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Manning's stock on the rise; Sanchez, Tebow take a hit


Who said there's an offseason in the NFL? From Peyton Manning to Tim Tebow and the Saints' bounty scandal, the NFL has continued to be at the forefront in the world of sports.

All of this news, in addition to the number of major free-agent transactions and trades that have run rampant, has made for a lot of changes in player fantasy values. Some moves, like the one that sent Manning to Denver, had a domino effect that has altered the stock of several players. In an effort to get you up to date on all the news, here's our look at who's stock has risen and fallen as we inch closer and closer to April's draft. Let's start off with the quarterbacks.


Peyton Manning, Broncos: The fact that Manning is back on the fantasy radar is enough to make him a winner. The veteran superstar does come with some risk at 36 years old and coming off multiple neck surgeries, but he'll have every chance to find statistical success. Incumbent starters Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker can make plays and will see a major increase in draft value. The Broncos have also added Jacob Tamme, who was a PPR star two seasons ago while catching passes from Manning in Indianapolis.

Jay Cutler, Bears: The Bears still need to improve their offensive line, but adding Marshall to the pass attack is good news for Cutler. Remember, the two made some great fantasy music together during their time in Denver. In fact, Cutler's best statistical seasons came with Marshall as his favorite target. With that said, keep in mind that Cutler's pass attempts have declined sharply since his final year with the Broncos. So while his value does rise with Marshall in the mix, he's still not a true No. 1 option.

Josh Freeman, Buccaneers: I'm on record as saying that Vincent Jackson is going to be a fantasy disappointment in Tampa Bay, at least if you're expecting him to put up No. 1 wideout totals. However, his addition to a pass attack that also includes Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and Kellen Winslow will do nothing but help Freeman's fantasy outlook. It also doesn't hurt that the team improved its offensive line with guard Carl Nicks. I still don't see Freeman as a No. 1 quarterback, but he could be a solid No. 2.

Alex Smith, 49ers: Smith, who finished a mere 21.36 fantasy points behind Michael Vick last season, could be in line for his best statistical season. The Niners didn't land Manning, so Smith will retain the top spot on the depth chart. Also, the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham gives him the best options he has ever had in the pass attack. That's not to suggest he'll emerge into a No. 1 fantasy quarterback, but Smith could become a nice No. 2 option and matchup-based starter.

Matt Hasselbeck/Jake Locker, Titans: Much like Smith, the value of Hasselbeck and Locker were helped by the fact that their team was unsuccessful in winning the Manning sweepstakes. That means an imminent camp battle between the two quarterbacks will occur this summer. If Hasselbeck takes the top spot, he'll be a No. 2 fantasy option. Should Locker win the prominent role, the second-year signal-caller will become a nice sleeper in an offense with Chris Johnson, Kenny Britt and Jared Cook.


Mark Sanchez/Tim Tebow, N.Y. Jets: The addition of Tebow might be a good football move for the Jets, but it's awful from a fantasy perspective. Coach Rex Ryan has stated that Tebow could see 20 snaps a game, which puts a huge dent into Sanchez's opportunities. On the flip side, no one can use Tebow in fantasy while he's second on New York's depth chart. So what you have here is two players that will cancel each other in fantasy land. I wouldn't draft either in a prominent  role.

Matt Flynn, Seahawks: On the surface, Flynn's value will rise simply because he's going from a backup role in Green Bay to a starting role in Seattle. With that said, he's going to find it difficult to put up huge numbers in more of a run-based offense. It's also not going to help that he's throwing the football to Sidney Rice, Doug Baldwin and Golden Tate instead of Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, James Jones and Donald Driver. Consider Flynn a No. 2 fantasy option in drafts.

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Andrew Luck, Stanford: I can't list Luck as a member of the Colts yet, but he's going to be the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft. With that said, I'm not sure who he's going to throw the football to as a rookie. Reggie Wayne is a little long in the tooth, Austin Collie is injury prone, Pierre Garcon is in Washington, Tamme is in Denver and Dallas Clark has been released. The Colts also lost center Jeff Saturday, meaning the offensive line could be compromised. Luck is still draftable in all leagues, but he's a late rounder.

Sam Bradford, Rams: Who can name the top three wide receivers on the Rams' depth chart? With Brandon Lloyd in New England, we're looking at Danario Alexander, Brandon Gibson and Danny Amendola. The team also has Austin Pettis, Greg Salas and veteran Steve Smith, but none of them are going to entice fantasy leaguers. That's bad news for Bradford. Of course, the addition of Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon would make him a bit more attractive. However, he'd still be no more than a low-end No. 2 option.

Matt Moore, Dolphins: Moore was underrated in fantasy land down the stretch of 2011, scoring 14-plus points in three of the last four weeks of the fantasy season. While the Dolphins did lose out on Manning, the addition of David Garrard means a quarterback battle is imminent. What's more, the eventual starter will be left with Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and Clyde Gates as his top wide receivers. Even if Moore wins the top spot, he'll be barely draftable in most leagues.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!


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