Before we get started, The News-Herald is hosting a Fantasy Football Q&A night at its office at 7085 Mentor Ave. in Willoughby on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Food and soft drinks will be provided plus prizes. To RSVP, email Sports Editor Mark Podolski at MPodolski@News-Herald.com or call 440-951-0000, x680.
OK, let's get into a few fantasy football questions and answers and predictions:
1. Will Cam Newton repeat last season's fantasy year? Doubtful, but it will be close. As a rookie, Newton threw for more than 4,000 yards as a rookie and had 35 total touchdowns, including a whopping 14 rushing TDs. Expect closer to 3,000 passing yards, 20-plus TD passes, somewhere around eight rushing TDs and more than 500 rushing yards. Don't be afraid to take Newton early.
2. Where should Vikings RB Adrian Peterson be drafted? The earliest I would take Peterson is Round 3, which means I likely won't have AP on my fantasy team. The first two picks on a fantasy team must produce and the question with the mega-talented Peterson is how much he will produce. He suffered a serious knee injury late last season, and right now it's too much of a gamble to expect elite numbers from Peterson in 2012.
3. Is it safe to take a quarterback in Round 1? YES, YES, YES. After Ray Rice, LaShaun McCoy and Arian Foster, the rest of the running backs out there all have questions. Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady do not. Don't hesitate taking one of these guys early in Round 1.
4. Who are some mid- to late-round round sleepers? QB: Colts' Andrew Luck, Bears' Jay Cutler, Falcons' Matt Ryan; RB: Bengals' Ben-Jarvis Green Ellis, Chiefs' Peyton Hillis, Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw; WR: Lions' Titas Young, Steelers' Antonio Brown, Patriots' Brandon Lloyd
5. Will Trent Richardson produce No. 1 RB numbers? The short answer is NO. However, Richardson is mega-talented, but two factors will stunt his fantasy production this season. First, he basically missed the entire preseason recovering from minor knee surgery. Second, the Browns will be counting on a number of rookies, Richardson included, on offense. That rarely rarely bodes well in fantasy. Richardson is a year away.
1. The Titans' Chris Johnson won't return to 2009 form (2,509 yards rushing and receiving, 16 total TDs), but he'll be great again in 2012 with at least 1,400 rushing yards and more than 10 total touchdowns. A nice value pick in Round 1.
2. Unless there's a quick upgrade at QB in Arizona, this is the year to stay away from Larry Fitzgerald as a top pick. The depth at WR is too great in later rounds.
3. Broncos QB Peyton Manning outscores his younger brother, Eli of the Giants, but it's close.
4. Speaking of the Broncos, WR Eric Decker will be this year's version of the Packers' Jordy Nelson and Victor Cruz of the Giants.
5. The Colts' Andrew Luck is the rookie QB to own this year in fantasy, not the Redskins' Robert Griffin III.