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Marshall's fantasy value unhurt by Geno injury


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Marcas Grant: As far as I'm concerned, nothing changes with Brandon Marshall whether it was Geno Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. I know Smith has been an easy punchline for football fans during his first two seasons in the NFL, but he did start to show some growth late last season. Over the final month of the 2014 campaign, Smith was a top-15 fantasy quarterback. This season, he was going to have a chance to work with noted quarterback whisperer Chan Gailey, who even made Tyler Thigpen relevant for a few weeks. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a veteran who has been generally steady with patches of very good during his career. He'll be smart enough to find a big, consistent target like Brandon Marshall downfield. I had Marshall as a WR 3/4 and nothing at all has changed. Meanwhile...

M.G.: I wouldn't go that far. Fitzpatrick is a competent quarterback on the field, but he's not a guy you're trusting your fantasy season with in any capacity. Since having his breakout campaign in 2011, Fitzpatrick's yardage and touchdown totals have steadily decreased. Last season in 12 games with the Texans, the quarterback threw for just 2,483 yards with 17 touchdowns and 179.72 fantasy points. This is an offense that's likely to lean on Chris Ivory and the running game, so you can probably ditch any dreams of Fitzpatrick leading you to fantasy glory.

M.G.: There's certainly a chance that Fitzgerald rebounds early in the season, but it's probably not as likely as some would hope. The biggest reason might be that the Cardinals are holding out hope for Floyd to be available for the season opener. The other reason is that John Brown appears poised for big things in 2015. The diminutive wideout made some eye-opening plays last season and was expected to push Floyd for more targets this year. Fitzgerald has been a fantasy (and NFL) star for a long time, but it appears that the sun is setting in the West for this talented pass-catcher.

M.G.: Not completely. But I've got one foot on the platform and my hand is reaching for the door. Reading stories about Eifert being uncoverable certainly make for plenty of intrigue -- especially at a position that has been woefully thin in the past few seasons. However, I'm certainly aware of the perils of training camp hype. The biggest thing that keeps me hesitant is that the Bengals have a surprising number of playmakers in their offense. Between A.J. Green, Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and the return of Marvin Jones, there are plenty of people that Andy Dalton will need to keep happy. I do believe in Eifert's potential, but I'm not ready to anoint him as the next great fantasy tight end just yet.

M.G.: That indeed is the big question. It wasn't a surprise to see Seferian-Jenkins struggle last season as rookie tight ends are almost never a factor in fantasy football. This year there have been the requisite rave reviews and talk of "big plans" for ASJ in the Buccaneers offense. If you're expecting him to put up Jimmy Graham-like totals, you're probably going to be disappointed. However, if you're okay with somwhere around 50 catches, 600 yards and 5 touchdowns, it's worth taking a chance on Seferian-Jenkins. By the way, those numbers would have landed ASJ just outside of the top 10 fantasy tight ends last season.

M.G.: There are a lot of things to like about Evans this year -- namely his new quarterback. (For the record, I'm not automatically assuming that Jameis Winston is an automatic upgrade from Josh McCown ... but he's at least reason for optimism.) Just keep in mind that it will be tough for him to duplicate the feat of 12 touchdowns. To put it into perspective, the Bucs threw just 21 touchdown passes all season. That means more than half of them went to one player. That doesn't seem likely to happen again, especially if Austin Seferian-Jenkins can be the red zone threat the team expects him to be. On the flip side, I definitely expect his receptions and yards to increase. I'd expect to see Evans finish the year with somewhere around 80 catches and around 1,200 yards. Those are good numbers, but I wouldn't consider him to be an elite wideout just yet.

Every game, all season

M.G.: I've heard plenty of slander regarding DeMarco Murray and his prospects in the Philadelphia offense this season. While I don't expect him to be the top fantasy running back this season, I still believe he'll post quality totals. That being said, selecting keeper options is all about finding the best possible value. And in this case it's being able to get a wideout like Mike Evans, who has top-10 potential, for essentially a song in the ninth round. The fact that it's a PPR league only makes it sweeter.

M.G.: Not if you've studied up and have planned ahead for your draft. As I wrote back in July, Garçon's big 2013 campaign is looking more and more like an anomaly. If you subtract that one season, Garçon averages 50/650/4 -- or about 89 fantasy points per season. That's not enough to even put him in the top 50. At that point, I'd rather take a chance on a young player who could break out. Depending on your league, players like John Brown, Devante Parker or Jaelen Strong might still be available. All three of those pass-catchers offer greater upside than what has become a mediocre known commodity with Garçon.

M.G.: Do it. I've been on record as saying that you shouldn't feel obligated to go for a running back with your first pick. Especially now when the amount of true bell-cow rushers is slightly less plentiful than rainfall in California. It's true that there is plenty of depth at the receiver position -- and you're also likely to stream a few as the season rolls on -- but why deprive yourself of the chance to select one of the best at the position? My colleague Matt Harmon recently wrote about drafting for the situation as opposed to being beholden to just a player's ADP. Don't get too hung up on the numbers and remember that you're trying to build the best team possible. Make the moves that will help you achieve that goal.

M.G.: I would double down on my previous comments. Auctions are probably the truest example of situational drafting since you can't completely control how things go. It's definitely a case of targeting two or three guys you can't live without and making sure you get them. After that, it's about filling in with bargains wherever you can. If you're patient (and frugal) enough, you can snag some excellent value once your league mates have spent their bankroll.

Bonus question:

M.G.: Sure. I'll be the guy in the trench coat and dark sunglasses.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for and a man who is starting to think True Detective Season 2 was a dark comedy and we just all missed the joke. Tweet him your TD theories or fantasy football questions @MarcasG.