RotoExperts Fantasy Football: Chris Givens Will Thrive In Rams Offense

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In round 11 of a 12-team league, I am trying to decide between Alshon Jeffrey or Chris Givens. Which one do I draft?

Givens is one player whose preseason performance has him flying up draft boards. Givens had a solid performance in the Rams first preseason game with three catches for 82 yards and a TD. He had a long catch and the TD was a short one, which backs up the reports that he has improved his route running and won’t be just a deep threat. Givens has speed and will beat defenders deep often. He had five consecutive games of at least one 50-yard reception in his rookie season last year. While there are other weapons in the offense, it’s clear the Rams are going to a more wide open passing attack. While Tavon Austin and Jared Cook are getting buzz and are usually drafted before Givens, it is Givens who has a year of experience working with quarterback Sam Bradford. In round 11, you want a receiver with big upside and Givens certainly does. I would even take him a few rounds earlier for those yet to draft. Jeffrey is also a good pick around this round but I feel more confident that Givens will have a bigger role in his offense.

I am in a 12-team PPR league and looking to pick between DeAndre Hopkins and Cordarrelle Patterson. Who do you pick?

Hopkins is going before Patterson in almost every draft and for good reason. The detractors will say the Texans No. 2 wide receiver hasn’t been productive for Fantasy purposes in recent years, but that will change in 2013. Hopkins is the best receiver the Texans have had opposite Andre Johnson in quite some time and he has impressed in the preseason. He was drafted with the 27th overall pick in the 2013 draft and there was never any doubt he would start. Hopkins does a good job of going up and snatching the ball out of the air. Even though the Texans have primarily been a run-based offense the last few seasons, don’t be surprised if Hopkins gets his share of red zone targets and produces TDs. We know Johnson doesn’t score many TDs and it wouldn’t be shocking if Hopkins had more than Johnson. Hopkins will also have the benefit of a lot of one-on-one coverage since Johnson and the potent running game will be the focus of opposing defenses. Patterson is certainly electric in the open field, as displayed in the first preseason game. His situation in Minnesota isn’t as ideal as that of Hopkins.

I have a keeper question. In a 12-team, .5 PPR league I need to keep three from Jamaal Charles (fourth round), Cam Newton (11th round), Jimmy Graham (seventh round), Maurice Jones-Drew (fifth round) and Andrew Luck (fifth round). This league is scarce for RB1. Most everyone has kept one so I made a late trade last year to get MJD. Any advice on would be great.

Charles is certainly an easy choice. He is consistently going in the top five picks and is an extreme value in round four. Although there is depth at quarterback, Newton is too good to pass up in round 11. The final selection comes down to Jones-Drew and Graham. While there is a premium on running backs in all leagues and Jones-Drew can easily return to RB1 value if healthy, I still go Graham, who provides a huge advantage at tight end with the health of Rob Gronkowski in question. He is 6-foot-6, 260 pounds, a great athlete and very difficult for defenders to cover. Graham was terrific in his second year with 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and 10 TDs. Graham wasn’t as good last season. Part of it was injury. Graham said he played in constant pain due to a wrist injury for which he had surgery. It appeared that it did bother him, as he had some easy drops. In what many deemed a disappointing season for Graham, he had 85 catches for 982 yards and nine TDs. I expect Graham to be closer to his 2011 stats when he had 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and 11 TDs. Take Graham and maybe you get MJD back in the draft.

I can keep three players from last year. So far I’m keeping Jimmy Graham in the sixth round, Julio Jones in the fifth round and I’m stuck on my last one; either Cecil Shorts or Russell Wilson both in the 17th round. I also have a trade offer on the table. Guy wants my second pick that is 24th overall (I have the first pick in the draft) and the rights to Russell Wilson in the 17th for the rights to Doug Martin in the 3rd round. So I would take Adrian Peterson with my first, lose my second and Doug Martin would be my third pick to pair with Jones (5th) and Graham (6th). What would you do?

Sometimes, people get enamored with value and the rounds players are able to be kept. Often times, it makes sense and other times you want the elite players. This trade is an easy decision for you and the deal has to be made. While Wilson is a tremendous value in round 17 and won’t suffer a major decline like some believe due to the loss of Percy Harvin, there is depth at quarterback. Keep in mind Harvin didn’t play with Seattle last season when Wilson was one of the best Fantasy quarterbacks in the second half of the season because the Seahawks opened up the offense. There are very few running backs who will play all three downs and to get two with Peterson and Martin provides a huge advantage. Martin is a great value in round three and goes No. 2 overall in many drafts. It’s easier to find a comparable quarterback to Wilson in the draft than there is a running back to Martin.

All statistics entering August 17.

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