Fantasy mailbag: Ahmad Bradshaw's loss is David Wilson's gain
Rarely can a player go from a middle- to late-round pick to a potential top 10 at his position off one piece of news in fantasy football. It can't happen at quarterback, a position led by established veteran stars. You won't see it happen at receiver, where it takes years to prove to be a consistent force. And who truly cares about tight ends, a volatile position in 2012.
Ah, but a running back's value can turn on a dime like a slashing runner himself through the hole.
Ahmad Bradshaw's release from the New York Giants this week won't slot David Wilson as an elite fantasy pick right away, but it does put him on helium watch. Wilson back flips into the conversation now, and is potentially as potent as fellow '12 first-rounder Doug Martin.
Wilson wasn't picked through the seven rounds of SI.com's early mock draft for 2013. Now, he could be as good as a top-five running back. Seriously.
Bradshaw might be back with the Giants on a lesser deal, of course, and Andre Brown could still be a Giants touchdown vulture, but Wilson's talent was apparent down the stretch. He was selected one pick after the Bucs' Martin in last April's NFL draft, and while he might not be as polished of a runner and receiver, his speed makes him a home-run hitter that could become the next Chris Johnson (the good version).
The Giants want to run the ball. They just need a consistently healthy back to do it. At just 22 this summer, Wilson can be that guy.
Bradshaw, who checked in at 51 (a fifth-round pick) in SI.com's early mock draft, had a screw placed in his foot, which will keep him out until the summer. If the soon-to-be 27-year-old doesn't return to the Giants, he might not lose value. He was always a chronic-injury guy anyway. If he winds up with a team like the Steelers as their lead guy, he can be a low-end fantasy starter.
Brown, recovering from a broken leg, the latest in his long line of injuries, is probably going to be brought back as a short-yardage pounder. But he won't be any better than he was a year ago, a fringe fantasy option to use during the bye weeks.
It is the Wilson keeper owners who have the most reason to celebrate Bradshaw's job loss this week. There's something cruel about that perhaps, but this is (fantasy) business. We lead this week's SI.com Fantasy Mailbag with Wilson and his place in drafts next August.
Who do you like more -- Stevan Ridley for a fifth rounder or David Wilson for a late-round pick? Standard scoring.
-- BJ Worm, @logger_up on Twitter
Ridley is the obvious choice right now, but Wilson can be the better selection by the time your draft day comes around.
Ridley is an early second-rounder to us. He is legitimately a top-10 back with the potential for 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns annually. That is even if Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden vulture touchdowns and yards for the Pats.
Wilson is still a speculative pick. The Giants need to decide if Bradshaw and Brown are healthy and worthy of bringing back.
I'm a mobile quarterback guy; which quarterback will give me huge production out of, say, the fifth-seventh rounds?
-- Luis Covarrubias, Laredo, Texas, @LuisUnocinco on Twitter
See, this is where we are different from others, and smarter. Everyone has elevated Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick into the elite because of their performances down the stretch. But it is dangerous to give them such lofty status.
Most fantasy drafts will see only about nine or 10 quarterbacks go in the first five rounds. Wilson and Kaepernick have potential, but our top 10 has more already-realized elite-passer juice than either, no matter what you think of them long term.
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2. Drew Brees, Saints
3. Tom Brady, Patriots
4. Cam Newton, Panhers
5. Peyton Manning, Broncos
6. Matt Ryan, Falcons
7. Matthew Stafford, Lions
8. Robert Griffin III, Redskins (if he doesn't start the year on the PUP list)
9. Tony Romo, Cowboys
10. Andrew Luck, Colts
You can make a case for Wilson or Kaepernick to slot ahead of those last few, but those are guys that went off the board around Round 5 in the late December mock draft. Don't reach for Wilson and Kaepernick, especially since quarterbacks like Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco are going to be readily available many rounds later -- and perhaps just as productive.
Choose two to keep indefinitely: Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson or A.J. Green (.5 PPR)?
-- Charles Aquilina, @charlie092474 on Twitter
Peterson is obviously a no-brainer. The question is whether you take Rice, who will go off the board in the top five, or Green, who is a second-round pick at best.
Green has a longer career ahead of him. Rice, despite a disappointing year, scored more fantasy points than Green in your format; he is still just 26 and would be tougher to redraft. Green, or someone who projects to score as many points, can be re-attained.
Our pick is Rice, which gives you two of the first five players off the board in drafts. Draft position is the No. 1 commodity to weigh when selecting keepers.
In a 12-team keeper league, which two would you keep (cost of round pick): Arian Foster (2), Cam Newton (7), Alfred Morris (16). The no-brainer for one year would be Foster and Morris, but that is a one-year run at a title since in 2014 Foster would be a one, while Newton would be four and Morris would be an eight. It seems long-term success says to keep those two for the value moving forward and potential for years of productivity over one more year of Foster and then needing to find a quality keeper for the 2014 season.
-- Adam, Germantown, Md.
The problem with your logic is any future consideration means dealing in speculation and uncertainty. You should take what you know: Foster is a top-two overall pick in fantasy next season and Morris is also a first-rounder.
Like we said above, quarterbacks are always on the board later. Elite backs are rare commodities. Keep Foster and Morris and draft your future quarterback later ... much, much later.
Saves only (no holds), Frank Francisco over Drew Storen, correct?
-- jacrew, @jacrew2 on Twitter
Finally, a baseball question!
Today the answer is Francisco, only because he is the leading candidate to close for the Mets. General manager Sandy Alderson expressed little confidence in him this week, though.
So, Storen could be the choice if the Mets go out and add a free-agent option to close such as former Tigers closer Jose Valverde (aka 7-11 this past fall because he never closes), Francisco Rodriguez (the reliever formerly known as K-Rod) or the bearded one, Brian Wilson (coming off Tommy John surgery).
Alderson would know, so expect the Mets to take a chance on someone there to move Francisco into a setup role with Bobby Parnell.
Eric Mack writes fantasy for SI.com and gives invaluable advice from one of the most experienced fantasy analysts in the business. You can also find him on Twitter, where you can mock him, rip him and (doubtful) praise him before posing a question to him @EricMackFantasy. He reads all the messages there (guaranteed) and takes them very, very personally (not really).