NFL fantasy football: Chris Johnson trade bait?

Can Chris Johnson turn it around? I'm seriously considering trading him for an elite kicker! - @SiFi23 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: I am up in arms with Johnson myself at this point. He even expressed frustration after his horrid Week 2 performance, putting at least some of the blame on his offensive line. "People need to step up and do their job," Johnson said. "They don't need to let people beat them. It don't matter who the opposing defense is, you can't let your guy beat you." CJ2K now has 19 carries for 21 yards (not a misprint) on the season and is averaging a terrible 1.1 yards per carry. The fact that the Titans have fallen behind in both games hasn't helped his cause, but Johnson also isn't as explosive or elusive as he was back in his best fantasy seasons. If he can't get on track against the Detroit Lions in Week 3, it's going to be time to use him as a matchup-based starter. In the interim, I'd look to trade Johnson for another struggling star (Darren McFadden comes to mind) who has a better chance to come out of his statistical slide.

I have Robert Griffin III and Aaron Rodgers. Do I deal one of them to upgrade my running backs? I have lost Matt Forte for a few weeks. - B. Pace (via Facebook)

M.F.: Yes, you should absolutely deal one of them. Why have two studs at the same position on your roster if you can start just one each week? If I were you, I might even put Rodgers on the trade block and see what offers are made. If you can land an elite running back like Arian Foster, Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy (don't take less) in exchange, I would roll with Griffin III the rest of the season. As for Foster, Bears coach Lovie Smith said the veteran runner doesn't have a high ankle sprain. That means Forte could be back sooner than later. "Matt did go down with an ankle injury. It's not a high ankle sprain, as has been reported," Smith said on WBBM-AM in Chicago, via ESPNChicago.com. "But right now, you know when you don't finish the game and he still has some soreness, we'll continue to monitor it, but we felt we needed another running back here." The other running back was Khalil Bell, who was added over the weekend.

Do you think Danny Amendola is the real deal? Should I trade him now before he cools down? - H. Holder (via Google+)

M.F.: I do think now is a good time to attempt to trade Amendola, who went off for 15 catches, 160 yards and one touchdown in Week 2 win over the Washington Redskins. The Texas Tech product is tied with Reggie Wayne for the second-most targets (25) among wideouts after two weeks, so it's very apparent that Sam Bradford has a ton of faith in him in the pass attack. While Amendola is still a better option in PPR leagues than standard formats, I do think he is for real regardless of the format. Somehow he is still available in 87 percent of NFL.com leagues, so go out and get Amendola now. Chances are, you won't have another chance to add him this season.

Is it time to panic on Jamaal Charles? - @FantasyFb1209 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I have some moderate panic when it comes to Charles, who rushed for a meager three yards on six carries in a loss to the Buffalo Bills. Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said earlier in the week that Charles did deal with some knee soreness in the contest (he's coming off an ACL reconstruction), which explains why he touched the football just twice in the second half. It's that soreness that has made me somewhat concerned, especially when you consider the trend of runners experiencing statistical declines in their first year coming off an ACL operation. Crennel does expect Charles to be fine for Week 3, however, and a matchup against the New Orleans Saints will make it tough not to use him as a flex starter (at worst). Their defense has surrendered the second-most fantasy points to opposing runners this season.

Would you trade Larry Fitzgerald to get Trent Richardson? I have a ton of good wideouts and a weak backfield. - S. Williamson (via Facebook)

M.F.: How's this for a stomach-turning fantasy nugget: More than 70 wide receivers have recorded better point totals than Fitzgerald after two weeks. That list of wideouts includes Michael Jenkins, Armon Binns, Donald Jones and Cecil Shorts! I'm not freaking out about the Cardinals veteran right now, but saying he's had a slow start to the season is like saying Kate Upton is just sort of attractive. Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt blamed Fitzgerald's four-yard disaster in Week 2 on the game plan put in place by the New England Patriots and their coach, Bill Belichick, and an increase in numbers should be on the horizon in games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams. With that said, I think you'll be able to do better than Richardson in a trade once Fitzgerald starts to perform at a higher statistical level. It isn't a bad trade if you're in dire straits at running back, however.

Which players that were selected highly in most drafts but have yet to produce would you not drop? - A. Levine (via Google+)

M.F.: Unfortunately for fantasy owners, there are a lot of these such players after two weeks. I've already discussed three of them in Chris Johnson, Charles and Fitzgerald. Others such as Matthew Stafford, Steven Jackson and Dez Bryant (to name a few) have also been less than stellar in the stat sheets. But to be honest, there isn't a single player that was drafted highly that I would outright release right now. It's frustrating to select a player with one of your first four or five picks, only to see him perform at the level of waiver-wire fodder. But remember that we are just entering the third week of the NFL season, so you have 12 or 13 more weeks still left in the fantasy campaign.

What has happened to McFadden? He hasn't even rushed for 60 combined yards this season! - @nicktinik (via Twitter)

M.F.: The Miami Dolphins have an underrated run defense that held McFadden in check last weekend, and the fact that the Raiders have fallen behind in each of their first two contests hasn't helped his statistical cause. McFadden, who said he is "very comfortable" in the team's new zone-blocking scheme, has averaged a dreadful 2.07 YPC and is still on the hunt for his first touchdown of 2012. On a positive note, the team will continue to utilize McFadden as the centerpiece of their offense as long as he avoids the trainer's room. He is also the most targeted running back in the league with 25. That's three more than Darren Sproles and 11 more than Ray Rice. The bad news is that the Pittsburgh Steelers and their stout run defense are next on the schedule. So while I do expect his numbers to improve, it might not happen overnight.

Is David Wilson even worth a roster spot in fantasy leagues now that Andre Brown has emerged as the Giants' No. 2 running back? - R. Gunther (via Facebook)

M.F.: Unless you're in a smaller seasonal league, I would still hold onto Wilson. However, it does appear that Brown is the Giants running back to own if Ahmad Bradshaw is forced to miss time with a sprained neck. Brown, who spent last season on the practice squad, finished last week with 71 rushing yards, one touchdown, a two-point conversion and 17 fantasy points. That was good enough to finish eighth at the running back position. Part of the reason for his increased role is the coaching staff's apparent lack of trust in Wilson, who fumbled in the team's season-opening loss to the Dallas Cowboys. The rookie does have a ton of upside, however, so I'd stash him away for a few more weeks.

Has Fred Jackson's value taken a death blow with the emergence of C.J. Spiller? - A. Bickers (via Google+)

M.F.: I'm not sure if it's taken a complete death blow, but it sure has endured a hit. Spiller, who rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, has been one of the best running backs in fantasy football over his last five games (without Jackson) dating back to last season. While Jackson is reportedly doing well in his recovery from a recent knee ailment, he isn't guaranteed to get back his starting job. What concerns me is that coach Chan Gailey could decide to go with a committee approach upon Jackson's return, leaving fantasy owners guessing which back will see more touches on a week-to-week basis. Keep in mind, Jackson was one of the five best fantasy runners through the first 10 games of 2011 before suffering an injured leg. So while Spiller is a must-start runner while Jackson is out, we'll have to see what transpires when both backs are 100 percent.

It looks like I've lost Aaron Hernandez for a few weeks (at least). Any replacement ideas? - @jrod79xx (via Twitter)

M.F.: This is a good time for fantasy owners like yourself, who are looking for help at the tight end position in the absence of an injured starter. Brent Celek is still a free agent in over 60 percent of NFL.com leagues and the top player at the position to target. Dennis Pitta (85.5 percent), Owens Daniels (73.7 percent), Kyle Rudolph (72 percent), Martellus Bennett (91.9 percent) and Brandon Myers (99.8 percent) are also viable options off the waiver wire.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

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