I'm in a PPR league that drafts in a few weeks, so I've been reading everything I can find. However, all of the current mock drafts and player rankings pertain only to non-PPR leagues. If you were drafting in a PPR format, who would be your top 10 picks at quarterback, running back and wide receiver? -- J. Rohrer, Harrisonburg, Va.
Michael Fabiano: NFL.com's updated and comprehensive draft kit for the 2009 season includes an experts league PPR draft that can be a helpful tool in determining value in such a format. Quarterback rankings won't change in a PPR league, so my top 10 remains 1. Drew Brees; 2. Tom Brady; 3. Peyton Manning; 4. Philip Rivers; 5. Aaron Rodgers; 6. Kurt Warner; 7. Tony Romo; 8. Matt Ryan; 9. Jay Cutler; 10. Donovan McNabb. At running back, I'd still take Adrian Peterson first, especially now that Brett Favre is under center. My 2-10 is as follows: 2. Matt Forte; 3. Maurice Jones-Drew; 4. Chris Johnson; 5. Michael Turner; 6. Steven Jackson; 7. LaDainian Tomlinson; 8. DeAngelo Williams; 9. Brian Westbrook; 10. Steve Slaton. At wide receiver, the top 10 looks like this: 1. Larry Fitzgerald; 2. Andre Johnson; 3. Randy Moss; 4. Calvin Johnson; 5. Steve Smith; 6. Reggie Wayne; 7. Roddy White; 8. Greg Jennings; 9. Anquan Boldin; 10. Wes Welker.
M.F.: Honestly, I'd be looking to make an upgrade at the position. I'm not sold on Cassel, whose play has reportedly "slipped" since the start of training camp according to the Kansas City Star. Over the last two weeks, he's turned the football over too much in practice. Coach Todd Haley, when asked who the best quarterback has been in camp, replied "I think I'll hold out on answering that right now." Hmmm. While I do like Edwards as a sleeper (as long as Terrell Owens' toe ailment isn't too serious), I don't think this duo can lead you to a fantasy championship.
Hey Mike, your advice has singlehandedly helped me win my league the last few years. I am thinking of trading Brandon Jacobs and Greg Jennings for Michael Turner and Anthony Gonzalez, but I'm worried of the "Curse of 370". What do you think? -- D. Siligmueller, Chicago, Ill.
M.F.: Glad to help you win a title. In terms of the trade, I wouldn't not make it based on concern over Turner's workload. As I mentioned in a recent edition of the fantasy notebook, Turner has the advantage of not having had a monster workload while a member of the Chargers. You also have to temper your expectations of him this season, especially if coach Mike Smith decreases his total number of carries to around 300-325. Overall, though, I wouldn't make this trade. While I like Gonzalez as a sleeper, I think Jennings is a much better wideout. And based on Jacobs' potential to put up big touchdown numbers as the main man in the Giants backfield, I'd stick with Jacobs and Jennings.
Who are your top five team defenses and individual defensive players? We are a defensive-heavy league that rewards four points for sacks and interceptions, two points for tackles and passes defensed and one point for assisted tackles. I just picked up D'Qwell Jackson from the Browns, thinking that defense will be on the field a lot. Please give your top picks in order. Thanks! -- S. Doxtader, Deer Park, Texas
M.F.: First off, I like the addition of Jackson. Coach Eric Mangini's 3-4 defense is very reliant on the inside linebacker, and the presence of Shaun Rogers in the interior line will continue to help free up Jackson to make some noise. The top overall options in an IDP league that include your scoring system are Patrick Willis, Jonathan Vilma, Jon Beason, Jackson and Barrett Ruud. You also have to like Ray Lewis, David Harris, DeMeco Ryans, Kirk Morrison and London Fletcher in this format. In term of total defensive units, the top options are 1. Steelers; 2. Giants; 3. Vikings; 4. Ravens; 5. Jets.
Michael, I'm in a 12-team standard scoring league. I drafted ninth overall and have DeAngelo Williams, Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith (CAR), Pierre Thomas, Darren McFadden, Carson Palmer, Bernard Berrian, Kellen Winslow, Matt Hasselbeck, John Carlson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Chaz Schilens, John Kasay and the Patriots defense. Do you see any particular areas where I could improve my team? -- K. Walker, Little Rock, Ark.
M.F.: If Palmer can avoid injuries and be the quarterback he was before last season, this team should be extremely competitive. I like Thomas and McFadden behind Williams, and your wide receivers and tight ends are solid. Winslow should catch 60-70 passes in Tampa Bay, assuming of course he can stay out of the trainer's room. Also, Schilens was a tremendous sleeper pick in fantasy circles before he injured his foot in practice. The Raiders haven't given him a concrete timetable, but injuries like that can be hard to overcome in a short period of time. In fact, I'd be shocked if Schilens were back in time for Week 1. Overall, I think you did well. Good luck!
Hi Mike, what's up with Jonathan Stewart? I drafted him as my No. 3 fantasy running back, but now I hear he's missed six consecutive practices. Should I start looking for other players? -- J. Cops, Green Bay, Wis.
M.F.: Stewart continues to deal with a sore Achilles' tendon that has kept him out of preseason games and recent practices. Reports indicate that the ailment needs rest to heal, but the fact that Stewart has been mostly inactive is cause for some concern. If he can't practice and remains out of preseason contests, Stewart will start to slip on rank lists and in drafts. I wouldn't release him -- he has too much potential to do that -- but you really need to monitor Stewart's status in the weeks to come.
I'm in a 10-team league with a snake draft that is based on last year's final standings. I have the third choice of where I want to draft. I would be happy with Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew or even LaDainian Tomlinson. Do I take the third pick or the fifth pick, which should give me a better chance at an elite wide receiver in the second round? -- D. Braman, Grand Rapids, Mich.
M.F.: I have been in around 15 drafts since April (yes, I held a draft that long ago), so I've been in almost every single spot from the first pick to the last pick. In that time, I've learned that I'd much rather be smack dab in the middle (or as close to the middle as possible) in each round. Here's the catch in your case, though. In a 10-team league, you can take third overall pick and still get a strong wide receiver in Round 2. Assuming you'd be able to land Adrian Peterson, Forte or Jones-Drew with that third pick, I'd prefer that position in the draft. It's hard to predict the flow of a draft, but again I would guess someone like Calvin Johnson or Steve Smith should still be available with that second-round selection.
Hey Mike, I trust your judgment in fantasy football and want to hear your opinion. I'm in a 12-team PPR keeper league with Adrian Peterson being my keeper. I would like to get a stud wide receiver in the second round, and the best options available to me will be Greg Jennings, Calvin Johnson, Roddy White and Reggie Wayne. Who would you pick? Thanks man. I appreciate all the advice. -- J. Daley, Houston, Texas/p>
M.F.: I think you have to go with Johnson out of the four wideouts you've mentioned. Even without a reliable quarterback under center, the man called "Megatron" still finished last season with 78 receptions, 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns. Regardless of who winds up at the helm of the offense between Daunte Culpepper and Matthew Stafford (who looked great in his preseason debut), Johnson will be a huge part of the pass attack. The Georgia Tech product might actually be the most talented wide receiver in the entire league. Barring setbacks in his recovery from a sprained thumb (which seems minor), I'd look for Johnson to be a superstar once again in 2009.
In our league, we play with a team quarterback rather than an individual quarterback. Does this option change the ranking of any quarterbacks in your opinion? -- J. Clugston, San Diego, Calif.
M.F.: I'm not sure the status of a team's backup quarterback will greatly affect the value of some of the top-tier players at that position. Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning all have questionable options behind them on the depth chart. The same holds true of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan, but that's not enough for me to pass on them in drafts.
The status of the backup quarterback could make a difference in selection of players with similar value like Jay Cutler and Tony Romo. Romo has the advantage of Jon Kitna behind him while Cutler has the untested and inexperienced Caleb Hanie. What's more, the addition of Michael Vick helps the value of Donovan McNabb. Overall though, I wouldn't be passing on one of the better quarterbacks in fantasy football because his immediate backup isn't up to par. That seems to be the case on more teams than not.
I'm in a 14-team league with a snake draft, and quarterbacks receive six points for each touchdown pass. I have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and my initial thought was to draft Adrian Peterson. I have read your blogs about drafting quarterbacks in the first round, and I must say that I agree. However, with Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning all available and a very long time between my first and second pick, not to mention the scoring system, should I pass on Peterson and take a quarterback? Thanks! -- J.M. Cowart, Key West, Fla.
M.F.: I think you're much more likely to get a good starting quarterback with your second- or third-round pick than an elite running back, so I'd stick with your initial thought and take Peterson. The best runner in fantasy football just got a little better with the presence of Brett Favre, who will keep defenses much more honest than either Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson. I also think Peterson is the more reliable back in fantasy circles -- he's the lone player at his position to finish in the top five in fantasy points on NFL.com in each of the last two seasons. Finally, I think A.P. will post a career-best in touchdowns (around 15) in an offense that should score points.