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It's time to talk trades as the fantasy season rolls forward

I have good depth at wide receiver and am looking to upgrade at running back. I have Michael Turner, Kevin Smith and Glen Coffee in the backfield with Greg Jennings, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Mike Sims-Walker, Santana Moss and Bernard Berrian at wideout. Who should I look to trade, and which running backs should I target in a deal? -- C. Hanson, Minneapolis, Minn.

Michael Fabiano: I would look to deal Moss or Berrian, but I'm not sure what sort of value you can get in return. Moss does have a great matchup this week against the Chiefs, though, so you might want to sit tight, hope he has a good performance and deal him while his value is high. You might even want to seek out the owner in your league who has Frank Gore and offer him Moss or Berrian and Coffee for a wideout. With Gore coming back in Week 7, Coffee isn't going to help your backfield situation. If none of these suggestions work, you might have to put Houshmandzadeh or Sims-Walker on the trade block since both receivers are valuable. If you end up in this scenario, I think you should be able to land a running back like Brandon Jacobs, Pierre Thomas or Steve Slaton based on the balance of value. I would also target the upstart Cedric Benson, who could wind up as one of fantasy's best runners when the season ends.

I need to make trade for a top-tier wide receiver, and an owner in our league was offering up Anquan Boldin for a running back. The problem is I can't decide who to give up from Joseph Addai, LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner. I would appreciate any advice. Thanks!-- -- J. Roberts, Indianapolis, Ind.

M.F.: I would deal Tomlinson now while he still has some semblance name value. It's pretty evident that his age (30) and a high number of career carries has worn him down, and it doesn't help having a mediocre offensive line ahead of him and Darren Sproles taking touches on a regular basis. If you can get a solid wide receiver like Boldin in exchange for a running back who's not even on pace to rush for 500 yards this season based on his current numbers, I think that trade is an absolute no-brainer.

I have 49ers and Saints defenses on my fantasy roster. With the 49ers on a bye week and the Saints playing Eli Manning and the Giants, is there a good defensive match up to exploit this week? -- J. Koopman, Davenport, Iowa

M.F.: A good defense to target off the waiver wire this week is the Panthers. They're coming off a solid fantasy performance against the Redskins, posting 19 points on NFL.com. That was good for the fourth-best performance among defenses. This week they'll travel to Tampa Bay to host a Buccaneers defense that doesn't have much firepower and has been prone to turnovers in recent weeks. If the Panthers aren't available, take a chance on the Packers (vs. Lions), Patriots (vs. Titans) or Redskins (vs. Chiefs).

Hey Mike! I'm in a bind this week and I need help big time! My so-called studs aren't helping me out very much this season. I need two running backs from Matt Forte, Brian Westbrook, Cedric Benson and Julius Jones and three wideouts from Steve Smith (CAR), Anquan Boldin, Dwayne Bowe, Derrick Mason, Mike Sims-Walker and Johnny Knox. Also, should I start Dustin Keller, Benjamin Watson or sign an unknown free agent? Please help! -- M. Rio, Boston, Mass.

M.F.: I think your decision at running back is simple -- Forte and Benson are without question the two best options. I know Westbrook is facing the lowly Raiders, but I find it hard to trust him since the Eagles have given more carries to rookie LeSean McCoy. Furthermore, you have two of the few truly featured backs in the league in Forte and Benson. The Bears runner is fresh of a bye and has a great matchup against the Falcons, who rank 24th in run defense. Benson has been sort of an anti-matchup back, posting good numbers against the Steelers and Ravens but floundering against the Browns. However, it's hard to consider benching him against the Texans in Week 6. They're 26th in run defense. At wide receiver, I'd go with Smith, Boldin and Sims-Walker. At tight end, I'd look to pick up Jermichael Finley off the waiver wire if he's a free agent. He had a huge performance against the Vikings before a bye week and now faces a Lions defense that has allowed an average of 11 fantasy points per game to tight ends.

The commissioner in my league made a trade that I think was a little controversial. He traded Matt Ryan, LaDainian Tomlinson and Eddie Royal and acquired Kyle Orton, Maurice Jones-Drew and Anquan Boldin. I am getting ridiculed because I think the commish got the better end of the deal. Am I right or wrong? -- T. Mannix, Chicago, Ill.

M.F.: Unless there is a ridiculous trade like Peyton Manning for Peyton Hillis, I don't make a big deal about most trades even if one side seems to be getting the better end of the deal. The reason being that since you can't predict the future, you can't really know if the deal will be truly one-sided. Consider this example from last season. Say someone decided to trade LaDainian Tomlinson for DeAngelo Williams at this time in 2008. Anyone who knows anything about fantasy football would have been up in arms, saying that the owner who acquired L.T. had made out like a bandit. We all know what happened. Does the commissioner look like the got the better end of this deal you've mentioned? No question. Is it a reversible trade? No. If I were you, I'd be looking to make a deal of my own to trump the commissioner's seemingly solid transaction.

What is your opinion of Miles Austin? I started in last week and won when you mentioned him as a sleeper in your Sunday chat. He had 47 fantasy points! Do you think he can become a viable fantasy starter moving forward? Thanks! -- S. Doyle, Tampa Bay, Fla.

M.F.: As I mentioned in our waiver wire video, I'm on the fence in regards to Austin. On a positive note, he's a serious playmaker and the Cowboys need that sort of threat in their pass attack. But if the team doesn't move him into the starting lineup and put Patrick Crayton in the slot, Austin won't have much value once Roy Williams comes back from injury in Week 7. Do I think he's worth taking a chance on off the waiver wire? Sure, I'd much rather own Austin rather than someone like Michael Jenkins, Mark Clayton or Mohamed Massaquoi. Would I drop Derrick Mason to get him. No, probably not. But if you don't have great receivers and the Cowboys do end up giving him a more prominent role, than Austin is well worth a waiver claim in all formats.

Hey Michael, I'm in a standard 10-team league and have had less-than-desirable production from my running backs in DeAngelo Williams, Steve Slaton, Knowshon Moreno, Donald Brown and Julius Jones. However, I have two stud quarterbacks in Matt schaub and Philip Rivers. Do you reckon I should offer one of these quarterbacks up for a more productive running back? -- H. Fraser, New Zealand

M.F.: I always advise people to trade from depth to improve a weaker roster position, so the answer is yes I would deal one of the two quarterbacks for a better running back. You're in a good position too, because your backs do have value (it's not like you're starting Jamal Lewis and Willie Parker). In order to get the most in return in a potential trade, I would offer someone with a bad quarterback Schaub to get a top-notch runner in return. And I'm not talking about Steven Jackson or Brian Westbrook. You should be able to land someone like Ronnie Brown in exchange for the Texans quarterback, who's on pace to have a career season. Also, don't be afraid to throw in Jones to "sweeten" the deal from a depth perspective. Another owner might be more willing to make a trade if he/she can get a lesser runner in return to bolster the backfield.

College is hard but you make fantasy football easy! I'm 4-1 right now and looking to further strengthen my team. We start two running backs, three wide receivers and one tight end in a non-PPR league with no flex position. My backs are Maurice Jones-Drew, Pierre Thomas and Clinton Portis, and my wideouts are Greg Jennings, Roy E. Williams, Jerricho Cotchery, Mike Sims-Walker, Nate Burleson and Patrick Crayton. I also have Dallas Clark at tight end, with Brent Celek backing him up. I was thinking about trading Portis and a receiver or Celek for a stronger wideout. What caliber receiver should I target in return? Your thoughts? Thanks! -- B. Klum, Boise State University

M.F.: I think dealing Portis make a ton of sense. As I mentioned in a recent blog, I think the veteran runner is heading toward to downside of his career and should be traded now after scoring two touchdowns in Week 5. He also has a good matchup this week against the Chiefs, which makes him easier to sell. If you pair Portis and either Cotchery, Burleson, Crayton or Celek, for example, I think you should be able to get a pretty solid wideout in return. In fact, I'd target one of the Steve Smiths, Anquan Boldin, Greg Jennings or a receiver of that caliber. Be a salesman and don't take less than what you think your trade package if worth.

Hey Mike, I have a little bit of a quarterback controversy brewing this week between Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger. Who should I start? Also, I would like to know who you think I should start at running back this week. Please pick two from Steven Jackson, Matt Forte and Clinton Portis. Thanks for your help. -- T. Mann, Canada

M.F.: That is quite a solid duo at the quarterback position. If I were you, I'd be starting Rodgers ahead of Big Ben this week while also attempting to trade one of them in order to strengthen a weaker part of your roster. In my opinion, keeping a solid starter on your bench is an absolute waste when it comes to quarterbacks. I'm sure there is someone in your league that needs a quarterback and could help you improve at another position. In terms of your second question, I'd start Forte and Jackson.

Which two running backs should I start this week out of Chris Johnson, Pierre Thomas and Knowshon Moreno? -- A. Cuff, Long Island, N.Y.

M.F.: I realize that Johnson has been an absolute disaster outside of one huge performance against the Texans, but I'm still not benching him. The Patriots haven't been consistent against the run on the defensive side of the football, and the Titans need to establish Johnson to be competitive in Week 6. I would also start Moreno ahead of Thomas, but only if Correll Buckhalter is forced to miss another week due to an injured ankle. If Buckhalter returns, then I'd side with Thomas despite the tough matchup.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Leave it in our comments section or send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com!

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) rushes during an NFL football game between the between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit)

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