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Disclaimer: Fantasy football is a game of speculation; therefore, Fantasy Football Impact disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, regarding player performance or results associated with its opinions or advice.

On August 10, 2016, Luke asked the expert:

I am in an auction league with a $200 budget. I am able to keep two keepers based off of last year’s price. Which WR would you keep? Keenan Allen for $20, Sammy Watkins for $16, DeVante Parker for $2, or Kevin White for $1. It is a dynasty league and a player can be kept the next year for their keeper value plus $5. Thanks.

ANSWER: As you probably know, the trick with keepers is finding value. To add to the calculation, your league has the kicker of keeping the player another year for an additional $5. So for 2017, I would assume Allen would cost you $25, Watkins $21, Parker $7 and White $6.

Allen and Watkins are both available to you at a discount this year and if they continue to perform as they have in the past, they would still be a slight value in 2017. The trick for Watkins, of course, is his risk of injury. If healthy, I think Watkins would be the more productive option, but they key phrase is “if healthy.” Parker and White aren’t coming to you at much of a discount. I don’t think either will cost significantly more in this year’s auction. The catch here is if either has a breakout season, of which they are both capable, then they will be a huge bargain as a keeper in 2017. The question is whether either will have a breakout year in 2016. Parker is capable of doing just that, if he stays healthy, which is a big “if”. White is still raw and hasn’t had much opportunity to develop, so he may have the bigger hill to climb. However, he is in a great situation starting opposite Alshon Jeffery, who has injury issues of his own, as does the Bears’ “new” starting tight end Zach Miller, who can never stay healthy. It isn’t all unlikely that White could be the only decent and healthy receiving option in several games this year.

It all kind of boils down to how much risk you are willing to accept with your keepers. I think the choice of Parker or White is truly boom or bust, however, they are both going to be starters on their respective teams. If both pan out, you would be sitting pretty for 2017. If they flatline, then you haven’t lost too much in terms of your auction budget. Just realize you could probably get them both in your auction for not much more than what you would pay to keep them.

If it were my decision to make, I would probably keep the proven players Allen and Watkins at a discount this year and use the saving to try to pick up White or Parker for a small price during the auction. Then if White and/or Parker have a good season, you are set up for 2017 without paying the additional $5. At that point, you could consider not keeping either Allen or Watkins for 2017. Good luck with your decision!

On July 28, 2016, Nick asked the expert:

With the upcoming draft, I have a few questions for advice. If I have the #1 pick, I’m assuming Antonio Brown is the move, but with a #2 or #3 pick is where I have questions. If I have a #2, and I can choose between Odell, Julio, Nuk and Gurley – that’s a tough choice to make and in your opinion who would be the best choice? And with LeVeon Bell facing a suspension, is he still a first round pick in a 10 team league?

ANSWER: First-round picks are among the safest to make as all your options are going to be productive unless an injury prematurely ends a player’s season. I’m guessing you might be playing in a keeper league as you didn’t mention Arizona’s David Johnson or Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson as options. If the choice were mine to make, I’d select Brown, Beckham and Jones in that order with the first three picks in a standard-scoring format and Brown, Jones, Beckham in PPR. Remember, the most important picks in your draft come later, not in the first round. Build for depth in the RB and WR positions, leave defenses and kickers for the end (streaming is the better option) and leave a QB and TE until around the 6th & 7th rounds. Read my article “2016 Round by Round Drafting Strategy” for some ideas.

As for Le’Veon Bell. He isn’t any less talented a player because he won’t be playing in the first four games of the season. In the remaining 12 games, he is still likely to be the most productive running back in the league. I still consider him a first-round pick, especially in PPR formats. Selecting Bell just means you have to be extra careful in your selection of a third RB for your team as that player will be in your starting line-up for the first four games. Frank Gore has a pretty friendly schedule to start the season (DET, DEN, SD, JAX), although the rest of the schedule is pretty tough. He could be a decent option for Bell owners. Good luck with your decision and your draft!

On January 3, 2016, Jim asked the expert:

Thanks for the help last week, I’m going into game 2/2 of our second and final game of the season and I’m 5 points down. As your advice has served me well to this point, I couldn’t NOT ask you again. This week I’m without McCoy which makes even the RB spot hard to pick.  I need 2 RBS, 2 WRS and a Flex – standard scoring. What would you do? I’m leaning toward Martin and Karlos, Marshall and Calvin but for flex, I’m considering the injuries to Forte and Billal… has me questioning Ivory, or Langford if Forte sits (which I highly doubt). Let me know which way you’d go with these choices… this week seems tougher than ones before due to it being the last game of the season injury and teams resting players.  Thanks in advance for your help. You’ve been a huge asset to me this season.  Did I mention it’s my wife and I battling it out today?  I can’t lose here, that would be terrible :).

RB: Doug Martin, Karlos Williams, Chris Ivory, Billal Powell, Jeremy Langford, Isaiah Crowell, Frank Gore
WR: Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, Doug Baldwin, Ted Ginn

ANSWER: Playing fantasy football in week 17 presents additional challenges and playing against your wife adds more pressure. Good luck! Based on the players you listed, let’s start with the WRs first. Marshall is a no brainer. Megatron continues to have an ankle issue, but it hasn’t kept him out of any games and he is coming off a decent game against the 49ers. Baldwin has a very tough match-up against the Cardinals and Ted Ginn is very unlikely to play. Seattle wide receivers have had a cake schedule for the past six weeks and Baldwin had a good game against the Cards back in week 10. However, Marshawn Lynch was in that game keeping the defense honest. That won’t be the case today. You really only have two options – Marshall and Johnson.

As for the RBs, your best two options, in my opinion, are Ivory and Martin. Ivory gets the backfield mostly to himself with Powell not likely to play and Martin is battling for the rushing title (although not likely to get it). Hopefully, he will hang on to the football more securely this week against the suddenly leaky Panthers.There is a lot of risk in the Chicago running backs this week. Forte is battling a back issue, so he may not go the full game or play a full load. However, it is also likely his last game in Chicago, so he may give it an extra effort. He’s going to want to put on a strong ending to the season as he hits free agency. At 30 years of age, it is going to be hard enough to command a lot of money in the twilight of his career unless he can convince a team that he still has plenty of gas in the tank and tread on the tires. If for some reason, Forte sits, then Langford is a good play at flex. Karlos Williams has a difficult match-up against the Jets and will have to find the end-zone to have fantasy relevance this week. The chances that he does are decreased with Mike Gillislee around. Gore has a tough match-up against the Titans, and with the passing game extremely shaky (Josh Freeman or Ryan Lindley under center), Tennessee will likely be even mored focused on shutting down the running game. Gore would like to reach 1000 yards this season, but he’ll need the biggest game of his entire season to do it. I’m betting against it. Crowell is too inconsistent to trust in your fantasy championship. The last time he faced the Steelers, he rushed six times for -5 yards. Although he has had better games since then, it has been quite a roller coaster ride. He could blow up big against his division rivals, or he could be a total flop. I wouldn’t trust him enough to make it happen again this week. If it were my decision to make, I would start Ivory and Martin and play Langford in the flex, if Forte sits. Otherwise, I would probably go with Gore. Both he and Williams have tough match-ups, but Gore has the backfield mostly to himself. Williams not only has to face a tough Titans run defense, but also fight off Gilleslee for touches. Good luck with your decisions!

Week 17 Results
Brandon Marshall – 18.6
Calvin Johnson – 19.7
Doug Baldwin -4.6
Ted Ginn – DNP

Doug Martin – 10.8
Chris Ivory – 8.1
Frank Gore – 7.6
Karlos Williams – 8.7
Isaiah Crowell – 5.3
Jeremy Langford – 1.4 (Forte started and put up 17.0 fantasy points)
Bilal Powell – DNP

On December 30, 2015, Corbin asked the expert:

I’m having a hard time picking between Anquan Boldin and Tyler Lockett. Tyler puts up more points, but he is on the road going against the Cardinals defense. Anquan Boldin is hit or miss, but he will be playing home against the Rams. This is my final week and I am in the championship. I am currently
winning by 15 points and would like to keep it a win. Thank You So Much!

ANSWER: Neither is a particularly good option, especially with the Seahawks on the road facing the Cardinals. Seattle has been on fire recently with its passing game, but look at the opponents – SF, PIT, MIN, BAL and CLE. It was a nice run, but the story was a little different against the Rams last week and things will be much more difficult in the desert. Back in week 10, the Seahawks faced the Cardinals at home and Russell Wilson could only manage 240 passing yards and one touchdown, finding Lockett just once for seven yards on one target. Lockett and Doug Baldwin will likely have a much quieter Sunday than they did during weeks 11-15. I think Boldin is the better choice, but not too much can be expected from him either against the Rams. At least he will be Gabbert’s top receiving option. Both the Cardinals and the Rams are in the top-10 in allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. If either wide receiver reaches the end-zone on Sunday, consider it a bonus. Good luck in your championship match-up!

Week 17 Results
Anquan Boldin – 13.1
Tyler Lockett – 4.3

On December 28, 2015, Nick asked the expert:

Thank you so much for all your help this year! I was able to win the championship in BOTH of my leagues! Thank you soooo much! I do have a final question, my one league is a keeper league….. Is Le’Veon Bell worth keeping on my roster for next year? I’ll keep ToddGurley, Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown, Tom Brady, Devonta Freeman and maybe Le’Veon Bell. Do you think he’ll even start next year with how well DeAngelo Williams is playing?

ANSWER: Congratulations on winning both of your leagues! You obviously are a very good fantasy manager who made good decisions all season long. I’m glad my advice was of benefit to you in the process.

As for your question, it is a difficult one as there are so many unknowns. What is known is that Bell didn’t suffer an ACL tear. However, any knee reconstruction is serious and the recovery could involve setbacks. If there are NO setbacks, then he should be ready to go for week 1 – not training camp, but week 1 of the regular season. It wouldn’t surprise me to see something similar to what happened this year with Williams playing the first couple of weeks (although not due to a suspension) and then getting Bell involved when the team is confident his knee is ready for the punishment. With such an able substitute, there really is no reason to hurry Bell back into the line-up and risk another season-ending injury.

The one part of the equation, of which I don’t have any information, is the cost to keep Bell and/or Williams. There must not be a huge cost to keep players because you are already keeping Gurley, Beckham, Brown, Brady and Freeman. If you have the rights to both Bell and Williams, it would be wise to take both. Or you could just take Bell and start playing him when his is ready. You just have to realize he may not be on the field for the first month of the season, although he could theoretically be out there in week one. Nobody will know the answer to that question until the end of training camp. If it doesn’t cost you very much to keep Bell, then keep him. If you can get another RB1 of his caliber (but healthy), then do that instead. However, it appears you are in a league where many players are kept year over year. You may not have many options available to you if you decide not to keep him. Also, you already have two RB1’s on your roster with Gurley and Freeman. You really are in a good position to just roster Bell and play him when the Steelers decide to start him.

In general, Bell should (and will) get his starting job back once healthy. DeAngelo Williams surprised everyone with his ability to stay healthy and productive for the entire season at the age of 32. Fortunately, the Steelers only needed him in a full-time role for 10 games this season for about 200 carries. The most carries he ever had in his career was 274 over 16 games back in 2008. If he had to go a full season (300-320 carries) as the primary ball carrier, he may have broken down. The Steelers really got lucky this year. (Editor’s note: Williams finally did break down when, in week 17, he suffered an ankle injury making his status for the wild card game on January 9 against the Bengals highly questionable.)

On December 25, 2015, David asked the expert:

For week 16, would you start Carson Palmer at home against Green Bay or Blake Bortles at New Orleans. Thank you and have a Merry Christmas.

ANSWER: It’s a tough choice. I have Bortles as my #4 this week and Palmer as my #5. It’s hard to pass up a match-up against the Saints, who give up the most fantasy points to the QB position, especially with the possibility of Denard Robinson not being 100%. Palmer does have a bevy of quality weapons in Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown, but so does Bortles with Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Julius Thomas. Either will be a good choice, but I’d prefer Bortles, especially with his ability to rack up rushing yards and a possible rushing TD. Good luck with your decision!

Week 16 Results
Blake Bortles – 31.22
Carson Palmer – 17.60

On December 19, 2015, Luigi asked the expert:

Your advice last week helped me advance in the first round of playoffs!!! Thank you very much. I’m hoping you can help me again this week. I’m very weak at flex. My options are Bryce Brown, Fred Jackson, or Jeremy Langford.  Thank you in advance for your help.

ANSWER: Those are tough choices! Pete Carroll has gone on record as saying all three running backs (Bryce Brown, Christine Michael and Derrick Coleman) will get carries. Mudding the waters even further is Fred Jackson on passing downs. The Seahawks do have a very good match-up at home against the Browns, but predicting that Bryce Brown will get the majority of carries and be the most productive is a fool’s errand. Additionally, just one fumble from Brown (something he has a tendency to do) could send him the pine for the rest of the game.

On the other hand, Langford has been consistently getting between 11 and 13 carries each game for an average of 42.3 yards per game (3.5 YPC) for the past four weeks and has scored twice. He has also caught an average of 2.25 passes for 14.5 yards in that same span.

The choice comes down to how big of a gambler you are. If you are of a mind to go all-or-nothing, then I think Brown is the player to start. If you are conservative and are willing to make sure you get some points on the board, although not a huge amount, then Langford is the player to start. If you think that you are likely to beat your opponent based on the rest of your line-up and his/her projected starting roster, then take Langford. If you are a huge underdog, starting Langford may not get you a win. You may be forced to roll the dice and hope for a big game from Bryce Brown. Good luck with your decision!

Week 15 Results
Jeremy Langford – 5.7 
Bryce Brown – 4.3
Fred Jackson – 1.7

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Disclaimer: Fantasy football is a game of speculation; therefore, Fantasy Football Impact disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, regarding player performance or results associated with its opinions or advice.