Three and out: Ryan Grant expects to start

Time for our fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day …

Grant confident for 2011 season: During a recent interview with WSSP in Milwaukee, Packers RB Ryan Grant discussed a number of topics — including his role in what is suddenly a crowded backfield in Green Bay. With the emergence of James Starks last season, not to mention the addition of rookie Alex Green, some believe Grant isn’t guaranteed to start. Of course, Grant doesn’t agree with that assessment, saying that he’s “still the leader of the backfield” and “expectations won’t change.”

While I agree that Grant will start, it’s hard to envision a scenario where he’ll see another 312 carries like he did in 2008. Starks is going to get his share of the workload, especially in third-down situations, so I’d project Grant to see closer to 200-225 attempts. A low-end No. 2 fantasy runner, he’ll be worth a middle-round selection in drafts. Grant currently comes in at No. 24 at his position on NFL.com. Starks, a terrific handcuff and sleeper candidate, has late-round appeal.

Kenny Britt pleads not guilty: Kenny Britt, who has had several issues with the law since being drafted in 2009, has now pleaded not guilty to three disorderly person charges stemming from a June arrest in New Jersey. Since his latest transgressions have come during the lockout, it’s uncertain how the league can or will discipline Britt once we get back to playing football. But if he avoids a lengthy punishment (or any at all), it will be hard to pass on the third-year wideout if he falls into the middle rounds. The Rutgers product has the size, tools and potential to break out for the Titans. The one question that still needs to be answered — and will ultimately make or break his value — is who will play quarterback. If the team starts rookie Jake Locker, Britt’s value will take a hit. But if a veteran like Matt Hasselbeck is added, Britt could turn into this year’s version of Steve Johnson.

Rice to the Windy City?: In his look at NFC North team needs, NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan discussed the possibility of the Bears signing a free-agent wideout like Sidney Rice, Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards to improve their pass attack. Rice in particular would be a nice fit, both for the Bears and fantasy owners. He would immediately help the value of Jay Cutler, who lacks a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and Cutler would be a huge upgrade for Rice at the quarterback position. As it stands, Rice would be looking at rookie Christian Ponder throwing him the football in Minnesota. That’s not an attractive situation and one that would land Rice on the “busts” list in my opinion. With the Bears, he’d be a more attractive No. 2 fantasy wideout.

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