Fantasy Mailbag: Matt Forte or Chris Johnson?

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Welcome to the Fantasy Factor's weekly mailbag.

Each week we'll field your questions regarding lineups, trades, start or sit, waiver wire and everything else you could possibly come up with that has to do with fantasy football.

If you'd like to submit a question, shoot us an email at and we'll do our best to get back to you even if it doesn't make it onto the site as apart of the column.

And now, onto the questions.

From: Jackie

Question: Hi Matt. I really need your help this week because I'm playing my boyfriend and I have to beat him.

Who would you start

Eli Manning or Carson Palmer?


Olsen responds: A couple of years ago this question would have been an absolute no brainer. Carson Palmer all the way.

But the Bengals are a mess right now and Palmer is a big reason why. They're playing against a very good Titans defense and I just don't trust him at this point.

Meanwhile, Manning and the G-Men head to St. Louis to face a team that gave up over 400 yards of offense to the Eagles last week.

Manning is the way to go here Jackie, no doubt about it.

Thanks for checking in.

From: Antwaan

Question: In my draft this year i went for the rookies and got chris johnson of the titans and matt forte from the bears.

I need to start one of them this week.

Which one?

Olsen responds: Antwaan, there are a lot of people out there who would be very envious of your current predicament.

And it is a very tough predicament because both of these backs are great talents and burst onto the stage in week one.

Johnson is going against the weaker defense, while Forte will get the most carries.

In the end it comes down to what you're willing to risk.

You know that Forte is going to get just about twenty carries in this game and will get good yardage even if he fails to find the end zone.

Johnson is the higher risk of the two, but the rewards could be huge in the form of a long touchdown run or two.

I'd go with Forte just to be safe, but the idea of starting the two of these guys together in the backfield would be one heck of a combo.

Who's the other back?

From: Nick

Question: I am looking to strengthen my TE slot, considering I only have Heath Miller from Pittsburg. I have a guy who is willing to part with Winslow from Cleveland. Please let me know who you I should offer.

My team

Brett Farve-QB
Carson Palmer-QB
Plaxico Burress-WR
Brayon Edwards-WR
Bernard Berrian-WR
Donte Stallworth-WR
Hines Ward-WR
Joey Galloway-WR
Maurice Jone Drew-RB
Willie Parker-RB
Edgerrin James-RB
Selvin Young-RB
Heath Miller-TE
Rob Bironas-K

I have a strong WR crew and was able to pick up Brett Farve in a late round...hoping for a good season from Farve. Overall I feel my team is still a strong contender even with the loss of Brady. However, I would like to strengthen my TE spot with Winslow and would like your advise on offering a fair trade or should I just play with what I got?

Olsen responds Well Nick, there are a couple of different ways to go with this and a myriad of factors left to consider before I can really tell you what to do. But I'll do my best to help you with what you've sent me.

First of all, you've got a very interesting team and I agree with you in that I think you're in pretty good shape despite losing what was probably your first or second round pick in Brady.

I'd suggest that you offer Carson Palmer, but at this point it's highly unlikely that anyone would take him and I'm not sure if you start one or two quarterbacks. But in reality you're going to have to offer one of your running backs and a wide receiver, depending on his roster needs.

That's the easiest way to get a trade approved. Look closely at the weaknesses of his team and appeal to them by offering solutions.

But you also have to remember that you'd have three players from the Browns on your roster. That's a lot of hopes to pin on one team, even if it is two of the best players at their respective positions in the NFL.

If I had to really try and give you an offer I think he might bite on, I'd go with Hines Ward and MJD or Selvin Young. It'd be tempting enough for anyone to bite on and before you say that's too much, understand you are always going to have to give up a little bit extra for a premier player.

As I've stated before, I think MJD is one of the most overrated backs in football. But if you can get away with offering Young and Berrian, go for it.

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I have the DST from both the Ravens and the Chargers.

Should I drop either of them and pick up Justin Fargas ? I have some good backs ( Portis, Lynch, Chris Johnson, Forte), but I figure if nothing else, it will keep somone else from getting him if McFadden is slow out of the gate. Also, we start 3 WR and I am only 4 deep ( Calvin Johnson, B. Marshall, Holt, Cotchery)and the best players on the waiver wire are D. Henderson and M. Jenkins. Should I be targeting one of them instead and letting my RB situation stand pat? ( Of course, in theory, I could use an abundance of RBs to trade for a WR).

I am figurung with Merriman out, SD won't be the same, but is Baltimore good enough to carry me this year, or should and wait and see how each DST plays ?

Olsen responds: First of all let me just say this is a great question.

We'll start with the defense and I'm going to tell you right now that I have much more confidence in the San Diego unit overall than I do in Baltimore's.

Losing Shawn Merriman is going to have an effect on this team, but not as much as people think. His replacement, Jyles Tucker, was good enough in preseason that the Chargers brass locked him up to a semi-long term deal before he even started a game.

Another factor to take into account is the offenses of both teams. The Ravens offense is going to be suspect all season long. You've got a rookie quarterback, a muddled running back situation, aging wide receivers and a tight end that rarely finds his way out of the trainers room.

The Chargers have one of, if not the best running back in the game, a solid quarterback, a pair of competent receivers and a top five tight end.

A good offense makes the job of a defense that much easier and I think the Chargers are the better long term prospect.

So in answer to the overall question, you could drop the Baltimore defense if you wanted to pick up Fargas. For everyone that anticipated McFadden getting the majority of the carries out the gate, the first game most certainly proved that notion to be incorrect.

But then again, looking at your wide receivers it becomes apparent that this is your position most in need because of bye weeks.

Johnson 4
Marshall 8
Holt 5
Cotchery 5

Come week 5 when Holt and Cotchery are out, you'll be short one wide receiver. Devery Henderson isn't a bad pickup considering Colston is going to be out for 4-6 weeks.

That's where I'd go if you were going pick someone up. Fargas is nice, but you need to plan for the future as opposed to thinking of the benefits in the present.

Good luck this weekend.

Apparently Balt. vs. Hou. game is canceled. What underrated team defense is out there for me to pick up? Balt. D would have been perfect for me this week. I HATE YOU HURRICANE IKE!
- The Krasian

I am really split on my RB positions this week

my current choices are

Marion Barber
Maurice Jones-Drew
Matt Forte
Chris Johnson

Im pretty positive I will start Barber... but the other slot i am completely undecided on... some help would be nice :)

p.s. should I start Eddie Royal or L.Coles?

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About the bloggers

Matt Wood is a web editor for and editor of He is also a contributor for satirical sports publication The Heckler. Have a fantasy question? E-mail him.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Olsen published on September 12, 2008 3:30 PM.

Injuries to monitor through the weekend was the previous entry in this blog.

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