Fabiano's Fantasy Mailbag  

 

Richardson's fantasy football value now in question

With reports that Trent Richardson is having a second knee scope, where would you draft him and who is his backup? - @DLS_24 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: This is bad news for the rookie, who I absolutely loved heading into his rookie campaign before hearing the news of his second procedure. Does this mean I'm doing a complete 180-degree turn on the former Alabama star? No, but I wouldn't draft him until at least the third round in seasonal leagues. What's more, I have dropped him to No. 11 overall among running backs behind DeMarco Murray and Jamaal Charles. Unless we hear that this operation is more than just a simple scope, I don't think there's reason for panic in the fantasy football streets. At this point, consider him a No. 2 fantasy runner and continue to monitor NFL.com for updates. If you do decide to draft Richardson, it's also a good idea to land his handcuff, Montario Hardesty, in the late rounds.

What are your thoughts on Adrian Peterson? Is he worth a first-round fantasy pick? - N. Callahan (via Facebook)

M.F.: Due to the trend of running backs struggling in their first year back from major knee reconstruction, there is no chance I would take Peterson in the first round. In fact, I would have a tough time taking him until the third round at best. While he has been running, Peterson remains on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list and has still not been cleared to practice. I might move him into Round 2 if he shows some flashes of his old self during preseason contests, but until then I'm erring on the side of caution.

I'm finding it very difficult to draft Julio Jones ahead of Wes Welker and A.J. Green. Is he really worth the second-round price tag? - @TParrick (via Twitter)

M.F.: I know it's tough, but take this into consideration: Since 2009, no wide receiver has finished in the top five in fantasy points at the position in back to back seasons. Not even Calvin Johnson. So of the top five wideouts from 2011 (Megatron, Jordy Nelson, Welker, Victor Cruz, Larry Fitzgerald), there is a good chance more than half of them won't be there in 2012. Ironically, Jones and Green are two of the receivers I think can reach that level. So while Welker is going to have more value in leagues that reward points for receptions, I wouldn't be bashful about drafting either Jones or Green ahead of Welker in a standard format.

What do you think about Terrell Owens? Would you draft him ahead of Chad Johnson and Randy Moss? - J. Walton (via Facebook)

M.F.: If you haven't heard, the 38-year-old wide receiver has agreed to terms with the Seattle Seahawks and is already lining up at flanker in practice. That's Sidney Rice's spot in the offensive formation (I'm guessing he's still not 100 percent coming off shoulder surgeries). Owens, who has not played a down in the NFL since 2010, reportedly ran a sub-4.5 second 40-yard dash in his Monday tryout. Pretty good for an "old man." Does that mean he’ll be a fantasy superstar once again? Not a chance, not at his age. But much like Moss with the San Francisco 49ers, I would kick the tires on T.O. somewhere in the late rounds as a No. 4 or 5 fantasy wideout. I'd prefer Owens ahead of Moss and Johnson in drafts.

Will Tim Tebow be eligible to serve in a flex position this season? - @KobetheBoat (via Twitter)

M.F.: That all depends on the rules of your league. If you're playing in a standard NFL-managed league, the flex options are running back or wide receiver only. But for those fantasy owners in custom leagues, your commissioner can go to the "Manage" tab, hit "Edit Roster Positions" and create a flex position that includes a quarterback option. Just be aware, though, that adding such a rule is going to mean a huge run on signal-callers because of the nature of the position.

I'm wondering about the Lions backfield. Are any of Jahvid Best, Mikel Leshoure or Kevin Smith worth picking in a 12-team league at this point? - J. Arnold (via Facebook)

M.F.: I think all three are draftable, but I wouldn't want to lean on any of them as more than potential flex options (at best) or fantasy reserves. Best, who missed 10 games last season due to a concussion suffered in October, still hasn't been cleared to practice (and it's already August). That is a cause for concern. Leshoure, who missed the entire 2011 season with an injured achilles, has dealt with a mild hamstring ailment in training camp and will miss the first two games of the year due to a league-imposed suspension. That leaves Smith, who has looked strong in camp, as the favorite to be the Week 1 starter for coach Jim Schwartz. With that said, a potential three-headed backfield monster looms once Best is cleared and Leshoure is back from his suspension. Wrap it all up and you have a situation that could be a significant headache for fantasy owners.

Is Matt Forte worth a top-seven overall pick in fantasy leagues this season? - @KramericaSports (via Twitter)

M.F.: I don't see him as a top-seven overall option in most leagues, especially not with Michael Bush in line to see short-yardage and goal-line work. That doesn't mean he's not a No. 1 fantasy runner (I have him ranked seventh), because Forte is still going to compile great reception and yardage totals in the offense of new coordinator Mike Tice. It's just that loss of touchdown opportunities in the red zone that keeps him from being considered closer to the top five at his position.

Darren McFadden is a fantasy football superstar when healthy, but he always seems to get hurt. Still, would you draft him ahead of Maurice Jones-Drew (holdout) or Charles (knee)? - M. Johnson (via Facebook)

M.F.: Jones-Drew was one of the top runners in fantasyland last season, but this camp holdout has me worried. Look at what happened to Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson and Larry Johnson, three prominent fantasy backs who have all held out in the past. CJ2K had his worst statistical campaign in 2011, while Jackson (2008) and Johnson (2007) missed a combined 12 games in their holdout seasons due to injuries. While I like Charles more than the other "ACL backs," he's still a bit of a risk coming off such a major operation. Furthermore, he's going to lose short-yardage and goal-line carries to Peyton Hillis. At this point I would definitely draft McFadden first from this trio. Yes, he missed nine games last season with an injured foot. And yes, he has never played in more than 13 games in a single NFL season. But his potential on the field is enormous, especially with Bush in Chicago and no one in the backfield to steal goal-line work.

Which running back would you rather have this season: Ahmad Bradshaw or Reggie Bush? - @Djjoe13 (via Twitter)


Enjoy three days of fantasy football events in New York City, including live tapings of "NFL Fantasy LIVE."

M.F.: I'm going with Bradshaw ahead of Bush, but I see both players as legitimate No. 2 fantasy running backs. The reason I like the latter is due in large part to the departure of former goal-line runner Brandon Jacobs. As I mentioned in my 32 stats column, Bradshaw scored 11 touchdowns last season despite the fact that he missed four games. Jacobs scored seven touchdowns, all of which came from 10 yards or closer (four came from 1-yard out). With Jacobs now a member of the 49ers, Bradshaw should see more work inside the red zone and could push his 2011 touchdown total. Another reason I like Bradshaw over Bush is this little nugget: Last year in Green Bay, Joe Philbin's offense didn't produce a single 100-yard rusher. Philbin is now, of course, the head coach in Miami.

I pick No. 7 overall in a 10-team league with a standard scoring system. I plan to take a running back in the first round. In Round 2, I should have my choice of either Matt Stafford or Cam Newton at quarterback, Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson at wide receiver or Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham at tight end. Who shoulld I take? - M. Brown (via Facebook)

M.F.: You know your league better than I do, but are those players all going to be available with the No. 14 overall pick? I find that hard to believe. If that scenario does in fact come to fruition, I would take Stafford. In the event that he's already off the board, I'd go with Newton. Among the receivers, I would select (in order): Fitzgerald, Gronkowski, Graham and Johnson.

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

Fan Discussion

NFL News
CONTENT
15