Which breakout fantasy stars from last season will continue to do work in 2011? - bquartey (via Twitter)
Michael Fabiano: The two biggest breakout players of last season were Michael Vick and Arian Foster. And honestly, I'd be surprised if either one of them duplicates his immense 2010 totals. That's not to say that they won't put up good numbers, but it's very hard for a player to reach such statistical heights immediately following what I call the "magical" season. It has been proven in the past, whether it's been Shaun Alexander, Tom Brady, Chris Johnson or Ray Rice, that it's better to temper expectations in these situations. The players who broke out last season that I would be worried about in 2011, though, include Peyton Hillis, Brandon Lloyd and Dwayne Bowe.
Where would you rank Jimmy Graham now that Jeremy Shockey has been released? - scoopaharrison (via Twitter)
M.F.: I mentioned in my Tuesday blog that Graham is destined to be among the top fantasy sleepers of 2011, especially now that Shockey is out of the mix. He's been compared to Jermichael Finley for his skills and abilities, and it sure helps to have a superstar quarterback like Drew Brees throwing him the football. Currently, I have Graham ranked at No. 10 at his position, so he's well worth a middle- to late-round selection as a legitimate No. 1 tight end with solid potential.
M.F.: Clearly, all four players have major keeper value -- but I'd retain Rodgers and Johnson. No player has been more productive and reliable than Rodgers over the last three years -- he's finished no worse than second in fantasy points among quarterbacks in that time. C.J. remains a stud despite what some people consider a "down" season in 2010. I don't know about you, but finishing fifth in fantasy points at running back seems pretty solid to me. Sure, Foster was the top-scoring player in fantasy football this past season, but I think he has more downside based on his 2010 numbers. As I mentioned in an earlier answer, it will be tough for him to duplicate that level of statistical success.
M.F.: Based on the scoring system, I'd go with Rivers. Quarterbacks are always more valuable in leagues that reward points for touchdowns alone (for obvious reasons), so it would be tough to pass on Rivers since you don't have an elite running back as a potential keeper option. The Chargers signal-caller has scored no fewer than 29 total touchdowns in each of the last three seasons, and his prospects for the future are indeed positive. With Antonio Gates back at 100 percent and Vincent Jackson in the mix (he's been franchised by the team), Rivers has a chance to put up some huge totals in 2011. In the re-draft, be sure to target running backs and wide receivers in the earlier rounds.
Where do you see Tim Tebow being drafted next season? I see him as a middle-round selection. - WJC1073 (via Twitter)
M.F.: Based on recent reports, the middle rounds is far too soon to consider Tebow in a fantasy football draft. In fact, it looks like he's worth no more than a late-round look. I talked to NFL Network insider Michael Lombardi on Tuesday, and he was pretty adamant that the Broncos new regime wants to distance itself from Tebow. The Florida quarterback was drafted by former coach Josh McDaniels, not current head man John Fox, and all indications seem to point to Kyle Orton being the team's No. 1 quarterback. It might not be a popular decision among the millions of Tebow-ities, but it doesn't look like he'll have a chance to be fantasy relevant as long as he's playing in the Mile High City.
Who do you think will be the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy drafts next season -- Rodgers or Vick? - JorgeMessianu (via Twitter)
M.F.: It's a virtual guarantee that Rodgers or Vick will be the top pick in countless 2011 fantasy drafts, but I wouldn't take either one of them. In fact, I won't even consider a quarterback until the middle rounds. Instead, I'll target running backs (Adrian Peterson is the No. 1 player on NFL.com), wide receivers and a tight end in the first five rounds. With such a high number of quality quarterbacks around the league, it makes sense to use that depth in your draft strategy. Sure, having Rodgers or Vick is nice, but I'd rather field a pair of stud runners, two solid wideouts and a top-notch tight end. Once I have those positions filled, I'll grab someone like Ben Roethlisberger, Josh Freeman or Matt Schaub as my No. 1 signal-caller. You can also take guys like Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning or Matthew Stafford and play the weekly matchups.
Which Buccaneers players will be the most highly drafted in 2011? I'm thinking of targeting Freeman in the second or third round. - buccanate (via Twitter)
M.F.: The first member of the Buccaneers to be drafted is certain to be LeGarrette Blount, maybe as high as the third round. As for Freeman, I see him as more of a middle-round selection. He clearly has a ton of upside -- Freeman ranked seventh in fantasy points among quarterbacks in 2010 -- but there is a lot of depth at the position. As a result, taking him in the second or third round is a little too soon. Mike Williams will be drafted as a No. 2 fantasy wideout, though I do wonder if he'll suffer from a sophomore slump. Kellen Winslow and Arrelious Benn will also be taken in most drafts, while Connor Barth and the Buccaneers defense will come off the board in larger formats.
How will Pat Shurmur affect the value of Hillis? Will he go with a backfield committee of continue to feed the beast? - Ksigler2 (via Twitter)
M.F.: I have to admit, my enthusiasm for Hillis has dwindled. He was clearly gassed at the end of the year, as he failed to score double-digit fantasy points in each of his final five games. What's more, Montario Hardesty will be back in the fold next season. That means the potential for more of a committee approach could be imminent under Shurmur. I still think Hillis will lead the Browns in carries, but Hardesty is going to get some burn as well. So despite the fact that he finished in the top five in fantasy points at his position, I would consider Hillis more of a No. 2 back in 2011 drafts.
M.F.: The current state of the CBA has everyone in a holding pattern of sorts, but I'd be surprised if the Vikings didn't add a veteran quarterback at some point in the offseason. The two most likely candidates could be Donovan McNabb and Vince Young, but that's just speculation at this point. If Webb does open the season as the team's No. 1 quarterback, he'd have some late-round appeal in larger leagues. His skills as a scrambler helps his stock, but I don't see Webb making a huge impact.
M.F.: I'd hold onto Vick and Mendenhall. The Eagles quarterback likely won't find the same level of success in 2011 as he did last season, but that's doesn't mean he still won't produce at a high level. As much as I like McFadden, who has added value here due to the PPR format, his proneness to injuries makes him a bit less attractive than Mendenhall. The Steelers runner is coming off a huge statistical season and is one of the few featured backs left in the league.