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More NFL fantasy questions we need answered

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We will begin our search for answers when the players arrive at training camp in July and hopefully, we will have them all answered by the time we head to our fantasy drafts in August and September.

Previously, we listed the NFC questions we need to solve, today we look at the AFC.

1) Can Peyton Manning be the dominant quarterback he was in Indianapolis?

Is Manning completely recovered from the neck problems that forced him to miss the entire 2011 season and suffer through multiple surgeries? Additionally, there is no Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne or Dallas Clark on the Broncos roster. Can Manning turn Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker into fantasy superstars?

2) How much will the arrival of Peyton Hillis hurt Jamaal Charles' fantasy value?

A healthy Charles was a top-three fantasy back from midway through the 2009 season through all of 2010. He's returning from ACL surgery and will have to share carries with Hillis, not an aging Thomas Jones. How will the division of work be shared?

3) Who will be the all-important handcuff to the oft-injured Darren McFadden?

When Michael Bush was called upon to start for McFadden (17 times between 2009-11), he was frequently successful. But Bush is now a Chicago Bear and the existing options of Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones and Lonyae Miller seem lacking. Is the correct handcuff even on the current Oakland Raider roster?

4) Malcom Floyd or Robert Meachem?

Over the past four seasons, Vincent Jackson was the Chargers No. 1 receiver in three of them and only played five games in the fourth year due to a holdout. Jackson is gone and the primary question is whether the incumbent Floyd or newcomer Meachem will be the team's best fantasy wide receiver. Neither receiver has ever been the "main guy' in an NFL offense.

5) Will Donald Brown finally take the reins of the Colts running game?

With a rookie quarterback under center (Andrew Luck), Indianapolis will need a solid running game to take the heat off the inexperienced signal caller. To date, neither Brown or Delone Carter has shown they can be "that guy." It appears that Brown gets the first shot as an "every down" back and if successful could be a solid No. 2 fantasy option. Should he fail, lined up behind him are Carter, Vick Ballard, Darren Evans and Mewelde Moore.

6) Can Blaine Gabbert play well enough to make Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson fantasy-worthy receivers?

Blackmon, a rookie out of Oklahoma State and Robinson (54-858-11 with Dallas last season) have the talent to contribute significant fantasy points, but the question is whether Gabbert or a replacement can get them the ball often enough.

7) Is Kenny Britt ready to play at the high level he achieved before getting injured?

In his last seven healthy games, Britt averaged 119.5 ypg and a touchdown. By way of comparison, Calvin Johnson averaged 105 ypg and a touchdown in 2011. So obviously, its very important that we know whether Britt will be ready for the opening week.

8) Can BenJarvis Green-Ellis carry the Bengals running game?

While running for the Patriots the past two seasons, Green-Ellis rushed for 1,675 yards and 24 touchdowns. However, the focus of every defense was on Tom Brady and the Pats deadly passing game. In Cincinnati, second-year quarterback Andy Dalton doesn't strike the same fear in a defense and the defensive line will be looking for the run. We don't know if the "Law Firm" can succeed under those conditions.

9) Is Trent Richardson really a second-round fantasy back in the Browns weak offense?

With either Colt McCoy or rookie Brandon Weeden under center, the Browns passing game doesn't figure to be prolific. Defenses will likely stack the line in order to slow Richardson down. As a second-round selection on draft day (current fantasyfootballcalculator.com ADP 14.6) can Richardson produce numbers equal to Marshawn Lynch (ADP 13.3) DeMarco Murray (13.6) Larry Fitzgerald (14.7) or Matt Forte (16.5)?

10) How high should you select Isaac Redman and when will Rashard Mendenhall return?

If you want Redman, you are going to have to select him in the sixth round (ADP 55.5). But we still don't know when the incumbent starter, Mendenhall, will be ready to go. Mendenhall has yet to rule himself out of a Week 1 return. If Mendenhall begins the season on the PUP list as most suspect, will six weeks as a starter be enough production to be worthy of the pick?

11) What will be the running back distribution in Miami?

The oft-injured Reggie Bush was a huge bargain in 2011 because while he wasn't drafted very high, he produced 1,382 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns. Early mock drafts have him as a fifth-round selection (ADP 47.3), but a healthy Daniel Thomas and rookie Lamar Miller will likely cut into his playing time and production. The question is ... how much?

12) How valuable can Brandon Lloyd be among the Patriots pass catchers?

Catching balls from Kyle Orton, Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley and Kellen Clemens, Lloyd still managed to pull down 70 balls for 966 yards and five touchdowns. None of those quarterbacks would ever be mentioned in the same breath as Brady. But at the same time, Lloyd will have to carve out his niche from talented receivers like Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Jabar Gaffney and Deion Branch. Chad Ochocinco couldn't produce under those conditions. What will Lloyd do?

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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