Is the fantasy value of Tom Brady taking a hit this offseason? Both of his tight ends are coming off surgeries! - @TENTE51 (via Twitter)
Michael Fabiano: The answer to this question would be yes if it were a lesser quarterback. The Patriots have lost their two top wide receivers (Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd) from last season, and we all know about the question marks surrounding tight ends Rob Gronkowski (forearm) and Aaron Hernandez (shoulder). However, I still have Brady ranked third among signal-callers with just Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees ahead of him. With that said, I wouldn't blame fantasy owners who dropped Brady below the likes of Cam Newton and Peyton Manning -- I just wouldn't move him down too far. Assuming Danny Amendola can ease the loss of Welker and the pair of Gronkowski and Hernandez are ready in time for Week 1, Brady will still have more than enough talent around him to post solid fantasy numbers once again.
M.F.: Here's the thing about fantasy football -- it's a competitive, roller-coaster ride of emotions for 16 weeks if you're lucky enough to make it to your league's championship. Some people tend to forget, though, that it's also supposed to be fun. So if CJ2K is one of your favorite Titans' players and having him on your fantasy team will enhance your enjoyment, then I think you should take him ahead of Spiller. Of course, my unbiased opinion is that you should go with the Bills runner. He's coming off a huge season with over 1,700 scrimmage yards and 212.30 fantasy points, which helped him rank seventh at the position. Spiller also led all prominent running backs in fantasy points per touch, and he's certain to be utilized often under new coach Doug Marrone.
M.F.: McCoy and Richardson are the two most attractive options from the four players you have mentioned. Youth is more important in keeper leagues, so I think you have to release Manning, 37, back into the pool of available players. Considering the depth at quarterback, you should be able to draft a solid replacement, or even re-acquire Manning. That leaves the last keeper selection between Jones and Thomas. You can flip a coin between these two rising superstars, but I'd side with the former in this case. Jones still has plenty of upside in a Falcons offense that will score a ton of points, and the fact that he has Matt Ryan, 27, under center is a major advantage. Sure, Manning is an elite quarterback -- but how much longer will he remain in the NFL? Once he decides to retire, whether it's after one or two more seasons, Thomas will more than likely lose at least some of his fantasy appeal.
M.F.: Wilson had a tremendous rookie season and has seen his stock rise in fantasy land, but I don't see him being as valuable as Luck. The Stanford product had a pretty nice first pro season too, and he has the tools to emerge into one of the top quarterbacks in the National Football League. Furthermore, I think Luck can be a top-five fantasy signal-caller in 2013 and into the foreseeable future. He will be well worth a seventh-round pick; I wouldn't be surprised to see him come off the board as soon as Round 4 or 5 in countless re-drafts.
M.F.: One of the NFL's top wide receivers, Fitzgerald was considered a solid second-rounder in most 2012 drafts. After all, he had finished 5th (2007), 1st (2008), 5th (2009), 16th (2010) and 5th (2011) in fantasy points among wideouts before 2012. Unfortunately, he went on to finish outside of the top 40 in fantasy points at his position. That was largely due to a bumbling quarterback rotation that saw Kevin Kolb, John Skelton, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer all see snaps. Sure, Palmer might be past his prime at the age of 33, but he can still sling the football downfield. When you also consider that new coach Bruce Arians loves the vertical pass attack, it's hard to bet against Fitzgerald breaking back into the top 10 among fantasy wideouts in 2013.
M.F.: Honestly, I couldn't love this move any more from a fantasy standpoint. Jackson, who has rushed for 1,000-plus yards in eight straight seasons, is a virtual lock to reach that total again in his first run with the Falcons. Where I see his greatest increase in value is in the touchdown department. Over his last four years as a member of the St. Louis Rams, Jackson averaged fewer than five rushing touchdowns. Michael Turner, whom the Falcons released this offseason, rushed for no fewer than 10 touchdowns in each of his five campaigns with the franchise. The fact that he will be 30 when the 2013 season starts is a bit of a concern, but I still think Jackson can put up 1,200-plus rushing yards and somewhere in the neighborhood of eight scores.
I'm in a league that requires two starting quarterbacks, so how soon should I target the position in the draft? - @Shizark54 (via Twitter)
M.F.: I'm on record as saying that in standard leagues, I would wait to draft a quarterback until the fourth or fifth round, if not later. But that is in standard leagues, not leagues that require two starting quarterbacks. In those formats, the position will be far more prominent in the first four to five rounds. I still think you can wait a little longer to draft your second starter at the position, but I wouldn't wait more than a round or two to take your No. 1. It is also important to watch the flow of the draft in such formats, as your fellow owners are almost certain to start a run on signal-callers sooner than later.
M.F.: I don't think Boldin will hurt Crabtree's value or production next season. If anything, defenses will now have to keep tabs on another player in the Niners pass attack, along with Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis. One of the top wide receivers in fantasy football during the second half of last season, Crabtree has developed a tremendous rapport with Colin Kaepernick and is a good bet to at least duplicate the 1,105 yards and nine scores he recorded in 2012. I have him ranked 13th among fantasy wideouts on NFL.com.
M.F.: Rice saw declines in carries and total touches last season compared to his 2011 totals, and he still finished among the six-best running backs in fantasy football. So while there has been talk that he could lose some work to Pierce, I don't see this suddenly becoming some sort of backfield committee in Baltimore. In fact, I still have Rice rated as one of the top four players at his position for 2013. At 26 and still in the prime of his career, the Rutgers product has plenty left in his statistical tank.
M.F.: As much as I preach passing on quarterbacks in most seasonal drafts, it's still tough to pass on keeping the No. 1 player at the position in Rodgers. McFadden has all the talent in the world and is entering a contract year, but how many excuses are we going to make to justify drafting or keeping him? The bottom line here is simple -- the Raiders runner has never played in more than 13 games in a single season and has missed a combined 13 contests since 2011. You'll be in a much better position with Charles and Green, especially since this is a PPR league.