Fantasy Mailbag  


Adrian Peterson helped by Norv Turner's arrival


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Does Adrian Peterson have a chance to catch more passes under Norv Turner? -- @28Rock (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: No doubt about it. Turner has already said that he wants to spread the field for Peterson and get him the football in space, and part of making that happen is to get him more involved as a pass catcher. A.D. has shown that he can be a strong receiver out of the backfield in the past, as he put up a career-best 43 catches in 2009. With that said, fantasy owners also need to keep in mind that Peterson will turn 29 this year and has endured three surgeries in the last three seasons. He's going to be a top-three overall pick in most drafts, regardless.

What are your thoughts on Johnny Manziel? Will he fill up the stat sheets? -- @Amberf0x (via Twitter)

M.F.: When I see a quarterback who can run with the football, that's enough to get my attention. Manziel fits that mold, as he rushed for over 2,100 yards in his two collegiate seasons at Texas A&M. We have also seen rookie quarterbacks come right in and make an instant impact more often in recent years, so Manziel will be a virtual lock to be picked in the late rounds of re-drafts. Think of it like this -- why would you pick a signal-caller with no upside like Joe Flacco or Eli Manning when you can get someone like Manziel as a No. 2 fantasy option? Remember, upside is vital to building a championship team.

Who would be your top five overall picks right now? -- @DarjanJ (via Twitter)

M.F.: My top five players for 2014 are (no shock) all running backs. Jamaal Charles comes in first, followed by LeSean McCoy, Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Matt Forte. It's only February, though, so I do reserve the right to shuffle those five backs between now and the preseason. One thing is for sure -- I will continue to utilize the wait-on-a-quarterback approach in drafts due to the depth at the position, so the focus of the earlier rounds will once again be running backs and wide receivers.

How will new Texans coach Bill O'Brien affect the value of Arian Foster? -- @GilesGman (via Twitter)

M.F.: O'Brien is considered one of the most talented offensive minds around, so I wouldn't be a bit shocked to see the Texans put more than their share of points on the board. With that said, he does value the pass attack more than the run. The last time he called plays at the NFL level was with the New England Patriots in 2011, and that offense ranked third in pass attempts and 18th in rush attempts. O'Brien also led a very pass-laden offensive attack at Penn State, as quarterback Christian Hackenberg averaged close to 33 pass attempts per game in 2013. What does that mean for Foster? Well, a dip in rushing attempts should be expected -- but Foster will be in a position to catch 50-plus passes out of the backfield. Barring setbacks in his return from a procedure on his back, I project Foster to come off the board in the second round as a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy runner.

Is David Wilson still worth holding onto in keeper leagues, or is his career over? -- @mlock77 (via Twitter)

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M.F.: We can't go so far as to suggest Wilson's career is over, but his status for the 2014 season is in serious question. He underwent neck surgery in mid-January, and New York Giants GM Jerry Reese has already suggested that the team doesn't expect to have Wilson back for a full campaign. That makes Wilson no more than a dynasty-league hold in fantasy land. He isn't likely to be picked in most re-drafts, and you would have to be in a deep keeper league with five-plus keepers to even consider retaining him at this point.

Will the coaching changes in Cleveland affect Josh Gordon or Jordan Cameron? -- @FrankieGtho (via Twitter)

M.F.: The addition of new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is good news for the value of Gordon, who will no doubt be a targets monster under the new Browns regime. Remember, Andre Johnson and Pierre Garcon both saw a ton of opportunities under Shanahan in recent seasons. I consider Gordon a lock second-rounder in 2014. I can't say the same for Cameron, though, as former coaches Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner loved to use the tight end position in their offense. That's not to suggest that Cameron will be a total bust, but I don't see him being as much of a featured option as he was this past season.

Do you think Zac Stacy is a legitimate No. 1 fantasy running back moving forward? -- @ScottLikesToast (via Twitter)

M.F.: Stacy sure looked the part of a No. 1 fantasy runner once he was featured in St. Louis' offense as a rookie, but I would still be targeting him as a high-end No. 2 back in most 2014 drafts. It's hard to see a scenario where Stacy will remain on the board after the second round in most re-drafts, though.

Would you draft Eddie Lacy ahead of Foster and Ray Rice? -- @jmarino_27 (via Twitter)

M.F.: No doubt about it. I will be chasing youth in 2014 drafts, and Lacy will be high on my list of players to target. In fact, he's the sixth runner on my board behind Charles, McCoy, Peterson, Lynch and Forte. The bruising runner out of Alabama is in a great position to remain productive, as defenses can't commit extra defenders to the run for fear that Aaron Rodgers will tear them apart through the air. Lacy is also a featured runner who holds most of the goal-line duties, making him a valuable asset both for the Packers and fantasy owners. He's a first-round lock.

What do you think of Ladarius Green? Will he be worth a late-round pick? -- @aldavis1225 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Green showed flashes of potential last season and will be one of the more popular deep sleepers in fantasy football in 2014. Of course, much of his value will depend on what the Chargers do with veteran Antonio Gates. While he's likely to return to the team, Gates will be 34 in June and could lose snaps to the younger Green in the pass attack. I'd much rather spend a late-round pick on Green than a middle-to-late rounder on Gates.

Who is your biggest sleeper this offseason? -- @marc_morquecho (via Twitter)

M.F.: Montee Ball is the first name that comes to mind, but that assumes the Denver Broncos let Knowshon Moreno walk as a free agent. In that scenario, the Wisconsin product would be the favorite to start in an explosive offense led by future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. Ball could bring back as much as No. 2 fantasy runner value in 2014.

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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