Fantasy Mailbag  


Cam Newton shouldn't fall too far on draft boards


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Is Cam Newton going to drop in drafts because of his lack of wide receivers? -- @@jlbozek (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: I'm interested to see what happens in the NFL draft, as the Carolina Panthers are certain to select a wide receiver (or two). As it stands, Newton has seen his stock drop slightly due to both a questionable wide receiver corps and a surgical procedure on his ankle. Still, it's tough to drop him down too far when you consider that Newton has never really had an elite group of wideouts to throw to at the pro level. Steve Smith has been past his prime over the last few years, and Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon aren't exactly the who's who at the position. Right now, I have Newton ranked sixth among quarterbacks for 2014.

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Will Rob Gronkowski be all set for the start of next season, or will he be a question mark like he was in 2013? -- @kenbroughton22 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Gronkowski is going to be one of the biggest risk-reward players in fantasy football next season. NFL Media reporter Albert Breer tweeted that Gronkowski visited Dr. James Andrews last week and will start jogging soon. That's good news, but we're unlikely to know more about his status before the start of training camp. After all, the New England Patriots aren't the most "informative" team when it comes to injuries. When you also consider that Gronkowski has had multiple forearm surgeries, not to mention two back and one ankle operation (in addition to the knee), it's tough to recommend drafting him in the first two rounds ... which is where he would be projected if he was 100 percent. Instead, Gronkowski is looking more like a third- or fourth-round selection until we have another update.

Will Alfred Morris' value take a hit without Mike Shanahan in Washington? -- @rocketsand49ers (via Twitter)

M.F.: That depends on your expectations. If you think Morris is going to be a top-10 fantasy back like he was as a rookie, well, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. If you're looking at him more like a No. 2 runner, however, then I wouldn't be too concerned about Shanahan's absence. While it's true that new coach Jay Gruden will throw the football more than his predecessor, I can still see Morris rushing for 1,000-1,200 yards with six to eight touchdowns. Again, just don't expect him to re-emerge into an elite runner.

In order, which player coming off injuries will have the best 2014 season: Arian Foster, Doug Martin or Julio Jones? -- @MightyMan1987 (via Twitter)

M.F.: Jones is the player I like most because of his talents, youth and the fact that he's in a contract year. I wouldn't hesitate to draft him in the second round. I'm also going with Foster over Martin, but it's close. Both runners are on schedule to be back in time for training camp, but Foster gets the nod in terms of draft value because he has a longer track record of success.

Who would you keep for a 15th-round selection: Ben Tate or Percy Harvin? -- J. Dubuc (via Facebook)

M.F.: Running backs are more valuable than wideouts based on the premium at the position, so I'm keeping Tate for a 15th-rounder (which is a steal). The Auburn product is a breakout candidate in fantasy land, as he'll be the true featured back for new OC Kyle Shanahan. Furthermore, Shanahan has had good success with backs in the past, as both Steve Slaton and Morris posted top-10 fantasy numbers under his watch. Tate is also a great fit for Shanahan's zone-blocking scheme, making him a potential top 10-15 runner based on points.

Who do you consider the best running back duo in the league right now? Any chance it's Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden? -- @MRGOAT_NFLgeeks (via Twitter)

M.F.: If we're talking about fantasy football, the best backfield tandem in the league is Reggie Bush and Joique Bell. Last season, both of them ranked among the 20-best runners based on points. The Detroit Lions will continue to utilize both backs in what could be a 50-50 committee next season, making them nice assets in fantasy land once again. You also have to like the duo of Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead in San Diego. Both of them ranked in the top 25 in fantasy points among runners in 2013, and both are entering contract years. As for Jones-Drew and McFadden, well, there are more questions than answers with this duo. I'd feel safe drafting either one of them in the middle to late rounds as a fourth runner, but that's about it.

Which of these wide receivers will have the most fantasy value next season: DeSean Jackson, Emmanuel Sanders or Golden Tate? -- @GrahamlWilson (via Twitter)

M.F.: This is so close, it's almost a coin toss ... but I'm going with Jackson, Sanders and Tate (in that order). It might not make sense since Jackson's value fell and Sanders' rose based on their offseason moves, but you also have to remember that Gruden's offense in Washington will be pass laden. So while Jackson will see fewer targets, the situation isn't as unattractive on the surface as the one Eric Decker is in with the New York Jets (for example). Regardless, all three of Jackson, Sanders and Tate will be drafted as No. 3 wideouts.

Which second-year wide receivers should be drafted the highest next season? What rounds? -- @siryogi (via Twitter)

M.F.: I wrote a photo essay on this particular topic a few weeks back, but the top three wideouts on the list are Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson and Terrance Williams. Patterson, Williams and DeAndre Hopkins are the three big breakout candidates among second-year wideouts, though, as Allen established himself in the stat sheets during his rookie campaign.

Given the propensity for rookie wide receivers to disappoint in fantasy football, where would you draft guys like Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins? -- @matty_k84 (via Facebook)

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M.F.: If we are talking about rookie wide receivers in a re-draft league, you're absolutely right that rookies don't produce great totals most of the time. In fact, the highest-ranking first-year wideout over the last five seasons finished 12th ... that was Mike Williams in 2010. The only other drafted wideouts who even finished in the top 20 in fantasy points during their rookie campaigns are A.J. Green (14th), Julio Jones (18th) in 2011, and Allen (17th) in 2013. So while at least part of the value of wide receivers like Evans and Watkins depends on the teams that drafted them, I wouldn't target either of them until the late-middle rounds.

Who are your top 10 fantasy tight ends for 2014? -- @mackdis7 (via Twitter)

M.F.: The list starts, of course, with Jimmy Graham. The rest of the top 10 is as follows: 2. Gronkowski; 3. Julius Thomas; 4. Vernon Davis; 5. Dennis Pitta; 6. Jason Witten; 7. Jordan Reed; 8. Greg Olsen; 9. Jordan Cameron; 10. Kyle Rudolph. A few of these players can move up and down depending on how the rest of the offseason shakes out, but it's tough to see another tight end break into the top 10. You can find the entire top 30 tight ends on

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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