Who will score more fantasy points next season -- Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow? - @JCardinalGolf (via Twitter)
Michael Fabiano: Great question, and a tough one for me to answer based on how much I pumped up Tebow last season. At this point, I would have to side with Sanchez. Not only is he the incumbent starter, but the New York Jets also inked him to a huge contract extension this offseason. With that said, there is no way he's going to finish in the top 10 in fantasy points at his position again. Remember, he scored six rushing touchdowns in 2011. That isn't likely to happen again with Tebow now on the roster. I also think Tebow is going to end up starting a few games in 2012. After Sanchez has a poor game or two, the New York fans and media will be calling for Tebow to come off the sidelines and save the day. That's why I think Tebow has some deep-sleeper appeal in fantasy land.
M.F.: It's all about the track record for me. That's why I like Miles Austin over Dez Bryant in Dallas, Roddy White over Julio Jones in Atlanta, Greg Jennings over Jordy Nelson in Green Bay and Hakeem Nicks over Victor Cruz in New York. With that said, the gap between some of those wideouts is minimal, from a value perspective. Austin and Bryant are both No. 2 fantasy wideouts. White is a clear-cut No. 1, but I think Jones has the potential to reach that status in 2012. Jennings and Nicks, also surefire No. 1 wideouts, have the edge over Nelson and Cruz because of their NFL résumés. That's not to say Nelson and Cruz will be fantasy busts in 2012, but I do tend to err on the side of caution with players who post enormous numbers without ever having done so before.
M.F.:Fantasy owners have to keep this in mind when comparing RG3 to Newton -- what Newton accomplished last season has never been done by a rookie in the history of the NFL. And in fantasy, scoring just under 370 points as a first-year quarterback is ridiculous. Even if Griffin scores 250 fantasy points this season (120 fewer than Newton but around 40 more than Andy Dalton), that has to be considered a tremendous accomplishment. Overall, I consider Griffin a high-end No. 2 fantasy signal-caller with the upside to become a regular starter in most leagues.
What are your thoughts on Ben Roethlisberger for 2012? I see him having a bounce-back year. - P. Jacobs (via Facebook)
M.F.: I'm right there with you on that one. Roethlisberger's offensive line should be much better with the addition of rookie offensive linemen David DeCastro and Mike Adams, and the potential absence of Rashard Mendenhall for part of the season, at least to me, means more of an emphasis on the passing game. What's more, Roethlisberger told Rich Eisen that new offensive coordinator Todd Haley is "all about the no-huddle and using our wide receiver weapons" in 2012. Those weapons include the solid trio of Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, who should be 100 percent after having foot surgeries. Overall, Big Ben could turn into a great fantasy draft bargain in 2012.
Nice interview with Fred Jackson. Where would you take him in fantasy this year? - @TedWilliams (via Twitter)
M.F.: Thanks, Fred was a great guy to interview and he definitely knows about the passion of fantasy football owners. The one thing he said that stood out to me was that his injured leg didn't require a surgical procedure to fix. With time and rest, he's already 100 percent again and ready to roll. The best draft value in fantasy land last year before suffering the ailment, Jackson would be a top-10 option at his position had it not been for the emergence of C.J. Spiller down the stretch. Still, I have him ranked as a No. 2 fantasy back, with the expectation that Spiller will be used more often moving forward. Look for Jackson to come off the board somewhere in the fourth or fifth round.
M.F.: I'm on record as saying that Murray will break out in 2012. Sure, there are some concerns about his durability dating back to his college days. But the Oklahoma product has already proclaimed himself 100 percent recovered from last year's ankle injury and will enter his first full training camp atop the Cowboys depth chart. All things being equal, I see Murray as a third-round choice in most fantasy drafts. As for Bryant, I also like him to post his best season as a pro in 2012. He finished 20th in fantasy points among wide receivers last season, so a move into the top 10 or 15 isn't at all far-fetched. He has fifth- or sixth-round value.
M.F.: I don't think Peterson is worth a first-round pick in seasonal leagues. Or a second-round pick. Or a third-round pick. Before you start accusing me of being completely insane, take into consideration the difficult plight of running backs coming off ACL injuries. In most cases, the player just isn't the same in his first year back on the gridiron. With Peterson's ailment coming so late in the 2011 campaign as well, he's going to be even more of a risk in fantasy drafts. As it stands, I would feel comfortable grabbing Peterson in Round 4 while also targeting Toby Gerhart in the middle to late rounds as insurance.
If the differential between the top and bottom quarterbacks in the top 12 is smaller than the differential for the top 24 running backs and wide receivers, why not wait to pick a quarterback? - D. Humpage (via Facebook)
M.F.: You are absolutely spot-on with your assessment. In fact, I will no doubt end up going with running backs and wideouts in the first few rounds and waiting to take a quarterback in several 2012 drafts. But here is the difference in my approach. In the past, I all but eliminated the thought of taking a quarterback in the first few rounds. But we are now in an era where field generals are putting up huge numbers and countless running backs are falling into committee situations. So I can no longer pass on Aaron Rodgers in Round 1 if Arian Foster is off the board. I also won't avoid Tom Brady or Drew Brees if Foster, Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy are drafted first. Those players are just way too good to pass up for runners like Maurice Jones-Drew, Ryan Mathews or Chris Johnson. I even consider Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford worthy of first-round selections. But again, I wouldn't blame anyone who would rather wait to take a signal-caller until the middle rounds, based on how deep the position has become.
M.F.: I would. As I mentioned in yesterday's "Three and Out," I can't ignore the fact that Richardson will be one of the true featured backs in the NFL. Honestly, do you think Montario Hardesty, Brandon Jackson or Chris Ogbonnaya will put a huge dent into his touches? He was also graded as the best running back to come out of college since Peterson in 2007, which is high praise. I'm also not worried about the fact that he plays in the AFC North, as Peyton Hillis put up huge numbers in that division in 2010. Sure, there is some risk in drafting a rookie runner as your No. 1 back. But then again, players like Richardson don't come along often.
What is the best way to run a keeper league? Also, which draft style do you prefer? - B. Turpin (via Facebook)
M.F.: I've been playing in a keeper league with my friends from CBS Sports for years, and I like the process we utilize. Each owner can keep up to three players, but you lose the round in which the player was originally drafted. If you retain a player you grabbed off the waiver wire, that player would cost you a fourth-round pick. If you keep two waiver-wire players, you would lose as much as a fourth- and a fifth-round pick. We also have a two-year limit on how long you can retain a player. For example, I drafted Calvin Johnson in the second round back in 2009. I then retained him in 2010 and 2011, giving up a second-rounder each time. Now his two-year "contract" with me is up, so I can't keep him for this season. In terms of draft style, I have always liked the traditional serpentine or "snake" draft.