Salute to Service: The Demaryius Thomas debate

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USAA proudly hosts the USAA NFL Fantasy Football Military League on NFL.com as part of its "Salute to Service" campaign to show appreciation to military, veterans and their families. Through that campaign, participating members in the Military League were given an exclusive opportunity to ask NFL Media Senior Analyst Michael Fabiano for fantasy advice.

To follow the conversation during the season, use #SaluteToService on social media and visit SaluteToService.com, as USAA and NFL honor the military throughout the NFL season.

Current and former military, sign up to play in an exclusive Military Fantasy League. Click HERE to sign up!

LeRoy: I am drafting No. 6 overall in a PPR league. Would you go with Demaryius Thomas at this slot and then turn around and draft a running back like Montee Ball in Round 2? I'm not so sure about my top two picks being from the same team, but I do believe in the high-scoring Denver Broncos. Thanks for answering as a long time fan of fantasy football and of NFL.com.

Michael Fabiano: As much as I like Thomas, I would go with one of the top six running backs (Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch, Eddie Lacy) before I took a wide receiver. You should target a wide receiver in Round 2, however, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone like Thomas, Dez Bryant or A.J. Green were still on the board. As for drafting two players from the same team in the first two rounds, I have no problem with it at all. As you mentioned, landing a duo like Ball and Thomas or Bryant and DeMarco Murray, for example, won't do your roster any harm.

JW: In the future, do you believe that NFL Fantasy Football will include all defensive player positions into its draft formats? Defense wins championships! You could draft the best cornerbacks, for example, or even have two drafts ... one for offense and one for defense.

Michael Fabiano: We do have customizable leagues on NFL.com that allow you to include individual defensive players (IDP). In addition to your offensive skill position players and kickers, you can draft linebackers, defensive backs (cornerbacks, safeties) and defensive linemen (defensive ends, defensive tackles) and build a team that more closely mirrors a real NFL lineup. In these leagues, there are no team defenses or special teams units. The most important defenders are linebackers, because of their overall production in tackles, passes defensed, interceptions and sacks. If you decide to play in this level of league, which is both challenging and fun, be sure to check out our IDP rankings.

Jared: Should I be worried about Le'Veon Bell with his recent issues? Are Bell and LeGarrette Blount facing possible suspensions, and if so, who should I target as their replacements?

Michael Fabiano: If there is any sort of suspension, it isn't likely to happen any time soon and shouldn't alter the current value of Bell or Blount. In fact, I haven't moved either runner in the rankings. Bell remains 12th at the position and worth a second- or third-round selection, while Blount is more of a late-round pick. The one cause for concern when it comes to Bell's value is that Blount will see some goal-line work. Still, the Michigan State product is young, versatile and remains a good bet to finish in the top 15 at his position.

David: I'm picking No. 5 in a 12-team PPR league that rewards six points for passing touchdowns. I like Lacy, though I'm also considering Calvin Johnson. I could then wait on a quarterback until Round 5 or 6. We also have a RB/WR flex position. Should I stock up on receivers?

Michael Fabiano: As I mentioned in a previous answer, I would go with a running back with one of the first six overall picks. With the fifth pick, you're likely to land Lacy or Lynch. If you're not sold on the runners who are on the board, though, you can pass on the position and go with Megatron. In that case, you should focus on drafting a runner in Round 2. Because of the PPR format, it makes a lot of sense to draft a wide receiver for your flex position. You should also go after wideouts with upside in the late rounds like DeAndre Hopkins, Justin Hunter and Terrance Williams. If you can't get a wide receiver to fill that flex spot, go after pass-catching running backs like Shane Vereen, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas or Danny Woodhead.

James: Who do you think will be the two top teams from each conference that will play in the conference championship games?

Michael Fabiano: How in the world do you do you not pick the Seattle Seahawks as one of the top two teams in the NFC? Unless injuries occur, this is going to be the team to beat. Can you remember any other team having such a strong home-field advantage? It's become almost impossible to win in the Great Northwest, where the 12th man is so loud it can register on the Richter scale! I'm going with the New Orleans Saints over the San Francisco 49ers as the No. 2 seed in the NFC. I like what the team did on defense, and any team led by Drew Brees is going to be a contender. In the AFC, the Broncos could be even better than the team that went to the Super Bowl. That's due in large part to the addition of defensive stars like Demarcus Ware, T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib. It doesn't hurt to have Peyton Manning under center, either! As for the second AFC team, I like the New England Patriots. I think the Indianapolis Colts could be a sleeper team, but their offensive line scares me a bit. For those fantasy fans out there who want to compete in postseason leagues, NFL.com offers a Playoff Challenge that combines fantasy football and the playoffs.


Exclusive Military Prize

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com 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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