Thanks for all of your help -- you've helped me win my league two of the last three years. But if you really want to help me in my upcoming draft, can you please let me know where to find NFL.com's ADP (Average Draft Position) rankings? I can't find this info anywhere. Thanks! -- R. Langlois, Canonsburg, Pa.
Michael Fabiano: If you go to your NFL.com fantasy league home page and scroll to the draft prep area at the bottom (under player news), you'll see a link that says "draft averages." If you click on that link, an ADP list will come up. You can then sort by all players or individual positions. Right now, Adrian Peterson (1.18 ADP) is the top player in NFL.com drafts with Maurice Jones-Drew (3.84) coming in at the second spot. Michael Turner (4.29) and Matt Forte (5.11) round out the current overall top five.
I have a question and need your help. I have a super group of running backs that includes Matt Forte, Marion Barber and Brian Westbrook, but my wide receivers are a bit weak with Roy E. Williams, Eddie Royal and Anthony Gonzalez. Should I trade Westbrook for a better wide receiver, maybe someone like Randy Moss or Reggie Wayne? What do you think? -- N. Nasser, Switzerland
M.F.: I don't think you have a surefire No. 1 fantasy wideout, but I don't think the trio of Williams, Royal and Gonzalez is weak. Williams should post 70 catches, 1,000-1,100 yards and six to eight touchdowns, and Royal could finish with 90-plus receptions in Denver. Gonzalez, a big-time fantasy sleeper, has 1,000-yard potential now that he'll be a starter opposite Wayne. It never hurts to put Westbrook out on the trade market and see what offers are made, but don't deal him if it's going to put a significant dent into your backfield depth (not sure who else you have at the position). If you do deal Westbrook, don't take less than a star like Moss or Steve Smith.
M.F.: As much as I expect big things from Wayne, I think you have to release him in favor of Slaton. The way I see it, you'll have a better chance to re-acquire Wayne in the re-draft than Slaton, who has a ton of keeper value after a solid rookie season. It's also nice to have a strong backfield duo of Johnson and Slaton to build around. Be sure to target Wayne (or a wide receiver of his caliber) and either a quarterback or a second wideout (based on the draft flow) in the first two rounds.
M.F.: Williamson has been spectacular in the preseason -- he actually leads all players in receiving yards with 221 -- but he's never been consistent or productive enough to warrant a prominent role on fantasy teams during the regular season. Look at the list of wideouts who've led the NFL in preseason receiving yards in recent seasons, a list that includes Billy McMullen and Shaun McDonald. Not much fantasy value in those two wideouts. Until he proves that he can put up the numbers when it counts, I wouldn't take a chance on Williamson in most formats. I also don't like him more than Colston, Holt, Breaston or Hixon.
Hey Mike, I'm not to sure about my current quarterback situation. I have Matt Schaub as my starter and Kyle Orton as my top reserve at the position. I know Schaub has injury issues, so should I try to find a stronger backup or will Orton work? The rest of my team is as follows: Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Leon Washington, Earnest Graham, Steve Smith, Wes Welker, Bernard Berrian, Nate Washington, Dustin Keller, Tony Scheffler, Jason Elam and the Vikings defense. If you have any trade advice it would be very much appreciated. Thanks! -- M. Wauters, Port Huron, Mich.
M.F.: First off, I had to laugh out loud (LOL) when I saw what you wrote in the subject field of your email -- "Help me, Fabiano, your my only hope!" Well my young padawan, I think Schaub has a chance to have a breakout season in 2009. You're right that he has had a problem with injuries in the past, and that's what limits his value. It never hurts to look for trades, but I wouldn't panic about your quarterback position and make a hasty move. Schaub will be your top quarterback in most weeks, and Orton can be a viable matchup-based starter in a Broncos offense that will throw the football a ton. If you do make a deal, trade from the depth you have at the wide receiver position.
I'm a 15-year old diehard football fan, and I want to be a sports writer when I'm older. I've been reading your blogs for a few years now and strongly agree with your blog on sleepers. Sleepers should be unrecognized by the average football fan and surprise people by performing at a high level. Larry Johnson (2005) and Frank Gore (2006) were perfect examples. So was Megan Fox in Transformers! If a player is well known and can have a comeback season, he cannot be considered a sleeper. I'd love to hear your take! -- B. Culp, Canada
M.F.: Well, I wish you all the best in your quest to become a sports writer. I'm blessed to be in this business and wouldn't trade it for the world. Based on your clever comparison of Megan Fox to a sleeper -- she's a fantasy of a different kind -- I think you're well on your way to achieving your dream! I also agree with how you look at a sleeper. While some experts would say there are no true sleepers anymore because of the huge exposure fantasy football receives online, on television/radio, etc., I think it should be seen as a lesser-known player who exceeds statistical expectations based on his draft position.
That player also shouldn't have already had major success at the NFL level in recent seasons. As I mentioned earlier, Gonzalez is a great sleeper. So is Felix Jones, Ray Rice and Leon Washington. A few of my deep or super sleepers, who I consider to be players that might not even be on the fantasy radar in most leagues, include Brent Celek, James Davis and Austin Collie. Again, good luck in the future!
I enjoy your articles and getting advice from your mailbag. I'm not sure who to start in Week 1 between Kevin Smith, Darren McFadden and Felix Jones. I'll pair one of these guys with Matt Forte. Also, which one of these running backs would get me the greatest trade value for a wide receiver? As of now, Braylon Edwards is my top wideout. Sad, huh? -- T. Jensen, Minneapolis, Minn.
M.F.: Based on the matchups, I'd start Smith against the Saints. That has all the looks of a high-scoring game, so Smith should see more than his share of chances to produce. In terms of a trade, I would look to put McFadden or Jones on the block and see what offers are made. You might even tell your fellow owners that Smith is available for the right price. Be sure to target teams that lack depth at the running back position but can afford to deal a wide receiver.
I think I had a pretty strong draft with Michael Turner, Joseph Addai, Thomas Jones and Knowshon Moreno at running back, but I feel that I could trade Jones for a wide receiver. I have Greg Jennings, Wes Welker, Kevin Walter and Josh Morgan at wideout. Do you think I should try and make a deal? I am strong at quarterback and tight end with Aaron Rodgers and Tony Gonzalez, so I think wideout is the one place I can improve. -- A. Bond, United Kingdom
M.F.: I actually think you're in pretty good shape at the wide receiver spot. Jennings and Welker both have the tools to be No. 1 fantasy wideouts, Walter is a bit underrated and Morgan has a ton of sleeper potential in San Francisco. If you start just two wideouts, I don't think you need to make a move. If you start three wideouts or a flex player, offering Jones and Walter for a better receiver makes sense. I can see someone taking that duo in exchange for someone like Roy E. Williams or Brandon Marshall.
Hi Mike, I think the reason quarterbacks are taken so highly is due to their projected fantasy points. When you click on the "rank players" feature in a singular list, the position is highly rated. Since it can take a long time to re-rank players, quarterbacks tend to be the first ones taken. When I missed the start of a recent draft, I was auto selected Philip Rivers with the No. 11 overall pick. I was distraught! -- J. Harrison, England
M.F.: I think you make a great point. I never auto draft a team -- to me that takes half the fun out of fantasy football -- but I've heard people complain that the draft robot takes quarterbacks, defenses and kickers far too soon. I have to admit, though, I've seen quarterback come off the board too quickly in some of the drafts I've had in recent weeks. I blogged about such a draft last week that saw Drew Brees go first overall! Tom Brady went in Round 2 and Peyton Manning in Round 3 (that's not unusual), but then Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Kurt Warner and Tony Romo were selected in the third round. Unless a big name falls to me late in the third round or in the fourth round, someone like Manning for example, I'm sitting back and waiting to take a field general until the middle rounds. We'll see if this sort of strategy bears fruit at the end of the season. I'm confident that it will.
I have the fourth overall pick in a 10-team standard league. Who would be the best choice? I'm leery of Maurice Jones-Drew since Jacksonville's offense isn't such a great unit. I'm hoping Matt Forte or Michael Turner fall to me. If not, would you go with a stud quarterback or wide receiver and take a running back in Round 2? -- H. Sutch, Orlando, Fla.
M.F.: Honestly, I would be thrilled if Jones-Drew fell to me with the fourth overall selection. The Jaguars might not have the greatest offensive attack in the NFL, but that doesn't mean MJD can't be productive. The Bears finished an awful 26th in total offense last season, but that didn't stop Forte from putting up huge numbers. Calvin Johnson was a fantasy superstar for the Lions, and their offense was 30th. I'd take Forte in a heartbeat at your spot, but don't be shy about taking Jones-Drew either.