Why would someone draft a running back first overall, ahead of Michael Vick? He puts up 18-20 fantasy points on a bad day! -- Mikey_Os (via Twitter)
Michael Fabiano: Vick put up 18-20 fantasy points per game on a bad day last season, but that doesn't mean he's going to do it again. Sure, we utilize the previous year's performance to help determine a player's future value. But I find it hard to believe that Vick is going to average 28 fantasy points per game again. Ever. He might not even average 18-20 a game. Remember when Tom Brady put up 52 total touchdowns back in 2007? He averaged 23.5 points, and that was during a historic season. Here's a few more things to keep in mind before you take Vick with the first overall pick. Not only did he average just 14.1 fantasy points in his final 46 regular-season starts with the Falcons, but his style of playing makes Vick more prone to injuries. There are also a glut of solid quarterbacks around the league, while featured running backs are much harder to find. So if you do take Vick or another quarterback with the top pick in a traditional 10- or 12-team snake draft, your chances of landing a reliable No. 1 runner will all but disappear.
I'm in a 12-team league where quarterbacks are rewarded one point for every 15 passing yards and six points for passing touchdowns. I'm expecting a big run on the position to open the draft, so would it make sense to target running backs and wide receivers in the first few rounds and wait on a quarterback like Matt Ryan? -- J. Law (via Facebook)
M.F.: In a league where the scoring system favors a certain position, in this case quarterbacks, I would keep close tabs on the flow of the draft. If there is a huge run on the position and a superstar like Chris Johnson or Arian Foster falls into the middle of the first round, for example, I think you have to go after a non-quarterback. Overall, I would likely wait to take a signal-caller due to the number of good players available at that spot and the lack of featured runners. Remember, someone like Ryan, Matt Schaub and Josh Freeman, who aren't considered elite options but can put up solid numbers, will also benefit from the league's scoring system. And while everyone else is drafting Vick, Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, you'll be able to grab some of the top-tier players at the other important skill positions.
Is Jermichael Finley still a top-five tight end, or do his injury problems send him further down the pecking order on draft day? -- JCarroll1987 (via Twitter)
M.F.: The injuries he's suffered in the last two years have made him a bit of a risk-reward option, but I still believe Finley is one of the five best tight ends in fantasy football. His statistical upside is immense at the age of 24, and his troublesome knee is back at 100 percent, according to a recent post on his Twitter page. With Donald Driver aging and James Jones unlikely to return, Finley will be a popular option for Rodgers in Green Bay's explosive pass attack. If he can stay on the field for 14-plus games, Finley could easily put up around 800 yards and five to seven touchdowns.
What do you see happening with Arizona's backfield this season? Who will have more value: Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells? -- ffblife (via Twitter)
M.F.: Interestingly enough, I had this exact conversation with Kurt Warner earlier in the week. The answer has much to do with the team's use of Tim Hightower and Wells. There have been rumors Arizona could trade one of these backs, though Wells would likely garner more attention (and value) due to his age and upside. Who knows, Wells could end up being part of the rumored deal that includes the Eagles and Kevin Kolb. As it stands, I think Williams is the player in this backfield to target. He's an explosive runner with good hands and could land the early-down role for coach Ken Whisenhunt. But as with numerous situations around the NFL, true values will be hard to determine until after the lockout ends.
Will Austin Collie be a top-15 fantasy receiver in PPR formats this season? -- aphendri (via Twitter)
M.F.: If you remember back to the first few weeks of last season, Collie was one of the leading point scorers at his position. In fact, he produced a combined 32 catches for 359 yards with four touchdowns in his first three games and was on pace to record better than 1,300 yards and double-digit scores after Week 6. Of course, concussion problems cost him numerous games down the stretch and a chance to finish among the best players at his position. So while he has the potential to be a top-15 wideout, that's a difficult goal to accomplish with the likes of Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon all in the mix for targets in the Colts' pass attack. You also have to wonder about his proneness to concussions, which will drive his value in drafts down to that of a potential middle-round selection.
What sort of numbers do you predict for Peyton Hillis this year, and in what round would you draft him? -- DCers (via Twitter)
M.F.: I think Hillis can post around 1,000 rushing yards and eight to 10 touchdowns, but I don't see him being the complete stat-sheet stuffer he was in 2010. Montario Hardesty will be back in the mix and should see his share of the carries, and the Browns could also add another back to come in and serve as a change-of-pace or third-down option. As a result, it's unlikely that Hillis will reach the 331 touches he received last season. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he was more in the 250-touch range -- assuming Hardesty plays a full season and Hillis avoids the dreaded "Madden" curse. Overall I'd take the Browns runner as a No. 2 fantasy back.
How will Brandon Jacobs' role be impacted if the Giants lose Ahmad Bradshaw to free agency? -- Tophinator331 (via Twitter)
M.F.: Clearly, the absence of Bradshaw would put Jacobs in a more prominent role both on the field and in fantasy football. However, I would also assume that the Giants would add another running back into the mix in an effort to replace at least some of Bradshaw's production. At this point, backs like D.J. Ware and Da'Rei Scott would be the best options behind Jacobs if he were to top the depth chart. In a best-case scenario for Jacobs' value, he'll be a viable No. 2 fantasy runner. But I do find it hard to believe that the G-Men won't do whatever it takes to retain Bradshaw once player movement is allowed.
What round would you consider drafting a tight end? Also, should Antonio Gates be treated like a wide receiver in terms of his draft position? -- FarjadCK (via Twitter)
M.F.: When to select a tight end all depends on the flow of the draft. If I can land someone like Jason Witten, Finley or Vernon Davis in Rounds 5-6, I would certainly consider the move. But if I miss out on the elite players at the position, I would then sit back and wait a few more rounds before going after someone like Chris Cooley, Zach Miller or Owen Daniels. As for Gates, he's going to be drafted in Round 4-5 in most formats. That puts him in the area where some of the borderline No. 1 or 2 fantasy wideouts will come off the board. So to that end, Gates will be treated like a wide receiver. But if you do go after him, you'll have a stud tight end but will likely take a hit at your No. 2 wideout spot.
This is my first season playing fantasy football. What is your No. 1 strategy for the draft? -- MacFistycuffs (via Twitter)
M.F.: Because of how deep the position has become in recent years, don't feel the need to take a quarterback in the first few rounds. Instead, go after featured running backs, wide receivers and even an elite tight end before targeting a signal-caller. That would be my best piece of draft advice -- don't take a quarterback until the middle rounds unless someone like Peyton Manning or Drew Brees slides to the point where you simply can't pass on them. Following the flow of the draft is also important, so sometimes it's better to target the best player available if a good player falls for some reason. Also, remember that you should never draft a kicker until the final round. It even makes sense to wait on taking a defense, unless the league's scoring system heavily favors the position. Even in that case, I wouldn't go after one until the late rounds due to the unpredictable value of defensive units.
M.F.: I'd definitely target Mendenhall and McCoy in an effort to cement what should be a terrific backfield. The third keeper is Jackson, based on his age, upside and the offense he plays in under coach Andy Reid. Sure, Wayne is a nice keeper as well. But as he gets closer to his 33rd birthday, I wonder how many more big statistical seasons he has left in the tank. Jackson, on the other hand, is only 24 years old and has a lot of long-term value in fantasy land.