Michael Fabiano: Despite his rookie success, I still see Williams as a risk-reward pick next season. The reason is simple -- you're going to have to invest an early-round pick to land him, and there is no guarantee that he won't be the next Michael Clayton. There have been a number of wideouts who have had nice rookie years, such as Clayton, Anquan Boldin and Eddie Royal, who failed to perform at a high level the following year. Of course, other players like Randy Moss and Marques Colston did keep up their statistical success. On a positive note, Williams is part of an up-and-coming offense led by a quarterback in Josh Freeman who showed flashes of brilliance in 2010. He comes in at No. 15 on my current board, but I'd be more comfortable taking Williams as a high-end No. 3 fantasy wideout.
M.F.: I would be surprised if Foster were able to have the same statistical success again next season. I'm not saying he'll be the next Forte, who saw his numbers decline sharply in 2009 after a monstrous rookie season, but the past has shown that it's hard for most players to duplicate the "magical" season. Also, keep in mind that Ben Tate will be back in the mix after missing his rookie season due to injury. That's not to say Foster will be in danger of losing his starting job, but you'd have to think that the Texans will get him some touches in the offense. I've also done some research that shows (since 2006) an amazing 75 percent of running backs to finish in the top five in fantasy points have failed to reached that level the very next year. If that trend continues, at least three of Foster, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Hillis, Jamaal Charles and Chris Johnson will not be in the top five in 2011. That's food for thought.
M.F.: Typically the top rookie in fantasy land is a running back, simply because it's one of the easiest positions to make the transition from college to the pros. While it's difficult to determine a rookie's true value until he is actually drafted by a team, I would have to go with Ingram. He's the most NFL-ready back in the 2011 class, and has even drawn comparisons to the great Emmitt Smith. If Ingram ends up with the Dolphins, which has been a popular prediction, he could wind up being ranked among the top 15 among running backs in seasonal formats.
What are the chances that Beanie Wells has a breakout season in 2011? Any other breakout candidates of note? - wildbill0962 (via Twitter)
M.F.: A highly-touted fantasy sleeper in 2010, Wells instead appeared to be sleeping from a statistical perspective. He saw declines in most categories compared to his rookie season, most notably in yards per carry and touchdowns, and failed to pass Tim Hightower on the Cardinals depth chart. Despite his recent struggles, however, Wells still has plenty of upside. If he can avoid injuries (which have been a problem since his college days) and ultimately reach his pro potential, Wells could become one of the better draft bargains of 2011. I'd expect him to come off the board somewhere in the middle rounds, so he won't be a huge risk based on the investment. To answer your second question, there are a number of potential breakout candidates on my radar. That list includes Freeman, Matthew Stafford, Shonn Greene, Knowshon Moreno, Kenny Britt, Dez Bryant and Jermichael Finley, to name a few.
How well will Jahvid Best do in his second NFL season? Has he healed from his injuries? - mwasinski (via Twitter)
M.F.: Best looked like a world beater in his first two games at the NFL level, scoring five touchdowns and a combined 56.8 fantasy points. Unfortunately, that would make up 41 percent of his total points. He suffered a turf toe injury in Week 3 that seriously affected his speed and skills the rest of the year. In fact, he became little more than just waiver-wire fodder down the stretch in many leagues. His prospects for 2011 are bright, however, as Best will be back at 100 percent in time for training camp and should see a featured role in the offense of coordinator Scott Linehan. If he's able to avoid injuries, which has been a problem since college, Best could become a nice bargain on draft day.
M.F.: Romo could turn into a steal on draft day. Before busting his collarbone against the Giants, he was on pace to finish with 264.3 fantasy points -- that would have been good enough to finish seventh at the quarterback position, just 4.9 points behind Drew Brees. Also keep in mind that Romo has a ton of talent around him, an offensive coach at the helm in Jason Garrett and the easiest schedule (based on fantasy points) at his position. At wide receiver, I have Bryant (No. 13) and Miles Austin (No. 18) both ranked in the top 20. Bryant has all the talent in the world and should be a 1,000-yard wideout if he can avoid injuries. Jason Wittenranks third among tight ends, behind Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark.
What do you project for Jermichael Finley? He's an elite talent, but will he be worth the risk in 2011? - nealsweeney (via Twitter)
M.F.: A highly-touted breakout candidate heading into last season, Finley was on pace to finish with career bests in receptions and yardage before suffering a knee injury that cost him the final 11 games. The ailment required a surgical procedure to repair, but Finley will be back in plenty of time for the start of the 2011 season. A talented playmaker will limitless upside, he has a real chance to make an impact in an explosive Packers offense that's led by one of the league's best quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers. The fact that he's had knee issues the last two years is a cause for some concern, but his statistical potential still makes Finley a No. 1 fantasy option.
Is there a difference in draft strategy between a keeper league and a non-keeper league? - YellowcardMitch (via Twitter)
M.F.: You always want to build the most balanced team regardless of the league, but you should be more aware of younger players with upside in a keeper draft. It's still important to have a "win-now" attitude, but you also want to try and build for the future. Maybe that means taking a running back like Darren McFadden, 23, over Michael Turner, 29. Both players have similar value, but Run DMC is much younger and has more value down the road. Keeper leaguers should also be taking chances on youth later in the draft, rather than take older veterans. For example, you might want to draft someone like Anthony Armstrong ahead of Derrick Mason or Nate Burleson at wide receiver. Again, you should still play to win now, just be sure to keep age and long-term upside more heavily into the equation when rankings players.
Who will be this year's version of Peyton Hillis? - FarjadCK (via Twitter)
M.F.: Hillis had a different set of circumstances last season, as he moved into a more prominent role in large part due to Montario Hardesty's knee injury. But if you want a list of potential breakout candidates at the running back position, I like Best, Greene, Moreno, LeGarrette Blount, Ryan Mathews and Jonathan Stewart.
How highly would you rank Mark Clayton if he comes back healthy, assuming he returns to the Rams? - Joben74 (via Twitter)
M.F.: Clayton was on pace for a career season in 2010, catching 23 passes for 306 yards in five games before he suffered a torn right patellar tendon. He has some similarities to Brandon Lloyd, who broke out in the offense of Josh McDaniels last season. Both wideouts were highly touted coming out of college, earned sleeper appeal earlier in their careers before becoming mostly irrelevant. Whether or not Clayton can take that same step with the Rams (assuming he's back with the team) under McDaniels remains to be seen. One thing if for sure -- there's a good chance that one of the Rams wideouts will have a solid season in 2011. Right now, Clayton has late-round value.