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Tomlinson still too valuable to sit; Warner a solid fantasy option

Which two running backs should I start from Ronnie Brown, Steven Jackson and LaDainian Tomlinson? Also, should I start Brett Favre or Kurt Warner? -- P. Storgaard, Denmark

Michael Fabiano: First off, that's quite a trio of running backs to have on the same fantasy team! I personally tend to stick with my stud players, so unless there's word that Tomlinson will be limited this week due to his injured toe, I think you have to start him. Based on the matchups, I like Brown over Jackson. Believe it or not, Brown has averaged more rushing touchdowns per game than any other running back since the start of last season. He also faces a Houston team that's ranked 26th vs. the run.

2008 statistics:
Carries: 93

Rushing yards: 395

Touchdowns: 4

As for your second question, I'd start Warner against what looks to be a banged-up Dallas pass defense.

I'm starting to worry about Marion Barber's production, especially with Felix Jones playing so well. I have both backs and Steve Slaton. Who should I start in Week 6? -- J. Moore, Vallejo, Calif.

M.F.: Don't be concerned about Barber. I know his numbers have been less than stellar the past two weeks, but he remains an elite fantasy back nonetheless. In fact, Barber is on pace to record career bests in receptions (45), rushing yards (1,264), and receiving yards (339), not to mention 13 touchdowns based on his current numbers. The Cowboys will continue to use Jones to spell him and also in certain passing sets, but Barber is the main man in the backfield. Unless you're in a much smaller league or have a loaded backfield, I think it's hard to ever sit Barber in fantasy play. For Week 6, I'd start Barber and Slaton.

Which quarterback should I start this week: Jason Campbell or Philip Rivers? -- A. Ostberg, Portland, Ore.

M.F.: I love Campbell's matchup against the St. Louis Rams, and I would start him ahead of Rivers. The Rams are a dreadful 28th against the pass, allowing an average of 288 passing yards per game on the road. Despite his poor numbers last week, Campbell is still in the top 10 in fantasy points among quarterbacks on Those numbers and this matchup should be music to the ears of fantasy owners who were lucky enough to draft him or add him off the waiver wire.

Should I start Drew Brees of Eli Manning this week? Also, who do I start from Isaac Bruce, Plaxico Burress, Antwaan Randle El, Amani Toomer and Roy Williams? -- N.A., Mansfield, Pa.

M.F.: There are very few weeks where I wouldn't start Brees over Manning. In fact, I would put Manning on the trade block while his value if high and see if you can't improve a weaker part of your roster. At the wide receiver position, I'd start Burress and Williams. Despite his off-field issues with the Giants, Burress remains a must-start wideout in all formats. Williams faces a Minnesota defense that ranks 24th vs. the pass, so he's a nice option. If you need to start a third receiver, use Bruce. The ageless one has now scored four touchdowns in the past three weeks.

Which two running backs should I start from Brandon Jacobs, Jamal Lewis and Willis McGahee? -- J. Basemon, New Orleans, La.

M.F.: I'd bench Lewis based on the matchups. Jacobs is coming off a monster performance against Seattle and now faces a Cleveland defense that's been awful against the run. McGahee heads to Indianapolis to battle a Colts defense that's dead last in the league against the run. McGahee is losing some carries to Le'Ron McClain, but he will definitely see enough of the workload to be productive.

I need to start two running backs from Matt Forte, Michael Turner and Clinton Portis. Who should I start? -- R. Lambeth, Australia

M.F.: Portis is an absolute must-start running back this week against St. Louis, which has allowed an average of 176.5 rushing yards per game on the road. Forte has a much better matchup (at Atlanta, 21st vs. run) than Turner, who faces a Chicago team that's fourth in run defense, so give the rookie the nod this week.

I'm thinking of offering Reggie Bush for Brian Westbrook straight up. I have Matt Forte and Frank Gore, so I can sit Westbrook for the next few weeks. What should I do? -- R. Skorbits, Denver, Colo.

M.F.: Do you really want to trade for a running back with fractured ribs who could be a game-time decision every week for the foreseeable future? I wouldn't. I own Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter in one of my 10 leagues, and the situation is already giving me headaches. Playing with fractured ribs has to be painful and even dangerous if he takes a direct hit, so Westbrook's status will be a question mark. I totally understand your thought process, but I'd stick with Bush.

Long-time reader, first-time question asker! Which two wide receivers should I start from Bobby Engram, Vincent Jackson, Calvin Johnson and Terrell Owens? Also, are any of these other wideouts a better flex option than Le'Ron McClain? Thanks! -- M. Sholty, West Lafayette, Ind.

M.F.: T.O., tears and all, is an elite fantasy wideout and should be active in all leagues. And despite his poor numbers in Week 5, I think you have to stick with Johnson against the Vikings. While Engram is a solid flex starter if your league rewards points for receptions, I think McClain is a better flex starter overall.

Which quarterback should I start: Matt Hasselbeck, Kyle Orton or Carson Palmer? -- M. Brenner, Seattle, Wash.

M.F.: Orton has been on fire in recent weeks, but I'd go with Palmer. His bum elbow came out of last week's game no worse for wear, and it showed in his 217 yards and two scores in a loss to Dallas. Palmer will throw "as little as possible" in practice this week, according to the team's official website, but he should be fine to face the Jets and their 31st-ranked pass defense.

I've been offered Dallas Clark, Donald Driver, Braylon Edwards, Laurence Maroney and LaDainian Tomlinson for Ronnie Brown, Reggie Bush, Randy Moss and Jason Witten in an absolute blockbuster. The team that's offering me the trade is 0-5. What do you think? -- M. Little, Canada

M.F.: I wouldn't make this trade. That team is 0-5 for a reason! You'd basically be gambling that Maroney will reverse his current fortunes (which doesn't appear too likely), and that Edwards can be the same wideout he was last season. So far, Edwards has fewer fantasy points than Chansi Stuckey! Tomlinson is still a must-start runner, but let's be honest, he's not the same player he was last season, especially with a nagging toe injury that won't heal unless he takes several weeks off. Again, I'd pass on this one.

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