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2010 Draft Prep: Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Everybody wants to be that guy on Draft Day. The one who doesn't make a bad pick. The one who scoops up stud running backs in Round 5 and gem quarterbacks in Round 9. The one who shrugs nonchalantly when he picks a receiver in Round 13 that turns into a starter by Week 3 and the one who dodges busts round after round, year after year.

This year, let's make that guy you.

We know you're going to do your research and due diligence before entering your draft room, but part of your pre-draft efforts should include making your own list of sleepers, breakouts and busts to have on hand. Creating such a list will help you make good decisions not just at the start of your draft, but in the middle and late rounds when other owners will surely sit there and stare blankly at the papers in front of them as if they were written in Swahili.

To kick off your list, I'll give you eight sleepers, eight breakouts and eight busts, and so will my colleague Jamey Eisenberg. That's 48 players to give you a head start on what should help you pull off a successful draft. Hey, if you listened up last year, you would have been ahead of the class.

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Sleepers

Bernard Berrian, WR, Vikings
Dave's projection: 60 rec., 793 yards, 5 TDs
Jamey's projection: 48 rec., 629 yards, 5 TDs, one fumble lost
Average Draft Position: No. 145 overall (Round 13)
I'm excited about Berrian's prospects for one reason and one reason only: He's healthy. Berrian was plagued by a hamstring injury for much of the 2009 season which tanked his yardage totals -- after averaging over 20 yards per catch in his first year in Minnesota he fell to an 11.2 average. Keep this in mind: The 20-yard average came without Brett Favre as his quarterback and with his leg in good shape, now Favre is back and so are Berrian's legs. Call me Sally Safety, but if Berrian had averaged even 14 yards per catch last season he would have been good for 770 yards and surely more than the four scores he ultimately put up. Berrian can be had late and should be in line to be productive; having Sidney Rice sidelined in training camp doesn't hurt his early-season prospects either.

Nate Burleson, WR, Lions
Dave's projection: 55 rec., 693 yards, 4 TDs
Jamey's projection: 47 rec., 690 yards, 4 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 153 overall (Round 13)
The last time I called on Burleson to be a sleeper, he started his season with 60 yards and a touchdown. Then he tore his ACL and was done for the year. It's redemption time, and Burleson's playing in the land of redemption: Detroit! I don't know if that's really true, but I do know that he's gotten himself noticed in the Lions' offense and has earned a starting job opposite Calvin Johnson. There, he'll get ignored by defensive coverages and catch mid-field and long-range bombs from Matthew Stafford. Draft him with the idea that he'll be a terrific reserve option you can feel good about starting as a one-week replacement.

Larry Johnson, RB, Redskins
Dave's projection: 517 rush yards, 5 TDs, one fumble lost; 13 rec., 74 rec. yards
Jamey's projection: 684 rush yards, 5 TDs, one fumble lost; 17 rec. 87 rec. yards
Average Draft Position: No. 144 overall (Round 12)
Introducing my favorite late-round pick of the summer. Consider these points: Mike Shanahan was revered for his work with running backs in Denver; Fantasy owners drafted Shanahan backs just because he coached them. Shanahan has also had a bit of a crush on Johnson, who he went up against twice a year when L.J. was in his prime with the Chiefs. Johnson had a tumultuous 2009 but didn't pick up too many reps and enters 2010 fairly well rested and healthy. And the Redskins' starting running back, Clinton Portis, has over 2,200 career carries and was lost for half of last season because of a concussion. Portis has also been dealing with small, minor injuries in camp this summer while Johnson has reportedly shined. Can we trust Portis to play 16 games? Can we trust him to take on the majority of carries every game? Johnson should find a pretty good role in the Redskins offense -- you could do worse with your third-to-last pick in a draft.

Rookie Dexter McCluster could be a big weapon in K.C. (US Presswire)  
Rookie Dexter McCluster could be a big weapon in K.C. (US Presswire)  
Dexter McCluster, WR, Chiefs
Dave's projection: 96 rush yards, rush TD; 536 rec. yards, 3 TDs
Jamey's projection: 111 rush yards, rush TD; 48 rec., 708 rec. yards, 4 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 140 overall (Round 12)
How highly do I think of McCluster? So much that you might think I have an investment in the Chiefs' stadium refurbishment. It's no secret that the Chiefs were hoping to land Darren Sproles from the Chargers this offseason until the Bolts franchised him (the Chargers must have found out). Their Plan B is McCluster, who is a converted running back the team took with an early second-round pick. Clearly the Chiefs have a plan to use a speedy, shifty player in their offense if they were initially chasing Sproles, and McCluster has been spotted lining up as a slot receiver, outside receiver, running back and Wildcat quarterback in practice sessions! How many ways could this guy get you stats this season? Honestly, I'm projecting him low just to be on the safe side -- my initial projection was laughable, but that should tell you just how excited I am about his prospects this year.

Terrell Owens, WR, Bengals
Dave's projection: 60 rec., 833 yards, 6 TDs
Jamey's projection: 58 rec., 866 yards, 6 TDs, two fumbles lost
Average Draft Position: No. 113 overall (Round 10)
Last year's bust is this year's sleeper. Why? Easy: Owens won't have to shoulder a huge chunk of the Bengals' offensive workload like he did last season in Buffalo. He'll also have a great passer in Carson Palmer targeting him instead of the revolving door of mediocrity that the Bills served up in 2009. If you go into drafts expecting T.O. to play like he did last season, you're going to do just fine. But there's a chance he goes beyond the weak totals he had in Buffalo, and that's why he doubles as a good enough No. 3 Fantasy receiver and a dynamic sleeper. He might be gone by Round 10.

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions
Dave's projection: 3,353 pass yards, 21 TDs, 16 INTs; 108 rush yards, 2 rush TDs, three fumbles lost
Jamey's projection: 3,333 pass yards, 20 TDs, 16 INTs; 82 rush yards, two fumbles lost
Average Draft Position: No. 132 overall (Round 11)
Strong armed quarterback with a year of experience + Calvin Johnson = Big numbers. OK, it's not that simple, but Stafford should see a huge bump in stats this season. He spent the offseason grinding, improving everything from his footwork to his accuracy, and all reports from Motown have been that Stafford is shining. But that's not all -- Detroit added fellow sleeper Nate Burleson along with tight end Tony Scheffler this offseason, giving Stafford options beyond Megatron after the snap. But here's what people aren't thinking about: Even with the addition of defensive beast Ndamukong Suh, the Lions' defense isn't expected to hold many offenses back. That's going to mean a lot of passing for Stafford as the Lions do something they've become accustomed to: play from behind. The difference is that the Lions might catch teams thanks to Stafford. His schedule is tough, and his offensive line is barely upgraded, but he's still an awesome late-round value. What have you got to lose?

Chester Taylor, RB, Bears
Dave's projection: 623 rush yards, 4 TDs; 32 rec., 260 yards, 1 TD
Jamey's projection: 681 rush yards, 3 TDs, one fumble lost; 33 rec., 288 yards, 2 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 118 overall (Round 10)
Two running backs, Rusher A and Rusher B. They are equals as far as talent goes. Rusher A is young and coming off a rough year. Rusher B is older but hasn't had more than 150 carries or so in three years and just got $7 million to sign with his new club. Rusher A might start the year seeing more work, but failure will open the door for Rusher B to pick up a lot of work. Did I mention that Rusher A and Rusher B will play in a new offense for the first time -- an offense that typically doesn't feature running backs? Oh, and there's this: Rusher A is being taken 60th overall in drafts while Rusher B is going seven rounds later. You shouldn't be surprised to discover that Rusher A is Matt Forte and Rusher B is Taylor. Which one is the better value for you on Draft Day? You'd have to "B" nuts to not consider Taylor late over Forte early.

Mike Williams, WR, Buccaneers
Dave's projection: 45 rec., 559 yards, 5 TDs
Jamey's projection: 43 rec., 629 yards, 5 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 150 overall (Round 13)
By the time you draft, Williams might not even be a sleeper. That's because anyone with half a brain who has taken in a Buccaneers training camp practice has seen Williams, a rookie, play beyond expectations. He looks the part of a No. 1 receiver, making big plays daily and not moving in slow motion like a lot of rookie receivers tend to do in their first few months in the league. The Bucs had nothing at wide receiver when they drafted Williams and fellow rook Arrelious Benn, and now they have found a gem in Williams, who they took with a fourth-round pick. Ever wish you were the guy who drafted Anquan Boldin or Marques Colston as rookies? This could be your chance to make up for it.

Breakouts

Devin Aromashodu, WR, Bears
Dave's projection: 46 rec., 574 yards, 5 TDs
Jamey's projection: 65 rec., 835 yards, 5 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 119 overall (Round 10)
There are four reasons why I like Aromashodu: One, Jay Cutler likes throwing to him. Two, he proved last season he could be a playmaker in this league, scorching cornerbacks like Antoine Winfield for touchdowns. Three, he's playing in a Mike Martz-led offense, which means lots and lots of passing. Four, he'll be easier to nab in drafts than Devin Hester and second-year receiver Johnny Knox. Plus it never hurts to buy low on players who ended the previous season strong (also known as The Corey Dillon Strategy). I know Hester and Knox are the more popular options, so file this one under "deep" breakout selection.

Michael Bush, RB, Raiders
Dave's projection: 852 rush yards, 5 TDs, three fumbles lost; 20 rec., 148 rec. yards
Jamey's projection: 795 rush yards, 8 TDs, two fumbles lost; 15 rec., 90 rec. yards
Average Draft Position: No. 98 overall (Round 8)
Bush spent his rookie year recovering from a leg injury and didn't play. He got a shot to see meaningful playing time in his second season but ultimately lost reps to Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden. The reverse happened last year -- he started behind McFadden and Fargas and ultimately fared well in spurts. Now Fargas is gone and the three-headed Oakland nightmare for Fantasy owners has become a potentially potent two-headed machine. Bush should see a lot of work for the Raiders, whose passing game was upgraded significantly with the addition of Jason Campbell. If Campbell can establish the Raiders' passing game as a good enough threat, the safeties back out of the box, Bush will have room to wiggle and be a productive workhorse for Fantasy owners. He's a guy you can draft as a No. 3 running back, but he could end up being good enough to start as a second back by the end of the year.

Matt Cassel, QB, Chiefs
Dave's projection: 3,566 pass yards, 21 TDs, 16 INTs; 141 rush yards, rush TD, four fumbles lost
Jamey's projection: 3,546 pass yards, 21 TDs, 18 INTs; 98 rush yards, rush TD, three fumbles lost
Average Draft Position: No. 133 overall (Round 12)
Weapons and Weis, that's what Cassel got this offseason. Dwayne Bowe entered training camp with a clean slate, fellow wideout Chris Chambers will have a full offseason with the Chiefs under his belt and the team drafted speedy short-area receiver Dexter McCluster. Tack on offensive mastermind Charlie Weis joining Kansas City and devoting himself to improving Cassel's performances, and you have the pieces in place for a breakout quarterback. The offensive line is an issue for Cassel, no doubt, but we've seen Cassel put up huge stats before when given the resources and the coaching (see his numbers from New England in 2008), so there's nothing but potential here.

Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots
Dave's projection: 44 rec., 531 yards, 4 TDs
Jamey's projection: 44 rec., 558 yards, 3 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 142 overall (Round 12)
Edelman was originally on everyone's Fantasy radar because he was expected to fill in for Wes Welker for the first few weeks of the season while Welker recovered from a torn ACL. But Welker has rehabbed diligently and looks like he'll start the season on time. However, Edelman has seemingly carved out a role for himself in the Patriots offense independent of Welker's status. That means that the Patriots might have two small but explosive receivers lining up on the seams this season, and Tom Brady can pick defenses apart with both. Plus, with the loss of veteran wideout Torry Holt for the season, Edelman's playing time should be far from sparse. And if Welker's knee suffers a setback at any point this year, you-know-who will be filling in for him without losing a beat.

Jermichael Finley, TE, Packers
Dave's projection: 68 rec., 820 yards, 6 TDs, one fumble lost
Jamey's projection: 67 rec., 890 yards, 6 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 64 overall (Round 6)
Everyone's impressed with Finley after what was essentially a breakout season (who called it?), but not many people remember that the vast majority of his stats came in December and January! He had 27 catches for 339 yards and one touchdown through his first eight games and 28 catches for 337 yards and four touchdowns in his last five, not including a 159-yard explosion in a playoff game. Judging by how much Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers gushed about Finley this offseason along with the production he's had in team workouts and early preseason games, all signs point to Finley making another big stat leap this season. He's even got an outside shot at 1,000 yards receiving, though it would likely mean one of his terrific receiving teammates not hitting the same mark.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens
Dave's projection: 4,058 pass yards, 23 TDs, 14 INTs; 68 rush yards, rush TD, two fumbles lost
Jamey's projection: 4,185 pass yards, 27 TDs, 17 INTs; 54 rush yards, rush TD, three fumbles lost
Average Draft Position: No. 55 overall (Round 5)
Everyone's high on Flacco because the Ravens added Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth and drafted a pair of athletic tight ends who could cause some mismatch problems (they won't put up enough stats to make themselves Fantasy fiends, but Flacco will benefit). Throw in Ray Rice able to catch passes out of the backfield and Derrick Mason continuing to offer a safe pair of hands, not to mention a great young offensive line, and you have plenty of good reasons for Flacco to be a Fantasy breakout. But how about this as a reason to like Flacco: He's good! Let's not forget about his hot start in 2009, where he had three 300-yard games in his first six matchups before cooling off in the winter. That cool off might not happen this season because of the Ravens' receiving additions. He could hit 4,000 yards.

Kevin Kolb, QB, Eagles
Dave's projection: 4,077 pass yards, 25 TDs, 20 INTs; 101 rush yards, four fumbles lost
Jamey's projection: 4,277 pass yards, 24 TDs, 16 INTs; 68 rush yards, four fumbles lost
Average Draft Position: No. 66 overall (Round 6)
I've chronicled why I like him more than former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, but I actually like him enough to qualify as a No. 1 option. One factor that I relish with Kolb is his coach -- Andy Reid. The guy likes to pass the ball. Obviously Reid has all the faith in the world in Kolb if he traded McNabb to a division rival. Kolb is also expected to be more accurate on a weekly basis than McNabb, and his receiving corps is young but full of big-play potential. Kolb should easily get to 3,500 yards with a good amount of touchdowns. I don't think 4,000 yards is out of the question either. Kolb's stock has jumped so much that he's going higher than where I expected, but he's still a solid value given his offense.

Nate Washington, WR, Titans
Dave's projection: 58 rec., 704 yards, 6 TDs
Jamey's projection: 51 rec., 742 yards, 5 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 158 overall (Round 14)
Chris Johnson can't do it alone. I'm sure he'd like to, and Fantasy owners with the No. 1 overall pick would love to see him try, but the Titans know better than to lean on one guy to provide sparks for their offense. Enter Washington, who put up career-high stats in his first season as more than a situational receiver. Washington admitted this offseason that he was still learning how to function as an every-down wideout, but with the year of experience under his belt and absolutely no one in the Tennessee offense stepping up this offseason to wrestle targets away from him, there's no reason to believe that he can't take the next step. Besides, when opponents drop their safety coverage to try and keep Johnson down, Washington can make them pay with the long ball. It baffles me that receivers like Devin Thomas, Golden Tate and Chaz Schilens are going ahead of Washington. Get on the ball, people! He's a terrific late-round flier that no one will covet because he's not a household name.

Busts

Lee Evans, WR, Bills
Dave's projection: 57 rec., 785 yards, 5 TDs, one fumble lost
Jamey's projection: 68 rec., 870 yards, 5 TDs, one fumble lost
Average Draft Position: No. 125 overall (Round 11)
The Bills did nothing to improve their quarterback situation and little to improve their offensive line. Instead, they added another player in C.J. Spiller who will be given carries and catches, dragging potential receptions away from Evans. While Evans is a quality player, the fact that he failed to record a 100-yard game last season or get more than 50 yards receiving in all but two of the matchups where he scored doesn't exactly strike owners with a sense of optimism. Neither does him coming off a career-low 44-catch campaign. With Buffalo going with the status quo under center, it seems unlikely that Evans will rebound much, if at all, in 2010.

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Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals
Dave's projection: 81 rec., 1,131 yards, 8 TDs
Jamey's projection: 92 rec., 1,482 yards, 11 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 22 overall (Round 2)
Over his last three seasons, Fitzgerald has averaged just over 1,300 yards and nearly 12 touchdowns. Who was his quarterback for the overwhelming majority of those three seasons? Answer: Not Matt Leinart, who is expected to be his quarterback in 2010. Leinart's history with Fitzgerald is very underwhelming: In 15 career starts and parts of 13 other games over four years, Leinart has completed 80 passes for 1,114 yards and five touchdowns to Larry Fitzgerald with one 100-yard game between the two of them. And in four games where Leinart threw to Fitzgerald without Anquan Boldin on the field (the scenario they'll have in 2010), they connected seven times for 196 yards and one score. This might be related to Fitzgerald primarily lining up on the left and Leinart, a lefty, preferring to throw to his right. Fitzgerald could line up on the right side, which is where he started on the play this preseason where he sprained his knee against Houston. That's a potential strike against Fitzgerald, but ultimately the belief here is that his quarterback will cost him big in the stat department this season. If you're looking for an elite receiver in Round 2 or even early Round 3, you should be able to do better.

Matt Forte, RB, Bears
Dave's projection: 708 rush yards, 4 rush TDs, two fumbles lost; 28 rec., 207 rec. yards, 1 TD
Jamey's projection: 863 rush yards, 4 rush TDs, two fumbles lost; 48 rec., 386 rec. yards, 1 TD
Average Draft Position: No. 61 overall (Round 6)
If you read my thoughts on Chester Taylor as a sleeper, you already know that Forte is Rusher A and a guy who I feel is grossly overvalued in drafts. But did you know that over his last three seasons -- two as a pro, one as a collegiate -- Forte has amassed 935 carries and 152 receptions? No matter how you slice it, that's a lot of work, and it's no wonder that Forte got banged up and slowed down in 2009. The Bears did something about it and hired Taylor to ease the workload on Forte. Exactly what do you think happens to running backs that don't touch the ball as much as they used to? Their stats shrivel! That goes double for the runners who rely on the bulk touches to put up big stats because they don't have breakaway speed. And it goes quadruple for running backs not named Faulk in a Mike Martz offense. He's not going to have a ton of carries and won't rack up a ton of yards sharing the football. This is Football 101, people. Spend a sixth- or seventh-round pick on Forte and plan to regret it.

Felix Jones, RB, Cowboys
Dave's projection: 837 rush yards, 4 TDs, two fumbles lost; 19 rec., 155 rec. yards
Jamey's projection: 780 rush yards, 4 TDs, two fumbles lost; 31 rec., 271 rec. yards, 3 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 70 overall (Round 6)
Let me say that I love Felix Jones' ability. On paper, he's one of the most dangerous running backs in the NFL. So if that's the case, then why in the world is he sharing carries with Marion Barber and Tashard Choice? Are the Cowboys aiming to keep him fresh and healthy, something he hasn't completely been in two seasons? Are they worried that he'll run out of steam if they give him more than a dozen touches per week? Is it because they pass so much? Maybe the Cowboys feel like they have too big of a financial commitment to Barber to ignore him. No matter what the reason, Jones' inability to be consistent and put up nice stats week in and week out keep him from being counted as a regular starter in Fantasy play. It's obvious that his big-play ability makes him a threat, and sure he's fine as a quality reserve running back. But anything more than that will cost you. Worse yet, he's being taken on average ahead of runners like Cadillac Williams, Ahmad Bradshaw and Justin Forsett -- guys who have a better chance to deliver for your Fantasy roster each week. Don't be the owner who grabs Jones with a quality pick just because his highlights show up on TV once in a while.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos
Dave's projection: 954 rush yards, 4 TDs, one fumble lost; 30 rec., 208 rec. yards, 2 TDs
Jamey's projection: 1,022 rush yards, 4 TDs, four fumbles lost; 38 rec., 276 rec. yards, 2 TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 41 overall (Round 4)
A hamstring injury is the enemy of any athlete, and the more severe it is the more trouble it can be. A hamstring strain/pull/tear (we're not sure what Moreno has but it can't be good since he was ruled out for much of the preseason) can linger with a player all season long -- just ask Matt Forte or Bernard Berrian, both of whom lumbered with sore legs in 2009. Moreno relies on his speed and quickness as much as any running back, and if that's compromised then his stats will suffer. Furthermore, the Broncos' offense is a huge question mark with Brandon Marshall gone and two injured rookies coming aboard. The target will be on Moreno's back, and a potentially bad wheel and no promise to land all the reps (only four games with 20 or more carries last season) just makes his outlook uglier. He's safe as a third running back, but not as a first or a reliable second. You won't be able to get him as such this season, so leave him to be a lemon for someone else.

Donovan McNabb, QB, Redskins
Dave's projection: 3,622 pass yards, 19 TDs, 13 INTs; 126 rush yards, 2 rush TDs, four fumbles lost
Jamey's projection: 3,888 pass yards, 22 TDs, 13 INTs; 122 rush yards, 2 rush TDs, three fumbles lost
Average Draft Position: No. 101 overall (Round 9)
You know what they say about old dogs and new tricks, right?. McNabb has known one playbook his entire career and now has to adapt to not just a new variation of the West Coast offense but a new team, new teammates, new coaches and new surroundings. You might think a vet like McNabb can swing that no problem, but when Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said in mid-August that McNabb will need "some time where he feels it's second nature," then adds that the process "usually takes a couple of years, even for a veteran," you can't feel good about the guy's chances to succeed. Philadelphia might be a three-hour ride from Washington D.C., but McNabb is light years away from being the same passer he was with the Eagles. The Redskins' offensive line and receiving corps aren't as good as what he was booted from with the Eagles, and Fantasy owners will see this early and often in 2010. McNabb is a Fantasy backup -- nothing more.

Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins
Dave's projection: 945 rush yards, 6 TDs, one fumble lost; 14 rec., 117 yards
Jamey's projection: 867 rush yards, 6 TDs, two fumbles lost; 18 rec., 156 yards, 1 TD
Average Draft Position: No. 66 overall (Round 6)
If you know me, you know that I count a running back's carries like the minutes until lunch time. It's not the age of the running back but the amount of work he's done over his career. In Portis' case, he has 2,246 career carries including the postseason. That puts him on the doorstep of being a candidate to break down and underperform. Injuries have shortened Portis' shelf life, the biggest of which is a concussion that cut his 2009 in half. There's concern here that after a couple of dings to his helmet Portis could suffer another concussion, and with the NFL cracking down on letting players play with a cloudy head, he could miss some weeks. Also keep in mind that the Redskins added three rushers this offseason, driving the point home that Portis won't run a one-man show. Portis wasn't on pace for 1,000 rushing yards last season, and it wouldn't surprise me if he didn't do it this season.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills
Dave's projection: 858 rush yards, 3 rush TDs, four fumbles lost; 32 rec., 282 rec. yards, 2 rec. TDs
Jamey's projection: 634 rush yards, 3 rush TDs, three fumbles lost; 41 rec., 344 rec. yards, 3 rec. TDs
Average Draft Position: No. 77 overall (Round 7)
Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch got hurt and are not locks for Week 1. Guess what? Spiller will still struggle. Here we have a player with immense talent and incredible speed playing in the league's ugliest offense. Last year the only Bills player to do even moderately well was Jackson, who had 283 total touches -- an average of over 17 touches per week. Excluding his prominent special-teams work, there's no way Spiller averages that many touches on a weekly basis with Jackson and Lynch looming -- and they will be looming as their injuries won't keep them out for much of the regular season, if at all. Spiller will draw plenty of attention from opposing defenses because of his big-play ability, and with a poor supporting cast it doesn't seem like he'll succeed while sharing touches. If you want to draft Spiller because of his upside that's fine, but don't do it with a valuable pick. I'd take him around Round 8 or 9 if he's there, but absolutely not earlier.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

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Player News
Marion Grice to struggle for playing time
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(5:13 pm ET) Chargers rookie running back Marion Grice scored 39 touchdowns in 24 games at Arizona State, but he'll have a hard time cracking the lineup in San Diego, according to the team's website. The sixth-round pick finds himself behind Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown in the backfield and will need "a very special camp performance to earn playing time," the report said.


Chris Ivory's carries expected to drop
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:54 pm ET) With the Jets' addition of Chris Johnson, running back Chris Ivory most likely will get "a decent number of carries, but not as many as he did last year," reports the New York Post. Ivory averaged 12 carries per game last year while amassing 833 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

The paper said it will be interesting to see how Ivory reacts to a smaller workload. "One of the reasons he was unhappy in New Orleans was he was part of a crowded backfield and did not feel he was being used enough," the paper said. "Will he bite his tongue if he is riding the bench?"


Four draft picks unsigned as camp nears
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:31 pm ET) With training camp fast approaching, four of the NFL's 256 draft picks remain unsigned. They are Browns corner Justin Gilbert (first round, eighth overall), Titans offensive tackle Taylor Lewan (first round, 11th overall), Jaguars receiver Marqise Lee (second round, 39th overall) and Dolphins offensive tackle Billy Turner (third round, 67th overall).

Getting rid of Andre Johnson would be costly
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:22 pm ET) The Texans would incur $12 million in dead money on their salary cap if they cut or trade receiver Andre Johnson, reports ESPN.com. Johnson has asked for a trade, but the Texans are resistant to the idea, according to NFL Network.

Johnson is owed $21.5 million over the next two seasons. He's unhappy with the direction of the team, which is rebuilding with a new coach and new quarterbacks.


Eddie Lacy not content
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:07 pm ET) Packers running back Eddie Lacy set a franchise rookie rushing record with 1,178 yards last season while scoring 11 touchdowns. He won't take anyone by surprise in 2014, a challenge he's preparing for.

"I just need to regain focus," he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Don't let what I did last year flow over into this year. It's a new team, it's a new season and a new year pretty much."

"I know it's going to be a lot tougher than last season," Lacy added. "But we have the greatest quarterback in the NFL, and with him being back there, it's not just like they'll be able to stack the box and focus on me. They have to play him, because if not, he's just going to kill them through the air. So I still think I have a bit of breathing room.

"I think it will be tougher, because it's not like you're surprising everyone. When you first come in, people doubt you. They know what you did in college, but they don't know if it will translate to the next level. But once you get that year in and people see what you've done and it's no longer surprising, they're going to prepare for you the way they prepare for whoever else is good at that position."


Falcons 'certain' Julio Jones will be good as new
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:07 pm ET) The Falcons are "certain" receiver Julio Jones will "return to his old explosive self," reports ESPN.com. Jones is coming off foot surgery and is waiting for doctors to clear him to go all out. 

Jones says he's running routes and feels no pain in his foot.


Report: Browns 'not likely' to cut Josh Gordon
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:46 pm ET) It's possible, but not likely, that the Browns cut receiver Josh Gordon, reports Pro Football Talk. Gordon is facing a possible one-year suspension for alleged failed drug tests, according to PFT. He also was suspended two games at the start of last season.

If Gordon is exposed to the waivers system, the Texans would get the first chance to acquire him because they had the league's worst record last year.


Henry Melton won't be 'full go' to start camp
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:08 pm ET) Cowboys defensive tackle Henry Melton won't be "full go" at the start of training camp but is convinced he'll be ready for the season opener, reports ESPN. Melton continues to rehab from a torn ACL.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins says his foot has healed
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:03 pm ET) Buccaneers rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a second-round pick who could start, said his left foot is in good shape following February surgery for a stress fracture, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

"I feel really good. My foot feels really good," he said. "I've been running routes, doing all the exercise and workout drills that they've asked me to do. I feel very comfortable and confident that I'll be ready to go when it comes to training camp."

The foot injury limited Seferian-Jenkins during the team's rookie minicamp. He missed OTAs and the mandatory minicamp because of the University of Washington's academic calendar.

"The only thing you can really do is try to learn the formations and concepts, the methodology of the offense, but there's nothing that substitutes for the hands-on experience of being out there running routes, and getting the timing down with the quarterbacks, the communication, all that stuff," he said. "There's definitely going to be a little bit of a learning curve, but that's to be expected when you're not there at all. It's nothing I can't overcome. I'm just going into it one day at a time and will be working really hard."


C.J. Mosley pushing for starting job
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:12 pm ET) Ravens first-round pick C.J. Mosley, the Butkus Award-winning linebacker out of Alabama, "looked instinctive and comfortable during the Ravens' offseason practices while working with the first-team defense," reports the Baltimore Sun, adding Mosley could beat out Arthur Brown for the starting weakside job at inside linebacker.

The 6-2, 235-pound Mosley displayed his athleticism in the spring, leaping high to intercept passes, the report said. Both Mosley and Brown, a second-round pick last year, will play a lot no matter who starts.


 
 
 
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