Editor Roundtable: Fantasy Football Player Debate Series

by KFFL Staff on July 2, 2012 @ 11:13:22 PDT


KFFL's team of editors choose which players they prefer to draft in specific scenarios that have been determined by the news, average draft positions, viewer questions and internal team situations. Fantasy footballers often have varied views on players or scenarios, and KFFL editors are no different.


Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
A changing of the guard?

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers vs. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Keith Hernandez: Sure, it'll be hard for Newton to repeat his record-setting rookie campaign in '11, but the upside is too great to ignore over a declining Brady. Brady is safe, but Newton's athleticism on the ground and through the air is too tempting.

Cory J. Bonini: I'll take my chances with Brady being reunited with Josh McDaniels over Cam coming close to replicating last year's magical season. Newton has more upside, but Brady is safer. I just don't see Cam coming close to 14 rushing TDs again, either.

Tim Heaney: Newton's 2H and feet fetish show more's possible, but CAR's target instability behind Steve Smith knocks him down a peg. Barrage of NE options makes mess for WRs and TEs, not for the slinger in his new, old O. Brady's reliability, haircut and Uggs all the way

Nicholas Minnix: Newton is special, but I want to see Year 2 before I invest so much in him. A high pick on Brady comes with his much lengthier resume and the Pats' addition of a downfield threat (Brandon Lloyd), plus plenty of dangerous aerial weapons already.

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers vs. Eli Manning, New York Giants

Cory J. Bonini: I am more comfortable with the idea of Rivers bouncing back than Manning replicating his 2011 success. I have just as much confidence in the Chargers' O without Vincent Jackson. Rivers' late-season rebound leaves me feeling confident about his '12 fortunes.

Tim Heaney: Eli MUST stay near career-high att. to repeat 2011. Rivers should be cheaper and has more over-the-middle weapons. Rivers' strong 2H affirms his *down year* was still elite.

Keith Hernandez: Manning has the bling, but Rivers is still the superior QB talent in my eyes. The Chargers are without a true explosive offensive weapon, but they have multiple outlets that Rivers is good enough to exploit.

Nicholas Minnix: Manning has the bling, but Rivers is still the superior QB talent in my eyes. The Chargers are without a true explosive offensive weapon, but they have multiple outlets that Rivers is good enough to exploit.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts vs. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

Nicholas Minnix: Washington's O-line problems should be less of an issue for RG3 than Indy's are for Luck. Each has weapons, but Shanahan is an outstanding QB evaluator, if nothing else, and he wants to unleash his new toy. If Giffin is available after the first 20 or so are off the board, I could see myself with him.

Keith Hernandez: The Colts' rebuilding effort is in full swing, and the defense will put Luck in some bad situations. Griffin will have a tough time of it, too, but the weapons around him and his ability to improvise give him the slight edge.

Tim Heaney: In chasing upside backup passers, side with the one whose legs earn fantasy points, too. Luck has a bigger immediate hurdle given Indy's overhaul. RG3 steps into a fantasy-ready spot.

Cory J. Bonini:  Griffin probably will out-produce Luck because of the talent around him, although I don't think it is a slam dunk. This is my lukewarm endorsement of RG3, and you can be sure I'll avoid both QBs in 2012.

Running backs

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Tim Heaney: Philly's O makes me more comfy than B-more's. Michael Vick opens up the run game. Joe Flacco, notsomuch. McCoy is a versatile back who's more potent in the red zone.

Keith Hernandez: The offense in Philly runs through McCoy, and the presense of Michael Vick will continue to open up running lanes for him. I'm not a fan of relying on a runner coming off a lengthy contract dispute, and Rice has an awful lot of mileage for a man of that short stature.

Nicholas Minnix: A number of Eagles could rebound in 2012 and steal projected TDs from McCoy, but he still has the edge in scoring prowess. Although McCoy is no slouch in PPR leagues, Rice's involvement in the passing game makes it a legit argument, at least - assuming that Rice is under contract and in camp, that is.

Cory J. Bonini: Shady is much safer and has so much more upside, in my eyes. Rice has a metric boatload of touches in the last two seasons, whereas McCoy has just one year of heavy lifting. The Eagles star rarely takes a big hit and does a great job of avoiding contact in general. Baltimore's O is too one-dimensional, which allows defenders to key in on Rice more than McCoy.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans vs. Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers

Nicholas Minnix: This isn't even a debate. Mathews or Ray Rice? Mathews or LeSean McCoy? If those aren't legit questions to you now, at the end of the year, you'll find out why they should've been.

Keith Hernandez: Norv Turner and the Bolts are ready to rely heavily on Mathews this year, and without Mike Tolbert, he'll see plenty more receptions. CJ2K is still fast, but his options at QB don't inspire confidence in me. Defenses will continue to stack the box and look to shut him down.

Tim Heaney: CJ2K will rebound with authority, but Mathews should surpass that. Even if SD doesn't run more, Mathews will be a capable receiving option. Top-3 RB upside.

Cory J. Bonini: This one is awfully difficult for me. I give Mathews the edge by a hair. He has all of the talent in the world, but injuries and Norv Turner may work against him. CJ2K should bounce back, but I question how many touches he'll get.

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears vs. Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders

Keith Hernandez: McFadden appears fully healthy. He's still an injury risk, but when healthy he can be a top-five back. Forte remains unhappy with his sitch in Chicago and Jay Cutler has a new familiar toy to play with through the air.

Cory J. Bonini:  DMC all the way! If he remains healthy, McFadden will be the No. 1 back in fantasy (definitely in PPR). You just can't take the risk of drafting him as the top dog, though. Forte's holdout, as well as the additions of Brandon Marshall and Michael Bush, scare the tar out of me.

Nicholas Minnix: You wanna be down the king, you take Run DMC. Chicago has the look of a team ready to take it downfield more often, and Forte's red flags are nerve-racking for his lack of upside in comparison. At this point, I'd rather gamble that McFadden's elite abilities - in that offense - will carry me to glory.

Tim Heaney: Forte inherits DMC's former vulture (Michael Bush) and must fight for looks with Brandon Marshall. Plus, the potential holdout - another CJ2K drop-off? Both make me nervous, and though I fear DMC's health, I'll take my chances with his playmaking.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
I see your ACL and raise an MCL

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Tim Heaney: Mad props to AD for his comeback, but I prefer the RB with more ACL rehab time. KC is built to run this year. Don't worry about Hillis; Charles is the leader there and one of the most dangerous backs in the league.

Nicholas Minnix: This kind of question usually comes down to a couple of things: (1) Which injury caused more damage? (2) Which RB is further removed from surgery? In both cases, Charles wins easily. KC's roster makeup and philosophy are icing on the cake.

Cory J. Bonini: The timeline says side with Charles, but AD's freakish athleticism steers me in his direction. I think he will be much better than most people expect. That said, he is still a No. 2 fantasy back, at best, this season.

Keith Hernandez: Both are coming off serious knee injuries, but I like Charles' chances of rebounding more. KC's O is in better shape to make him productive, and although Peterson is a rare talent, Charles is arguably a more explosive threat.

Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos

Nicholas Minnix: I like Redman a lot, but McGahee seems to receive considerably less fantasy respect and has no real comp for carries. TD vulture Tim Tebow is gone. Denver's RB looks like a potentially greater value.

Keith Hernandez: Redman has the build and makeup to be succesful in Rashard Mendenhall's absence, but McGahee is proven. He was successful last year with a very mediocre (at best) QB, so if Peyton Manning is healthy, he should be able to match his numbers from a year ago. More TDs are in store.

Tim Heaney: McG, 30, will lose work to Ronnie Hillman and Peyton Manning. Redman, 27, has all-around game to last as full-season starter. When will Mendy be back, effective?

Cory J. Bonini: The Peyton Manning Effect will be in full force here. I'm all about McGahee having a career year, as long as No. 18 is close to his former self on the field. Even if Manning isn't, the risk is still low considering when you typically draft McGahee. Expect double-digit TDs and at least 1,100 rushing yards.

Roy Helu, Washington Redskins vs. C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills

Keith Hernandez: Mike Shanahan changes his mind more often than not when it comes to his running backs. However, Helu is the most talented of the lot in D.C. and he'll have his opps regardless of if he's starting every week. The same can't be said about Spiller with Fred Jackson the man in Buffalo.

Cory J. Bonini: I like what Spiller did last year, but Helu could be special if Mike Shanahan remains committed to him. Both situations have their respective risks, although I find the reward potential to be much greater in D.C.

Nicholas Minnix: Primary competition: Fred Jackson (broken leg) vs. Tim Hightower (torn ACL). Helu wins in a landslide for that reason alone. RG3 may open things up for Helu like other mobile QBs have for their RBs, too. No such hope for Spiller.

Tim Heaney: Helu: Shanahan backfield. Spiller: tandem with a 31-year-old coming off a broken leg. Helu has the better setup heading into the year, but give me Spiller for the balance.

Wide receivers

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Victor Cruz, New York Giants

Cory J. Bonini: I really like A.J. Green, but with little proven talent around him it will be easier for defenses to take him out of the game than it will be to slow down Cruz. His numbers will come down some, but they were so impressive last year that you really shouldn't be concerned.

Tim Heaney: Being Eli's slot man is comfy for reception collection. Increased defensive attention in late '11 didn't stop his YAC-friendly speed. Green seems too all-or-nothing to win my vote here.

Keith Hernandez: Cruz will be expensive this year, and although Hakeem Nicks is coming off injury, he'll play. Green is the unquestioned No. 1 and will have help in wideout Mohamed Sanu. Green is the better raw talent and fits the mold as an elite receiver more than Cruz does.

Nicholas Minnix: Love Green's ability, and Andy Dalton looks like a winner, but there are too many steps that Cincy's can take backward to risk the kind of pick it takes to get Green when I can take a player who outdid him and is in a well-established offense. Only concern: If Hakeem Nicks is out, Cruz isn't a No. 1 WR.

Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Is Roddy ready to play No. 2?

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons vs. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Tim Heaney: Sure, an active Jones is explosive and induces drools. But White carries the track record and should once again place among the NFL leaders in targets, even while sharing the field with the sophomore.

Nicholas Minnix: Defenses may have trouble picking their poison, so I'd be happy to opt for the established veteran in any format. The fact that White will probably come as a better deal is just gravy.

Cory J. Bonini: Roddy is still the guy in my mind. He will see plenty of doubles, but so will Jones. I really don't think you can go wrong either way with this situation, as new OC Dirk Koetter will open up this offense. ATL has to if they want to thrive in this division.

Keith Hernandez: You really can't go wrong here. Matt Ryan is improving, and the Falcons could look to air it out some more. Five straight seasons over 1,000 yards for White make me confident that even a small decline will yield solid fantasy results.

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans vs. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers

Nicholas Minnix: Johnson remains the greater talent, but Jennings doesn't have the injury concerns and is in a more prolific offense in which the pass rules. Easy choice.

Keith Hernandez: Injuries aside, Johnson has my vote every day over Jennings. He's more dynamic and has the ability to take over a game single-handedly. Jennings is nearing 30, too, and Green Bay has plenty of other weapons. I'll take my chances with AJ.

Tim Heaney: Jennings has more mouths to worry about, but I'm willing to bet on him before AJ to play 16 games. HOU's a run-first O. GB, the opposite.

Cory J. Bonini:  Raw talent with health concerns ... I could be talking about either player. Jennings should be great, but AJ's upside if he is healthy is tough to match. He may be the most physically gifted receiver in the league behind Calvin Johnson, and one of these years he has to play 16 games, right? I'll be pleased with 14.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

Nicholas Minnix: I'm not sure that there's an incorrect answer here, but Tony Romo gained trust in Bryant in 2011, especially while Austin was absent. The younger WR's injury history isn't unlike that of Austin's before the elder broke out in 2009. Bryant often comes off the board second, but I'd probably take him first.

Keith Hernandez: Austin and Bryant appear headed in opposite directions. Bryant became a favorite target for Tony Romo in Austin's absence last year, and Austin can disappear for stretches, which has me leaning the younger and more productive Bryant.

Tim Heaney: We've seen Austin's peak. Can't say the same for Bryant, a more consistent producer with better physical gifts and RZ presence. Austin's a handy WR1 or 2 value pick, but Bryant has superstar potential.

Cory J. Bonini: Dez has more talent, but Austin has more upstairs. He comes with greater injury risk because his lower-body muscles are made of string cheese, but Bryant could do something so catastrophically stupid that you lose him for the year. Personal preference. Plus, I like to pick and choose my "battles" with risky players.

Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens vs. Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins

Keith Hernandez: Garcon will see many more looks in Washington, but that doesn't mean he's all of a sudden a trusted WR option. He's been plagued by drops and inconsistency, and RG3 will be adjusting. Smith should become Joe Flacco's go-to guy over the aging Anquan Boldin. Flacco's big arm plus Smith's home run threat equals fantasy happiness.

Cory J. Bonini: Oy ... Neither? Smith may be in a better situation and has less pressure on him as long as Anquan Boldin is performing at an acceptable level. I rarely trust rookie quarterbacks, so for as mediocre as Joe Flacco as been for fantasy purposes, he should be able to get the ball to Smith with regularity.

Nicholas Minnix: I'm a little torn on this one, especially because Garcon should be available later, and I don't like him much less. Smith's development in his rookie season impressed me greatly, though. I'm still on Joe Flacco's bandwagon. He'll surprise, and his desire for a big deal doesn't hurt. Smith will benefit.

Tim Heaney: RG3's arm can utilize Garcon well, but I'll roll with the combo that has more history, even if it's just 1 year. Smith's field stretching should play well with Joe Flacco. Improved route running could push him to 70 rec. Damn.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos vs. Eric Decker, Denver Broncos

Nicholas Minnix: Denver's new QB could turn Thomas into a monster, but that may take a little time. Decker already spent the offseason earning Peyton Manning's trust, though, and that's the Factor Numero Uno for this passer. Decker, who's still underrated, looks like a much better value.

Keith Hernandez: I like Decker ... a lot. But then again, so will everyone else because of the chemistry he's already built with Peyton Manning. If I don't have to grossly overpay for him, I'm all in. Thomas should be a very capable consolation prize if not.

Tim Heaney: Peyton's new toys.... Thomas will probably go sooner considering his upside, but he's brittle, and Decker's the better value. His precision and downfield push should earn No. 18's favor.

Cory J. Bonini: I simply prefer Decker more. He is doesn't have the injury concerns Thomas does and was able to work closely with Manning since the QB's arrival in Denver. Their chemistry should be better, and Decker will draw fewer double-teams.

Tight ends

Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
Clash of the TE Titans

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots vs. Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints

Cory J. Bonini: Jimmy G all the way for me. Gronk's numbers will come down, and New England added weaponry this offseason. Josh McDaniels' system ignores the position, but Gronkowski's talent will supersede that. Either way, Graham is one weapon less around him and plays for a team that is out to prove something.

Tim Heaney: By a needle's margin. Can Josh McDaniels feed 2 elite TEs in a civil manner? Will Gronk's ankle hold up? Graham's only tapping the surface of his football acumen and is the safest part of NO's attack, which should lean on him even more.

Keith Hernandez: Another can't-go-wrong scenario. Gronk's record-setting campaign a year ago will earn him heavy coverage, but the Pats disguise enough to find ways to utilize him in two tight end sets. Be prepared to spend an arm and a leg for both, though.

Nicholas Minnix: I get the argument about the advantage that one of these two can give you, but I probably won't get either because of the depth at TE and the requirement to get that possible advantage. I'm more concerned about the effects of the drama in N'Awlins than Gronk's health, so, gun to my head, I'd go with the Pats' guy.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers vs. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers

Keith Hernandez: Davis is the easy choice for me here. Alex Smith is capable enough and Davis has proven to be a nice red zone target in SF. Finley's drops have left him as somewhat of a forgotten man in Green Bay with all the other weapons surrounding him. Finley's frequent duds are too maddening.

Cory J. Bonini: I am not a Finley believer and wouldn't pay the overinflated price to land him. He has talent, but he is just one of too many in that loaded GB offense. Injuries are always a concern with him, too. Davis is more explosive and is effectively the primary cog of San Fran's improving passing attack. The addition of Randy Moss should only help Davis by opening up the middle of the field, while A.J. Jenkins is still a rookie with a steep curve ahead of him.

Nicholas Minnix: The Pack's TE may end up being the better value, but both fall into that category. Unquestionably, Finley will get his numbers, as long as he's healthy, and there are no concerns there. Perhaps SF's new weapons draw attention from Davis, the No. 1 option. Perhaps Alex Smith's breakthrough was a fluke, too. Why risk it?

Tim Heaney: Postseason inflation alert: Davis now has to compete with Mario Manningham and Randy Moss, along with Michael Crabtree, in a less dynamic aerial O. All Finley has to do is cure his dropsies. He's a better value.

Aaron Hernandez, New England Patriots vs. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Nicholas Minnix: Looks like there's no loser here, but Brandon Lloyd may affect Hernandez's production more so than Witten's will suffer while both of Dallas' WRs are healthy. It's not this simple, but I'll let each team's depth chart serve as the tiebreaker.

Keith Hernandez: The two TE attack in New England has shown to be effective, however, Hernandez remains behind Rob Gronkowski in terms of looks, and his value relies too much on finding paydirt. Witten is safe, not competing with another at his position and has the trust of Tony Romo. The emergence of Dez Bryant will only help.

Tim Heaney: Witten is the only fantasy TE on his team. Laurent Robinson's exit will open up red zone looks. Hernandez must fight with Gronkowski and is in line for a letdown.

Cory J. Bonini: Hernandez's numbers will take a step back this year. He is an injury liability and has more weapons around him in the passing game. Witten is rock-solid and will be a huge part of Dallas' aerial attack, especially with no third receiver to speak of.

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