Need a quarterback? Look to add Cassel in Week 7

Peyton Manning is my starting quarterback, but he has a bye this week. I picked up Kevin Kolb and Matt Cassel as possible replacements. Which of these two signal-callers should I start? - D. Geiger, Canada

Michael Fabiano: I would start Cassel ahead of Kolb. Sure, Kolb has looked good for the Eagles in recent weeks. But the Titans defense can apply some serious pressure to opposing quarterbacks. Just ask David Garrard. Kolb will also be without DeSean Jackson (concussion), who is out for Week 7. As for Cassel, he put up 201 passing yards and three touchdowns against a weak Texans pass defense last week. Now he gets another great matchup against the Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium. Their defense has surrendered an average of more than 20 fantasy points per game (second-most in the NFL) to opposing quarterbacks this season. I think Cassel will be one of the week's top sleeper picks.

I need to start two running backs from Knowshon Moreno, Peyton Hillis and Ryan Torain. Brandon Jacobs is also available on the waiver wire. I also need to start either Deion Branch or Patrick Crayton alongside Hakeem Nicks and Jeremy Maclin. - Bryce, Las Vegas, Nevada

M.F.: Moreno was mediocre in his return from an injured hamstring, but facing the stout Jets run defense can make even the best runners look average at 100 percent health. With a matchup against the Raiders next on the schedule, I think Moreno is a nice option. The Silver & Black have allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing runners this season. I would also start Hillis, who faces a Saints defense that's struggles to stop the run as well. I think Crayton is a very nice sleeper at the wide receiver spot this week, but I'd go with Branch instead. He clearly still has a great rapport with Tom Brady, despite the fact the two had been separated the past four seasons. In his first game back with the Patriots, he hauled in nine passes for 98 yards and scored a touchdown in a win over the Ravens.

The Saints wide receiver situation is making me nuts. Marques Colston has been a major disappointment, and now it looks like Robert Meachem is seeing more targets from Drew Brees. Would you trade Colston for Chad Ochocinco (who has also been a bust) and rid yourself of the entire situation? - J. King, Costa Mesa, Calif.

M.F.: If you can get Ochocinco for Colston, I would make the deal. I don't think it's a major upgrade, though, as Ochocinco is averaging a mere 1.9 more fantasy points per game than Colston. However, the Bengals have fewer mouths to feed in their pass attack compared to the Saints, who have Colston, Meachem, Lance Moore and Devery Henderson in the mix. Again, this isn't going to be much of an improvement. I just think Ochocinco has a better chance to see a reversal of his current statistical fortunes.

Would you trade Felix Jones and Mike Williams (TB) in exchange for Fred Jackson and Mike Williams (SEA)? Also, should I pick up Aaron Hernandez or Tony Moeaki off the waiver wire to replace Dallas Clark, who is on a bye this week? - D. Geiger, Canada

M.F.: I wouldn't make this trade. Jones has been hot in recent weeks, as the Cowboys have made a concerted effort to get him more touches. That was apparent in Week 6, as he saw 24 touches (including 10 receptions) in a loss to the Vikings. I also like Mike Williams "south" more than Mike Williams "northwest." Sure, the latter is coming off a monster game against the Bears with 10 catches and 123 yards. But his namesake out of Syracuse has been putting up good numbers all year long. In fact, Williams is on pace to finish with 74 receptions, better than 900 yards and around 10 touchdowns based on his current numbers. At tight end, I would add Hernandez ahead of Moeaki.

Should I be looking to sell high on Torain and add a wide receiver, or do you feel his production will continue? If I do sell high, who should I target in a trade? Thanks! - C. Hanson, Minneapolis, Minn.

M.F.: I always like to put players like Torain, who are trending upwards in terms of fantasy value, on the trade block and field offers. Coming off a huge 100-yard, two-touchdown game against the Colts, there is no better time to deal him. While he did look impressive last Sunday night, I do have some concern about Torain's durability. He's been prone to injuries ever since his collegiate days, and he did suffer what seems like a minor knee ailment in the loss to the Colts. I would look through the rest of your league and see which team might need a running back and has an attractive wideout to deal. Remember, featured runners are more valuable in trades, so shoot for the stars in a potential trade. I'm not saying that you should offer Torain for Andre Johnson straight up, but don't be afraid to go after someone like Greg Jennings or Terrell Owens.

What sort of impact will Sidney Rice have in fantasy football when he comes back from his injured hip? He's a free agent in our league, and I'm wondering if I should drop someone like Heath Miller? I have a solid tight end in Vernon Davis, so I won't even use Miller in most weeks. Thanks! - D. Swanson, Newark, N.J.

M.F.: Since you have an expendable player like Miller on your roster -- Davis doesn't have a bye until Week 9 -- I would go ahead and stash Rice on your roster. Just don't expect him to be the same superstar wideout he was last season. Remember that he's coming off hip surgery and was unable to participate in either training camp or the preseason. Rice will also no longer be the top option in the Vikings pass attack with the addition of Randy Moss. With that said, he still has the skills to put up numbers worthy of being a borderline No. 2 or 3 fantasy wideout in what could turn into one of the league's most potent pass attacks. Again, just temper your expectations.

Should I release Marion Barber and add Chris Ivory? I should have listened to you last week when you said to start Ivory on NFL Fantasy LIVE! Is Barber's value null and void at this point? Also, should I start Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan this week? - L. Martinez, Cininnati, Ohio

M.F.: Honestly, I'm not sure that Barber will offer much the rest of the season. The Cowboys are clearly going with Jones as their lead back, and Barber has seen a mere 19 touches in his last two games as a result. With that said, Ivory's value is fluid at this point in time. I think he'll be a great sleeper against the Browns in Week 7, assuming that Pierre Thomas (ankle) remains out of action. If Thomas returns, though, Ivory's stock will drop. Also keep in mind that Reggie Bush (leg) is slated to return in the next two weeks. If Ivory can help you in the short term, I think Barber is clearly expendable. Just don't expect the Saints runner to become this season's Samkon Gado. At the quarterback position, I would start Flacco. He has a great matchup against a Bills defense that's allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

I have been offered Rashard Mendenhall and Brandon Lloyd for Michael Turner and Malcom Floyd. I hate to lose Turner, but he's been so inconsistent this season. Would you rather have Mendenhall or Turner, and is Lloyd a better fantasy wideout than Floyd? Will he continue to play at a high level? - J. Montaro, Mexico.

M.F.: I would pull the trigger on this deal. Turner hasn't been nearly as consistent as Mendenhall, who ranks ninth in fantasy points among running backs on NFL.com. He should also have an easier time finding running room with the return of Ben Roethlisberger, who will keep defenses from stacking the line of scrimmage to stop the run. As for Lloyd, I doubt that he'll continue his incredible current rate of production -- that would mean he'd finish the season with 91 receptions and close to 1,800 yards. Still, I'd rather have Lloyd than Floyd for the rest of the season. The Chargers wideout is dealing with a hamstring injury that will cost him at least one game, and the expected return of Vincent Jackson at the end of November could put a major dent in his production and value.

What do you think of Matthew Stafford the rest of the season? I have both of the Eagles quarterbacks (Kolb, Michael Vick) and need another option once Vick is back. Stafford is a free agent in our league. I'd also like to know which defense you would start in Week 7 between the Ravens and Titans? - D. Ronson, Twin Cities, Minn.

M.F.: I think Stafford is a fine option off the waiver wire. He's slated to return to action in Week 8 and should be a useful fantasy option down the stretch. The talented quarterback has a ton of productive weapons around him in the offense, not to mention a schedule that includes games against the Redskins, Bills, Patriots, Bears and Buccaneers. Considering that Shaun Hill was a top-10 fantasy quarterback (based on NFL.com's standard scoring system) while under center, it shouldn't be considered a shock if Stafford were able to achieve a similar level of success in the same offense. To answer your second question, I'd go with the Titans. The Ravens do have a nice matchup agains the Bills, but they have been a major disappointment to this point. What's more, the Titans lead all defenses in fantasy points on NFL.com after six weeks.

I'm in a PPR league and need to start two running backs from Ryan Mathews, Marshawn Lynch, Moreno and Torain. Which two should I start this week? - T. Stonum, Corona, Calif.

M.F.: As I mentioned in an earlier question, I would start Moreno based on what is a favorable matchup against the Raiders. I would also start Lynch, who had a nice debut with the Seahawks last week. While he averaged just 2.6 yards per carry, Lynch still scored a respectable 11.30 fantasy points on NFL.com. He also has a good matchup against the Cardinals, who have surrendered the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs this season.

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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