NFL fantasy football: Don't panic over Matt Stafford

I'm worried about Matthew Stafford. Is it time to pick up someone like Christian Ponder? I have Jake Locker on the bench. - @TParrick (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: Stafford didn't put up enormous numbers in Week 3, but he was still more than a solid contributor to fantasy teams with 18.32 points before suffering an injured leg. If he's active and on the field when the Detroit Lions face off against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, Stafford should be in your starting lineup. If he's forced to miss the contest, Ponder is a nice option as a one-week fill-in. The Lions have allowed an average of over 18 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks this season. As for Locker, he was terrific in Week 3 but has a far more difficult matchup against the Houston Texans next on the schedule.

What do I do with Jason Witten? Should I drop him or Jacob Tamme to add Kyle Rudolph? - C. Gonzalez (via Facebook)

M.F.: I'm one of the millions of frustrated fantasy leaguers with Witten as well. He's been targeted 21 times this season but has hauled in a mere seven passes, which is a shock considering how sure-handed he has been in his career. Aside from that, the Dallas Cowboys' tight ends have been asked to block more often due to the team's porous offensive line. While I wouldn't drop Witten, I would let Tamme go and target Rudolph off the waiver wire. Still a free agent in most NFL.com leagues, Rudolph is one of the top-scoring fantasy tight ends in the NFL and is developing into a No. 1 option. Until Witten starts to show signs of statistical life, I'd keep him on the sidelines and roll with Rudolph.

What do you make of Peyton Manning after three weeks? Is he now just a matchup-based starter in fantasy leagues? - T. Sparks (via Google+)

M.F.: Manning certainly isn't the same elite quarterback he was before having multiple surgical procedures on his neck. In fact, one veteran scout told NFL.com and NFL Network reporter Albert Breer via Twitter that "Manning can't throw the ball anymore." So if you're hoping for the future Hall of Famer to post monster numbers week in and week out like he did during his time with the Indianapolis Colts, well, you're going to be disappointed. With that said, he's still a low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback and even more attractive when the matchup is favorable. That's the scenario this week, as Manning goes up against an Oakland Raiders defense that has allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing signal-callers.

Do I just flat out drop Chris Johnson? He has no trade value, I'm in a smaller league and Jacquizz Rodgers has more fantasy points! - @philthy715 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I wouldn't drop Johnson outright, despite how awful he's been this season. The fact of the matter is that if you do give up on him, someone else in your league is certain to pick him up and stash him. What happens if CJ2K all of the sudden gets hot and starts to produce (as unlikely as that seems now)? Unfortunately, you're going to have to keep him on your bench in the interim. Aside from the fact that he's not even in the top 40 in fantasy points at his position, Johnson also has a tough matchup in Week 4 against the Texans. Their defense has allowed an average of 12.40 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in 2012.

Someone has dropped Aaron Hernandez in my league. Should I grab him and drop Malcom Floyd? I also have Tony Gonzalez at tight end. - A. Lennhoff (via Facebook)

M.F.: I wouldn't drop Floyd unless you're in a smaller league and loaded at wide receiver, but I would grab and stash Hernandez if you have the roster room. You're in great shape at tight end in the interim with Gonzalez, who continues to perform like a player 10 years his junior. Hernandez, one of the first five players drafted at his position, is expected to be out until at least October. Once he does return, however, you'll have a valuable flex option (if you can flex a tight end) or trade bait for another owner who is lacking at the position.

What would you do with Michael Vick? He has been awful! Should I bench him in favor of someone like Andy Dalton or just continue to bite the bullet? - L. Bannister (via Google+)

M.F.: I feel your pain! I have Vick in one of my eight leagues, and his inconsistent level of production is tough to take. But while Dalton does have more fantasy points between the two quarterbacks after three weeks, I would still continue to roll with Vick in Week 4. Neither quarterback has a bananas matchup based on the numbers, as Vick faces the New York Giants and Dalton goes up against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The G-Men have allowed more fantasy points to quarterbacks of the two teams, and Vick will have the advantage of playing in front of his home crowd on "Sunday Night Football."

Is it time to trade Tom Brady? He hasn't had the best start to the season. Will he ever turn it around? - @mtbrown94 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I know that Brady hasn't been stellar in his first three games, as he ranks outside of the top 10 in fantasy points at his position. But who would you be playing at quarterback if you did deal him? I can see such a move if you also have Robert Griffin III on your roster, but dealing Brady with no equivalent alternative at quarterback isn't recommended. What's more, he's still Tom Brady! There's a lot of football left to play this season, and his weekly numbers should do nothing but improve as the weeks roll on. In fact, he has two good matchups upcoming against the Buffalo Bills (16.59 FPPG allowed to quarterbacks) and Denver Broncos (20.15 FPPG).

I have Aaron Rodgers and Griffin III. What should I do? Both quarterbacks are studs and have the same bye week! - J. Dela Cruz (via Facebook)

M.F.: Trade one of them, even if it's Rodgers. Why in the world should you have two elite quarterbacks on your roster when you can start just one? Seek out a team in your league that needs a quarterback and is strong at a position(s) of need for you and make an offer. Keep in mind that you should take no less than the best in return for either one of these players, so shoot for the stars in a potential transaction. If you need a running back, for example, go after Arian Foster, Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy. If it's a two-for-one trade, make sure you're getting two legitimate starters in exchange for either Rodgers or RG3. If a good deal doesn't present itself right away, sit back and wait. Just don't sell yourself short.

I'm sick of Shonn Greene. Is there any reason not to drop him at this point? - D. Lazero (via Google+)

M.F.: Do you have a huge Jets fan in your league that you could trade Greene to this week? Alright, in all seriousness, if you don't have a lot of backfield depth you have to keep him on your fantasy roster. But you shouldn't have drafted him to be much more than a flex starter (at best) in the first place. Greene, who has been invisible from a statistical perspective in his last two games, could end up losing more early-down work to Bilal Powell or Joe McKnight in the near future. In fact, Powell saw more extensive action during Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins. If you can't deal Greene, I'd keep him on your roster and sit him unless he has a great matchup. Obviously, he needs to sit this week against the San Francisco 49ers.

What do you think of Mikel Leshoure? Is he a nice option in place of either C.J. Spiller or Reggie Bush? - @NickFury_007 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Leshoure would have been a part of my preseason fantasy man crush list had he not been suspended for the first two games. Now that he's back on the field, I think he could turn into a viable No. 2 fantasy runner in all leagues. The Lions love him, which was evident in Week 3 when he started ahead of Kevin Smith. Leshoure showed off his skills against the Titans, recording 134 scrimmage yards with a touchdown. If he's a free agent in your league, go out and get him now. And yes, he is a fine replacement if you're in need of a running back this week and for the rest of the season.

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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