How does Kenny Britt's most recent arrest affect his fantasy value? - @mariah10412 (via Twitter)
Michael Fabiano: Remember when Luke Skywalker blew up the Death Star in "Star Wars: A New Hope"? He didn't completely destroy the space station, but he sure did come close. This latest arrest for Britt was the fantasy football equivalent -- his value hasn't been dealt an Alderaan-ian blow, but it has taken a hit. (On a Star Wars kick today -- apologies!) When you consider that he's been arrested eight times since 2009, I'd say his chances of not being suspended by the NFL are slim to none (he might have been suspended already had his previous three off-field incidents not happened during the lockout). It's anyone's guess how many games he'll get, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's very significant. With that said, I have dropped Britt to No. 38 among wide receivers with the expectation that a suspension is imminent. Until we find out his fate, Britt isn't worth more than a middle- to late-round choice.
Is Frank Gore worth picking in the first two rounds of a 12-team PPR league? - K. Murphy (via Facebook)
M.F.: I don't think Gore is worth taking in the first four rounds, let alone the first two. At 29 and coming off one of the heaviest workloads of his career (regular season and postseason), he's no lock to finish in the top 15 in fantasy points at his position. With rookie LaMichael James, Brandon Jacobs, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon all in the mix, Gore is almost guaranteed to see his touches decrease this year. In fact, the Sacramento Bee reports that "it's clear that Frank Gore won't have the workload he's had since becoming the featured running back in 2006." I see the former Miami Hurricane as a No. 2 fantasy football runner, but his time as one of the elite players at his position is over. Gore's current ADP (average draft position) of Round 5 on NFL.com proves that point.
What's your take on Mark Ingram? Is he worth a bench spot in fantasy football? - @nmartinez2021 (via Twitter)
M.F.: I couldn't have been more wrong about Ingram as a rookie, as I thought he would be the top first-year back in fantasy football. Instead, he finished 45th while missing six games due to injuries. The Alabama product would have hit the mark I predicted had he played a full year (based on projections from his 10 games), but the fact of the matter is that he's now somewhat of a risk in 2012. Darren Sproles emerged as quite the explosive option in the offense last season, so Ingram isn't going to emerge into a featured option. What's more, he's coming off both toe and knee injuries. I'd grab Ingram in the middle rounds as a potential flex starter with some upside, but I wouldn't expect a breakout season.
What do you think about Fred Jackson this season? - N. Kitchens (via Facebook)
M.F.: I think Jackson could turn into a nice draft value. Everyone is talking about C.J. Spiller, but people forget that Jackson was one of the five best running backs in fantasy football before suffering a leg injury (an injury that did not require surgery). In the first 10 games of 2011, Jackson averaged over 20 touches per game and was on pace for over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Spiller averaged fewer than four touches in those same contests. Will the gap close on those totals in 2012? I think so, but I still believe Jackson is the better option for fantasy football owners. He's a fifth rounder based on NFL.com's ADP heading into August.
M.F.: Much of this decision should be based on your league's scoring system, but I'd go with Drew Brees (all things being equal). Despite the absence of coach Sean Payton for the entire season, I don't see any sort of major decline in Brees' production. He's like a coach on the football field, and that offense isn't going to throw the football any less in 2012. Adam Rank went with Calvin Johnson at No. 6 overall in the recent NFL.com mock draft, and that's a fine pick considering the totals Megatron recorded last season. However, I just can't get myself to take a wide receiver at that point in a fantasy football draft (unless it's a PPR league).
Why all the hate on DeSean Jackson? I think he's ready to have his best fantasy season! - P. Lind (via Facebook)
M.F.: Jackson is clearly a talented football player, but have you looked at his recent numbers? Over the last two years, he's recorded a combined 105 catches in what is an explosive Eagles offense. Wes Welker had 104 in his first 14 games of 2011 alone! Jackson's yardage and touchdowns totals have also declined in each of the last three years. When you also consider how inconsistent he has been since 2010, I just can't in good conscience promote him as more than a No. 3 fantasy football wideout. In fact, I would much rather have his teammate, Jeremy Maclin, who I think is going to have a terrific season in 2012.
M.F.: I was a huge fan of Rudolph in the offseason, at least until the Vikings signed another pass-catching tight end in John Carlson. With his fellow Notre Dame Golden Domer in the mix, Rudolph went from a surefire sleeper to more of a deep sleeper in most leagues. With that said, I'll side with Cook. In the final weeks of the last two seasons, he's shown the skills to develop into a No. 1 fantasy tight end. If he can do a better job of sustaining a prominent role throughout the entire schedule, Cook could become a nice draft bargain. He's also in a contract year, which could serve as some motivation.
What are your thoughts on news of Tim Hightower being the starting running back in Washington? - L. Bernard (via Facebook)
M.F.: One word: Shanahanigans! Even if Hightower does earn the starting role, keep in mind that he's one of several running backs coming off major knee reconstruction. That almost guarantees a decline in production. I still think Roy Helu is the Redskins runner to grab in fantasy football drafts, if you are forced to choose one. But if we learned anything from the Washington backfield last season, it's that predicting what Shanahan will do with his running game is like trying to predict the ending in "The Sixth Sense" before seeing it the first time. If you do grab Helu, it shouldn't be as more than a flex starter. As for Hightower, I'd limit his value to the late rounds.
With all of his new weapons, do you think Alex Smith can develop into a top-five fantasy quarterback? - @richkajkells (via Twitter)
M.F.: Not a chance. Smith is coming off the best statistical season of his career, and he still finished just 14th in fantasy points among quarterbacks. And that was with no Peyton Manning, Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck to compete with at the position. Oh, and both Matt Schaub and Jay Cutler missed significant time due to injuries. The fact that the Niners now have a nice core of receivers in Vernon Davis, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and Randy Moss should help bolster Smith's stock. He might even improve on his yardage and touchdown totals from a year ago, making him a viable No. 2 fantasy quarterback or matchup-based starter. But I can't see Smith in the top five. Top 15, maybe.
If you had to guess, what week will Tim Tebow take over for Mark Sanchez in New York? - M. Polaco (via Facebook)
M.F.: No faith in Sanchez, huh? The popular sentiment is that at some point, Tebow is going to take over the starting job -- and I don't disagree. I just don't think it's going to be soon enough for fantasy owners to draft and stash Tebow. The Jets made a substantial financial commitment to Sanchez in the offseason, so I don't see coach Rex Ryan giving him the hook until close to midseason (if it happens at all). The fantasy football world disagrees with me, though, as Tebow (145.56) has a higher ADP than Sanchez (148.85) right now. In terms of drafts, I wouldn't take Sanchez with more than a late-round flier. And as much as I was on the Tebow bandwagon a year ago, I wouldn't draft him in a standard 10-team league.