O'Sullivan moving up the ranks among fantasy's top quarterbacks

I know you always suggest that people to start their studs, but I'm having a hard time deciding between Ben Roethlisberger and J.T. O'Sullivan this week. Who should I start? -- C. Marino, Charleston, S.C.

Michael Fabiano: I do think it's important to stick with your superstars, but I also outlined several scenarios where it makes sense to abandon that train of thought. Two of those scenarios were injuries and offensive line problems, and Roethlisberger is dealing with both. He has shoulder and right hand injuries, and his offensive line was exposed by Philadelphia in Week 3. Now he'll face the Baltimore Ravens and their top-rated defense on Monday night.

2008 statistics:
Comp: 39

Att: 59

Yards: 447

TDs/INTs: 3/1

These factors make me lean towards O'Sullivan, based on his favorable matchup in New Orleans. If he had a more difficult opponent, say the Tennessee Titans, I'd have stuck with Roethlisberger. But because the Saints rank 29th in the league against the pass, I'd start O'Sullivan and bench Big Ben.

I need a flex starter from DeSean Jackson, Rashard Mendenhall, Steve Slaton and Jonathan Stewart. Thanks! -- F. Ajose, Minn.

M.F.: Mendenhall might look like the best option on paper with Willie Parker out of action, but I love Stewart this week. Reports out of Carolina suggest he will see more and more carries as the season progresses. Furthermore, it could be his lack of skills as a blocker that is keeping him behind DeAngelo Williams on the depth chart. This week the rookie faces a Falcons team that ranks 23rd against the run, so Stewart should find success.

I am very thin at wide receiver with Antwaan Randle El, Josh Reed, Reggie Williams and Roy Williams and have been offered a trade of Antonio Bryant for LenDale White. I would still have Ahmad Bradshaw, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jerious Norwood and Pierre Thomas at running back. Should I make the deal? -- T. Pazin, San Francisco, Calif.

M.F.: No, I wouldn't make this trade. White is sharing carries with Chris Johnson, but he's seeing all the goal-line work and is probably the second-best running back on your team behind Jones-Drew. The owner who offered you this deal is smart for selling high on Bryant, but you'd be wise to reject it. Bryant has seen an increase in fantasy value, but what happens to his number of targets when Joey Galloway returns? Oh, and don't forget that Brian Griese had 67 passes attempts in Week 3. That won't happen again.

Who do I start in Week 4: Brett Favre or Kurt Warner? Also, is Bo Scaife a viable fantasy starter? -- L. Sanchez, Fla.

M.F.: Unless Favre has a tremendous matchup, Warner should be your starting quarterback in most weeks. He has the sixth-most fantasy points on NFL.com among all of the offensive skill position players, and it doesn't hurt to have Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, either. Warner and Favre actually face off this week at Giants Stadium (they are a combined 75 years old), but I'd lean on the Cardinals quarterback. As for Scaife, I think he's inconsistent but still a viable fantasy starter this week with six teams on a bye.

Which two running backs should I start this week from Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew and Clinton Portis? -- Y. Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio

M.F.: Forte has become a must-start back for a lot of fantasy owners, but I'd sit him in this case in favor of Portis and Jones-Drew. Forte faces an Eagles team with the top-ranked run defense in the NFL, so he could be in for a difficult night. Jones-Drew is a great option against Houston, and Portis is too valuable to sit in most weeks. He's one of the few running backs that's not sharing the backfield work for his team.

I have been offered Thomas Jones and Calvin Johnson for Frank Gore, Jerricho Cotchery and Bryant Johnson. My other wide receivers include Dwayne Bowe and Reggie Wayne, and my running backs include Chris Johnson and Michael Turner. Should I make the trade? -- M. Girgis, Canada

M.F.: I would pass on this offer. While it would be nice to acquire a wideout like Calvin Johnson, I think you're fine at the position with Bowe, Cotchery and Wayne. What's more, the Lions receiver could lose some value if Jon Kitna's knee injury keeps him out of action. I'd also be against trading Gore, who has had a solid start to the season in the offense of OC Mike Martz.

I have Vernon Davis, and he's done nothing for me. Should I drop him for someone like Anthony Fasano, who is still on the waiver wire? -- K. Correia, East Providence, R.I.

M.F.: The second that Martz took over the offense in San Francisco, I was worried about Davis. Can you name me one tight end that had significant fantasy relevance under Martz? Maybe Ernie Conwell? I don't think I would cut Davis altogether, but I would add Fasano if you have room on your roster. He might not be consistent all of the time, but Fasano is currently tied with Jason Witten and Tony Scheffler for the most fantasy points among tight ends on NFL.com.

I'm in a PPR league and have been offered Marvin Harrison for Ronnie Brown. I already have Reggie Bush, Willis McGahee and Adrian Peterson at running back. Should I make this trade? -- M. Sparks, Pittsburgh, Pa.

M.F.: I know making trades is part of the fun of fantasy football, but I'm putting the kibosh on this trade too. Brown is coming off the best game of his career, and good running backs are at a premium due to injuries and backfield committees. Furthermore, Harrison isn't the same player who led all wideouts in fantasy points in 2006. I like your backfield depth and think you should deal Brown or McGahee to improve a weaker part of your team, but you can do better than Harrison.

I have Reggie Brown and Javon Walker on my bench. Should I release them and add either Deion Branch or Bobby Engram? -- T. Byrnes, Australia

M.F.: Walker shouldn't even be owned in leagues with 12 or fewer teams, so I would absolutely drop him and pick up Engram. I'm also down on Brown with the emergence of DeSean Jackson and expected return of Kevin Curtis in the next few weeks, so Branch makes sense as well. Overall, Engram is the more valuable wideout and should be the first one targeted off the waiver wire.

I have Jay Cutler and Philip Rivers in a PPR league. My wide receivers are solid, but I could use some help at running back now that Kevin Smith could lose carries to Rudi Johnson. Should I deal one of my quarterbacks? -- A. LaComb, Seattle, Wash.

M.F.: I would definitely trade one of these quarterbacks right now. Believe it or not, but Rivers and Cutler are currently one and two in fantasy points among all players on NFL.com. I'd target a team with a real hole at the quarterback position (maybe the team that lost Tom Brady) and look to acquire a running back. And don't take anything less than an elite runner in return. Backs like Earnest Graham, Ryan Grant and Maurice Jones-Drew won't cut it. Shoot for the top runners like Marion Barber, Frank Gore or even Adrian Peterson. You wouldn't exchange gold for silver, and you shouldn't take less in a trade for either of these emerging quarterbacks.

Have a burning question for Michael Fabiano on anything fantasy football related? Send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com, and the best questions will be answered throughout the season right here on NFL.com!

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