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2010 Draft Prep: Full speed ahead for Ryan, Flacco

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Anquan Boldin sees big things ahead for Joe Flacco this year.

"He's a good talent," Boldin said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "He can make every throw on the football field. I hope to help him take the next step."

Roddy White is expecting Matt Ryan to become a star.

"I feel like we're going to have an outstanding year," White told us. "We're going to throw the ball around. We're going to be better. He has a lot more control. He can get out there and do his thing."

Boldin and White are obviously biased, but they are expecting each of their quarterbacks to shine in 2010. And we agree.

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Flacco and Ryan will forever be linked because they were part of the same draft class in 2008. Both had early success in making the playoffs as rookies, and both played well in their sophomore season. But what lies ahead for their third season?

The prediction here is both are going to become stars. We're counting on Flacco and Ryan to become starting Fantasy options this year.

Let's start with Flacco, who played well in 2009 with 3,613 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He had limited weapons last year with Derrick Mason, Ray Rice and Todd Heap as his main targets.

This offseason, the Ravens got a proven star wide receiver in his prime when they traded for Boldin from Arizona. Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron can now open up the offense, and Flacco should become the next great quarterback in the NFL.

"He's a humble kid," Boldin said. "He's a smart kid. But he has a big arm. I'm looking forward to getting in there and working with him."

Flacco is being drafted at No. 56 overall, which is Round 5 in standard 12-team leagues, and he's the No. 8 quarterback coming off the board behind Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Matt Schaub, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers. But Flacco could easily finish as a Top 5 Fantasy option, and he's worth targeting as your starter if you miss on one of the top passers.

The perception is the Ravens are a running team, but last year Flacco had nine games where he attempted at least 30 passes. That number should go up with the increase in talent, and Flacco is someone I've targeted as often as possible in all my leagues.

The same goes for Ryan, who has the chance to throw more in 2010 after he passed for 2,916 yards, 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season. Coach Mike Smith said in an interview with CBSSports.com that the Falcons have "opened up the playbook" for Ryan this year.

It makes sense when you consider Ryan has an elite wide receiver in White and arguably the best tight end in NFL history in Tony Gonzalez, who both finished as Top 5 targets last year at their respective positions. He also has a running game that opposing defenses have to respect, and the Falcons are excited for Ryan to continue his development.

"The sky is the limit with him," Gonzalez said in an interview with CBSSports.com. "I always say it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when he's going to be an elite quarterback in this league. We can help him with that, and I think the offense can help him with that."

Added Michael Turner: "Matt has been taking more of that leadership role. He's just more comfortable. Each year he's been taking strides by leaps and bounds. I can't wait to see what he does this year."

Ryan is a steal on Draft Day since he's being drafted at No. 80 overall, which is Round 7, and he's the No. 14 quarterback being selected. He will definitely outperform his draft position and finish as a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback.

Flacco and Ryan are quarterbacks on the rise. They are ready to become stars, and these are two passers to target on Draft Day.

Since they aren't proven commodities yet, you'll still want to get quality backup Fantasy quarterbacks in case they struggle. But as Gonzalez said, it's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when both will become elite quarterbacks. And now is the time.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Jamey at @jameyeisenberg . 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
Isaac Redman calls it quits
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:24 am ET) A spinal cord injury has ended the career of former Steelers running back Isaac Redman .

Redman tweeted his decision Friday. He added that he turned down offers from teams to potentially play after his release from Pittsburgh in October.

The 29-year-old Redman finishes his career with 1,148 yards rushing on 282 carries and 4.1 YPC.


Speculation: Contract issue keeping Vontaze Burfict out
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:51 am ET) Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict remains sidelined from practice Friday. The team has also not confirmed a multi-year contract extension with the second-year player.

It is unknown if there is a connection to the two facts. Speculation is that the deal has been held up by one side or the other.

The team listed a stomach ailment as the reason for his absence from practice Thursday.


Jets not ready to give up on unproductive Stephen Hill
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Despite the fact that Stephen Hill has just one reception in the first two preseason games, Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has not given up on the 2012 second-round pick.

"I was pleased with his progress [last year] up until he got nicked and that he got nicked again," Mornhinweg told the New York Post. "This year he was even more impressive in the offseason and through training camp, with a few exceptions. There were a couple days there. So he's coming along. And in many cases, this is what happens, at all positions, but especially at the receiver position, that third year they make a pretty good jump. That's what we're looking for there."

The Jets are seeking a receiver to start opposite Eric Decker. David Nelson is another possibility, but his potential is not considered as strong as that of Hill, whose production fell off the table after a strong start in 2013.


Jamaal Charles all but ruled out for Saturday game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:20 am ET) What was anticipated now appears official - Chiefs superback Jamaal Charles will not play Saturday against Minnesota.

Charles returned to practice Thursday after missing time with a bruised foot. But Andy Reid is taking the cautious approach with him.


Coach: Two-QB system on table for Browns down the road
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:16 am ET) Mike Pettine has confirmed that he and Browns offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan have considered a two-quarterback system down the road with a package featuring rookie Johnny Manziel "on the table."

Pettine announced this week that Brian Hoyer will start the season opener in Pittsburgh. He has indicated that any package involving Manziel will not yet be incorporated for that game.

"No, this is Brian's job," Pettine said. "I don't foresee us now, especially early, being in a two-quarterback system. This is Brian's job and I never think of it as a leash or we want a guy to be a game manager. ... I don't want our guys on offense to feel like there's any type of governor there and they can't just cut it loose and be aggressive."


James Laurinaitis questionable for Saturday game
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:07 am ET) Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis is only a maybe for the Saturday night game in Cleveland. An ankle injury could keep him sidelined for the third straight game.

Laurinaitis practiced this week and ramped up his activity every day. He did some full-team work Thursday, the last full-scale workout before the clash against the Browns in which the starters will receive the longest look of the preseason. Jeff Fisher sounded as if he could flip a coin to predict whether Laurinaitis will play.

"Don't know whether he's going to go; it will be very close," he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Laurinaitis has racked up at least 114 tackles in each of his first five years in the NFL. He recorded a career-high 3 1/2 sacks in 2013.


Marshawn Lynch set to rack up carries in preseason clash
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:55 am ET) Pete Carroll said that "it's time" for featured back Marshawn Lynch to ramp up the reps. The result will be far more playing time Friday night against Chicago.

Carroll did not announce Thursday how long the starters would play, but did acknowledge that the third preseason game would be the one in which they play the most. They are likely to remain on the field into the third quarter, per the Everett Herald.

Lynch was in on just two plays in the last game without a carry. That is destined to change against the Bears.

"It's time for him to get some carries and get involved a little bit," Carroll said. "I could not be more pleased with the conditioning level that he's had, the consistency of practice and his preparation has been great. He'll be ready to go."


Brandon Bostick almost surely a no-go for season opener
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:40 am ET) The Packers have all but ruled out tight end Brandon Bostick for the Sept. 4 regular season opener in Seattle.

Bostick sustained a slight fracture of the fibula in his right leg while catching a pass Saturday in St. Louis. Sources have told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the best-case scenario would be to have Bostick back on the field for the second or third game, though he could remain out into October.

He caught seven passes for 120 yards in 2013.


Anthony Hitchens works with first-team at middle linebacker
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:32 am ET) Redskins fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens took all the first-team reps at middle linebacker in Thursday practice, per the Dallas News. He worked ahead of veteran Rolando McClain, who had missed the Wednesday session with cramps.

The development was necessitated by the loss for the season of linebacker DeVonte Holloman, who has sustained what could be a career-ending neck spinal injury. Hitchens was drafted to play on the outside, but has spent significant time in the middle.

"I'm just moving back and forth," Hitchens said. "I wouldn't be surprised if they moved me again. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can right now."


49ers not ready to award Steve Johnson No. 3 receiver role
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:31 am ET) The 49ers aren't ready to declare Steve Johnson as the team's No. 3 receiver. In fact, according to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the team won't "put numbers" on their receivers. Johnson is fight Brandon Lloyd, Quinton Patton, and rookie Bruce Ellington for snaps this preseason.

When asked if Johnson is the third wideout, offensive coordinator Greg Roman said: "It depends. It depends. I think we'll have some flexibility there."

 
 
 
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