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Rodgers emerging into a top-five quarterback in fantasy football

Michael, I saw Aron Angel's article on quarterbacks and late-season weather conditions. I drafted Aaron Rodgers and I know he'll put up amazing numbers, but I'm worried about him in the fantasy postseason. Should I attempt to trade him around midseason? Thanks for your help. -- D. Martellino, Canada.

Michael Fabiano: I thought Aron's article was insightful and made a lot of good points. However, I don't think stadium or weather conditions affect a good number of quarterbacks. Rodgers is one of them. In his last two regular-season starts of 2008, He posted a combined 568 yards and five touchdown passes in his last two regular-season starts at Chicago and at home. He also tamed the Panthers for 298 yards and three touchdowns on the tundra at the end of November. Outside of a Week 15 matchup against the Steelers in Pittsburgh, Rodgers' doesn't have awful matchups in the fantasy postseason (Week 14 vs. Chicago, Week 16 vs. Seattle). I love the Packers quarterback this season and wouldn't trade him unless I got an offer I couldn't refuse.

Hi Michael, I've been following your advice for what seems like forever! I drafted Felix Jones, but Leon Washington is a free agent. Which running back do you prefer? Also, would you rather have Patrick Crayton, Josh Morgan or Jeremy Maclin? Thanks! -- M. Holland, Cincinnati, Ohio

M.F.: I have Jones one spot ahead of Washington on's current running back rank list, which is based on a standard scoring system, but I like the Jets running back better in PPR leagues and those formats that reward individual players (and not defense/special team units) points for return yards and touchdowns. Washington has been a star in the preseason, and I think he's the most explosive player on the Jets offense. Based on his current ADP on of 123.11 (Round 10), I think Washington has a shot to be an absolute steal in the aforementioned formats. I like Morgan a bit more than Crayton among wide receivers, especially with Michael Crabtree still in a holdout.

I'm in a 10-team keeper league, and I currently have a trade offer on the table where I'd receive Darren McFadden and Dwayne Bowe for Steve Slaton and Domenik Hixon. I'm having a tough time deciding whether this trade makes sense for me, because I already have Calvin Johnson and Roddy White filling two of my three wide receiver spots. The trade would also leave me with Chris Johnson, McFadden and Reggie Bush to fill two running back spots. -- G. Taves, Canada

M.F.: I would pull the trigger on this deal. As much as I like Slaton, the upgrade you'd be getting at wide receiver from Hixon to Bowe is hard to ignore. I also think McFadden will be the centerpiece of the Raiders offense and is a definite breakout candidate this season. He won't put up Slaton numbers, but he could be close. You'd still have Chris Johnson, McFadden and Bush at running back, and your starting wide receivers with Calvin Johnson, White and Bowe would be very impressive. If you decide to make the move, I'd look to add Michael Bush off the waiver wire (if available) as insurance for McFadden if you have a player who you feel is expendable.

I am in a 10-team keeper league (touchdown-only format) and have the second pick in our upcoming draft. I'm leaning towards keeping Maurice Jones-Drew over Steve Slaton at running back, but my dilemma is at wide receiver. Do I keep Steve Smith or T.J. Houshmandzadeh? I like T.J.'s numbers better the last few years (excluding 2008), but I'm not sure about how well he'll perform in Seattle. I assume his numbers will improve with Matt Hasselbeck throwing him the ball, but Smith is always a beast. Help! -- J. Zemlicka, Milwaukee, Wis.

M.F.: I would keep Smith, without question. Houshmandzadeh and Hasselbeck seem to have gained a rapport in the preseason, but the Seahawks will have a more balanced offense than in past seasons under former coach Mike Holmgren. So if you're expecting Houshmandzadeh to post the same sort of numbers during his salad days with the Bengals, well, I'd temper those projections. You also have to take into consideration the fact that the last two big-name wideouts to go to Seattle (Deion Branch, Nate Burleson) have both been disappointments. I still think Houshmandzadeh has 1,000-yard potential, but Smith has a higher statistical ceiling in both standard and PPR formats.

I'm in a 10-team PPR league where we are able to retain two players, and I plan on keeping Michael Turner and DeAngelo Williams. I have the fourth pick in our upcoming re-draft and was wondering if I should take another running back like Steven Jackson, Frank Gore or Brian Westbrook, or go after Drew Brees or Calvin Johnson. Thoughts? Thank you for your advice. -- F. Durazo, Visalia, Calif.

M.F.: I think you're in excellent shape at the running back position, so I would take either Brees or Johnson. The decision on which one to take really depends on the depth of the players with similar value that are thrown back into the pool of available players. If there are a number of solid quarterbacks on the board and few elite wideouts, I'd have to side with "Megatron." But if strong receivers are plentiful but Brees is the best quarterback available by a mile, then I'd take him over Johnson.

I'm a first-time fantasy footballer and I'm really getting into it. I have Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson, but I've heard a lot of fuss about Jackson being a fantasy bust. My best wide receiver is Chad Ochocinco, so I'm wondering if I should trade Jackson and Hines Ward for someone like Anquan Boldin, Greg Jennings or Marques Colston and a sleeper running back such as Ray Rice. What do you think? -- L. Robertson, Australia

M.F.: Jackson is one of the biggest risk-reward running backs in all of fantasy football this season. He's missed a combined six games in the last two seasons with different injuries, and his numbers haven't been all that strong since he broke out in 2006. Still, Jackson did post 40 catches, 1,421 scrimmage yards and eight total scores last season in just 12 games. He also will be running behind what should be a much-improved offensive line and a new fullback in Mike Karney. Furthermore, Jackson is the top option in the offense of new coach Steve Spagnuolo. If anything, I'd be a little worried about the Rams running Jackson into the ground. But I wouldn't make a hasty trade and break up what could be a star-studded pair of backs. I'm not sure if you have backfield depth, but you'd have to be pretty deep to deal Jackson.

Your advice has helped me in the past more times than I can count, but I'm at a loss on who to pick between Matt Forte and Maurice Jones-Drew. I think it's a coin toss between the two, but you have said you prefer Forte. Normally I would just go with that, but I think MJD has better matchups in playoff in the fantasy postseason. He faces the Colts and Patriots as opposed to Forte, who faces the Ravens and Vikings. I think Forte will be a stud, but do you take the chance that your first-round pick will disappear in the two weeks that count the most? Thanks! -- D. Hoag, Virginia Beach, Va.

M.F.: When you're talking about two players with such similar value like Forte and Jones-Drew, sometimes the decision can be like flipping a coin. If the choice was between Forte and someone like Frank Gore or Marion Barber, then I'd tell you that Forte is a far better choice. But in this case, I don't think you can go wrong either way. Both backs will be featured in their offense, and both are dual threats. While it's true that I like Forte more than Jones-Drew, if you think MJD is a better option based on his late-season schedule than you should take him. At the end of the day, it's your team and you need to shop for the groceries.

Hey Mike, I have a guy in my league who's offering Drew Brees in exchange for a running back or wideout. I have Donovan McNabb and Carson Palmer at quarterback, Maurice Jones-Drew, LaDainian Tomlinson and Joseph Addai at running back and Randy Moss, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bernard Berrian, Chris Chambers and Deion Branch. I also have Chris Cooley at tight end, Nate Kaeding at kicker and the Vikings defense. Should I go after Brees, maybe offering Addai and Chambers? -- P. Wolfe, Salt Lake City, Utah

M.F.: If Brees is available, I would certainly look into acquiring him. Maybe it's the fact that I've been a life-long New York Yankees fan, but I want to acquire as many superstars for my team as possible. I would offer either McNabb and Addai or Berrian and Addai for Brees. I don't think Addai and Chambers is nearly enough, though Addai, Chambers and either McNabb or Palmer might work. Just make sure that trading Addai doesn't completely destroy your backfield depth behind Jones-Drew and Tomlinson.

Hi Michael, love your stuff! I have Frank Gore, Brandon Jacobs, Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, and Rashard Mendenhall at running back, but I'm weak at wide receiver with Vincent Jackson, Santonio Holmes, Josh Morgan and Percy Harvin. Should I trade one of my running backs for a wideout and if so, which runner would you look to deal? We start two backs, two wideouts and one flex player (RB/WR). -- M. Poulin, Hampden, Maine

M.F.: You certainly do have depth at the running back position, and I think it makes a lot of sense to trade from that depth to improve at wide receiver. I'd look to deal McFadden to a team that lacks a strong backfield but has a wideout that could be expendable. Based on his upside as a No. 2 fantasy back and assuming this is a standard (non-PPR) league, I think you can get a wideout like Anquan Boldin, Greg Jennings or Roddy White in return for McFadden. If that doesn't work, you could always throw in Morgan to sweeten the deal. If there's a team out that there's really hurting at running back, you could even offer McFadden and Mendenhall to acquire a star wide receiver.

Michael, I've decided to refer to you as "Fabio" from now on! My question for you is how do you feel on Kevin Smith? I'm not too high on him, but I ended up with him as my No. 2 fantasy back behind Steven Jackson. I also have Knowshon Moreno, Cedric Benson and LeSean McCoy. I really like McCoy's potential, assuming Brian Westbrook misses some games along the way. Do you think I'm set at running back and at my flex position? I'd love to hear your thoughts. -- D. Cash, St. Cloud, Minn.

M.F.: Fabio, huh? That's not the first time I've heard that on! I think Smith is a solid breakout candidate this season. He'll be the featured back in the offense of new coordinator Scott Linehan, and his combination of skills as a runner and receiver make him a dual threat. I'd be shocked (barring injuries) if he doesn't rush 1,000-plus yards in 2009. With Moreno as a No. 3, Benson as a No. 4 and McCoy as sort of a wild card if Westbrook gets hurt, I think you're in fine shape at the running back position.

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