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Andre Johnson's no-show isn't the reason to worry

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What are the chances that Peyton Manning repeats last year's performance? Better options? -- @CarolCross1 (via Twitter)

Marcas Grant: Manning could be wading into unprecedented territory in 2014. The only other time a quarterback threw 50 TD passes in a season (Tom Brady - 2007), he didn't play a full game the very next season. I'm certainly not predicting that as Peyton's future this season, but I will say that it seems unlikely that he hangs half-a-hundred touchdowns again. Still, you should be able to expect big numbers from the future Hall of Famer. After all, his receiving corps remains loaded. As for better options ... there aren't many, if any. You could roll with Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees, but those are about the only names I'd consider ahead of The Sheriff.

Last year, Green Bay talked about limiting Eddie Lacy's carries. With Aaron Rodgers, James Starks and DuJuan Harris playing, how much should we worry about limited carries? -- @AvikarSaini (via Twitter)

M.G.: I wouldn't worry about it at all. During his breakout rookie season, Lacy rushed for more than 1,100 yards and scored 11 touchdowns -- good enough to finish sixth among fantasy backs. In fact, Lacy ended up with a bigger workload than anyone imagined, though the injury to Rodgers probably had a lot to do with that. Heading into this season, there have been rumblings that Lacy will have even more responsibility in the Packers offense. That should make him a high first-round pick in most re-drafts. Then again, based on last season's talk versus last season's reality, Lacy might not see the ball at all. Let's hope not.

Should Andre Johnson's absence from Texans' OTAs have any effect on his fantasy value? -- @kluttsjd (via Twitter)

M.G.: Missing workouts in June isn't a reason to substantially worry about an 11-year veteran who has been about as consistent as they come. But that's not to say there aren't reasons to be concerned about Johnson's 2014 value. He turns 33 in July and has struggled with injuries in recent seasons. He's also made it known that he's less than pleased with how things are going in Houston. The pending quarterback competition isn't likely to change his feelings about things -- nor is it likely to give his fantasy draft value an upward trend.

Do I take Toby Gerhart from the Jaguars as a late-round running back? -- @GurkaranToor (via Twitter)

M.G.: You certainly do ... if he's still there. As Jacksonville breaks in a few new receivers and generally figures out its passing game, the team will probably lean on Gerhart to carry the load. Based on what he did with limited opportunities in Minnesota and considering he hasn't taken a lot of punishment on the field, the former Stanford star could have a breakout season akin to what Michael Turner did when he joined the Falcons in 2008. Because of that, Gerhart presumably could come off the board sometime in the fourth or fifth round. If he somehow slides past that, take him immediately.

If you had to choose between Zac Stacy, DeMarco Murray and Alfred Morris, who would you take? -- @pmangarola21 (via Twitter)

M.G.: I'm going with Murray. Of that trio, he's the only one who doesn't seem ticketed for a loss of touches in 2014. The Rams are expected to throw the ball more this season with Sam Bradford hopefully healthy again. Same with Washington and Robert Griffin III under a new head coach and offensive coordinator. That's bad news for Stacy and Morris, who aren't known for their pass-catching prowess. Meanwhile, Murray is a definite threat catching the ball out of the backfield and will be part of an offense that could post big numbers under Scott Linehan. They'll need to with a potentially abysmal defense that's been further impaired with the injury to Sean Lee.

Which new New York running back -- Rashad Jennings or Chris Johnson? -- @sledge_harris (via Twitter)

M.G.: Jennings has the edge here, mostly because he figures to see more touches. Look at the guys behind him on the depth chart -- Peyton Hillis is well past his prime, Andre Williams is a fourth-round pick who will need time to develop and David Wilson's future is still very uncertain. That adds up to Jennings having his shot to be a featured back in 2014. As for Johnson, he seems certain to start the season as the Jets' top running back, but he's just as certain to cede the short-yardage and goal line carries to Chris Ivory. If I'm picking between two backs, I'm going with the one less likely to be in a heavy time-share.

What is Pierre Garcon's value now that DeSean Jackson is in Washington? -- @JohnnyEuroMan (via Twitter)

M.G.: Having Jackson land in the District will undoubtedly take a chunk out of Garcon's value in 2014, but don't expect the dip to be extreme. Garcon should remain the top target in Washington -- especially with Jay Gruden and Sean McVay expected to open up the passing game even more. If there's anyone who could be hurt by Jackson's arrival, it's Alfred Morris, who could see fewer carries in 2014. Look for Garcon to be a WR2 with Jackson as a WR3.

What is the likelihood that in about 1-2 years, Jeremy Hill takes over the starting RB position from Giovani Bernard? -- @WhrsWierzbowski (via Twitter)


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M.G.: You can rest easy. The Bengals are high on Bernard and plan to make him a very large part of the offense going forward. The person who should be most worried about Hill is BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Law Firm is going to be challenged for playing time and isn't likely to be back in Cincinnati when his contract expires at the end of the season. Look for Hill to slide into the role of the Bengals' short-yardage thumper before the end of the 2014 campaign.

For an IDP league -- anyone from this year's draft, other than Jadeveon Clowney, worth a look? -- @MattHealey (via Twitter)

M.G.: Two names immediately come to mind -- Khalil Mack and Anthony Barr. Both are solid pass-rushing linebackers, which is generally the most impactful position among IDP choices. According to some scouts, Mack is even more NFL-ready than Clowney, though his ceiling might not be as high. He'll also have a few more polished QB chasers playing alongside him in Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley. Barr is a little bit more of a sleeper and could feel some pressure if the Vikings are counting on him to replace Jared Allen's production.

Where do you think the best draft position is? I've heard first or last is best. -- @LazyGrandeur (via Twitter)

M.G.: The more confident among us will say that it doesn't matter where you draft. No one likes those people. Picking first is fun because, well, you're first. But it also means a long wait for a snake draft to come back to you. The same goes for picking last. If I had my druthers, I wouldn't mind landing in the third or fourth slot. It gives someone else the pressure of making sure they don't screw up the first pick, but still gives you a shot at one of the top five players on the board. And for those of us who are easily bored, you don't have as long to wait for your spot to come back around.


Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who is still bitter about spending his 2008 first round pick on Tom Brady. Tweet him about nearly anything BUT that at @MarcasG.

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