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Titans RB Johnson a solid start in Week 7; Addai out of action

Which two running backs should I start from Marion Barber, Chris Johnson and Steve Slaton? They all have great matchups! -- Z. Coen, Chesapeake, Va.

Michael Fabiano: Despite the absence of Tony Romo, Barber is still a must-start back. He might see an even greater role in the offense with Brad Johnson under center and Felix Jones on the sidelines. He also faces a Rams defense that's 30th against the run. I'd also start Johnson, who has one of the best matchups of the weekend. He faces a Chiefs defense that's 32nd against the run and has allowed an average of almost 200 rushing YPG at home.

2008 statistics:
Att: 127

Yards: 459

TDs: 3

Should I start Warrick Dunn ahead of Matt Forte this week? I know Forte's been great but I'm worried about his matchup against Minnesota. Thanks in advance! -- R. Hill, Osceola, Ark.

M.F.: Dunn is a nice flex option against Seattle's awful defense, but he's not on the same level as Forte. The reason Dunn saw the lion's share of carries last week was because Earnest Graham filled in at fullback when the Buccaneers lost Byron Storer. The team has signed Jameel Cook to replace Storer, so Graham will return to tailback against the Seahawks. Forte does have a tough matchup opponent, but his combined skills as a runner and receiver out of the backfield make him a nice option even against a stout run defense. The rookie should still post a decent stat line and is a better choice than Dunn.

I need to start three wide receivers from Laveranues Coles, Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes, Andre Johnson and Roy Williams. I also have Roddy White, but he's on a bye. -- L. Smith, Australia

M.F.: First off, I'd be looking to trade one or more of these wide receivers to improve a weaker part of your team. Johnson has been on an absolute tear over the last two weeks and is a no-brainer against the Lions, and it's much easier to start Edwards after his 154-yard, one-touchdown explosion against the Giants. Based on the matchups, I'd start Coles over Holmes and Williams. The veteran faces a Raiders defense that's ranked 25th against the pass.

Should I start Ryan Grant, Thomas Jones or Steve Slaton in Week 7? -- E. Kerr, Ireland

M.F.: Slaton is the best option of this trio based on his matchup against the lowly Lions, but the decision to start either Grant or Jones is more difficult. Jones is coming off a three-touchdown performance against the Bengals, and Grant has been an enormous disappointment for fantasy leaguers who sunk a first- or second-round pick on him. But there are three reasons to like Grant this week. First, he saw 33 carries last week as the Packers looked to ease the load on Aaron Rodgers' right shoulder. Second, he faces a Colts defense that ranks 29th against the run. Third, I think the Jets will throw the ball a ton against the Raiders. It's a toss up for certain, but I think Grant has a small edge.

I've been offered Terrell Owens for Braylon Edwards. I also have Laveranues Coles, Donald Driver and Calvin Johnson. My gut is telling me to accept the trade, but how does the absence of Tony Romo and addition of Roy Williams affect T.O.'s value? -- A. Femyer, Wisconsin

M.F.: I would pull the trigger on this deal. Williams will take the targets that Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin saw in the passing game, and he'll help alleviate the constant double teams that Owens endures week in and week out. While it was nice to see Edwards post a monster stat line, it was the first time he's made a significant impact this season. Owens has been a bit inconsistent and could see fewer targets with Brad Johnson under center, but this trade makes a lot of sense in the long term.

I'm desperate for a flex starter this week with the Cardinals on a bye (I have Kurt Warner, Edgerrin James and Anquan Boldin!), and I've been offered Laurence Maroney for Jerious Norwood. I have Steven Jackson and Joseph Addai, and I'm not sure about the latter's status. What should I do? Also, is Kevin Curtis worth a start when he comes back? -- C. LeClair, Canada

M.F.: Addai is expected to miss two to four weeks with an injured hamstring, so Dominic Rhodes will see a real spike in fantasy value. He'd be a much more attractive option that either Maroney or Norwood. The same holds true for Mewelde Moore, who could see the lion's share of the carries for the Steelers this week. Willie Parker was on pace to return to action, but he aggravated his sprained knee and could be forced to miss additional time. If Rhodes or Moore aren't available, you almost have to find another option off the waiver wire. Maroney missed last week's game against the Chargers with an injured shoulder, and his status is questionable at best for Monday night.

Curtis, who could be back when the Eagles return to action in Week 8, loses some of his luster with the emergence of DeSean Jackson. Still, the veteran is worth a roster spot in leagues with 12-plus teams. He won't be worth starting in most formats, though, at least not right out of the gate.

Who is the better starter this week: Gus Frerotte or Brad Johnson? I've lost Tony Romo and Carson Palmer for this week! - L. Hallows, Shreveport, La.

M.F.: Frerotte has a decent matchup against the Bears, but I'd side with Johnson this week. Not only did the Cowboys add another weapon in Williams, who joins Owens, Jason Witten and Marion Barber in the offensive arsenal, but Johnson also faces a Rams defense that's tied for 25th against the pass. They've also allowed eight passing scores in five games.

I have Justin Gage, Santonio Holmes, Santana Moss and Steve Smith, and I've been starting the latter two. But after two poor performances, is it time to bench or trade Moss? Has his level of production already peaked? -- J. Hiew, Australia

M.F.: If there were ever a time to trade Moss, it was two weeks ago and not now. He's worth putting on the trade block, but chances are you'll get some weak offers based on his recent lack of production. Moss should still be seen as a must-start wideout in most cases, so I'd continue to use him alongside Smith in Week 7.

Who is the better option in Week 7: Matt Schaub or Kyle Orton? Also, how much longer is Anquan Boldin expected to be out for Arizona? -- F. Ajose, Minnesota

M.F.: It's hard not to love Schaub this week. He's been one of the hottest quarterbacks in fantasy football, and next on the schedule is a terrific matchup against Detroit. The Lions are dead last in the league in total defense, so Schaub should find success and be used ahead of Orton. There are no concrete reports about Boldin's return, but chances are he'll be back in time for Week 8. Be sure to check's injury report next week for more details.

I added Brad Johnson as soon as I found out Tony Romo was out four weeks. Now I have Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Johnson, but I really need a running back. The team that had Romo is stuck with Marc Bulger and no one else. Should I offer Favre for Matt Forte? Is that a good offer? -- E. Ford, Washington, D.C.

M.F.: As I told Senior Associate Editor Frank Tadych this morning after making a trade in one of my 10 leagues, you have to prey on the weak to improve your own team. So if another owner is desperate for a quarterback, it makes all the sense in the world to make an offer if that's a position of strength. However, I would look to add Rhodes or Moore off the waiver wire first to improve your depth at running back, regardless of whether or not that trade is consummated.

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