Fantasy mailbag: Rivers' fantasy value dwindling

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In what round would it be acceptable to draft Rob Gronkowski? - @dukedevil14 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: At this point, I couldn't take Gronkowski until the fifth round - and even then I would be worried that I reached for him. Most fantasy fans would disagree, though, as he's coming off the board with one of the first few picks of Round 4 on NFL.com (10-team leagues). Gronkowski is also being taken around the same spot in the National Fantasy Football Championships (12-team leagues) despite the fact that we still have no idea if he'll be back in time for Week 1. Or Week 2. Or Week 3. You get the picture. If you opt to take the talented tight end before the fourth round - at least until we have a clearer picture of his status - you are clearly making a risk-reward decision.

I really want to draft Jimmy Graham and am thinking about taking him in the second round. Is this is a wise move? - J. Thibodeaux (via Facebook)

M.F.: When you consider Gronkowski's questionable status for the start of the season, the decline in production between Graham and the next best tight end could be enormous. And unless you're in a smaller league, you're going to have to take Graham in Round 2 if you want to secure him for your roster. (In the NFFC, he's coming off the board in the middle of the second stanza.) With that being said, I am just not comfortable taking a tight end with one of the first 20 overall selections. Yes, Graham is a statistical monster and much like having an extra wideout in your starting lineup. Maybe I'm just a bit old fashioned, but I would much rather take someone like Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten or Vernon Davis in the sixth round.

Is Darren McFadden worth the risk this season? He is in a contract year. - @STINGER75 (via Twitter)

M.F.: I feel like we make excuses for McFadden's brittle past and still consider him a potential future star. This season, the excuse is that he's in a contract year. And while that is a positive for his fantasy value, remember that he has never stayed on the field for a full 16 games as a pro. Never. In fact, he's played no more than 13 contests in a single season. McFadden has also missed a combined 13 games over the last two years due to various ailments. The bottom line here is that there's a good chance he's going to get hurt, and the Raiders don't have a solid handcuff behind him at this point. I would take McFadden as a high-end flex starter, but I'd be a bit more concerned with him as a second runner.

I have the fifth overall selection in a 10-team PPR league. Adrian Peterson and Doug Martin will be off the board, so who would you take between Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles? Or is there someone else I should target? - G. Branaugh (via Facebook)

M.F.: If Foster falls to you with the fifth overall pick, take him and don't think twice about it. Everyone seems to be freaking out that Foster hasn't practiced or played in the preseason because of calf and back ailments, but isn't it possible that the Texans just want to be cautious with their offensive centerpiece? Texans coach Gray Kubiak even said this week that Foster's calf is "fine." Also keep in mind that Foster missed three games during the 2011 campaign - and he still finished No. 4 in fantasy points among running backs. To me, he's too valuable a player to fall out of the top three and should be considered a steal at No. 5. In that scenario, you should also look to grab Ben Tate as insurance in the middle to late rounds.

What do you think about Ahmad Bradshaw on the Colts this season? Will he be better or worse than he was with the Giants? - @ShyamMaini (via Twitter)

M.F.: Bradshaw's value is directly linked to his ability to avoid the trainer's room. Foot injuries have plagued him during his career, making him a risk-reward option in most drafts. Bradshaw can be a production option when he is on the field, though, as he's rushed for 1,000-plus yards in two of his final three seasons with the G-Men. He's also a versatile runner and a solid blocker, making him a potential three-down back (if healthy) for offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton. While I wouldn't draft him as a No. 2 runner, Bradshaw, 27, could turn into a nice flex starter.

Which of these quarterbacks will score the most fantasy points this season - Matt Flynn, Jake Locker, E.J. Manuel or Ryan Tannehill? - J. Dilliplane (via Facebook)

M.F.: I'm going with Tannehill, who is set up to have a nice season in his second pro campaign. He started to show flashes of potential at the end of 2012, throwing for multiple touchdowns in two of his final three starts. He also threw just one interception in his last five contests. The Dolphins loaded up the pass attack for Tannehill too, landing Mike Wallace, Brandon Gibson and Dustin Keller during the offseason. This doesn't guarantee him to picked in all drafts at what is a stacked quarterback position, but the Texas A&M product is in a good position to find success.

I landed Larry Fitzgerald in the fourth round of our draft. Did I get him in a good spot? - @DanielTomes81 (via Twitter)

M.F.: No, you landed him in a great spot. Forget about what Fitzgerald did or didn't do last season, he's going to rebound in 2013 with new coach Bruce Arians now calling the offensive shots. The veteran will also be catching passes from veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, who is a huge upgrade from the mess this team had at the position last season. I wouldn't be surprised if Fitzgerald moved back into the top five wideouts in the National Football League based on fantasy points in 2013.

Who will score more fantasy points in 2013: Robert Griffin III or Russell Wilson? - D. Jaruseski (via Facebook)

M.F.: I might have said Wilson a few weeks ago, but the loss of wideout Percy Harvin for a good chunk for the 2013 season hurts his statistical ceiling. In fact, I dropped the Wisconsin product below RGIII among quarterbacks. That's not to suggest that Wilson isn't a No. 1 fantasy quarterback because he clearly is on that level, but I like the upside of Griffin III - even coming off major knee reconstruction. While he's not expected to start any preseason games, RGIII has reportedly made major strides in his return to the gridiron. He also has one of the easiest schedules among quarterbacks based on fantasy points, while Wilson faces a much tougher slate.

The situation in San Diego doesn't look good for Philip Rivers. Not much around him right now! - @scott_peak (via Twitter)

M.F.: You can say that again! In the last two years, he's lost his top wide receiver (Vincent Jackson) to free agency, his new top wideout (Danario Alexander) for the season due to a torn ACL, and another of his top targets (Malcom Floyd) for a few weeks due to a knee ailment of his own. At this point, Rivers has an aging Antonio Gates and some talented but inexperienced receivers in Vincent Brown and rookie Keenan Allen as his best bets in the pass attack. Considered a surefire No. 1 fantasy signal-caller just a few seasons ago, the veteran is now no more than a low-end No. 2 option.

Which wide receivers in New England are worth a look in fantasy drafts? - R. Fletcher (via Facebook)

M.F.: The first answer is obvious - that's Danny Amendola (aka the new Wes Welker). After that you're looking at a pair of rookie wideouts in Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson. Both have made some noise in training camp, and both are now worth a late-round look in all drafts. Thompkins, who has been the best wideout in camp aside from Amendola, is a player to watch in the weeks to come. With Tom Brady throwing him the football, the undrafted Cincinnati product has some definite deep sleeper appeal.

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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