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Injured starters won't necessarily improve backups' value

The Hurt Locker heads to an interesting place this week - why should Brandon Jacobs sit regardless of Ahmad Bradshaw's status? How come Larry Fitzgerald can find a seat on your bench this week whether it's Kevin Kolb or "Red" Skelton throwing the football? And will this really be the seventh week in a row Joseph Addai makes an appearance?(Yes. We should start calling this column 'The Hurt Locker brought to you by Joe Addai') Let's open things up.

Ahmad Bradshaw: I can't see Ahmad Bradshaw making a 3,000 mile trip to play against that lights-out 49ers run defense this week. But here's the thing, I don't even play Brandon Jacobs this week. I'll keep saying it: the 49ers still have not allowed a rushing TD or a back to gain 100 yards in a game this season.

Mark Ingram: He was back at practice this week so now the Saints backfield is even more muddled. Here's how you proceed: play Darren Sproles regardless. If Ingram is able to go, don't play Pierre Thomas. If Ingram is out again with his heel injury, play Thomas as your flex.

Andre Johnson:Texans coach Gary Kubiak is encouraged by how he's looked the last couple of days. Nonetheless, the team is holding him out until after the bye week. With Johnson out, consider Kevin Walter as a No. 3 WR or a flex. But don't expect a ton of production. The Texans have become a run-first team with Arian Foster and now Ben Tate. I don't think Johnson will be the 'Dre of old this season stats-wise.

Kevin Kolb: He wants to play against the Eagles, however it looks unlikely his turf toe will allow him to go in this one. John Skelton did an okay job last week getting the ball to Larry Fitzgerald but this is a red flag week regardless of who plays QB. Philadelphia just doesn't give up points to opposing WRs. And put Fitzgerald in that category. It's Fitzgerald, yes, but if you have a dilemma involving him then he's your odd man out this week.

Hakeem Nicks: Back on the practice field this week, he says he's a go for this weekend in San Francisco. Get him back in your lineup because the Giants will be throwing the football all day. They've become a Saints/Packers/Patriots type-team, and now Eli Manning has four really good targets all capable of big games (Nicks/Cruz/Manningham/Ballard). The one player who will see his production decrease out of the four will be Manningham, but still expect Victor Cruz to star and Jake Ballard to get those TE targets.


With Miles Austin out for the next month, Laurent Robinson is a HUGE pickup. He'll get a ton of targets and is worthy of starting at your flex this week, even though there are no byes…

Chris Ogbannaya is worth a flex play if you're desperate. You can probably count on him to start the next two weeks with Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty injured…

Jahvid Best says he's feeling better but has no idea when he'll be able to return. If you have someone you can put in your flex you think will be worth more than five points, play them over Maurice Morris…

With Joseph Addai's hamstring injury lingering, a clear-cut favorite has emerged as a backfield flex option. Donald Brown played well last week taking over for Delone Carter, who landed in Jim Caldwell's doghouse with an early fumble. The Colts have a great matchup this week with the Jaguars, so Brown could be a fallback flex option…

Sidney Rice is getting some time off this week but should be able to play Sunday against the Ravens. But giving you fantasy points? Play him only if you must…

See Jason Smith on NFL Fantasy Live, airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. ET on the Red Zone Channel, and Tuesday-Friday on NFL Network at 2 p.m. ET and 12 a.m. ET/9 p.m. PT. He writes fantasy and other NFL pith on daily. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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