Lineup questions on the minds of fantasy owners in Week 12

Which two running backs should I start this week from Laurence Maroney, Bernard Scott, Jason Snelling and Pierre Thomas? -- Y. Jackson, Germany

Michael Fabiano: It looks like the Falcons could be without superstar running back Michael Turner for another week as he continues to recover from an injured ankle. If that comes to fruition, I would start Snelling against the Buccaneers. They're last in the league against the run. I would also start Scott against the Browns, but that all depends on the status of starter Cedric Benson. If he returns to action, Scott's value obviously takes an enormous hit. In that case, I'd start Thomas with Snelling.

I'm in a 12-team keeper-league, and we're allowed to keep three players. My three superstars are Cedric Benson, Maurice Jones-Drew and Larry Fitzgerald. The league's trade deadline is upcoming, and I need to deal one of these players to fill out my starting lineup for a playoff run. Who should I deal? Do you have any thoughts on Benson's current value and potential value for next season? I see him being equal to other backs such as Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, etc. Would you agree? -- S. Shultz, Canada

M.F.: I think you're right on with that assessment of Benson's value. He's a young back with little wear and tear on his body, and he's proven himself as a featured back at the NFL level. But I question whether you should be dealing any of these players. Honestly, that decision all depends on what other options you have on your roster. Who would you start as a No. 2 back with Jones-Drew if you dealt Benson? What does the rest of your wide receiver core look like? If you can package Benson and a wideout (not Fitzgerald) to get a better running back such as Chris Johnson, that's an option. But I doubt anyone is going to deal someone the caliber of Johnson at this stage of the game. You can always put Benson and Fitzgerald on the block and see what offers are made, but don't make a hasty move. Even in a keeper league, I make moves so I can win right now.

Which two wide receivers should I start from Donnie Avery, Chris Chambers, Devin Hester, Santana Moss and Chad Ochocinco? Also, should I sit Matt Forte for either Jamaal Charles or Beanie Wells? I also need a kicker between Ryan Longwell and Lawrence Tynes. Thanks! -- B. Watkins, Houston, Texas

M.F.: Ochocinco has had two bad weeks in a row, but he's still a must-start wideout this week against the Browns. While I like Avery and Chambers, I'd start Hester. He's the top wideout in Chicago and faces a Vikings defense that ranks 25th in receiving yards allowed. I don't like Forte against Minnesota and the Williams Wall, but I'd still keep him active ahead of Charles and Wells. At the kicker position, I'd start Tynes. The Broncos have allowed an average of close to 30 points in their last four games.

I don't know whether to start Rock Cartwright, Felix Jones, Knowshon Moreno or Beanie Wells. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts! -- G. Buchanan, Washington, D.C.

M.F.: This is a close call between Cartwright, Moreno and Wells, but I'd start the Broncos running back. He's seeing more carries than Correll Buckhalter, and this week's opponent, the Giants, have been giving up more than their share of fantasy points to runners. In fact, Big Blue has surrendered a total of 10 touchdown to the position in its last five games. With Kyle Orton at less than 100 percent, look for the Broncos to lean on the run and give Moreno every chance to make a statistical impact.

I have Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre at quarterback. As a Vikings fan, I've been playing Favre lately and he's been putting up huge numbers. Should I continue to use him ahead of Rodgers this week? Thanks! -- C. Jensen, St. Paul, Minn.

M.F.: Honestly, I would almost never start Favre over Rodgers. I know the old gunslinger has been an absolute star in recent weeks, but Rodgers is the top-scoring player in fantasy football. He's 13 points ahead of Tom Brady and 14 points ahead of Peyton Manning on NFL.com. This week, Rodgers will make turkeys of the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day. The Lions made Brady Quinn look like Joe Montana last week, and that's no easy feat. Rodgers has also owned Detroit. He's thrown for 300-plus yards and multiple scores in all three of his career games against them. In week 6, he tamed them for 358 yards and two touchdowns. Favre is great, but Rodgers is the one to start.

Hi Michael, great calls on Sidney Rice and Roddy White last week. I started Rice, sat White and won! Anyways, this week I need to know which two wide receivers to start from Rice, White and Calvin Johnson. Also, should I start Matt Hasselbeck or Matt Ryan? -- C. Blanton, Austin, Texas

M.F.: Honestly, you might not have to make a decision because of Johnson's questionable status. As someone who owns Megatron in two different leagues, I'm a little worried about him this week. He hasn't been able to practice due to hand and knee injuries, and the short week makes him a candidate to miss the Packers game. I'd play it safe and use Rice and White. Favre has made Rice an absolute fantasy superstar, and this week's matchup against the Bears is more than favorable. I also like White, despite his recent struggles between the white lines. He's facing a Buccaneers defense that's allowed an average of 24.6 fantasy points per game to wide receivers this season.

Which running back should I bench this week from Thomas Jones, Rashard Mendenhall and Ricky Williams? Also, should I use the Bengals defense or stick with the Steelers? -- A. Gregory, Fayetteville, N.C.

M.F.: Mendenhall has been a great find for fantasy owners this season, but he's still the back to bench out of this trio. Jones has re-gained a featured role in the Jets offense, and he's facing a Panthers defense that ranks 26th against the run. That makes him a must-start in most leagues. I'd also start Williams against Buffalo. The Bills have the league's second-to-worst run defense, allowing an average of 165.9 rushing yards per game. They've also surrendered 15 rushing touchdowns on the season.

I can add Donnie Avery, Davone Bess or Chris Chambers off the waiver wire this week. I was one of those poor souls who was starting Dwayne Bowe. Which wideout has the better matchup? I like Avery, but I think Chambers will be looking for revenge on his former team. Thanks! -- Q. Espinoza, Mexico

M.F.: As I mentioned earlier, I think Avery and Chambers both have sleeper value this week. But if I had to make a choice, I'd start Chambers against the team that dumped him a few weeks back, the Chargers. I might be more inclined to go with Avery if Marc Bulger were under center for the Rams, but the fact that it's Kyle Boller slinging him the football worries me. Bess is more of an option in PPR leagues, but he's not much on finding the end zone. That limits his value in a standard format.

Jason Witten is absolutely killing me this season. I picked up Brandon Pettigrew off the waiver wire, and I'm really tempted to start him ahead of Witten. Am I nuts? Also, would you start Greg Jennings or Steve Smith (NYG)? -- M. Laird, Terre Haute, Ind.

M.F.: Witten is a game-time decision for Thanksgiving Day due to an injured foot, so keep tabs on his status. Overall, opposing defenses have completely taken Witten out of the pass attack, and the Cowboys haven't made the adjustments to get him open and more involved. They've tried to use two-tight end sets with Martellus Bennett, and it hasn't worked. The bottom line is simple. Witten's value and production have dropped because the Cowboys don't have Terrell Owens. Roy E. Williams, Miles Austin and Patrick Crayton just don't draw as much attention, so defenses can key on stopping Witten. Back in Week 10, the Packers put a cornerback, Charles Woodson, on Witten. With that said, I'd still start him ahead of someone like Pettigrew if he's active.

I have Kurt Warner on my roster, and his schedule down the stretch is just amazingly good. My problem is, I also have Ben Roethlisberger. Would you deal Big Ben and use Warner the rest of the season? I really need a wide receiver, and I have an offer on the table of Roethlisberger for DeSean Jackson. Help! -- D. Strong, Memphis, Tenn.

M.F.: As long as you can secure a decent No. 2 quarterback, I would make the move. The problem with Warner is that he's 38 and a little more fragile than most quarterbacks. That was proven last week, when he missed time after taking a blow to the head. While reports on Warner's status for this week have been positive, he's still someone you need to monitor. With that said, it makes no sense for one of Warner or Roethlisberger to be on your bench every week. So if you feel confident in Warner and can add a viable backup, I'd make the move. Now is the time to build the strongest starting lineup possible, even if it means taking a risk here or there to achieve it.

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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