Under the right circumstances, Stewart could be a star

Who will have the best fantasy season in 2011 between LeGarrette Blount, Shonn Greene and Jonathan Stewart? -- dannyhall11 (via Twitter)

Michael Fabiano: I think all three have the potential to post breakout seasons, but I'd take Stewart, assuming the Panthers make him their true featured back and part ways with DeAngelo Williams. In fact, I think Stewart has the tools to become a top 10 fantasy runner in an offense that will continue to lean on the run with coach Ron Rivera at the helm. In the event that Williams remains in Carolina, however, I'd go with Blount as the best of this trio. His teammate, Kellen Winslow, told me in a recent interview that he thinks Blount has the talent to rush for 2,000 yards. That could be asking a lot, but it's clear that Blount has major potential.

Which running back will be the most fantasy relevant next season from these three teams: Colts, Packers, Saints? -- D. Collins (via Facebook)

M.F.: Assuming the Colts retain Joseph Addai, I think he'll be the most relevant from a fantasy perspective. His proneness to injuries will limit him to flex-starter value in most leagues, but he's clearly a better back than Donald Brown. The Packers should continue to start Ryan Grant, and I believe he'll lead the team in carries. However, James Starks is going to put a bigger dent into Grant's touches than Brandon Jackson did in the past. Regardless, that's a battle to watch. In New Orleans, I'd take the rookie, Mark Ingram, over Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush and Chris Ivory. Compared to Emmitt Smith for his all-around skill set, Ingram should see more work than his veteran teammates and is the Saints runner to target.

Hey Mike, I can retain three players but will lose the round that player was drafted in the previous year. I have to choose between Andre Johnson (Round 2), Roddy White (Round 3), Greg Jennings (Round 4), LeSean McCoy (Round 8) and Darren McFadden (Round 10). I'm leaning towards White, McCoy and McFadden. Thoughts? -- R. Bowman, Canada

M.F.: White is a nice value for a third-round pick, but I'd retain Johnson ahead of him. He's the top-rated wide receiver in fantasy football, and losing a second-rounder for him isn't a bad decision. I do agree with your assessment on the running backs, though, as McCoy and McFadden are both outstanding bargains based on the rounds you'll lose. In fact, there will be some drafts where all three players you'll retain are taken in the first round. With two backs and a superstar wideout in your stable, you should target a quarterback, another wide receiver and a tight end in the earlier rounds of the re-draft. You might even be able to re-acquire White in the first round if there isn't an elite signal-caller still on the board.

Which running back should I retain between Frank Gore and Ray Rice? -- kirksj3rks (via Twitter)

M.F.: I think you have to retain Rice, based on his age, versatile skill set and level of durability. Gore is around four years older than Rice, and he hasn't been able to start a full 16 games since 2006. If the Ravens decide to part ways with Willis McGahee, which could be likely at this point, Rice's stock would rise even further. He's the fifth-rated running back on NFL.com and provides added value in leagues that reward points for receptions.

Is it realistic to land Matt Ryan, Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Jennings in a seasonal draft? -- YellowcardMitch (via Twitter)

M.F.: I think you can have a team that includes Ryan, Jennings and one of the two running backs, but landing Peterson and Charles in the same backfield is going to be nearly impossible -- those two runners are likely to be taken in the top five in countless drafts. In fact, Peterson is the No. 1 overall player on NFL.com Fantasy while Charles has moved up to No. 4. Jennings will be a second- or third-rounder, while Ryan will be on the board in the middle stanzas.

I need to keep one player from Arian Foster or Chris Johnson. Thoughts? -- Sport_Fanatic (via Twitter)

M.F.: Johnson has the better track record and a longer run of consistently strong production, so I think he's the player to retain. He has finished in the top 12 in fantasy points among running backs in three straight seasons, including top-five finishes in each of the last two years. Sure, Foster is coming off a career season that saw him lead the world in points. But can he do it for a second consecutive season? That remains to be seen. CJ2K is young, explosive and the safer keeper between the two running backs.

Would it be wise to pass on a quarterback in the first several rounds and pick up two matchup-based starters, like Jay Cutler and Sam Bradford, to use each week? -- E. Delaney, England

M.F.: I don't have any problem with that sort of strategy. In fact, the immense depth at the quarterback makes it easier for owners to focus on running backs and wideouts in the first few rounds and still land a nice signal-caller in the middle stanzas. Remember, the increase in backfields-by-committee has decreased the number of runners owners can lean on week in and week out, so the first round should be littered with backs. Of course, you always have to follow the flow of the draft -- if a bunch of quarterbacks go flying off the board in the first few rounds, you might very well have to alter your original strategy in order to "keep up with the Joneses." Regardless, I still think you can get a breakout candidate like Matthew Stafford as well as a sleeper like Bradford on your roster without reaching.

What sort of value will Vincent Jackson have this season, assuming he remains with the Chargers? Would you keep him ahead of Brandon Lloyd? -- C. Peterson, Boston, Mass.

M.F.: Jackson is the No. 10 wideout on NFL.com Fantasy, and there's little reason to believe he won't re-emerge into an outstanding option in 2011. Not only does he have a great rapport with Philip Rivers, but Jackson's statistical track record in his last two full seasons have him trending upward. To answer your second question, I would keep V-Jack ahead of Lloyd. Despite the fact that he finished as the highest-scoring fantasy wideout in 2010, Lloyd's chances of duplicating those totals are slim. In fact, I can see him experiencing a Muhsin Muhammad-type fall based on the numbers. In 2004, Muhammad finished first in fantasy points at his position with an impressive 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns. He went on to finish with 750 yards and four touchdowns the following season.

Will Peyton Hillis be able to duplicate his 2010 totals, and what round would you draft him in? -- bwomac (via Twitter)

M.F.: Much like Lloyd, I don't see Hillis repeating his numbers from a season ago. That's not to say that he'll be a complete bust, which I think is more likely in Lloyd's case, but the new "Madden" cover boy will lose work to Montario Hardesty. The imminent loss of opportunities is enough to hurt Hillis' stock alone. And for those of you who think the curse of the Madden cover is real, well, you won't want anything to do with Hillis. I see Hillis coming off the board in the third or fourth round in most drafts.

How would you rank the following five tight ends: Kellen Winslow, Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Owen Daniels? -- M. Linke (via Facebook)

M.F.: Daniels is the best option of the players you listed -- he actually led the Texans with 36 targets over the final four weeks last season and will be back at 100 percent in 2011. Graham would be the next tight end I draft, followed by Gronkowski, Winslow and then Gonzalez. While the latter is a surefire Hall of Famer, his reception and yardage totals have dropped in each of the last three years. With Julio Jones now in Atlanta, Gonzalez could see at least a slight decrease in targets moving forward. You can see the complete list of tight end rankings here.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com. Have a burning question for Michael on anything fantasy football related? Send it to AskFabiano@nfl.com or tweet it at Michael_Fabiano!

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