The Manning saga will have major fantasy implications

What will Peyton Manning's value be if he lands in Arizona? What about Kevin Kolb? -- @ghostfrost (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: I would love to see Manning in a Cardinals uniform next season. Just think of the fantasy potential he would have in an offense that includes one of the league's elite wide receivers in Larry Fitzgerald! Think Kurt Warner, but better. Of course, all of this depends on Manning's health and whether or not the Colts decide to release him this offseason. Right now, I have Manning ranked ninth at the quarterback position for 2012. If this transition to the desert comes to fruition, he'll be moved up - that would also spell the end of Kolb's value.

What will Andrew Luck's fantasy value be if he's the Colts' No. 1 quarterback in 2012? -- O. Abuseif (via Facebook)

M.F.: Most of the reports floating around seem to suggest that Manning is as good as gone in Indianapolis. If that does in fact happen and the team takes Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in April's draft, the rookie will be valued as viable No. 2 fantasy quarterback. With the recent success of rookie signal-callers and the overall include in statistics at the position, some would even call Luck a sleeper. But there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before I can determine his true value. First off, what sort of weapons will Luck have at his disposal? Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are both slated to become free agents, Austin Collie disappeared without Manning, and Dallas Clark was a non-factor as well. The team's backfield is also a question mark. Joseph Addai will be 29 and once again proved he can't avoid the trainer's room, so Donald Brown could open next season as the starter. One thing is for sure -- Luck is one of the most talented quarterbacks to come out of the collegiate ranks maybe ever, and he'll be taken in all fantasy drafts, seasonal, keeper and dynasty.

If Jake Locker starts in Tennessee, will he be a top-12 fantasy quarterback? What about Sam Bradford? -- @BradBrookens (via Twitter)

M.F.: Locker is going to be a potential fantasy sleeper heading into 2012. He showed flashes of potential during his short stints under center as a rookie, and the Titans will no doubt allow him a chance to compete with Matt Hasselbeck. If he can secure the top spot on the depth chart, I do think Locker has top-12 upside and will be well worth a middle- to late-round look in drafts. As for Bradford, the addition of new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer means learning yet another system. What's more, the Rams need to add help on their line and some playmakers in the pass attack to give Bradford a chance to make a far bigger statistical impact. If these things happen, he'll have some sleeper appeal as well.

You have lost it, Fabiano. How can you not rank Adrian Peterson in the top 12 fantasy running backs? I'm not worried about his ACL, it's Adrian Peterson! -- B. Samuels (via Facebook)

M.F.: I didn't realize that Peterson was superhuman! In all seriousness, I don't see how I could rank A.D. in the top 12 running backs for 2012. Just look at the trend of players coming off major knee reconstruction (especially running backs). In almost every case, whether it's been Jamal Anderson, Terrell Davis, Edgerrin James, Ronnie Brown or Kevin Smith, statistical declines have been the norm. What makes Peterson even more of a risk is that he injured his knee so late in the season -- that leaves him at risk for the start of the 2012 campaign and a candidate to land on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. Sure, a lot can change between now and the start of training camps. But with Peterson's questionable status and talk of Toby Gerhart seeing an expanded role, well, there's no way A.D. should be ranked in the top 12 right now.

I'm in a league that rewards half a point for receptions and need to retain two players from Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Roddy White and Antonio Gates. McCoy seems like a lock. -- @TimLuelf (via Twitter)

M.F.: You're right, McCoy is a lock to be retained out of this list of players. The second player to retain is White, who remains one of the top wide receivers in all of fantasy football. The veteran finished seventh in fantasy points at his position, and the presence of Julio Jones didn't affect his opportunities in the Falcons pass attack. In fact, White led all wide receivers with 179 targets - that's the exact same number he recorded in 2010.

Let's assume that Robert Griffin III lands in either Cleveland or Washington. What round do you take him in a 10-team, seasonal league? -- V. Rinaldi (via Facebook)

M.F.: Wherever he lands, Griffin is likely going to be selected too high in seasonal leagues because people see him as the next Cam Newton. While he does have a similar skill set, I find it hard to believe that he'll post 4,000-plus passing yards, over 30 total touchdowns and finish in the top five in fantasy points -- all accomplishments of Newton. His potential alone, regardless of what team grabs him, makes Griffin worth a middle- to late-round selection. I'd just be sure to temper expectations. Consider him a legitimate No. 2 fantasy signal-caller with more value in dynasty formats.

Would you take a quarterback or a running back in the first round next season? -- @Donamore19 (via Twitter)

M.F.: That all depends on where I draft. If I have one of the top three overall picks, I'll take (in order): Arian Foster, McCoy and Ray Rice. If I'm at No. 4-6 and those three runners are off the board, that's when I'll select a quarterback (in order): Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady. Next I would roll with Maurice Jones-Drew, ahead of Matthew Stafford, Cam Newton and Calvin Johnson. If this were a 12-team draft, Ryan Mathews and Matt Forte would finish the round.

Do you expect Shonn Greene to have a breakout season in 2012? I would expect the Jets to run the ball much more with new OC Tony Sparano calling the shots. -- B. Bergantino (via Facebook)

M.F.: I've been waiting for Greene to break out for the last two seasons, and well, it hasn't happened to this point. While he did rush for a career-best 1,054 yards in 2011, the Iowa product finished with just six rushing touchdowns and ranked 18th in fantasy points at his position. Does Sparano's presence mean more of an emphasis on the run next season? Of course, and that's good news for Greene's fantasy appeal. I'd just wait and see what the Men in Green do in their backfield this offseason before trusting him as more than a No. 2 fantasy back.

I need to retain two players from A.J. Green (Round 9), Julio Jones (Round 10), Torrey Smith (Round 11) and Willis McGahee (Round 14). Thoughts? -- @russfisher (via Twitter)

M.F.: McGahee's age makes him the least attractive option of the four players you have mentioned. And as much as I like Smith's speed, upside and playmaking skills, I don't see him having the statistical upside of the two players you need to retain - Green or Jones. Both players are ultra-talented, and I don't see a sophomore slide with either of them. In fact, I think both of them will go over 1,000 yards and score eight-plus touchdowns in 2012. With age and potential on their side. Green and Jones will give you a nice one-two punch -- and you won't be losing a draft pick until Round 9.

I saw a report that Beanie Wells had knee surgery this week. How will that affect his fantasy value? I planned on keeping him for next season. -- M. Blaison (via Facebook)

M.F.: Darren Urban of the Cardinals official website tweeted that Wells' procedure was of the arthroscopic variety, so it seems likely that he'll be back at 100 percent in time for training camp. Barring setbacks, he could even be back for OTAs. The greater issue with Wells is the return of Ryan Williams, who missed his entire rookie season with a knee ailment of his own. If he's back and at full strength, a committee situation would be almost imminent. Wells would still be the lead back, the goal-line back and the better fantasy option, but Williams would no doubt see his share of work as a change-of-pace back. It's a situation to monitor.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!

  • Elliot Harrison NFL.com
  • Giants survive a shootout

My initial impression is Nerf football (i.e. both teams are going to put the ball up 50 times). Had the 49ers advanced, this game would have felt more like a chess match. But with the rules geared toward the passing game the way they are, I see Eli Manning and Tom Brady chucking the ball around the park all day. There will be no weather conditions inside of Lucas Oil Stadium, making it even more of an offensive game in an offensive year in a league totally supporting offense.

The Giants' front four gives them the advantage, at least from a two-weeks-out standpoint. Let's see how Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski's injury is healing before we make any hard and fast prognostications. That said, I'm leaning towards the streaking Giants in this one. For now.

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