I'm in a keeper league and need to retain one player, but you lose the round that player was drafted. Two years ago, I drafted Jamaal Charles in the third round and kept him last season. I also landed Adrian Peterson in the first round in 2011, so now I have to decide which one to retain. It's a toss up, considering both are coming off injuries! -- @RyanBonura (via Twitter)
Michael Fabiano: This would have been a no-brainer before Peterson blew out his knee against the Redskins in Week 16. Now, with the potential for him to miss the start of the 2012 regular season, I find it hard to keep him for a first-round pick. Charles is also coming off an ACL reconstruction, but he went down in Week 2 and will have had far more time to recover. I wouldn't make a final decision on this now -- we need to see how Peterson's rehab progresses over the next several months -- but I'd be leaning towards Charles at this point. He'll have had more time to recover, he's younger than Peterson and losing a third-round pick to keep him makes more sense than missing out on a first-rounder to keep a player whose status is in question -- even one with Peterson's pro resume.
M.F.: To be honest, I don't see Manning's potential return having an effect on Luck's value. That's because Manning will, in all likelihood, be wearing a different uniform next season. I don't know if he'll end up in Arizona, Miami, Washington or someplace else, but I'd be surprised if he's still in Indianapolis. With that said, I see Luck as being the No. 1 overall selection in April's draft and worth a middle- to late-round selection in seasonal drafts. He'll also be one of the first two or three picks in dynasty leagues.
M.F.: I'm not sure how the relationship between Haley and Roethlisberger will be off the field, because Big Ben was close with former OC Bruce Arians. But from a fantasy perspective, it's hard not to like the fit. While he does like to run the football, Haley also believes in an aggressive pass attack that would utilize Roethlisberger's big arm, Mike Wallace's speed and Brown's playmaking skills. With that said, I have Roethlisberger ranked as a borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy quarterback and Brown as a No. 3 wideout.
Where would you draft DeMarco Murray next season? Is he worth a first-round pick? -- R. Haden (via Facebook)
M.F.: Murray possesses enormous statistical upside and has the tools to be a top-10 fantasy running back next season. Still, his proneness to injuries (both at the collegiate and pro levels) is a cause for concern. Remember, he missed the end of his rookie campaign with a broken ankle. And while all the news of his rehab has been positive to this point, I couldn't risk a first-round pick on him. Instead, I'd look for him to come off the board either in the late second round or somewhere in the third round in seasonal leagues.
If you had one of the first four picks in a re-draft league, would you go with a running back or a quarterback? -- @Max_Annnis (via Twitter)
M.F.: The first three players on my fantasy big board are Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Ray Rice, so if I have a top-three pick I would clearly take a running back. In the event that I have the No. 4 selection, however, I would switch gears and take Aaron Rodgers. While that goes against everything I have ever preached in the past when it comes to drafting in the first round, we are in a new day and age in fantasy football. With so many questions at running back, not to mention the rise of the quarterback, I can see as many as five signal-callers coming off the board in the first 10 selections.
I have a difficult situation in my PPR keeper league, as I have both Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson but can retain just one. I would lose a first-rounder for Rodgers or a third-rounder for Megatron. Quarterbacks are rewarded six points for all touchdowns so Rodgers is a superstar, but keeping Johnson seems like the better bargain. Thoughts?-- D. Carlisle (via Facebook)
M.F.:Megatron is the better bargain based on the rounds lost, but there's no chance I'm keeping him ahead of Rodgers -- especially in a league where touchdown passes are worth a full six points. Rodgers is not only ultra-productive, but he's also consistent. In fact, he's the lone quarterback to finish in the top two in fantasy points at his position in each of the past four seasons. Rodgers also scored 38.22 more fantasy points than Johnson did last season in PPR formats, and the Packers quarterback was held out of the regular-season finale against the Lions.
Besides Foster, McCoy, Rice and Jones-Drew, which running backs are worth first-round picks next season? -- @jscal29 (via Twitter)
M.F.: If you're in a 10-team league, I don't think there is one. In leagues with 12 teams, I'd have to include Ryan Mathews and Matt Forte as first-round selections. Let's look at some other candidates -- would you take Chris Johnson in the first round? It's close, but he's no lock. What about Marshawn Lynch? You might disagree, but I think he's a prime fantasy bust candidate. What about Charles? Maybe, but I just think there are far safer and more productive options at other positions.
I picked up Demaryius Thomas at the end of last season, and he was a huge reason I won my fantasy league. Where do you see him being drafted in 2012? Can he be a top-five fantasy wideout? -- B. Laverne (via Facebook)
M.F.: I think top five might be pushing it with a quarterback like Tim Tebow under center, but it wouldn't shock me at all to see Thomas finish in the top 10 in fantasy points at his position. Not only did he have a sparkling end to the 2011 campaign, but the Georgia Tech product is also entering his third NFL season. That's been the time when countless other wideouts in the history of the NFL have posted their first monster statistical season. At this point, I have Thomas ranked as a No. 2 fantasy wideout and worth a middle-round selection.
What is the value of Matt Flynn for next season, assuming he lands a starting role? -- @mrics23 (via Twitter)
M.F.: From a fantasy perspective, the best place for Flynn to land is Miami. He would be re-united with his former OC Joe Philbin, now the Dolphins head coach, so there's no need to learn a new offense. In that scenario, I would consider Flynn a potential sleeper in drafts. If he ends up elsewhere, however, I'd be worried that we're looking at another Kevin Kolb situation. Regardless, Flynn is not going to be viewed as a regular fantasy starter due to the overall depth at the position.
What do you expect from LeGarrette Blount? Will he put in the offseason work to improve as a pro? -- A. Santangelo (via Facebook)
M.F.: It's too soon to project Blount's value, because the Buccaneers should add help to their backfield this offseason. But if the 2011 campaign is an indication, it's apparent that Blount isn't a true featured back. If the team upgrades the position by taking Alabama's Trent Richardson in April's draft, then his fantasy stock would suffer "Blount"-force trauma. In the event that the team adds a free agent like Mike Tolbert, then Blount would remain atop the Bucs' depth chart but still incur a dent in his stock.