Fantasy Mailbag 2013; Preseason Edition

By Adam Pfeifer
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


When it comes to fantasy football, owners often lose sleep over lineup decisions, trade talk, matchups, draft strategy and much more. It’s often a maddening game, and over the course of a season, hundreds and hundreds of questions can arise for fantasy owners. Last year, I occasionally asked some of my Twitter followers to send whatever questions they may have to me, that way I could feature some of them in a mailbag style article.

Fast forward to 2013, and I’ll be looking to do the same thing.

Having said that, I took to Twitter and found a handful of early questions from fantasy enthusiasts, so let’s give them an answer in this preseason edition of the mailbag column.

1) With the 3rd pick in a 10-team draft, who would you take? (Christopher Gamble)

Wait, you do follow me, right? I mean, this should be an absolute no-brainer. Okay, okay. All kidding aside, as long as he is still there, I’m (obviously) drafting Clifford Junior Spiller 700 times out of 700. Unless Adrian Peterson doesn’t get drafted first overall, in which case, 699 out of 700. Everyone is aware of how much I love Spiller, both as a Bills fan and a fantasy analyst. The guy finished as the number seven fantasy running back in 2012, despite only seeing 207 carries, and often being underutilized at times under Chan Gailey. This year, Spiller will get the football “until he throws up.” As a result, the cleaning staff will be cleaning up fantasy points. I’m sorry, but outside of AP, Spiller has the most upside out of anyone in fantasy land. Here is the good: A run-heavy head coach and offensive coordinator in Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett, arguably the most elusive back in football (2.1 yards after contact), expected uptick in touches. I mean, I can go on and on. Here’s the bad: *Crickets chirping… There is no bad! Spiller was scary consistent last season, posting a consistency rating of 81.3 percent, which ranked fifth-highest in football. Also, over his past 19 contests, Spiller has posted double-digit fantasy points in 15 of them. The dude is a stud, and earlier today, I bumped him up to number two in my overall rankings, just behind Peterson.

2) Who would you draft between Andre Johnson and Roddy White? (Sean Flynn)

Despite Johnson finishing two spots higher than White among wide receivers last season, I’d still prefer the Atlanta wideout. It’s an interesting debate, actually. Both guys are getting up there in age (Johnson 32, White 31), but both still have plenty of left in the tank. Plenty. I just feel like White will have a better opportunity to produce, even with the handful of weapons around him. Johnson, meanwhile, just doesn’t score a lot of touchdowns. It’s nothing against him, it’s just the system in Houston. Inside in opponent’s 10-yard line last season, the Texans threw the ball just 24 times. Besides, Arian Foster is by far the game’s best short yardage runner. Anyway, White will still see a ton of looks from quarterback Matt Ryan. And while some might worry about the presence of Julio Jones, White still finished the 2012 season with more targets, catches and receiving yards than his counterpart. White has a more favorable style of offense to produce as a top-10 fantasy wideout, and unlike Johnson, he has never missed a game due to injury in his career.

3) With Le’Veon Bell out for 6-8 weeks, who should I look to replace him with? (Aron Bain)

Running back becomes even more scarce. With what appears to be a Lisfranc injury, Bell will be sidelined for quite some time, putting a damper on his immediate fantasy prospects. If you are looking to find another Pittsburgh running back to fill Bell’s absence, I’d look elsewhere. The team did just trade for Felix Jones, which tells me one of two things. Either Bell’s injury is worse than we thought, or Pittsburgh really isn’t content with their current options. Either way, Jonathan Dwyer and Issac Redman will likely partake in a running back-by-committee approach, with a dash of LaRod Stephens-Howling. Behind an atrocious offensive line, none of these guys have much fantasy appeal.

4) Thoughts on DeAndre Hopkins? Got him in the 15th round (Michael Tanner)

Hopkins is a very talented receiver who draws a ton of comparisons to veteran Roddy White. The rookie has solid size, good explosiveness off the line and can go up and make a play with any corner in the league. Unfortunately, his fantasy outlook is hindered by the Texans offensive scheme, one that is very run-heavy. I love the guy in dynasty formats, because as counterpart Andre Johnson (32) gets older, Hopkins will slowly become the Texans number one option in the receiving game. Of course, Johnson still has a ton left in the tank, but in the 15th round, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking a shot on the rookie.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

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