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Taking a look at trades as postseason approaches

Believe it or not, there are three more weeks left in most fantasy football regular seasons (time flies, huh?). That means trade deadlines are close to an end, so now is the time to take a look ahead at the best matchups of the fantasy postseason (Weeks 14-16).

Based on the information below, owners should look to acquire players that will assist them in their quest for a championship.

Arizona Cardinals (@ SEA, @ NO, vs. ATL): Edgerrin James has been inconsistent in recent weeks, but matchups against three ho-hum defenses make him a nice choice down the stretch. The Seahawks, Saints and Falcons can all be had in the pass attack as well, so Kurt Warner, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald should all produce nice totals.

Cincinnati Bengals (vs. STL, @ SF, vs. CLE): This schedule reeks of fantasy football production, as Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh should all be solid against the Rams, Niners and Browns. Johnson is in the midst of a seven-week stretch without a touchdown, so now is the time to target him in a potential blockbuster deal.

Cleveland Browns (@ NYJ, vs. BUF, @ CIN): I would deal for Jamal Lewis now based on postseason matchups against three awful run defenses. Super sleeper quarterback Derek Anderson, Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow should also be vital components, so fantasy football owners should look to add any one of this underrated trio.

Green Bay Packers (vs. OAK, @ STL, @ CHI): Ryan Grant (yes, Ryan Grant) will help fantasy football owners win a title. He faces three dreadful run defenses, and he won't cost a ton in a trade. Of course, the trio of Brett Favre, Donald Driver and Greg Jennings should also produce in what could be several late-season offensive explosions.

Houston Texans (vs. TB, vs. DEN, @ IND):Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are both expected to return from injuries in Week 11, so the Texans won't be one-dimensional. The Broncos are awful and neither the Buccaneers nor Colts are great against the run, so Ahman Green (if able) or Ron Dayne could turn into fantasy postseason starters.

Indianapolis Colts (@ BAL, @ OAK, vs. HOU): The Ravens are tough against the run, but Joseph Addai should dominate the Raiders and Texans in the final two weeks of the fantasy postseason. Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark should both be back in advance of these contests as well, so the Colts offense should be running on all cylinders.

Kansas City Chiefs (@ DEN, vs. TEN, @ DET): The Titans defense (with DT Albert Haynesworth) are mighty difficult against the run, but the Broncos and Lions are both vulnerable at best. That makes Larry Johnson, who could be back from an injured foot for at least a portion of the fantasy postseason, a potential stud down the stretch.

New Orleans Saints (@ ATL, vs. ARI, vs. PHI): All three of these matchups have barnburner written all over them, and that's great news for Drew Brees, Reggie Bush and Marques Colston. However, all three of these offensive superstars have increased their fantasy value in recent weeks, so it could be hard to deal for them.

San Diego Chargers (@ TEN, vs. DET, vs. DEN): Again, the Titans are tough to run against with Haynesworth in the middle, but matchups against the Lions and Broncos are favorable indeed. As a result, fantasy owners who have LaDainian Tomlinson should be pleased with the overall level of statistical production he accrues.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ HOU, vs. ATL, @ SF): Earnest Graham could be a fantasy postseason sleeper with favorable matchups against the Texans, Falcons and Niners. Michael Pittman is expected to return from an injured leg this week, but coach Jon Gruden is expected to keep Graham atop the depth chart for the forseeable future.

Waiver wire focus

Mark Clayton, WR, Baltimore: Clayton showed some signs of life with eight catches for 107 yards in a loss to Cincinnati. He's still a free agent in most leagues and warrants consideration in larger formats.

Alge Crumpler, TE, Atlanta: A free agent in 50 percent of leagues, Crumpler returned from ankle and knee injuries in Week 10 and recorded 39 yards and one touchdown in a win over NFC South opponent Carolina.

Ron Dayne, RB, Houston: Green is neither durable nor reliable, as a problematic knee could make him a question mark each week for the rest of the season. That means more carries for Dayne.

Donald Lee, TE, Green Bay: Lee totaled four catches and a touchdown in Week 10, and he's on pace for 59 catches and over 700 yards based on his current numbers. He's a free agent in close to 30 percent of leagues.

Randy McMichael, TE, St. Louis:Fantasy owners in larger leagues who need a tight end should look to McMichael, who recorded 41 yards and a score in Week 10 and has averaged four catches in his past three games.

L.J. Smith, TE, Philadelphia: Notice a trend with the free-agent tight ends this week? Smith broke out with 49 yards and one touchdown in a win over Washington, and he's still a free agent in most leagues.

Chester Taylor, RB, Minnesota: With Adrian Peterson out at least one week and probably more, Taylor will be the hottest name on the waiver wire this week. He's available in close to 40 percent of leagues.

Anthony Thomas, RB, Buffalo: The status of Marshawn Lynch for Week 11 is uncertain due to an injured ankle, so now's the time to add Thomas. The former Rookie of the Year is owned in fewer than 10 percent of leagues.

Javon Walker, WR, Denver: Walker should be back from knee surgery in time for Week 12. A lot of fantasy owners became impatient and released him, as he's a free agent in over 40 percent of leagues.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina: DeShaun Foster has been inconsistent in the Carolina backfield, and he aggravated a turf toe ailment in Week 10. That could mean more carries for Williams in the weeks to come.


Who should I start in Week 11: Brett Favre or Donovan McNabb? -- C. Porter, Tallahassee, Fla.

M.F.: McNabb had a monster stat line in Week 10, but he is inconsistent overall. Favre has emerged into a reliable and explosive fantasy quarterback, so I'd side with the future Hall of Famer.

Should I start Cedric Benson or LenDale White? -- J. Thomas, Pittsburgh, Pa.

M.F.: Don't be fooled by Benson's final stat line in Oakland. He still lacks the passion and motivation to find success at the NFL level, and I think he'll falter next week in Seattle. Be sure to check White's status throughout the week, but I'd start him over Benson if he's active.

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