-ranked pass defense. Marshall, who faces Detroit's 30th-ranked pass defense, should also be active ahead of Mason and Ward.

I took my first loss of the season because of Brett Favre's overtime touchdown to Greg Jennings! Anyway, should I start Chris Cooley or Jason Witten in Week 9? Also, does Adimchinobe Echemandu have a chance to be the starter in Houston? Is he worth a flier? -- G. Blose, Daytona Beach, Fla.

M.F.: That pass from Favre to Jennings made some real waves in fantasy football's Week 8. I won a game in one league by three points based on that pass, and I lost a game by three points based on that pass as well. Cooley has been a touchdown machine this season and faces a tremendous matchup against the Jets, but it's impossible to sit Witten unless you also have Antonio Gates on your roster. Witten is second in fantasy points at the tight end position, and he always has success against Philadelphia. In his past six games against the Eagles, Witten has averaged six receptions for 68 yards. Echemandu does warrant serious consideration, especially after Texans head coach Gary Kubiak expressed concern with the health of Ahman Green. With Green's status for Week 9 in doubt, Echemandu becomes a viable fantasy starter against Oakland's 30th-ranked run defense.

I have Brandon Jacobs and Jesse Chatman both on byes this week, so who should I start between Kenton Keith and Jerious Norwood? Ryan Grant and Chris Henry are also available. -- C. Danowski, New York, N.Y.

M.F.: I would look to add Grant, who faces a Kansas City defense that ranks 17th against the run. I like what I saw from him on Monday night, and while it was against a bad Denver run defense, Grant still showed flashes of potential. If you can't add Grant, I'd start Norwood against a San Francisco defense that ranks 21st in the NFL against the run.

I need a sleeper tight end this week. Suggestions? Also, nice call on Ben Roethlisberger last week. Should I start him against Baltimore in Week 9 or take a flier on J.P. Losman against Cincinnati? -- J.F. Conor, Red Bank, N.J.

M.F.: I would take a chance on Tony Scheffler, who has scored in consecutive weeks and has a nice matchup this week against the Lions. Donald Lee and Jeff King are also viable options if Scheffler is unavailable. As much as I love Losman as a sleeper this week, I'd still start Roethlisberger against Baltimore. He has developed into a nice No. 1 fantasy quarterback, and the Ravens pass defense has been a bit inconsistent at times this season.

Which three wide receivers should start from Bernard Berrian, Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, Joey Galloway, Santana Moss and Terrell Owens? Also, should I sit Frank Gore in favor of Earnest Graham or Ryan Grant? -- R. Vrabel, Pennsylvania

M.F.: Owens is a must-start wideout in all formats, so your final two decisions boil down to Bowe, Colston, Galloway and Moss (Berrian has a bye this week). Based on the matchups, I would take a chance on the inconsistent Moss against his old team, the Jets, who rank 26th against the pass. The third wideout to start is Bowe, who faces a Green Bay defense that ranks 22nd against the pass and has surrendered 10 receiving touchdowns.

Should I start Edgerrin James or Clinton Portis? Also, should I start Jacksonville or Tampa Bay at defense? -- K. Lundberg, Mesa, Ariz.

M.F.: It's hard not to love Portis, who faces a Jets defense that ranks 27th against the run and has allowed nine rushing touchdowns. James has a decent matchup as well against Tampa Bay's inconsistent run defense, but I'd side with Portis. Based on the fact that neither Jacksonville nor Tampa Bay have favorable opponents, I would look to add a sleeper defense like Detroit or even Atlanta. I would also see of someone released Seattle, which was on a bye in Week 8. If you need to start one of the two defenses mentioned, however, I would side with Tampa Bay.

Which two running backs should I start from Larry Johnson, Marshawn Lynch and Kenny Watson? -- J. Rogers, Ventura, Calif.

M.F.: Johnson has re-emerged as a must-start back, and Lynch's matchup against a Cincinnati defense that ranks 28th against the run and has allowed an average of close to 140 rushing yards per game. There's also a chance that Rudi Johnson could return from an injured hamstring -- he practiced on Wednesday for the first time since Sept. 19 -- and the concussion Watson sustained last week has his status is doubt.

Who should I start in Week 9: Kevin Jones or Fred Taylor? Also, I need to start three wideouts from Deion Branch, Marvin Harrison, Greg Jennings and Brandon Marshall. Suggestions? Can you also give me a sleeper defense? -- R. Grant, Indianapolis, Ind.

M.F.: I would side with Jones, who faces a Denver defense that ranks 32nd against the pass and made Ryan Grant look like Dorsey Levens in his prime on Monday night. Based on the matchups, I'd sit Jennings against a Kansas City defense that has allowed a mere six receiving touchdowns. However, be sure to keep tabs on the status of Harrison, who missed Week 8 but is expected to return to face New England in what could be the best regular-season contest ever.

I drafted Tony Romo and added Derek Anderson, so I have two stud quarterbacks. The problem for me is at running back, and I see two teams in my league that could use a quarterback and have backfield depth. Should I deal Anderson or Romo? -- C. Whiting, England

M.F.: I would do everything I could to deal Anderson, who ranks third in fantasy points on NFL.com and has been more productive than even Peyton Manning after eight weeks. I would sell that point when you're making offers, and don't take less than a top-notch back in return. Based on how quarterbacks have ruled the roost in fantasy football this season, I would not be timid in targeting backs like Larry Johnson, Willie Parker and Brian Westbrook.

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