NFL fantasy mailbag: Supporting cast will make Foster a star again

Publish date:

Right now we're putting the finishing touches on the third annual SI Fantasy Football Preview magazine (the one with the bumpy cover!) and I've been completely immersed in rankings, scouting reports, player movement and draft strategy, ready to share the knowledge gained over 16 years as SI's fantasy analyst.

The format of this space will be simple. Since I'm not someone who likes to be long-winded, I'm going to copy your tweets exactly as they appear on my feed and then give you an answer, longer than a tweet, but hopefully as short, sweet and to the point as we can get so we can fit in many as the year progresses.

So I will let you take it away from here.

I have Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson in a no salary league. Can only keep one. If I keep, I give up my first-round pick (6th).-- @johnburnsnc (John Burns)

That's a great problem, John, as both players are certainly top three picks, so simply losing your sixth pick for either is a terrific bargain. That said, the two are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, overall in our fantasy guide with Foster getting a slight edge for his team's overall offensive weapons (and despite the loss of fullback Vonta Leach to the Ravens).The Vikings also could be in serious trouble if the aging and often-injured Donovan McNabb should go down with an ailment, because without a quality NFL-caliber thrower behind him, defenses will be able to crowd the line of scrimmage against AD in a McNabb-less attack. So I'd keep Foster.

(Note: No. 1 won't be revealed until the release of our Fantasy Football Guide later this week. It's probably not who you think it is.)

Mendy, MJD, Gore or Turner in a non-PPR league?-- @coopersam (Tim Clough)

Of those four in non-PPR leagues I have, in order, Turner, Mendenhall, Jones-Drew and Gore. Here's why: The Falcons got much better with the addition of Julio Jones on the outside and Jacquizz Rodgers as the third-down back. Turner is a workhorse whose only drawback is his inability to catch the ball out of the backfield (just 34 receptions in his first NFL season), a problem you won't have in non-PPR leagues. Mendenhall also comes with few concerns since we know that the Steelers love to run the ball and he is one of just a handful of players who is guaranteed to get at least 75 percent of his team's carries when healthy. Jones-Drew is an injury concern, having battled through a troublesome knee last year and having dealt with offseason surgery. He's just too much of a risk to pick in the first round. And as for Gore, he seems to be fully recovered from a broken hip suffered in late November after having worked out like a fiend to get back into football shape. Since it's a non-PPR league, though, he may not be the best pick because in Jim Harbaugh's West Coast Offense, Gore is expected to take more of a receiving role than in the past, which gives him added value in PPR leagues, but takes away some of his luster in the non-PPR world.

How early should Vick be drafted?-- @DrewLindsay (Andrew Lindsay)

A prime example of how NFL fortunes can change dramatically from one year to the next. Last year Vick was nothing more than a late-round flier. This season he's a challenger for the top spot at his position, ahead of the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Philly is loaded on offense with the arrival of Ronnie Brown (he and Vick make up the most dangerous Wildcat package ever seen) and a slew of receivers, each whom serves a unique and productive role. Vick's strong, multidimensional stats makes him worthy of a very early pick, however his reckless abandon while scrambling tempers it a little. He should go anywhere from the eighth to the 14th pick.

I have to keep either Mike Williams from Tampa Bay or Brandon Marshall ... who ya got?-- @ JerGirouard (Jer Girouard)

Ah, the battle of new versus old in the Sunshine State. Full disclosure here, both of these players are of significance to me personally as a Syracuse alum and lifelong Dolphins fan. Without looking at the world through Orange-colored glasses, I truly believe that Williams will be one of the best receivers in the entire NFL this season. He's big, athletic, can jump through the roof and shows a concentration when in traffic that you rarely see except from the special talents. This is a big statement: His rookie season only scratched the surface. In two more years, especially playing with an excellent young quarterback like Josh Freeman, I believe you will be mentioning Williams in the same class as a Larry Fitzgerald.

Putting aside his off-field health and legal issues, Marshall is not in the most enviable position for a receiver, as the Dolphins (thus far) have failed in their pursuit to find a veteran quarterback to compete with (and most likely overtake) Chad Henne. Had Kyle Orton been pried from the Broncos, Marshall's value would've been significantly higher, but with Henne calling the shots and a pretty questionable cast of characters making up the rest of the offensive unit, perhaps it's not Marshall's year.

And here are three quick hits to try to get in as many as possible:

PPR Auction Kpr League: 3 to keep? E. Manning, Gore, Mendenhall, Jennings, Bowe, Z. Miller, Manningham, Stewart, B. Wells?-- @ robreg2 (Robby Regalado)

Of those choices I keep Mendenhall, Gore, and assuming he was cheap at auction, Bowe.

Have #6 pick, want Rice but bet he's gone by 6. Go McCoy, MJD, Mendy? Who's the #6? Or go WR or QB?-- @ pliberatore (Paul Liberatore)

Don't be so sure that Rice won't be there, but if he isn't, I'd have to think long and hard about Turner (see above) McCoy, Aaron Rodgers or most of all, but depending on his broken orbital bone, Darren McFadden. If it's me I take Turner.

Which RB should you draft from the Miami backfield: Reggie Bush or Daniel Thomas?-- @nyblueshirt (Nick Ricciardi)

Although the coaches are saying all of the right things about Bush, I believe that this will be Thomas' team before long. I wouldn't go overboard drafting either though.

How early should Vick be drafted?-- @DrewLindsay (Andrew Lindsay)

With his rushing ability and passing numbers, yet keeping his injury-inducing style in mind, he's no worse than the second or third pick of the second round and could go as high as eight or nine overall.

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