Fantasy mailbag: Jackson could top 2008 running backs

Michael, I am in a 10-team, PPR keeper league and plan to retain Peyton Manning. However, I'm not sure which running back to retain from Ronnie Brown, Ryan Grant, Steven Jackson and Larry Johnson. Suggestions? -- G. Guerra, Imlay City, Mich.

Michael Fabiano: All four runners have tremendous keeper value, but I have to side with Action Jackson. The St. Louis back did miss time with an injured groin last season, but he's primed to make some serious noise in the offense of new coordinator Al Saunders. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked to see Jackson lead all runners in fantasy points in 2008. He is a solid rusher and receiver out of the backfield, so a full season with 50-plus receptions, over 2,000 all-purpose yards and double-digit touchdowns is in the cards.

Hey Mike, what do you think of Donovan McNabb and Ahmad Bradshaw for next season? -- C. McConnell, Winder, Ga.

M.F.: McNabb recorded a solid 608 passing yards and four touchdowns in his final two starts of last season, so he seemed to regain both mental and physical confidence in his reconstructed knee. It appears Philadelphia won't be able to add an impact wideout with Randy Moss (New England) and Javon Walker (Oakland) off the free-agent board, but McNabb should still be able to improve on his 2007 totals with Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown and Jason Avant in the pass attack. He will also have L.J. Smith back in the mix, which should be a positive for his potential level of production. If I had to project McNabb's final numbers, I'd predict around 3,500 passing yards, 250 rushing yards and 20-plus total touchdowns.

I love what I saw from Bradshaw down the stretch last season and throughout the postseason, and I feel he'll be a tremendous complement to bruiser Brandon Jacobs in the New York backfield. However, it's hard to predict a huge statistical season for Bradshaw based on Jacobs' presence and the fact that he won't see goal-line carries. Bradshaw will be worth a middle- to late-round selection, however, and he's a terrific handcuff for owners who draft Jacobs in the earlier rounds.

It's obvious that the value of Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Grant will increase after Brett Favre's retirement, but what about the rest of their prominent offensive skill position players? -- C. Livermore, Green Bay, Wis.

M.F.: I've seen some experts predict that Greg Jennings, Donald Driver and James Jones won't lose a lot of value with Rodgers under center, but I can't see how that will be true based on the numbers. Favre threw 28 touchdown passes last season, and Rodgers would do well to throw for even 18 scores in 2008. That's 10 fewer touchdown catches during the course of the season, which will impact this trio on the stat sheets. I now have Jennings ranked behind the likes of Wes Welker, Roy Williams and Anquan Boldin and as a No. 2 fantasy wideout. Driver is more of a borderline No. 2 or 3 wideout and Jones is now a No. 5 option. Donald Lee also loses some value and is more of a high-end No. 2 tight end.

I am in a 10-team, PPR keeper league and need to retain three players from Tony Romo, Joseph Addai, Marion Barber, Earnest Graham, Brandon Marshall and Jason Witten. Do I dare release Graham after his solid finish to last season? -- A. Kong, Jamaica

M.F.: Graham did increase his value across the board last season when he took over as Tampa Bay's featured runner, and reports on the status of Cadillac Williams in his return from an injured knee have not been good. However, I'd still have to release Graham back into the pool of available players and retain Romo, Addai and Barber. Romo proved his immense worth in fantasy circles in his first full season as the starter in Dallas, Addai is a no brainer and Barber's stock will increase as the new No. 1 runner in Dallas.

Michael, I'm British and have only recently gotten into the NFL and American football. Last season was my first fantasy season, and I loved every minute of it. My question is about Derek Anderson. With the signing of Donté Stallworth, will Anderson become a more valuable pick? Also, what sort of numbers do you think Tom Brady will record in 2008? -- D. Phillips, England

M.F.: The addition of Stallworth does make Anderson that much more valuable in fantasy circles, but I still have him ranked ninth at the position behind the likes of Matt Hasselbeck, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer. Anderson came off the board in Round 4 in NFL.com's 2008 fantasy football mock draft, and I would expect him to be taken in that area in most cases. He might not reach the 32 total touchdowns he had in 2007, but it's still hard not to like him in the earlier rounds.

Brady has little chance to duplicate the ridiculous numbers he finished with last season, but he is still the unquestioned No. 1 quarterback in fantasy football. With Randy Moss in the mix, look for Brady to record around 4,300 passing yards and 30-35 total touchdowns in 2008.

What sort of value will Michael Turner have now that he's in Atlanta? -- G. Ehrmann, Pennsylvania

M.F.: Turner is a perfect fit for the power run attack of new offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey, so I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see him record 1,000-plus rushing yards and five to seven touchdowns. He will lose some work to Jerious Norwood in certain sets and could see stacked fronts with Chris Redman considered the favorite to start (the Falcons released Joey Harrington) at the quarterback position, but overall the move from San Diego to Atlanta is a positive one for Turner the Burner. Look for him to be selected in the second or third round.

I plan to retain Tom Brady and Frank Gore, but I'm not sure who else to keep from Selvin Young, Plaxico Burress and Brandon Marshall? -- G. Zychowicz, Chicago, Ill.

M.F.: Denver head coach Mike Shanahan thinks Young is better served in a more limited role (10-15 carries per contest), so he'll share carries with veteran Travis Henry in 2008. That hurts the value of Young, who is a nice handcuff for owners who draft Henry in the earlier rounds and worth more of a middle-round selection. With that in mind, I'd have to side with Marshall over Young and Burress. The New York wideout is a nice option, but Burress is older than Marshall and might have hit his statistical ceiling. Breakout Brandon is now the unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver in the Mike High City after the release of Javon Walker, so his numbers next season and down the road should continue to be solid.

I'm in a PPR keeper league and have to retain three players from Brian Westbrook (Round 1), Reggie Bush (Round 2), Larry Fitzgerald (Round 3), Drew Brees (Round 4 via trade), Marshawn Lynch (Round 4), Plaxico Burress (Round 5) and Braylon Edwards (Round 7). We also lose the round in which the player is picked. All touchdowns are worth six points. Who should I retain with Westbrook (he's a no brainer)? Thanks! -- C. Aquino, San Diego, Calif.

M.F.: I would agree with your assessment of Westbrook, and I'd look to secure the top two runners in your backfield and keep Lynch for a fourth-round choice. The final two players to retain are Brees, who was a statistical monster in the second half of last season, and Edwards, who is an absolute steal for a seventh-round selection.

I have to retain one quarterback from Marc Bulger, Eli Manning and Philip Rivers. Also, I need to keep four players from Joseph Addai, Marion Barber, Larry Fitzgerald, Greg Jennings and Randy Moss. What would you do? -- B. Snooks, Canada

M.F.: Based on his age of the success he had in leading the Giants to a win in Super Bowl XLII, I would side with Manning ahead of Bulger and Rivers. While I like Bulger, 30, a bit more in seasonal drafts, Manning, 27, has youth on his side and is a better long-term quarterback. The player to release from the aforementioned five is Jennings, whose value will fall with Favre out of the mix. As a result, be sure to retain Addai, Barber, Fitzgerald and Moss.

I plan to retain Larry Johnson and Torry Holt, but I need to keep one more player from Julius Jones, Anquan Boldin, Marques Colston, Calvin Johnson, Javon Walker and Alge Crumpler. Who should I keep? -- J. Hilton, Kansas City, Mo.

M.F.: Jones might see some added value if he lands with a team that allows him a chance to start, but at this point I would side with Colston. The New Orleans wideout was an absolute stud in his second NFL season, and he'll continue to produce as the top option for Drew Brees in what will remain a pass-laden offense.

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