Orton could be insurance for owners of Rodgers

I have Aaron Rodgers and I'm worried that the Packers will clinch the No. 1 seed and sit him in Week 16. Who should I add off the waiver wire as insurance? -- roshambo74 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: As someone who has Rodgers in one of my eight leagues, I'm hoping he doesn't end up being rested over the final two weeks of the season. But if that's the scenario, the quarterbacks with the best matchups who are still on the waiver wire include (in order) Kyle Orton (vs. Raiders), Matt Moore (at Patriots), Rex Grossman (vs. Vikings), Andy Dalton (vs. Cardinals) and Caleb Hanie (at Packers). The best players to go after are Orton and Moore, who both have fantastic matchups. You could also decide to add Matt Flynn, Rodgers' backup in Green Bay, but I don't like his matchup against the Bears in fantasy championship week.

What do I do with Andre Johnson now that Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart are both out? -- A. Biagiarelli (via Facebook)

M.F.: That all depends on what the rest of your wide receivers look like, to be honest. If you're rolling with the likes of Reggie Wayne, Sidney Rice or Deion Branch, chances are you'll need to start Johnson. But if you have depth at the position and can afford to play the matchups from one week to the next, I don't think it's crazy to bench the superstar wideout while T.J. Yates is under center. If I had to choose between someone like Victor Cruz and Johnson this week, for example, I'd start Cruz because he's been solid this season and has a tremendous matchup against the Packers. But in most cases, it's going to be tough for me to advise putting Johnson on the sidelines, even if he's just a No. 2 fantasy wideout or flex starter. Now's not the time to bench your studs in most cases, and the Texans aren't going to take A.J. out of their offensive attack.

As someone who has DeSean Jackson, what do you advise me to do -- continue playing him, drop him or keep him on the bench? -- 40nate_dog (via Twitter)

M.F.: As someone who also has Jackson in a league, I'm likely going to play the matchups -- but chances are that I'll have to continue to start him. I said he was one of the most overrated wideouts in fantasy football back in the preseason, due in part to his lack of receptions and overall production. Remember, we're not talking about a player who has posted monster numbers during his career. In fact, Jackson has never recorded more than 62 catches in a season. He also tends to be a knucklehead, which we have all witnessed in recent weeks. Jackson was inactive against the Cardinals when he missed a team meeting, leaving countless fantasy owners in dire straits. A week later against the Giants, he was penalized for taunting and cost owners a 50-yard reception. And in Week 11, he was benched during the fourth quarter. Clearly, he's not endearing himself to those of us in the fantasy world (or the Eagles for that matter). Still, with Jeremy Maclin out against the Seahawks on Thursday night, it's going to be tough not to utilize Jackson as a No. 2 fantasy wideout or flex starter.

Would you pick up Orton if your No. 1 quarterback was Ben Roethlisberger? Will he start for the Chiefs this week in Chicago? -- A. Stewart (via Facebook)

M.F.: Reports out of Kansas City suggest that Tyler Palko is still the starting quarterback. However, Orton is also expected to be worked into some of the first-team reps in practice. Watching Palko's noodle-armed delivery and penchant for throwing interceptions, though, I'm not sure how Chiefs coach Todd Haley won't go to Orton sooner than later. So while I wouldn't count on using Orton in fantasy leagues this week, I would grab him off the waiver wire if you want to add depth at the quarterback spot. 

Which running back will be better the rest of the season: LeGarrette Blount or C.J. Spiller? -- Sergio_Bedoya (via Twitter)

M.F.: There's no question it's going to be Blount. The Oregon product is getting into a groove, rushing for a combined 210 yards with one touchdown over the last two games. This week he has a terrific matchup with the Panthers, who have allowed more fantasy points to running backs than any other team in the National Football League. While games against the Jaguars and Cowboys aren't as favorable, Blount gets to face Carolina again in fantasy championship week. As for Spiller, I see him as no more than a flex starter with added value in PPR leagues. In fact, I'd keep an eye on Johnny White in the Bills backfield over the next few weeks if Spiller falters.

Can I now trust Roy Helu? I had him on the bench last week, and I could really use him as a flex starter moving forward. -- M. Pagano (via Facebook)

M.F.: I wish I could proclaim that Helu is now a safe fantasy starter, but I don't trust Redskins coach Mike Shanahan. Just when we think we have a lock on the top back on his depth chart, Shanahan pulls a fast one on us -- sort of like how Lucy pulls the football away right before Charlie Brown can kick it. With that said, Shanahan did proclaim Helu his No. 1 runner at a recent press conference. So if the rookie is still on the waiver wire, I'd grab him with the hopes that Shanahan remains true to his word. With favorable matchups against the Patriots (Week 14) and Vikings (Week 16) upcoming, Helu could turn into a fabulous flex starter for the stretch run. But again, don't be surprised if Shanahan decides to start Ryan Torain, Evan Royster or someone else in a future game just to mess with us.

Has Chris Johnson come back to life, or should he just ride the fantasy pine? -- BrandonLarkin14 (via Twitter)

M.F.: As I said in last week's edition of Start 'Em & Sit 'Em, Johnson is someone you should use when the matchup is favorable. That was the case when he ran all over the Panthers in Week 10, and it was the same deal against the Buccaneers. Neither one of those defenses is effective against the run, and Johnson took full advantage. Next on the schedule is a date with the Bills, who have surrendered the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs in 2011. As a result, I'd continue to start CJ2K. Despite being a major disappointment overall, Johnson has still totaled a solid 355 scrimmage yards over the last three weeks.

Can I trust Matthew Stafford the rest of the season, or should I grab Joe Flacco off the waiver wire? -- E. Stafford (via Facebook)

M.F.: Stafford has been tough to figure over the last three weeks. After tossing four interceptions in a loss to the Bears, Stafford bounced back with a five-touchdown performance against the Panthers. With owners feeling better about him, the Georgia product promptly threw another three interceptions in a loss to the Packers on Thanksgiving Day. Next on the slate is a game against Drew Brees and the Saints in what could turn into a shootout at the Superdome. And while you don't know which Stafford will show up to that contest, I'd trust him much more than someone like Flacco -- he's barely in the top 20 in fantasy points among quarterbacks and doesn't have even close to the same statistical potential in a run-based offense. So while adding Flacco as insurance if Stafford suffers an injury is an option, he's not someone I'd start ahead of the Lions signal-caller.

Now that the playoffs are one week away, do you suggest playing your studs or playing the matchups? -- ChadCaldwell21 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Now is the time to lean on your studs in most, but not all cases. The situation I mentioned with Andre Johnson and Cruz earlier in the mailbag is a perfect example. Another scenario where you might want to bench a stud occurs this week with Steven Jackson, who faces a 49ers defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs in 2011. If you have someone like DeAngelo Williams, who has a great matchup against the Buccaneers, I would put Jackson one the sidelines. I would also have no regrets about sitting Philip Rivers for someone like Tim Tebow, as the Chargers quarterback has been anything but a fantasy stud this season. But again, I will be rolling with the superstars in most cases. I don't care who guys like Brees, Arian Foster or Calvin Johnson are playing in a given week, they're not leaving my lineup outside of an injury situation.

Is Percy Harvin now a must-start wideout, at least until Adrian Peterson returns? -- A. DeAngelo (via Facebook)

M.F.: I don't know that I'd call Harvin a must-start wideout, but his value is on the rise. Over the last two weeks, the Florida product has scored a combined 32 fantasy points on NFL.com. Furthermore, he has put up double-digit fantasy points in three of his last four games overall. Harvin was clearly more of a focal point in the Vikings offense against the Falcons with Peterson out of action, and that scenario will continue against the Broncos unless A.D. makes a miraculous return. So for at least one more week, I'd consider Harvin a borderline No. 2 fantasy wideout or flex starter in most standard leagues.

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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