Despite holdout, CJ2K still shouldn't fall far in drafts

How far do you think Chris Johnson, Wes Welker and Percy Harvin will slide in drafts? -- Vik_Mundkur (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reported on his Twitter page that there has been "positive movement" in the talks between Johnson and the Titans for the first time. That's a positive for his fantasy appeal, though he won't be risk-free even once he does ink a new contract. Keep in mind, holding out of training camp and the preseason has made players like Larry Johnson, Steven Jackson and Darrelle Revis more prone to injuries in the past. With that said, I couldn't pass on CJ2K if he fell to be past the fifth overall selection in drafts. Welker, who suffered a minor neck ailment in his last preseason contest, will be well worth a middle-round choice in standard leagues -- he'll go even higher in PPR formats. Harvin, a third-year breakout wide receiver, also has middle-round value. His past migraine issues no longer seem to be an issue, so draft Harvin with confidence.

Who are the top five fantasy handcuffs right now? -- J. LeFevre (via Facebook)

M.F.: I'd rank Michael Bush, Javon Ringer, Rashad Jennings, Willis McGahee and LaDainian Tomlinson as the top "true" handcuffs. I don't see someone like Pierre Thomas, for example, as a handcuff for Mark Ingram because both will be in the mix for carries in New Orleans. Darren McFadden is a serious talent, but he's not a durable back -- that makes Bush a very important handcuff. While Jamie Harper is also in the mix for the Titans, Ringer still looks like the better Plan B should CJ2K hold out into the regular season. Jennings, who showed flashes last year, is also worth a late-round look if you land Maurice Jones-Drew and his surgically-repaired knee. Knowshon Moreno has major upside, but he's also been prone to some nicks and bumps -- that makes McGahee an attractive insurance option. Tomlinson, who is now the clear No. 2 back for the Jets, is also a viable handcuff for those owners who roll with Shonn Greene in drafts.

Which running back will have the better fantasy season: Frank Gore or Michael Turner? -- WalyStone77 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I'm going with Gore, but it's a close call. What makes him the better option is his skills as a receiver out of the backfield -- that's something that Turner seriously lacks. In fact, his 12 receptions in 2010 were a single-season career best. I also see the Falcons throwing the football more this season, which means Turner isn't a lock to post another 325-plus carries. As for Gore, he's inked a new contract and will be the true centerpiece of the offense for new coach Jim Harbaugh. The former Stanford coach loves to run the football, so Gore will see plenty of touches in the backfield. He does come with more risk from a durability perspective, but overall I still like Gore ahead of Turner in both standard and PPR formats.

Who will score the most fantasy points in 2011: Felix Jones, Mark Ingram or Ryan Mathews? -- ManchesterU_J (via Twitter)

M.F.: I have to be honest -- the fantasy man-love I feel for Jones is at an all-time high. He's looked great in the preseason as a featured back in the absence of Marion Barber, and coach Jason Garrett won't be shy about getting him 18-plus touches per game. Jones also saw red-zone work in the Cowboys last contest, scoring on a 5-yard run against the Vikings. When you consider that he finished in the top 25 in fantasy points among running backs last season despite scoring just two touchdowns, it's pretty apparent that Jones has major upside. I'd take him as a low-end No. 2 or high-end flex starter somewhere in the middle rounds.

What should fantasy owners expect from Cedric Benson, especially with all of the off-field developments that have occurred? Does he hold any upside? -- Trent BerrysandCream Tracy (via Facebook)

M.F.: Benson has decided to serve his 20-day jail sentence for a 2010 assault charge now, and the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that he'll likely serve seven days and be back in time for the start of the regular season opener. With that said, it's hard to envision a scenario where Benson has a big statistical season in 2011. Sure, he is one of the few featured backs left in the league. But the veteran also has no support with a rookie quarterback in Andy Dalton under center, so he'll face a lot of stacked fronts. Furthermore, the Bengals offensive line has not looked impressive at all in the preseason. If you do take Benson, it should be as a borderline No. 2 or 3 fantasy back.

Which two players have seen their fantasy value rise the most in the preseason? -- H. Tollance (via Facebook)

M.F.: There are a lot of players who's stock has soared in recent weeks, but the two players that come to mind first are former teammates Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower. The Cardinals dealt Hightower and lost rookie Ryan Williams for the season, so Wells is the unquestioned featured back in the offense for coach Ken Whisenhunt. While he has had issues with injuries, the fact that Wells will see the lion's share of the carries makes him worth a look as a potential No. 2 fantasy runner. The same holds true for Hightower, who has seized the top spot on the depth chart in Washington. A perfect fit for the zone-blocking scheme of coach Mike Shanahan, Hightower could be in line to post his best statistical season in 2011.

I drafted Arian Foster, but someone landed Ben Tate later in the draft. Should I grab Derrick Ward and drop one of Pierre Garcon or Pierre Thomas? -- cDrow (via Twitter)

M.F.: If I dropped either of the Pierres, it would be Garcon (if I had depth at wide receiver). Texans coach Gary Kubiak did confirm that Ward is second on the depth chart behind Foster, but Tate has been solid in the preseason and is in the mix. Foster seems confident that he will be okay for the team's Week 1 matchup against the Colts -- he even tweeted out the MRI image of his injured hamstring and said that he would be "fine." Other reports suggest Foster could miss several weeks due to the ailment, however, so this is a fluid situation. That means being safe and grabbing Ward, who is likely to share the workload with Tate if Foster is out, makes a lot of sense.

Which wide receiver will have the better season between Santonio Holmes, Mario Manningham and Mike Williams (Buccaneers)? -- C. Atchison

M.F.: I'd say with confidence that Holmes will have the best numbers of this talented trio. The Jets' top wideout option for Mark Sanchez, he'll be in a strong position to duplicate the 79 receptions and 1,248 yards he recorded in his final season with the Steelers. He's also a good bet to score seven to nine touchdowns in the pass attack, all of which makes Holmes an attractive No. 2 fantasy wideout. I see both Williams and Manningham as borderline No. 2 or 3 options at the position, and neither has the statistical upside of Holmes.

Would you start Matthew Stafford or Sam Bradford in Week 1? -- mariah_1982 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I don't like Bradford's matchup against the "Dream Team," aka CB Nnamdi Asomugha and the Philadelphia Eagles, so I would start Stafford. He has a much more attractive matchup against the Buccaneers, who will have a tough time trying to defense Calvin Johnson and company. Stafford has been on fire in the preseason, and his prospects of posting the best totals of his career are very good. If he can meet statistical expectations, the former Georgia product could develop into a regular starter in fantasy leagues.

How far is too far for Peyton Manning to fall in drafts? -- D. Mathis

M.F.: I was in a 12-team draft last week, and Manning fell to me in Round 5. That is too far. Fantasy owners need to remember that we're talking about a player who has never missed a game in his career. Ever. So even if his streak of consecutive games started ends, it won't last more than a week or two. Also keep in mind that there are a ton of good quarterbacks in the league, so it won't be tough to utilize a No. 2 during the short period of time that Manning is out (if he does in fact miss time). I would expect him to come off the board in the third or fourth round at this point.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com or tweet it at Michael_Fabiano!

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