Fantasy Fodder: Orton, Peterson and much more

The timing is a little peculiar, but the Denver Broncos said adieu to former starting quarterback Kyle Orton on Tuesday. He had a good fantasy run under Josh McDaniels, but turnovers did him in with new coach John Fox.

Where will Orton wind up? We will find out in the next few days. But Houston and Chicago lost their starting quarterbacks to injury, as did Kansas City, which isn't in the playoff hunt. Teams with worse records than the Texans and Bears get first dibs, but if the bottom-feeders pass, those two teams are intriguing destinations.

The best option for Orton would be Houston, which has the league's top-rated defense, a stud back in Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson, who is expected to return to the field, too. Matt Leinart is the man at the moment, and the value of Foster and Johnson will suffer slightly. Playing with Orton would help there.

As for the Bears, the presence of Orton would buoy the value of Matt Forte. Teams will stack the box with Caleb Hanie under center. It's tough to guess which receivers Orton would click with.

So how should you proceed right now? If you need a starting quarterback, you might want to consider rolling the dice on the waiver wire. And if you need a good backup, wait and see if he clears fantasy waivers in your league. If Orton lands in Houston, you might hit the jackpot for the fantasy postseason.

Adrian Peterson's achy ankle: Peterson is out for at least this weekend with a high-ankle sprain, an injury that is threatening to wreck the season for many owners. I guess if you're desperate to find a fill-in, Toby Gerhart would have to work, but I'm not touching anyone on Minnesota's offense right now. It's a fantasy wasteland.

Other injuries at running back: Fred Jackson has an injured calf, which means C.J. Spiller would start for him. Spiller is worth a flyer (maybe not this week against the Jets) because of Jackson's uncertain contract status. The Bills might give Spiller to a chance to prove himself. Kevin Smith had a huge game for the Lions, and with Jahvid Best still sidelined, Smith is definitely worth a waiver claim. Finally, I'd stay away from Packers back Ryan Grant.

Fantasy penthouse: Matt Stafford threw for 335 yards and five TDs. Kevin Smith came out of nowhere to rack up 201 total yards and three touchdowns. Jordy Nelson had 123 receiving yards and two scores. Rob Gronkowski did his thing (by the way, Calvin Johnson is the only wideout with more fantasy points than him in 2011).

Fantasy doghouse: Ryan Fitzpatrick threw two picks and zero touchdowns. Ryan Mathews had 37 yards on 13 carries and lost a fumble. Greg Jennings had six receiving yards in Green Bay's high-scoring win. Seattle's Zach Miller had one catch for 10 yards.

The wire: 1. I already talked about Kevin Smith and C.J. Spiller, but Smith is the guy you want, especially if you need more wins to get into the playoffs. That being said, if you have a roster spot to burn, you might want to pick up Best. … 2. Jerome Simpson had 152 receiving yards against the Ravens and is worth a play if A.J. Green misses another game. … 3. Torrey Smith is still too streaky for my liking, but he is worth a roster spot for sure. … 4. I'd rather have Miami's Matt Moore than Houston's Matt Leinart. … 5. Santana Moss should return to the field for the Redskins soon.

Five guys I really like this week: 1. Matt Ryan will be good for at least two TDs against Minnesota. … 2. Frank Gore is still worth a start against the Ravens … 3. If Shonn Greene plays, and it sounds like he will, he should top 100 yards against the Bills. … 4. I think Vernon Davis will have a big homecoming game Thursday. … 5. Cam Newton threw four picks last weekend and still scored 24 fantasy points. He should run all over the Colts.

Extra point: It was a slow trade deadline for me (I pretty much exclusively use Yahoo for my leagues, and its deadline was last week). I did swing one deal, though. In a league in which I have Jordy Nelson, Hakeem Nicks and Vincent Jackson, I swapped Roddy White for Andre Johnson. I've grown tired of White not getting into the end zone, and I'm optimistic Johnson will be healthy and stud-like by Week 14. Your thoughts on the deal?

Matt Vensel is a reporter for The Baltimore Sun who uses this column to tinker with his fantasy football team on the clock. Send your questions and comments to or @mattvensel on Twitter.