Fantasy Mailbag  


Cam Newton looking more like Clark Kent


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Last season, someone could grab a solid QB in the sixth round. So how far do Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo or Andrew Luck fall this year? -- @bthaines (via Twitter)

Marcas Grant: I don't think you'll see Luck slipping too far this season. In two seasons, the Colts star has put together a pretty nice resume and is likely to come off the board as one of the first five signal-callers. Still, you should be able to find quality a little further down the draft board. Players like Stafford and Romo should once again be selected sometime around the sixth round or slightly later and have the potential to produce numbers befitting a low-end QB1. If you're inclined to wait before drafting a signal-caller, there's little reason to worry.

Do you think Cam Newton's stock has dropped? -- @IMxBLESSED (via Twitter)

M.G.: There's no doubt Newton's draft stock is on the decline. Carolina's receiving corps was underwhelming in 2013 ... and it's gotten worse. While Kelvin Benjamin will challenge to be the team's top target in 2014, he's still a rookie with some flaws in his game. After that, Newton is relying on Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant -- not exactly a duo that's going to keep opposing defensive coordinators up late at night. That's bad news for a player whose passing totals have decreased each season in the league. Plus Newton is also recovering from offseason ankle surgery, which could have an impact on his steadily declining rushing numbers. It's too soon to completely jump off the Cam Newton bandwagon, but Superman is starting to look a little more like Clark Kent.

Do you see Robert Griffin III as a top five fantasy quarterback this year? -- @tapthatace21 (via Twitter)

M.G.: In my preseason rankings, I have him just outside the top five, but there's no reason RGIII can't crack that plateau this season. He'll have a full complement of pass-catchers with DeSean Jackson and a healthy Jordan Reed playing alongside Pierre Garcon. Griffin also has a head coach (Jay Gruden) who helped elevate the arguably less-talented Andy Dalton to the level of a top five fantasy signal-caller in 2013. Moreover, Griffin is now a full season removed from major knee surgery and all of the early reports say he looks more confident in his abilities. Things are falling into place for RGIII to be a prime comeback candidate.

What round at the earliest should Peyton Manning be drafted? -- @JuwanBeTweetin (via Twitter)

M.G.: The first thing you need to know is that I don't subscribe to the "you must take a running back in the first round" theory. As more teams go to committee situations, fewer backs have bona fide first-round value. I'd like to feel confident that I'll get a consistent level of production from my first selection. So why would I reach for a guy like DeMarco Murray with the seventh pick when someone like Aaron Rodgers or Peyton Manning is sitting there? Especially when you can possibly land a player like Gio Bernard in the second round. All of that is a convoluted way of saying that you shouldn't be afraid of taking Manning late in the first or early in the second if you don't like the other options sitting in front of you.

What WR/QB combo can put up the most points if you wanted to draft from the same team? -- @mdurrbowhunter (via Twitter)

M.G.: Ahhh, the ol' quarterback-wide receiver handcuff. It probably doesn't get quite the attention of its running back counterpart, but it's worth talking about as pass-catch combos continue to rise in NFL prominence. In a perfect world, you'd snag Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas as your dynamic duo. But considering where those players will be drafted, that could be a tough combination to come by. Some more likely duos would be Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson, Tony Romo-Dez Bryant, Jay Cutler-Brandon Marshall or (if you're feeling saucy) Andy Dalton-A.J. Green. In each instance you're pairing a top flight fantasy receiver with a quarterback who has the potential to put up QB1-like numbers. Just make sure you're ready for that team's bye since you're potentially losing a lot of production that week.

Do you think Cordarrelle Patterson will rise this year? -- @K1LABUSH (via Twitter)

M.G.: Abso-freaking-lutely. Our collective Cordarrelle excitement began not long after the Vikings hired Norv Turner as their offensive coordinator. It didn't take long for the veteran coach to proclaim that he'd already drawn up a handful of plays for the dynamic receiver. That should help Patterson build off last season's finish, when he outscored all fantasy wideouts over the final four weeks. Look for Minnesota to find creative ways to get the football to "Flash". And don't worry aobut the possibility of Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback hurting Patterson's value. Did you already forget who the Vikings' quarterbacks were last year? Yeah ... he'll be all right.

Who's a better keeper value: Giovani Bernard in Round 8 or Randall Cobb in Round 16? I think Cobb. -- @JDebald_ (via Twitter)

M.G.: Bernard for an eighth-round pick is certainly tempting, considering he'll probably come off the board in the second or third round in most leagues. But the very definition of value is waiting as long as you possibly can to draft a player. In that respect, giving up a 16th-round pick for Cobb is like finding gold at the 99-cent store. The Packers receiver will vie to be the top target in a high-powered offense led by Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay will find innovative ways to get him the football, like Seattle with Percy Harvin and Minnesota with Cordarrelle Patterson. There's plenty of upside for Cobb in 2014.

Should we bite on Justin Blackmon this year? -- @SteelersSlob (via Twitter)

Watch "The Top 100 Players of 2014" every week at 9 p.m. ET on NFL Network as we count down to the top player in the NFL. "The Top 100 Players of 2014 Reactions" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET.

M.G.: We'll have a better idea of what Blackmon's value is once the league rules on whether or not he's been reinstated. In the meantime, I wouldn't completely take him off the board. There's no denying Blackmon's talent, it's his availability that has made him problematic for the Jaguars and fantasy owners. That's why I wouldn't spend anything more than a very late-round flier on him. If he plays and succeeds, you've found a gem. If not, you haven't given up much.

Where do you see LeSean McCoy's value going with Darren Sproles splitting carries? -- @Vicstaaa (via Twitter)

M.G.: I wouldn't worry too much about McCoy's value this season. Darren Sproles adds an interesting piece to Chip Kelly's offense, but he's not likely to put a significant dent in Shady's carries. The veteran will certainly have a larger role in the offense than the departed Bryce Brown, but McCoy is still going to be the centerpiece of the league's most intriguing offense and could be the top pick in plenty of fantasy leagues.

Who do you think ends up with the backup RB job in St. Louis? Will Benny Cunningham have a role? -- @evanhp (via Twitter)

M.G.: If I had to call it -- and I guess I do, since I'm answering the question -- I'd go with Tre Mason. The Rams have already found a hammer in Zac Stacy, who will see the bulk of the carries. Mason could function as a change-of-pace back and an option in the passing game on third downs. For now, that leaves Cunningham as the odd man out and relegated to earning snaps when and where he can.

Bonus question: Why are you asking this when World Cup is starting? Go cheer on Clint Dempsey and ask us again in three months. -- @Willslinger (via Twitter)

M.G.: Don't worry. I'll be sitting at my desk glued to the television watching the exploits of Team USA in Brazil. And ask again in three months? You're gonna be behind the curve with the rest of your league mates, my friend. Let me suggest checking out our draft kit during breaks in the action.

Oh ... and if you're looking for a World Cup value pick, think Mesut Özil.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for and a man who goes trolling for gold at his local 99-cent stores. Tweet him about bargain hunting and fantasy football at @MarcasG.


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