Fantasy mailbag: Backfield getting crowded in Denver

Which of these wide receivers will make the biggest impact for the New England Patriots - Julian Edelman, Michael Jenkins, Aaron Dobson or Kenbrell Thompkins? - @DanOnofrio (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: The team's official website lists Danny Amendola and Edelman as the current starters, but that's an "unofficial" depth chart. As someone who is on the lookout for upside, I would rather take a chance on Dobson and Thompkins. Dobson has been running with the ones in training camp and is going to be worth a late-round selection, while Thompkins has been getting a ton of positive press dating back to OTAs. If he continues to open eyes in the weeks to come, Thompkins is going to be worth a look in the later rounds of seasonal fantasy formats. It doesn't hurt that this pair of youngsters will have Tom Brady throwing them the ball.

Who will win the backfield battle in Denver? Also, where would you draft Lamar Miller and Le'Veon Bell? - F. Butler (via Facebook)

M.F.: There has been a whole lot of fantasy discussion about the situation in Denver's backfield, as Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno have all seen first-team reps in training camp. I'm on board with Ball winning the top spot on the depth chart once the smoke clears, just keep in mind that coach John Fox has never been afraid to use backfield committees dating back to his time in Carolina. None of the three should be drafted in the first four rounds at this point.

How does the loss of Jeremy Maclin affect the value of DeSean Jackson? - @JHizzle721 (via Twitter)

M.F.: You have to think that losing Maclin means more targets for Jackson, who moves into the No. 3 fantasy wideout conversation as a result of Maclin's absence. However, I still need to see a greater level of consistent production before I'm going to move Jackson any higher at the wide receiver spot. He hasn't had 1,000-yard season since 2010, and his touchdown numbers have left much to be desired since he scored nine in 2009. Over the last three years, in fact, he's averaged just four end-zone visits a year. His current ADP on NFL.com is Round 11, but I can guarantee that number will rise in the weeks to come.

Tell me why I should choose Marshawn Lynch over Jamaal Charles in a standard draft. Thanks! - B. Weitzel (via Facebook)

M.F.: First off, Lynch is trending in the right direction from a statistical perspective - he's scored more fantasy points in each of the last three seasons. Lynch is also durable, and he'll remain the centerpiece of the Seahawks offense - especially with Percy Harvin now out. He's also just 27 and still in the prime of his career, so there's no reason to believe he won't continue to thrive in 2013. As much as I like Charles this season, I like Lynch a little more.

What do you think about Matt Forte in new coach Marc Trestman's offense? I'm in a PPR league. - @Ditka2ATX (via Twitter)

M.F.: Forte was under utilized in recent seasons, but I don't think that will be the case under Trestman. His system will no doubt allow Forte to see more than his share of opportunities in the offense, including those as a receiver out of the backfield. That makes him even more attractive in PPR formats. As a result, a season with 50 catches and 1,500-plus scrimmage yards is possible. While I wouldn't draft him in Round 1, I do see Forte drafted in Round 2 in most 10-team leagues.

I need to retain four players in our 12-team league. Who should I keep from Matt Ryan, Maurice Jones-Drew, Doug Martin, Dwayne Bowe and Dez Bryant? - M. Tiuseco (via Facebook)

M.F.: I would release Bowe back into the pool of available players. As much as I expect him to rebound under coach Andy Reid, he is the least attractive option you have from a keeper perspective.

There are all kinds of reports about Vernon Davis running as a wide receiver. How does this alter his fantasy value and will he be available as a wide receiver in drafts? - @DP_Steel (via Twitter)

M.F.: Davis scares the bejesus out of me due to his lack of consistent production the last two seasons, but it's tough not to be optimistic about his current situation. He has been lining up at wideout in Niners camp, and there's a good chance he's going to lead the team in receptions. In fact, I've moved him up to fifth among tight end in my rankings. As for his position eligibility, he will only be listed as a tight end because that's the position he's in on the team's official site. Unlike other fantasy sports, there is no dual position players in fantasy football.

Do you think Chris Johnson will return to his elite form behind an improved offensive line? - N. Davis (via Facebook)

M.F.: It's definitely a positive to see the improvements Tennessee made to its O-line during the offseason, but I still don't see CJ2K getting back to an elite level. Remember, the team also added Shonn Greene - he figures to steal some short-yardage and goal-line opportunities from Johnson during the course of the season. To minimize risk, I would draft him as a high-end No. 2 fantasy runner.

Where can I find out the number of times a wide receiver was targeted last season? - @blackadam22 (via Twitter)

M.F.: You can find that information right in your NFL.com fantasy football league. Simply go to you league home page, click "Players" at the top of the page and then click the "Advanced" tab. On this page you can sort by any number of statistical categories - that includes targets, touches and several other important statistics.

What are your thoughts on Keenan Allen and Robert Woods for this season? - C. Dorbin (via Facebook)

M.F.: Allen is talented and has long-term upside, but he'll need an injury to one of Danario Alexander, Malcom Floyd or Vincent Brown to have a shot at making a fantasy impact as a rookie. As for Woods, I see him as worth a late-round flier in most seasonal leagues. Despite the trend of USC wideouts faltering at the pro level, Woods is getting some good reviews and is a favorite to start for the Bills.

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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