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Updated: November 30, 2011 12:18AM



Either there’s been a glitch in the matrix, or the fantasy landscape is undergoing a fairly dramatic shift before our very eyes.

Along with the usual suspects from the Patriots, Packers, Saints and Eagles, the upper echelons of the 2011 fantasy ranks are being invaded by “imposters” from the Bills, Lions and (gasp!) Panthers.

I mean, what kind of world are we living in where Cam Newton trails only Tom Brady among fantasy passers? Don’t Ryan Fitzpatrick and Fred Jackson understand their place in the NFL hierarchy? Didn’t Steve Smith retire two years ago?

As for the emerging stars from Motown, how much can we really trust them? After all, Matthew Stafford started just 13 games in his first two seasons. Jahvid Best flamed out three weeks into his rookie season thanks to a nagging turf toe injury. Calvin Johnson, one of the best wideouts in the game, is a virtual fixture on the weekly injury reports.

For now, the best approach is to ride the hot hands while you can. Each of the aforementioned interlopers has climbed into the rarefied air of the every-week starters, which is as refreshing as it is shocking. With all the injuries to key players incurred over the first two weeks, the new blood is arriving just in time.

To win a fantasy championship, it helps to start with a great draft. But filling in your roster throughout the season with the right free agents is also important. Here’s a look at players worth considering and others who would look better in someone else’s lineup.

Click our gallery of 5 TO GRAB, 5 TO AVOID.



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