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Peyton Manning's future has big fantasy impact


If Steven Jackson does in fact retire, would Daryl Richardson become a No. 2 fantasy running back next season? - @gary034 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: In the event that Richardson does become the main man in the Rams backfield for coach Jeff Fisher, he would have sleeper written all over him for 2013. With that said, I'd prefer him as more of a flex option than a No. 2 back in drafts. That doesn't mean he can't emerge into a more valuable fantasy option as the season progresses, but there's a lot of depth at the position for next season.

I'm in a keeper league and need to retain one of A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Demaryius Thomas. What should I do? - K. Fuller (via Facebook)

M.F.: That is one heck of a list of keeper wide receivers! It's a tough call to be certain, but I would retain Green ahead of Jones and Thomas. He's the main offensive weapon for the Cincinnati Bengals, and at the age of 24 there's no limit on his statistical upside. The same can be said of Jones, 23, but he's also going to lose opportunities to Roddy White for at least the next few years. As for Thomas, his value is at least partially linked to Peyton Manning. He was a good fantasy wideout before Manning, but the presence of the future Hall of Famer has made Thomas a spectacular receiver in the stat sheets. Once Manning moves on from football, Thomas could lose some of his luster.

I know it's still very early for this sort of thing, but is there a sleeper you already like for next season? - @ReenzPeed (via Twitter)

M.F.: One name that comes to mind is Lamar Miller. There have been some reports that the Miami Dolphins are unlikely to bring back free agent Reggie Bush, so Miller could be allowed a chance to earn the top spot on the depth chart. In fact, a report in the Miami Herald suggests the team "would be fine" using Miller as their top runner. He would lose some short-yardage and goal-line work to Daniel Thomas, but the talented Miller could be the running back for fantasy leaguers to target in 2013 drafts.

What sort of value will Peyton Manning have next season? He is going to be 37 years old, so I'm wondering if the end is coming for him. - B. Elliott (via Facebook)

M.F.: We talked about this topic on the NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast, which you can check out here. Honestly, you have to have at least a little concern about Manning because of his advanced age. Sure, he's coming off a monster season and has re-established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy football. But take a look at the numbers when it comes to signal-callers in their late 30s. Just one player (Rich Gannon, 2002) over the age of 35 has finished in the top 25 all-time in terms of single-season passing yards. Furthermore, just three quarterbacks over 35 (Gannon, Manning, Kurt Warner) rank in the top 50 all-time in terms of single-season passing yards. In the category of passing touchdowns, Manning is the lone field general over 35 years of age to throw for over 35 scores in a season. So, do I think Manning is going to experience a drastic decline in fantasy production in 2013? I don't, but I do think the likes of Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson are on that same tier as Manning at the position.

It looks like Greg Jennings is not going to be a member of the Green Bay Packers next season, so which of Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jordy Nelson would you draft first in 2013? - @karmaleddine8 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I'm going with the upside here, so Cobb would be my top choice. Not only did he show flashes of major playmaking ability in 2012, but Cobb is also entering his third NFL season - that's when countless other wideouts throughout the history of the NFL have posted their first monster season in the stat sheets. The Kentucky product is also versatile, much like Percy Harvin, and can get fantasy leaguers 100-150 rushing yards per season as well. Right now, I have Cobb ranked as a high-end No. 2 fantasy receiver. Nelson, who couldn't stay of out the trainer's room last season, is also a No. 2 but with less upside. As for Jones, I don't see him scoring another 14 touchdowns even without Jennings in the mix. Consider him a No. 3 or 4 option.

Which running back would you rather have next season: Jamaal Charles or Doug Martin? - M. Musumeci (via Facebook)

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M.F.: I'm going with Charles, but it's close. The explosive Texas product rushed for over 1,500 yards in 2012 and now has one full NFL season under his belt after a major knee reconstruction. He should also see more opportunities as a receiver out of the backfield under new coach Andy Reid, so an increase in the 236 receiving yards he recorded last season is a virtual guarantee. This is not to suggest that Martin will be a complete bust as an NFL sophomore, but you have to expect him to see at least a slight decline in the 262.60 fantasy points he compiled as a rookie. Regardless, both of these runners will be surefire first-round picks in most 2013 drafts.

I'm in a league that rewards six points for touchdown passes and need to retain one player from Aaron Rodgers, Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Trent Richardson. Help! - @therealFernyC (via Twitter)

M.F.: You have four terrific keeper options, but I'm not sure you can pass on retaining Rodgers based on the fact that quarterbacks receive six points for all touchdowns. In 2012, the Packers superstar was one of just three players (Cam Newton, Drew Brees) to score over 400 fantasy points in leagues with this sort of scoring system. With that being said, you should be using your first several picks in the re-draft on running backs and wide receivers. If you have a good draft position, I think you could re-acquire one of Forte, McCoy or Richardson in the first round.

I need to retain four players from Marques Colston, Victor Cruz, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. Also, which two running backs would you retain from Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Darren Sproles and Richardson? - A. Christoforidis (via Facebook)

M.F.: The wide receivers to retain are Cruz, Johnson, Johnson and Thomas. Colston is a solid wideout in a productive offense in New Orleans, but I still like Cruz a bit more at the position in the long term. At running back, Richardson and CJ2K are the players to retain. Richardson is a no-brainer in this scenario, while Johnson is a more valuable asset than either McFadden or Sproles in a standard fantasy league.

I'm in a keeper league and need to retain two players from Brees, Russell Wilson, Alfred Morris and C.J. Spiller. Thoughts? - @BrentCDuncan (via Twitter)

M.F.: Brees has been one of the two most consistent players in fantasy football over the last five years, so I'd have a hard time releasing him back into the pool of available players - especially if a lot of the other owners in your league also decide to retain a quarterback. The decision between Spiller and Morris is a tough one, but I'm going with the former. The Buffalo Bills will run the football often under new coach Doug Marrone, and Spiller's explosive playmaking ability makes him a potential monster in fantasy leagues. At 25, the Clemson product still has several more big statistical seasons ahead of him.

What do you think Eric Decker will do next? - S. Desmoulin (via Facebook)

M.F.: The turnaround at the wide receiver position (among the top 10) has been drastic in recent seasons, so I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Decker's fantasy point total decreases at least somewhat in 2013. Let's be honest - is Decker a good bet to score another 13 touchdowns? I'm not so sure about that, which is part of the reason I prefer him as a high-end No. 2 fantasy wideout as opposed to the No. 1 status he earned last season. I would expect him to come off the board somewhere in the fourth round.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!


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