Michael Fabiano: The good people in the state of Massachusetts might disagree, but I would start Manning. Brady is still a very solid option, but I don't see him as a must-start quarterback without Randy Moss, especially when you have another good signal-caller with a better matchup. Manning, who tossed three touchdown passes in a win over the Texans last week, has a great matchup at home against the Lions. The Motor City kitties have allowed close to twice as many fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks as the Ravens, who await Brady in Week 6. I have Manning ranked fifth at his position on NFL.com.
M.F.: Thomas is the best option, but you'll need to keep tabs on his status throughout the week. If he can return from an injured knee, Thomas is a great choice in Tampa Bay -- the Buccaneers have allowed an average of 17.5 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. I would also go with Lynch ahead of Green-Ellis, Tolbert and Torain. The talented runner is set to see a major role in the Seahawks offense this week. In fact, coach Pete Carroll told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that he doesn't "think there's going to be any problem of [Lynch] playing a lot in this game." In the event that Thomas misses another week, replace him with Torain -- he has a nice matchup against the Colts.
I'm in a 10-team league and have been using Matt Schaub as my starting quarterback, but I have Ben Roethlisberger on my bench. Should I start Big Ben in Week 6? Also, which two running backs should I start from Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Ahmad Bradshaw, Ronnie Brown and Jamaal Charles? - Z. Bodenner, River Falls, Wis.
M.F.: Outside of his enormous 497-yard performance against the Redskins in Week 2, Schaub has been a very pedestrian fantasy quarterback this season. As a result, I'd find a place on the bench for him and start Roethlisberger. He has a good matchup at home against the Browns and their erratic pass defense. At running back, I'd start Bradshaw ahead of Foster. That's not to say that the Texans running back isn't a good option -- he's still a star despite last week's dud against the Giants -- but Bradshaw has been very effective in his own right. He also has a far better matchup, facing a Lions defense that's allowed the second-most fantasy points to running backs this season.
Which quarterbacks should I keep for the remainder of the season from Sam Bradford, Brett Favre and Joe Flacco? - Y. Jackson, Germany
M.F.: Bradford has shown flashes of brilliance at times, but he's clearly the quarterback to release from this trio. Flacco has been a nice matchup-based starter for owners, and Favre's stock is on the rise now that he has Moss in the mix. In his first game with the talented wideout in the pass attack, Favre threw three touchdown passes in a Monday night loss to the Jets. And that was with less than a week of practice time together. Imagine what Favre will do once he gains a rapport with Moss? And what about when Sidney Rice returns from hip surgery? The Vikings offense could cause scoreboard malfunctions on a regular basis with such a potential stable of offensive players.
I added Brandon Tate off the waiver wire thinking I landed a gem, but now I'm not so sure after the trade for Deion Branch? How will Branch alter Tate's value? - C. Ellis, Argentina
M.F.: The bottom line here is simple -- that trade was bad news for Tate's value. I still think he's well worth a roster spot in most leagues, but Branch is certain to take at least some of his targets. With that said, I don't think Branch is worth adding unless you're in a deeper league. The veteran has long been overrated -- he's never had a 1,000-yard season at the NFL level -- and knee problems have been a major road block in terms of his statistical success. I'd use Tate as no more than a No. 3 fantasy wideout or flex starter until we see how he fits into the Patriots' new-look pass attack. Of course, he's still a nice option in leagues that reward points for returns.
M.F.: Jennings has been a major disappointment for fantasy owners in the last three weeks, due in large part to how defenses are game planning against the Packers offense. Opposing teams are making a concerted effort to take away the vertical pass attack, which has led to fewer opportunities for Jennings. The decision to play him or sit him this week all depends on the status of Aaron Rodgers, who suffered a concussion in a loss to the Redskins. If Rodgers is active in Week 6, I'd stick with Jennings and start Welker ahead of Maclin. But in the event that Matt Flynn is called on to start for the Packers, I'd put Jennings on the pine and start Welker and Maclin.
M.F.: I think Gaffney is the best wideout of the players you've mentioned. After five weeks, the veteran is on pace to finish the season with 99 receptions and over 1,000 yards. He might not score a ton of touchdowns with Brandon Lloyd emerging as the team's home-run hitter in the pass attack, but Gaffney is still seeing more than enough targets to be a nice option. Other attractive wideouts to consider off the waiver wire include Tate, Kenny Britt, Roy E. Williams and rookie Mike Williams (Buccaneers).
Great call on Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. He helped me take home a win and the lead in my division! So now that he's on a bye, I need to pick up another quarterback off the waiver wire for Week 6. I'm basically playing the matchups at the position until Michael Vick returns. Who should I start this week? - P. Fallers, Arlington, Texas
M.F.: Always glad to help. The quarterbacks with the best matchups that could still be on the waiver wire include Vince Young and Matt Cassel. Young faces the team that Fitzpatrick took to school last week, the Jaguars, on Monday Night Football. Their defense has allowed the most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in 2010, so Young should put up some solid numbers in that AFC South clash. Cassel faces the Texans -- they have surrendered the second-most points to signal-callers after five weeks.
What is the word on Vincent Jackson? I still have him in our 12-team seasonal league, but I need to roster room to add a player to use in Week 6. Is he going to come back this season, or is Jackson out for 2010? Go Yankees! - Z. Baggans, Bronx, N.Y.
M.F.: I like the Yankees mention! Anyways, Jackson is worth stashing away if you can still afford to do it. NFL insider Jason La Canfora reports that there is a "a strong probability" that Jackson and fellow holdout, Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins, will "sign their contract tenders and report to their respective teams by Week 10." That's due in large part to the fact that the "language in the current collective bargaining agreement could place both players in the same situation next year" if they hold out for the entire 2010 campaign. One CBA expert agreed with La Canfora, saying that "if they sit out the entire season, there is still a very, very strong chance they end up right back where they are -- restricted free agents." By returning in Week 10, Jackson and Mankins would be on a roster for at least six weeks -- that "virtually would assure both players of an accrued season." In the case of Jackson, the Chargers aren't going to be so quick to attempt a resolution with Malcom Floyd playing at such a high level. But based on La Canfora's report, Jackson should return to the team at some point in 2010.
M.F.: You shouldn't drop Williams (despite his lack of production), but you should definitely go out and get Bush. He proved last week against the Chargers that he's capable of making a significant fantasy impact. What's more, Bush could be in line for another full workload in Week 6 if Darren McFadden can't return from a bad hamstring. At the quarterback position, I would start Manning and look to trade Orton right now. His value has never been higher, so you can likely get a great return on him.