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Fantasy football knows no such thing as garbage time.

That helps explain how quarterbacks like Matt Cassel of Kansas City and Ryan Fitzpatrick of Buffalo have either outscored or matched the production of superstars like New England's Tom Brady and Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers through the first two weeks of the season.

Cassel is tied for eighth in fantasy points in standard ESPN leagues, while Fitzpatrick is tied for 15th - with Brady.

Struggles from high draft picks have been a big source of frustration for owners this year. So what should you do with those underperforming stars on your roster?

Here are a few suggestions:

. Rodgers: To be fair, he hasn't been bad; he just hasn't lived up to his draft status. That should change over the next three weeks, though. Rodgers visits the Seahawks on Sunday - he's 2-0 against Seattle with 445 yards and three touchdowns in his career - then gets New Orleans and Indianapolis on the schedule. Hold tight on Rodgers; he'll start putting up elite stats soon.

.Brady: New England visits Baltimore on Sunday night. The Ravens rank just 26th against the pass in the first two weeks, though, so the matchup isn't as difficult as it might sound. Then in Week Four, the Pats come to Western New York. Last season's game here notwithstanding, Brady has owned the Bills. Even with tight end Aaron Hernandez out the next few weeks, Brady is another player you can't trade. He'll come around.

. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver: Monday night was an alarmingly poor performance. I don't like Manning's schedule over the next month, either. He's got the best defense in the NFL on Sunday in the Texans, then a breather with Oakland at home before he crisscrosses the country with road games at New England and San Diego the next two weeks. Manning still carries the name recognition that can bring solid value in a trade. Put him on the block if you've got a capable backup.

. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee: Sell, sell, sell. Johnson has almost as many carries (19) this year as he does rushing yards (21). He's playing behind a poor offensive line and the schedule (Detroit, at Houston, at Minnesota) doesn't do him any favors in the short term. Take what you can get for Johnson, because a turnaround doesn't look to be in his future.

. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City: The good news is the setback in his left knee that was operated on for a torn ACL last season doesn't sound too bad. Charles practiced fully Wednesday after rushing just six times for 3 yards against the Bills in Week Two. The bad news is he'll still have to share carries with Peyton Hillis. Charles is worth hanging on to, though, and gets a great matchup this week with New Orleans, which has allowed the second-most points to opposing running backs.

. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis: He's yet to crack 60 yards in a game or find the end zone, and his status is questionable this week against the Bears. If you're deep at running back, Jackson's not untouchable.

. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona: One catch for 4 yards. That was Fitzgerald's production in Week Two. Five catches for 67 yards. That's it for the season. Great as he is, Fitzgerald can't throw the ball to himself in Arizona. He has just two touchdown catches in his last 10 games with quarterback Kevin Kolb. It's a shame such a talented player is saddled with such a bad quarterback situation, but there are no signs things will get better soon. You can't overlook the fact he's not in the top 70 in wide receiver scoring.

. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston: Johnson ranks 59th in red zone targets this season. The problem is the Texans run the all so well that sometimes they don't need to throw it. But unlike Fitzgerald, Johnson has a quarterback he can believe in. He's got a couple of tough cornerback matchups in the coming weeks (Champ Bailey and Denver this Sunday, Darrelle Revis and the Jets in Week Five), so Johnson shouldn't be counted on for No. 1 receiver numbers, but you shouldn't actively seek to trade him, either.

. Wes Welker, WR, New England: Bill Belichick has made his point by severely limiting Welker's playing time in the first couple of weeks. Welker is still one of New England's best weapons, though, and should get more involved in the coming weeks with Hernandez out of the lineup.

Analyzing the Bills

Start C.J. Spiller is the easiest fantasy advice there is right now. Given the Browns' secondary issues, I'd also recommend playing Stevie Johnson and Scott Chandler this week.

As for Fitz, he does have five touchdown passes this year. There are better quarterback options, though.

On the Cleveland side, the only must-start is running back Trent Richardson. Receiver Mohamed Massaquoi hasn't had great success against the Bills, with just four catches for 59 yards in two career games. Buffalo, though, has given up five touchdowns to opposing receivers this year, and the third-most fantasy points. That makes Massaquoi a decent flex option.



email: jskurski@buffnews.com