Here are our fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day …
Brady has the edge in fantasy: If you had the choice of dating Megan Fox or Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, well, either way you’re going to win. The same holds true in fantasy football when it comes to picking between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Brady has finished no worse than seventh in fantasy points at his position in his past five full seasons. Manning’s been no worse than sixth since 2006. Brady bested Manning last year, but the separation was a mere 13.2 points. Both signal-callers should continue to find success in 2011 — the talent around them remains solid, especially in Manning’s case, and both are in the top five at their position on NFL.com. But if I had to choose one, I’d take Brady based on the schedule — the reigning NFL MVP will face teams with vulnerable secondaries such as the Bills (2), Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles, Broncos and Raiders among his easier opponents. But again, like the decision to date Fox or Huntington-Whiteley, you can’t go wrong either way.
Jones-Drew not at 100 percent: During a recent appearance on Sirius NFL Radio, Maurice Jones-Drew said that he expects to be 100 percent “within three to four weeks” as he recovers from offseason knee surgery. When I interviewed “Pocket Hercules” back in June, he said the knee wasn’t an issue. In fact, he confidently expressed that he would select himself with the No. 1 overall pick (Jones-Drew is an avid fantasy player). While I wouldn’t go that far myself, I still see MJD as a first-round pick in a 2011 draft. He’s one of a dying breed of featured backs in the league, and the fact that he has a solid handcuff in Rashad Jennings (whom you need to grab if you draft Jones-Drew) behind him on the depth chart softens the blow if the knee does become an issue during the regular season. The Jaguars runner ranks eighth at his position on NFL.com.
Concerns about Mathews in 2011?: Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune recently suggested that there “are several concerns” about Mathews heading into his season NFL season. The greatest concern appears to be durability — Mathews missed time due to ankle problems as a rookie, which ultimately led to Mike Tolbert being the more valuable fantasy option. However, Acee also pointed out that despite the concern, the Chargers also know that Mathews has major potential. Our Bucky Brooks also expressed that sentiment in our look at some of the top fantasy breakout players of 2011. If Mathews can stay on the field, I have no doubt that he’ll be a 1,000-yard rusher in the offense of coach Norv Turner. But that “if” factor, coupled with Tolbert’s continued role in short yardage and near the goal line, will make Mathews a popular risk-reward selection on draft day.