I'm in a 12-team keeper league and need to retain two players for next season. Arian Foster seems like a no-brainer, but I have a hard choice between Hakeem Nicks, Greg Jennings and Vincent Jackson as my second keeper. Who do you believe will have the best 2011 campaign? -- M. Cardwell, Austin, Texas
Michael Fabiano: I would agree that Foster is the best keeper of the bunch, and I'd retain Nicks as well. While Jennings scored more fantasy points last season, Nicks would have surpassed him had he not missed three games due to injuries. If he can avoid the trainer's room in 2011, I wouldn't be at all shocked to see Nicks become the top-scoring wide receiver in fantasy football. Based on his age and upside alone, he's clearly a tremendous keeper option.
I've seen reports that Mark Ingram could end up in either New England or Miami, but would either situation make him a No. 2 fantasy running back? Where would he have the most value overall? -- wildbill0962 (via Twitter)
M.F.: From a fantasy perspective, the best place for Ingram to land is with the Dolphins. With Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams potentially out of the mix, the rookie would assume the featured backfield role in an offense that will continue to lean on the run. If he landed with the Patriots, Ingram would have a legitimate chance to start in his first year. However, a potential committee with Benjarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead would loom. While it's unlikely that he'll land with one of the following two teams, Ingram would also be a nice fit for the Colts and Redskins. Joseph Addai is a free agent and Donald Brown hasn't shown much at the NFL level, so Ingram could come right in and produce with the Colts. Based on his skills as a blocker, he'd be a perfect fit in an offense that holds protecting Peyton Manning in the utmost importance. I can also see Ingram making an immediate as a member of the Redskins, who have the brittle Ryan Torain and very little else in their current backfield.
I'm in an eight-team PPR league. Who should be the first tight end selected, and in what round should that tight end be drafted? -- dyegendorf (via Twitter)
M.F.: I would be surprised if Antonio Gates weren't the first tight selected in almost every fantasy draft. He was on pace to have an historic statistical season in 2010, but foot problems caused him to miss six games and ultimately landed him on injured reserve. He should be back at 100 percent for 2011, however, and I'd expect him to come off the board in Rounds 4-5 in most standard fantasy drafts. In an eight-team format, Gates could last until the seventh round.
Do you think Darren McFadden is worth a first-round pick in fantasy drafts after his successful 2010 season? -- RaiderFREAK86 (via Twitter)
M.F.: I'll answer this question with a quick stat. If McFadden had played a full 16 games last season, he would have been projected to score more fantasy points than every running back except Foster. Of course, the word if stand out there like a sore thumb. McFadden hasn't played more than 13 games in a single season as a pro, which makes him quite the risk-reward pick. With that said, I do see the Raiders runner as a late first-round selection. Despite his lack of durability, the upside he has is nothing short of monstrous. In the event that you do draft McFadden over the summer, it will be imperative to handcuff him with Michael Bush in the middle to late rounds.
M.F.: Graham is going to be one of the biggest fantasy sleepers at the tight end position next season. In fact, he's currently ranked No. 10 at his position on NFL.com, on the same tier as players like Brandon Pettigrew, Rob Gronkowski and veteran Tony Gonzalez. But while the upside is clearly there for Graham to produce now that Jeremy Shockey is out of the mix, I still wouldn't reach for him too soon. So if you don't land an elite tight end like Gates, Dallas Clark or Jason Witten and want to target the position in the middle to late rounds, Graham makes sense at that point.
Does Green-Ellis have any keeper value as the No. 1 running back in New England? -- wichedpatsfan (via Twitter)
M.F.: Green-Ellis' value in seasonal and keeper leagues all depends on what the Patriots do with their backfield. As I mentioned earlier, there have been reports that the team will take a hard look at Ingram if he slips out of the first round in the NFL Draft. Furthermore, the P-Men have already hosted a number of rookie running backs and are clearly looking to make a move at the position. That's bad news for Green-Ellis, who will almost certainly lose carries in 2011. With that said, I don't see the "Law Firm" as much of a keeper option. Unless he remains the top backfield option, Green-Ellis will slide in seasonal leagues as well.
M.F.: I like Romo's fantasy prospects for next season, but he's not worth the second-round price tag. He'll be more of a fourth or fifth rounder in drafts. I also think Stafford could have a breakout year for the Lions, but I don't like him for a seventh rounder based on his proneness to injuries at the NFL level. That narrows the decision down to the player I would retain, Roethlisberger. He was a solid quarterback for owners in 2010, averaging better than 17 fantasy points in his 12 starts. If you project that average over a full season, Roethlisberger would have outscored Drew Brees and finished a mere two points behind Philip Rivers. The Steelers field general has also expressed a desire to throw the football more often, and at 29 is still has plenty of productive seasons in his future.
M.F.: The decision to retain Best is completely dependant on your alternative options. I'm not sure how much you would get in a trade after what was a mediocre rookie season, but it never hurts to put a player on the block and see what happens. Personally, I think Best could be a nice value pick in re-drafts next season. He's a playmaker with serious speed, and the Lions will utilize him as their featured back. Best will also be back at 100 percent after dealing with turf toe for much of 2010. If he's your best runner and you don't have a lot of studs overall, retaining Best makes sense. But if you have better options -- at least one of which is a running back -- then retaining Best might not be as attractive.
I'm in a non-PPR league and need to keep three players from Peyton Manning, Michael Turner, Matt Forte and McFadden. I'm thinking of keeping all three backs and hoping to take Manning with the No. 3 overall pick in the re-draft. What would you recommend? -- M. Roberts, Boise, Idaho
M.F.: This is a case of knowing your league and opponents. Will the two teams ahead of you in the re-draft retain a quarterback, making it more likely that you can drop Manning and re-acquire him? Or will those teams retain runners and wide receivers and look to take a quarterback in the first round? All things being equal, I would keep Manning, Turner and McFadden and look to acquire a stud wide receiver with the No. 3 overall selection. If there isn't an elite wideout available, Forte would make sense.
M.F.: I'd definitely make this move. Even without Graham, you're still in good shape at the tight end position with Gronkowski and Lewis. Crabtree hasn't made much of an impact in his first two NFL seasons, but the upside is still present. Depending on what the 49ers do with their quarterback situation this offseason, Crabtree could be a nice draft value in 2011. Entering his third year, which is when a number of wideouts have broken out historically, dealing for Crabtree is well worth a roll of the dice.