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Peterson, Forte on the minds of owners as fantasy season nears

I'm in a 10-team PPR keeper league. We can retain two players, but no more than one per position. I have both Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson and have been offered the No. 4 overall pick in our draft for A.P. and my first pick in the second round (No. 11 overall). If I made the deal, I'd have Forte along with the No. 4 and No. 10 overall picks (both first rounders). Is this a good deal or should I retain Peterson? -- G. Haskell, Denver, Colo.

Michael Fabiano: Because of the PPR format, I would make this trade. I still think Peterson is the consensus No. 1 overall pick in all fantasy leagues, but there's not a huge downgrade to Forte. In fact, the Bears running back had more fantasy points than Peterson in PPR leagues last season. The move gives you a solid No. 1 back and two picks in the first 10 selections, which is a huge advantage in a keeper league. I'd go after another running back to pair with Forte and a superstar No. 1 wide receiver with those first two re-draft selections.

Hey Mike, I'm in a 10-team league with standard scoring (non-PPR) that requires two keepers. I kept Tom Brady and LaDainian Tomlinson last season, and both fell short of expectations. This season I have Brady, Matt Forte, Tomlinson and Larry Fitzgerald. I have been leaning toward keeping Brady and Forte. Who do you think I should retain? -- G. Kremer, Minneapolis, Minn.

M.F.: I agree with your assessment of the situation and would retain Brady and Forte. While I don't expect the Patriots quarterback to duplicate his record-setting 2007 numbers, I do think he'll come back from his injured knee and have a very productive season. Forte is far younger and has much more keeper value than Tomlinson, who enters this season at the age of 30. With Brady and Forte on your roster, I would target a second running back and two wide receivers in the first three rounds of the re-draft. If you have a favorable draft position in the first round, you might even be able to re-acquire Fitzgerald or another wideout who's close in overall value.

I'm in a 12-team keeper league and can retain one of Ronnie Brown (Round 2), Brandon Jacobs (Round 7), Tony Romo (Round 8) and Darren Sproles (Round 16). I lose the round of the player I retain. Who would you keep? -- N. Lowe, U.S. Navy

M.F.: First off, I want to thank you for your service to our country. You guys are the real heroes in the world! To answer your question, I would retain Jacobs, a surefire first- or second-round selection in all seasonal drafts, in exchange for a seventh-round pick. Jacobs does tend to get nicked up at times, so make sure to target Ahmad Bradshaw as a handcuff in the middle rounds of the re-draft.

I feel I have assembled a pretty good team this season, mostly through previous trades. I have Tom Brady at quarterback, Frank Gore, Maurice Jones-Drew, Knowshon Moreno, Clinton Portis and Kevin Smith at running back, Dwayne Bowe, Brandon Marshall and Roddy White at wide receiver, Tony Gonzalez and Zach Miller at tight end, Rob Bironas at kicker and the Vikings defense. I feel I can trade Moreno and Smith for another wide receiver, but who do you think I should target? Or do you think I should take a different approach? -- S. Cassidy, Ireland

M.F.: You've definitely put together a very strong team, and I think it makes sense to make additional deals from your depth in an effort to improve your roster even further. I'm always one to go after the best players in a trade, so I'd examine the other teams in your league and see who could use an upgrade at running back and has a star wide receiver. For example, make an offer of Moreno and one of Bowe or Marshall in an attempt to land an elite wideout like Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson or Randy Moss. It never hurts to trade two very good players for one elite player when you have the depth to make up for the lost roster spot. Remember, always be an aggressive general manager.

Hi Mike, I'm in a 10-team league and have the No. 4 overall pick in a serpentine draft. I want to pick one of the top four backs (Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner) in the first round, but I am worried about what kind of wide receiver I will get in Round 2 (No. 17 overall pick). Who do you think I could get there? Should I grab a quarterback in the second round instead? Thanks! -- J. Capece, Rhode Island

M.F.: I would certainly target one of those four runners in the first round, and don't be concerned with not being able to land a star wideout in Round 2. Because you're in a smaller league, I think you'll have no problem getting one of the top five fantasy receivers (Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith). Much depends on the flow of the draft of course, but you should be fine unless it's a PPR league. Even still, I think one of those five wideouts will be on the board when you're up in the second round.

Kurt Warner is my starting quarterback for this season. Considering his age and the talent around him, I drafted Matt Leinart as a sort of handcuff in the late rounds. Do you think he can make a major fantasy impact if Warner misses time, or should I drop him for Jake Delhomme, David Garrard or Chad Pennington? -- R. Mann, Indiana

M.F.: I've never really been one to handcuff a quarterback, so I would drop Leinart and add Pennington. Garrard has a difficult matchup against the Titans in Warner's bye week, and Delhomme is also on a bye in Week 4. However, if you're in a larger league with deeper rosters or you have an expendable second tight end, second kicker or second defense, I would hold onto Leinart. If that's the case, you can still add Pennington without losing Leinart as a security blanket. While I doubt he'd make the same sort of impact as Warner, Leinart would become a viable fantasy option based on Arizona's talent on offense in the event that Warner went down with a long-term ailment.

I play in a standard 12-team (non-PPR) keeper league and need to retain one quarterback from Tony Romo (Round 7), Philip Rivers (Round 8) and Kurt Warner (Round 16). I lose the round of the player I retain. Who should I keep? -- J. Bowles, Clarksville, Tenn.

M.F.: All three quarterbacks are good values based on the rounds you'd lose, but I'd keep Rivers and throw Romo and Warner back into the pool of available players. Rivers, 27, is coming off a breakout season and will be a nice bargain for an eighth-round selection. Just imagine the numbers he'll put up in the future once LaDainian Tomlinson slows down in his 30s. Warner, who enters this season at the ripe old age of 38, is less attractive (for obvious reasons) in this keeper format.

I'm in a 12-team keeper league that allows you to retain two players. We are required to start one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one flex player (RB or WR), one tight end, one kicker, one defense, one linebacker and one cornerback. The top three players on my team are Marion Barber, Chris Johnson and Reggie Wayne. Originally, my plan was to keep Barber and Wayne. Now I am thinking of retaining Barber and Johnson instead. What are your thoughts? -- F. Kovacs, Miami, Fla.

M.F.: I think you're right on the mark with Barber and Johnson. Both running backs have first-round value in all leagues and will make up a very solid backfield. I also believe you'll have a very good chance to re-acquire Wayne (or another wideout of his caliber) in the first round of the re-draft. You should also target a quarterback and a second wide receiver in the following two rounds.

Hey Mike, I'm in a 12-team keeper league. I can retain up to two players, but they count as my first- and second-round choices in the re-draft. I plan to keep Matt Forte, but I'm not sure if I should also retain Frank Gore or Anquan Boldin. I can also wait to see who I can get with the No. 5 pick of the second round (including keepers). Thanks! -- M. Walker, Indianapolis, Ind.

M.F.: If you're able wait to see who will be available with the No. 5 overall selection in the re-draft, then it makes all the sense in the world to do that in an effort to make the most educated decision. However, I'd be shocked if there's a back on the board with more value than Gore. The 49ers plan to use a run-based offense under new coordinator Jimmy Raye, and Gore should benefit. If he can avoids injuries, which has been a slight problem in the past, Gore should post 1,500-1,700 scrimmage yards and seven to nine total touchdowns.

I need to choose between Brandon Marshall and Roddy White for my third keeper. Marshall seems to be more physically gifted with more upside and downside, while White seems to have reached his potential in Atlanta. What do you think? -- P. Gleesing, Seattle, Wash.

M.F.: I'd keep White over Marshall based on a few factors. First, White has a much better situation at the quarterback position in Atlanta, where he's gained a tremendous rapport with Matt Ryan. Second, Marshall's off-the-field issues makes him less attractive in keeper and dynasty leagues. If the Broncos have reservations about locking him up to a long-term contract, then you should too. There's also a chance that Marshall gets traded, possibly to the Ravens, so his future is a little less certain than White at this point in their careers.

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