If Favre retires, Rice, others lose draft value

As the Favre turns … what a soap opera it would make.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is reporting that Brett Favre has decided to retire rather than return for his 20th NFL season. Of course, it’s hard to believe any report about the enigmatic quarterback until we hear it come out of his mouth.

In the event that Favre is in fact done playing pro football, the fantasy implications would be major. The players that would be affected the most are Tarvaris Jackson, Sidney Rice and Visanthe Shiancoe.

Jackson, who has shown flashes of potential in the past, would take over the reins of the offense. Based on what is a very favorable schedule and the high level of talent around him, he would hold deep sleeper value in the late rounds.

Just don’t expect him to post Favre-like numbers.

Rice, who is still dealing with an injured hip that is already starting to drag his value down, would take a huge tumble on draft day. Currently a low-end No. 1 fantasy wideout on NFL.com, Rice would be seen as more of a No. 2 or 3 option.

Without Favre, I’d actually avoid him altogether unless he falls into the low middle rounds.

Shiancoe, instead of being a potential late-round bargain in drafts, would be more of a fantasy reserve. I’d expect his reception and yardage totals to fall compared to his impressive 2009 totals. He also has no chance to even come close to the 11 touchdowns he recorded.

The news isn’t all bad, though.

Adrian Peterson was a fantasy star before Favre was wearing purple and yellow, and he’ll become more of an offensive centerpiece once again without him. I still see him as worth one of the first two overall picks in fantasy drafts. With an expected increase in the running game, Toby Gerhart could also see more work in an effort to ease some of the burden off Peterson’s shoulders.

The rookie remains a viable late rounder.

Percy Harvin would lose some of his luster without Favre, but he’s such an enormous playmaker that he’d lose less value than Rice. In the event that Rice’s hip keeps him out for an extended period, Harvin could wind up seeing a greater role in the offense to start the season. The same scenario is in store for Bernard Berrian, who has low late-round value and could see more targets if Rice were sidelined.

Again, I would take this recent report about Favre with a grain of salt. He’s been as mysterious when it comes to these stories off the field as he has been an absolute superstar when he’s playing between the white lines.

Like Vikings coach Brad Childress said, “it wouldn’t surprise me one way or the other.”

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