Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Draft Prep: Sleepers, Breakouts and Busts

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Our goal every year is simple -- to help you win your Fantasy league. It's the focus of everything we do on a daily basis.

In trying to help you have a successful Fantasy season, we hope to give you an edge on Draft Day. And that's where sleepers, breakouts and busts come in.

We all want to know the players to target with late-round picks, who will exceed their draft position and who will fail despite previous success. It's a challenging task but always a fun column to write.

And part of that fun is looking back on our hits and misses from the previous season. For example, I'd love to pound my chest about calling Arian Foster and Ben Roethlisberger sleepers, LeSean McCoy and Mike Wallace breakouts and Brett Favre and Jonathan Stewart busts. But then I'd also be reminded that I touted Brian Hartline, Jacoby Jones and Justin Forsett, among others.

Unfortunately, you're never going to have a perfect batting average with this column. But some of the sleepers will surprise you, some of the breakouts will turn into the stars and some of the busts you'll be glad you passed on.

In the end, whether you follow our advice or not, we just want you to be competitive in your league -- and hopefully take home a championship. Along the way, you should also try to have some fun.

Sleepers

Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis
Jamey's projection: 4,011 passing yards, 28 touchdowns and 15 interceptions; 72 rushing yards and one touchdown; two fumbles
Dave's projection: 4,102 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 17 interceptions; 58 rushing yards; three fumbles
Average Draft Position: No. 104 overall (Round 9)
New offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels might have failed as a head coach in Denver, but he has a great track record with quarterbacks. Tom Brady (2007), Matt Cassel (2008) and Kyle Orton (2009) all had career years when working with McDaniels. We'll find out if Bradford is ready to join that list, and he's coming off an impressive rookie season in 2010 with 3,512 passing yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while also completing 60 percent of his passes. The Rams gave him some new targets this offseason with Mike Sims-Walker and Lance Kendricks, but it's McDaniels' system that should have Fantasy owners excited. We recommend drafting Bradford as one of the top backup quarterbacks, but don't be surprised if he's starting for you by the end of the season. He has tremendous value with a pick in Round 9.

Into the deep ...
For those of you who play in 14- and 16-team formats that are looking for players to target with a late-round pick, here is a list just for you
Quarterbacks
Colt McCoy Browns
Cam Newton Panthers
Tim Tebow Broncos
Vince Young Eagles
Running Backs
Marion Barber Bears
Brandon Jackson Browns
Isaac Redman Steelers
Stevan Ridley Patriots
Wide Receivers
Antonio Brown Steelers
Eric Decker Broncos
Brandon Gibson Rams
Greg Little Browns
Denarius Moore Raiders
Tight Ends
Travis Beckum Giants
Brent Celek Eagles
Jared Cook Titans
Fred Davis Redskins
Ed Dickson Ravens

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle
Jamey's projection: 1,018 rushing yards and seven touchdowns; 22 catches for 172 yards; two fumbles
Dave's projection: 878 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 26 catches for 127 yards; two fumbles
Average Draft Position: No. 82 overall (Round 7)
You're not drafting Lynch because he had one amazing run in the playoffs last year against New Orleans, which went for 67 yards and a touchdown and is being called the "Beast Quake" in Seattle. You're drafting Lynch because he has the chance to play like a Top 20 Fantasy running back this season, if not higher. The Seahawks will use Forsett and Leon Washington, but Lynch will get the majority of carries behind what should be an improved offensive line. And he has the chance to gain 1,300 total yards and nine touchdowns, which is something he did in Buffalo in 2008. Think of Lynch like Cedric Benson a couple of years ago as a former franchise running back who was castoff, only to have a second chance at success with a new team. Benson did it with the Bengals, and Lynch should do the same with the Seahawks. He's also in a contract year, and he's someone you can draft as your No. 3 running back but end up starting for you most weeks.

Willis McGahee, RB, Denver
Jamey's projection: 718 rushing yards and seven touchdowns; 18 catches for 104 yards and one touchdown
Dave's projection: 575 rushing yards and five touchdowns; 18 catches for 106 yards; two fumbles
Average Draft Position: No. 136 overall (Round 12)
Telling you to draft McGahee is not a knock on Knowshon Moreno, who will remain the starter and is worth using as a No. 2 Fantasy option. But there will be times this season where McGahee will be more valuable than Moreno. For starters, Moreno is injury prone. He's only missed three games in two seasons, but he has yet to prove his durability since he has just 12 games with more than 20 touches. New coach John Fox also prefers to use two running backs, and the Broncos plan to feature McGahee at the goal line. He scored 12 rushing touchdowns in Baltimore in 2009 and has at least six total touchdowns in every season since 2006. McGahee should not be considered a starting Fantasy option in the majority of leagues, but he's a great No. 4 running back to target with a late-round pick. If he can gain close to 600 total yards and score six touchdowns then he'll be an asset to your Fantasy team, but I think he will exceed that production.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami
Jamey's projection: 1,018 rushing yards and eight touchdowns; 21 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown; two fumbles
Dave's projection: 987 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 20 catches for 136 yards; two fumbles
Average Draft Position: No. 68 overall (Round 6)
Everyone has their own criteria when they look at running backs. For me, I look at situation and offensive system, and Thomas is in a great position with the Dolphins. Miami is a run-first team, and there is no one on the roster who can play like Thomas, who had 2,850 total yards and 30 rushing touchdowns the past two years at Kansas State. Forget about Reggie Bush being an impact, even if he starts, because Bush hasn't played 16 games since his rookie season, and he's more of a third-down back. Thomas is a bruiser at 6-foot, 230 pounds, and the Dolphins will lean on him as often as possible. New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll came to Miami from Cleveland, where last year he turned Peyton Hillis into a star. Thomas has a lot to prove this year, but he has Top 20 Fantasy running back potential. He's a great value pick in Round 6 if you draft him as your No. 3 running back in the majority of leagues.

Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville
Jamey's projection: 65 catches for 854 yards and five touchdowns; one fumble
Dave's projection: 64 catches for 718 yards and five touchdowns; one fumble
Average Draft Position: No. 112 overall (Round 10)
The Jaguars need a No. 1 receiver, and Thomas should be ready to assume the role. He's entering his third season in the NFL, and he's ready for a breakout campaign. Thomas increased his catches by 18 from his first year (48 receptions) to his second season (66), and he nearly doubled his yards from 453 to 820. He also went from one touchdown in 2009 to four last year. If he continues on the same pace, he would have around 85 catches for 1,200 yards and seven touchdowns this season, and that would make him a starter in all leagues. We recommend drafting Thomas as early as Round 8 in standard leagues or Round 7 in leagues where receptions count. He should be the No. 1 target in Jacksonville's passing game in 2011.

Mike Tolbert, RB, San Diego
Jamey's projection: 921 rushing yards and eight touchdowns; 21 catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns; three fumbles
Dave's projection: 677 rushing yards and seven touchdowns; 17 catches for 105 yards and one touchdown; one fumble
Average Draft Position: No. 98 overall (Round 9)
Tolbert, not Ryan Mathews, was the standout running back for the Chargers last season in their first year without LaDainian Tomlinson. He had 735 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns, but this year the expectation was Mathews would live up to last year's potential and push Tolbert into a reserve role. Wrong. Tolbert has done well in training camp, and Mathews continues to struggle with injuries. He should be fine for the start of the regular season, but the two will now share carries. What that means for Tolbert is he could work in all facets of the game, and he will definitely be in at the goal line. Another year with double digits in touchdowns is possible, and he's well worth a pick beginning in Round 6 or 7 in all leagues. Let someone else reach for Mathews in Round 3 or 4, and then you can sit back and grab Tolbert later. When the season ends, don't be surprised if Tolbert is once again the best running back in San Diego.

Breakouts

Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis
Jamey's projection: 90 catches for 1,016 yards and four touchdowns; two fumbles
Dave's projection: 78 catches for 754 yards and five touchdowns; one fumble
Average Draft Position: No. 131 overall (Round 11)
Amendola has the chance to play the Wes Welker role in McDaniels' offense, and he's suited for the part. He already had 85 catches in 2010, and he could easily reach 100 this year. Last season, Amendola had 123 targets, but McDaniels is known for calling pass plays at will, and Bradford will continue to look in Amendola's direction. Surprisingly, the 5-foot-11 Amendola led all receivers in red-zone targets last season with 24, but he only managed three touchdowns on the year. He also had just 689 receiving yards, so while Fantasy owners in point per reception leagues love Amendola, owners in standard formats tend to shy away. But in this system, and with Bradford continuing to improve, Amendola's stats will increase in all areas. He's a steal as a No. 4 Fantasy wide receiver in standard leagues, and he should be considered a No. 3 option in all PPR formats. He's someone I'm targeting in all my leagues on Draft Day.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit
Jamey's projection: 904 rushing yards and five touchdowns; 52 catches for 403 yards and three touchdowns; one fumble
Dave's projection: 950 rushing yards and five touchdowns; 49 catches for 462 yards and one touchdown; three fumbles
Average Draft Position: No. 59 overall (Round 5)
Best's outlook this season was somewhat murky when training camp started because he was expected to share carries with rookie Mikel Leshoure, and he would have lost valuable touches near the goal line. But once Leshoure suffered a season-ending Achilles' injury, Best's value was on the rise. I predict he will finish as a Top 15 Fantasy running back this year, and he's someone you should target in Round 3 of standard drafts and even Round 2 in PPR leagues. There will be concerns about Best's durability, especially since he dealt with a turf toe problem as a rookie last year, but he could catch a ton of passes in this offense. Despite his struggles last season he still managed over 1,000 total yards and six touchdowns. This year he should easily approach 1,200 total yards and nine touchdowns, and he has a high ceiling for success like almost everyone in this Detroit offense.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay
Jamey's projection: 1,342 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns; 11 catches for 88 yards; three fumbles
Dave's projection: 1,197 rushing yards and nine touchdowns; 10 catches for 63 yards, three fumbles
Average Draft Position: No. 30 overall (Round 3)
Blount was one of the best waiver wire additions in 2010, and he is looking to build off that performance as the full-time starter this season. He started only seven games as a rookie but still managed more than 1,000 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Blount is in a great situation with the Bucs since he won't share carries, and he could easily rush for 1,300 yards and reach double digits in touchdowns. By the end of the season, don't be surprised if Blount is a Top 10 running back in standard leagues. Tampa Bay will lean on him, especially near the goal line, and remember this is a player with plenty to prove after going undrafted out of Oregon. He is worth drafting in Round 3, but he could outplay some of the running backs who will be drafted in Round 1.

Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas
Jamey's projection: 75 catches for 1,144 yards and nine touchdowns; one fumble
Dave's projection: 77 catches for 996 yards and eight touchdowns; one fumble
Average Draft Position: No. 61 overall (Round 6)
It's hard to imagine that as good as Bryant is he's still just the third-best receiving option for the Cowboys behind Miles Austin and Jason Witten. While I would rather have Austin on my Fantasy team ahead of Bryant, I wouldn't be surprised if their production was close. Bryant is having a good training camp, and he should see plenty of targets in his direction. He has to prove he can stay healthy after dealing with a myriad of injuries last season, including a broken ankle that ended his rookie year in Week 13. He also has to show he can play with Tony Romo since the bulk of Bryant's production in 2010 (45 catches for 561 yards and six touchdowns) came with Jon Kitna when Romo was out with a shoulder injury. We're confident Romo will rely on Bryant quite a bit, and he's a tremendous No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver to target in Round 4 or later. He has the potential to finish the season as a Top 15 Fantasy option in all leagues.

Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans
Jamey's projection: 48 catches for 703 yards and nine touchdowns
Dave's projection: 53 catches for 607 yards and seven touchdowns
Average Draft Position: No. 100 overall (Round 9)
What do Graham, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates all have in common? Besides great quarterbacks, they all probably have a great jump shot. Like Gonzalez and Gates, two of the best tight ends to ever play in the NFL, Graham is a former college basketball player, and those skills tend to translate nicely to the tight end position. Graham now assumes the starting spot for the Saints with Jeremy Shockey gone, and he has tremendous upside. He ended last year with four touchdowns in his final three games in the regular season, and Drew Brees should rely on Graham heavily in the red zone. Graham could approach double digits in touchdowns this season, and he should finish with more than 600 receiving yards. Graham is a great Fantasy tight end to target in Round 6 or later once the Top 6 tight ends are drafted in Gates, Dallas Clark, Witten, Jermichael Finley, Vernon Davis and Owen Daniels.

Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota
Jamey's projection: 68 catches for 962 yards and six touchdowns; one fumble
Dave's projection: 78 catches for 966 yards and six touchdowns; one fumble
Average Draft Position: No. 80 overall (Round 7)
Harvin assumes the No. 1 receiver role for the Vikings this year with Sidney Rice gone, and he also has a new quarterback in Donovan McNabb. Harvin should be looking at the best year of his career, and this is his third season in the NFL. He has played well his first two seasons and has averaged 65 catches for 829 yards and six touchdowns, but he has the potential for an increase in each category. His targets will increase, and McNabb is an upgrade over the way Brett Favre played last season. We consider Harvin a No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver on Draft Day, but he could end up as a Top 15 Fantasy option in all formats if he plays as expected. He also said the migraine headaches that plagued him for two seasons are gone, and that should only enhance his value on Draft Day if you're confident he can be 100 percent healthy. He should be drafted in Round 5.

Busts

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City
Jamey's projection: 68 catches for 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns
Dave's projection: 77 catches for 1,143 yards and nine touchdowns
Average Draft Position: No. 37 overall (Round 4)
Bowe was a star last year with career highs in yards (1,162) and touchdowns (15) to go with 72 catches. He clearly established himself as an elite receiver, and he should play well again this year. But there's minimal chance he finishes as the No. 2 receiver in standard formats like he did in 2010, and he might be outside the Top 15. You might hurt your Fantasy team if you draft him too early, especially if you are expecting last year's production. Bowe tore up some weak competition last season with huge outings against Houston, Denver, Arizona and Seattle. While the Broncos remain on the schedule this year, the Chiefs also face Pittsburgh, Chicago, the Jets and Green Bay. The Ravens also showed in the playoffs that if you roll coverage toward Bowe then this passing game will stall. Kansas City tried to address that problem with the additions of Steve Breaston and Jonathan Baldwin, but those guys will also take production away from Bowe. He's someone I tend to avoid on Draft Day.

Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee
Jamey's projection: 62 catches for 915 yards and five touchdowns
Dave's projection: 63 catches for 926 yards and seven touchdowns; one fumble
Average Draft Position: No. 93 overall (Round 8)
Britt is on the verge of a league-imposed suspension following three run-ins with the law this offseason. On top of that, he has a nagging hamstring injury, and he's had limited time on the field with new quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Along with that, if Chris Johnson continues his holdout into the season, teams will now focus on slowing down Britt in the passing game. He had a great stretch last year with seven touchdowns in five games, but he only had two games with more than 100 yards and has to prove he's a starting-caliber Fantasy option. If you want to take a flier on him as your No. 3 Fantasy receiver then go ahead. I'm going to pass on Britt until he shows me he's ready to be an NFL star on and off the field.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, New England
Jamey's projection: 981 rushing yards and eight touchdowns; 14 catches for 87 yards, one fumble
Dave's projection: 1,060 rushing yards and nine touchdowns; 12 catches for 83 yards; one fumble
Average Draft Position: No. 49 overall (Round 5)
Green-Ellis remains the starting running back for the Patriots and the best option in this backfield. There's no denying that. But what you can't ignore is New England spent two high draft picks on running backs in Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, and one or both should be involved in some capacity on a weekly basis. There's also Danny Woodhead, and that means less touches for Green-Ellis. While he was a great Fantasy option last year with 1,008 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns, he's not a game-breaker like Ridley or Vereen could be. He also doesn't catch the ball (12 receptions for 85 yards in 2010), and that hinders him in this offense and in leagues where receptions count. And if Ridley takes away even a handful of goal-line touches during the season, that lowers Green-Ellis' value from a No. 2 Fantasy option to more of a No. 3 running back. If you take him in Round 5 then that is a reach. He will have some quality weeks in 2011, but he also could regress as the Patriots infuse more talent into their ground game.

Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland
Jamey's projection: 925 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 41 catches for 278 yards and one touchdown; two fumbles
Dave's projection: 902 rushing yards and nine touchdowns; 44 catches for 308 yards and one touchdown; four fumbles
Average Draft Position: No. 24 overall (Round 2)
Hillis was a Fantasy stud last year with more than 1,600 total yards and 13 touchdowns, and he should get the majority of touches again this season. But there is some doubt if Hillis can repeat his 2010 performance, and it goes beyond the "Madden Curse" since he's on the cover of the video game this year. Hillis dealt with wear and tear issues since his bruising running style leads to unwanted hits, and he played the final three games of 2010 with a rib injury. He also has a hamstring injury in training camp, and he only had one game in his final seven outings where he scored a rushing touchdown, suggesting opposing defenses figured him out. While you can still draft Hillis as a No. 2 running back this year, don't reach for him in the first two rounds. Instead, if you want him, let him fall to you on Draft Day. As for me, I tend to pass on Hillis because I don't expect him to have an encore from his tremendous 2010 campaign.

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville
Jamey's projection: 46 catches for 607 yards and six touchdowns; one fumble
Dave's projection: 63 catches for 647 yards and seven touchdowns; one fumble
Average Draft Position: No. 108 overall (Round 9)
The way Lewis played last year is similar to what a lot of athletes do in a contract year -- he had a career season. He had a career high in catches (58), yards (700) and touchdowns (10), and the Jaguars rewarded him with a huge payday. The chances of him repeating his performance from last year are slim, especially since he had a combined seven touchdowns in his previous four years in the NFL. While I understand the Jaguars need help with their receiving corps, I don't expect Lewis to be the primary target. He had more than 60 receiving yards in a game last year just three times, and even though he scored 10 touchdowns, he only found the end zone in seven games with two multi-touchdown outings. He's very much boom or bust, and I don't view him as a starting Fantasy tight end. If you are inclined to draft two tight ends then take Lewis with a late-round pick, otherwise he should be left on the waiver wire.

Brandon Lloyd, WR, Denver
Jamey's projection: 65 catches for 1,068 yards and six touchdowns; one fumble
Dave's projection: 74 catches for 1,003 yards and seven touchdowns
Average Draft Position: No. 71 overall (Round 6)
Lloyd was the No. 1 Fantasy receiver last year in standard leagues with 77 catches for 1,448 yards and 11 touchdowns, but I'll take the under that he doesn't come close to those totals again this season. While he does remain the No. 1 receiver for the Broncos, and it's a benefit that Kyle Orton is still the starting quarterback, the system for head coach John Fox will be more run-oriented and feature less jump balls. The Broncos also face a tougher schedule this year with games against the AFC East and NFC North, and Lloyd never had more than 750 yards or six touchdowns in eight previous seasons before playing under McDaniels. He could still be a useful No. 3 Fantasy receiver in standard leagues, but I wouldn't draft him as a starter.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg amd on Facebook .

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Union challenges Goodell on Adrian Peterson's counseling requirement
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:16 pm ET) The NFL Players Association filed a legal brief saying Commissioner Roger Goodell's requirement that Adrian Peterson attend counseling was unlawful, reports ESPN.com. The union claims Goodell's disciplinary powers don't extend past suspensions, fines and contract terminations to counseling, the report said.

In November, Goodell suspended Peterson without pay for the rest of the season and said the Vikings running back cannot be reinstated until at least April 15. The move came after Peterson pleaded no contest to recklessly injuring his 4-year-old son last May.

In his letter to Peterson, Goodell set several requirements for reinstatement, including counseling.

"In order to assess your progress going forward, I will establish periodic reviews, the first of which will be on or about April 15, 2015," the commisssioner wrote. "At that time, I will meet with you and your representatives and the NFLPA to review the extent to which you have complied with your program of counseling and therapy and both made and lived up to an affirmative commitment to change such that this conduct will not occur again. A failure to cooperate and follow your plan will result in a lengthier suspension without pay."


Bucs QB Mike Glennon on the move?
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:03 am ET) With the Buccaneers holding the No. 1 overall draft pick, the team has its choice of quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. The Tampa Tribune says "some around the league" believe other teams will try to trade for quarterback Mike Glennon, and that Glennon could net the Bucs a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

Glennon played in six games this season, throwing for 1,417 yards and 10 touchdowns with six interceptions. The team's refusal to play Glennon "even after their slim playoff hopes faded" has many observers believing the Bucs are ready to move on from him, the paper said.


Lions see plenty of upside in WR Corey Fuller
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:38 am ET) The Lions are looking for a solid No. 3 receiver to supplement Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, and converted track star Corey Fuller could be the guy, reports the team's website. Fuller was Johnson's backup in 2014 and played in some multi-receiver sets, catching 14 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown.

“I think I had a big improvement coming in from last year to this year,” said Fuller, a sixth-round pick in the 2013 draft. “If I just keep on progressing, who knows where I can go.”

Fuller, who brings a unique combination of speed and strength, said his main focus this offseason is improving his route running.

“The whole (route) tree,” he said. “Being able to expand the routes they throw me.”


Steelers not expected to re-sign Ike Taylor
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:55 am ET) The Steelers likely won't re-sign impending free agent cornerback Ike Taylor, reports ESPN.com. Taylor, 34, dealt with multiple injuries this season and finished with 16 tackles in five games.

Taylor has spent his entire 12-year career with Pittsburgh. He said this month he's OK with 2014 being his last season.


Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart looking to build off strong finish
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:37 am ET) Over the last five weeks of the regular season, Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart rushed for 486 yards, second only to Dallas' DeMarco Murray. Stewart followed that up with 123 yards and a touchdown in the playoff win over Arizona.

"I'm really excited for next year," Stewart told the team's website. "You have to find your zone throughout the offseason. It starts now."

Stewart got the chance to be a workhorse when DeAngelo Williams fractured his hand Week 13. ESPN.com reports there's a "strong possibility" the Panthers will release the 31-year-old Williams this offseason, leaving Stewart, 27, as the unquestioned starter.

"It's just part of the journey," Stewart said of the individual success he had toward season's end. "The moment you start focusing on that, you miss out on other things along the journey."


Report: Patriots hoping to sign Darrelle Revis to long-term extension
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) The Patriots are reportedly looking to sign cornerback Darrelle Revis to a long-term extension, according Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

However, New England has not ruled out paying Revis the $20 million team option in 2015, Rapoport reports. The decision needs to be made by April 1, when a $12 million roster bonus kicks in for Revis.

Revis totaled 47 tackles in 16 games for the Patriots, grabbing two interceptions and forcing one fumble.


C.J. Spiller expecting 'March Madness' style free agency
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Bills running back C.J. Spiller is getting healthy again. Spiller, who has fully recovered from a shoulder injury, just ended the final season of his contract and is looking at his options for next season.

"Physically, I’m back to 100 percent, back to doing normal activities," Spiller told The Post and Courier on Friday. "As far as football, free agency will start in March, and I’ll get with my people next week and get a game plan together."

Spiller has played five seasons for the Bills, only playing two full years. He ran for 1,244 yards in 2012 with six touchdowns.

"I guess you could say it’ll be March Madness," Spiller said with a smile. "It’ll be a fun March."


Report: Rams among teams interested in trade for Eagles' Foles
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) Teams are beginning to show interest in Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, as reports are surfacing Philadelphia is unsure of what to do with the third-year quarterback, per NJ.com. A source said the Rams have interest in Foles should the Eagles choose to trade him this offseason. 

The Titans and Texans have also been mentioned as teams that would have interest in Foles, if he hits the trade market.

It's still unclear if the Eagles would be willing to move Foles. NJ.com reported last week the Eagles, who have the 20th pick in the NFL Draft, are considering making a run at Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota in the draft. 

"From No. 20, it's certainly not going to be easy,'' a source said. "It's probably going to take moving up twice to do it. There's going to be some wheeling and dealing involved.

"Can it happen? I don't know. But they're going to try."

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly recruited Mariota to Oregon and coached him for two years.

"Obviously, [with] my relationship with coach Kelly, it'd be a lot of fun to be a part of that offense and be a part of that team," Mariota said when asked about a potential reunion with Kelly.

Foles is 15-9 as a starter in the NFL, but he has yet to play a full season. He has completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 6,753 yards, 46 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.


Colts' Luck on new contract: 'There's nothing there right now'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) An ESPN report surfaced last week stating the Colts were working on making quarterback Andrew Luck the highest-paid player in the NFL. When asked about the subject at the Pro Bowl, Luck seemed surprise when he heard the news.

"There's nothing there right now," Luck said, per The Indianapolis Star. "I didn't think about it all during the season and it's only been a few days since it ended. I haven't thought about it. I will have conversations with my agent just because you have to prepare, but I'm not sure where that report came from."

Luck has two years remaining on the $22 million deal he signed as a rookie in 2012. It includes a team option for 2016, which must be exercised later this year.

Luck just completed his third season in the NFL. He has been to the Pro Bowl every year he's been in the NFL. He's gone 11-5 in every season as an NFL starter. He threw for a career-best 40 touchdowns in 2014 and led Indianapolis to the AFC title game this season.


Seahawks' Sherman disappointed he won't receive gifts from Pro Bowl
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/26/2015) In case you missed Sunday's Pro Bowl, Team Irvin knocked off Team Carter, 32-28, thanks to a second-half rally, which included touchdown catches by Emmanuel Sanders and Jimmy Graham.

While many Pro Bowl players that made the original roster were absent from the game due to injuries, Pro Bowl players from the Patriots and Seahawks also did not play due to preparations for next Sunday's Super Bowl.

One player who seemed upset about missing the Pro Bowl was Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. However, it was for a reason you probably wouldn't suspect.

“Only thing I’m disappointed in is they won’t give us our gifts from the Pro Bowl, which is kind of dumb,” Sherman said, per The Boston Globe. “The NFL is the only league that punishes the players who actually make the All-Star game by not giving them their gifts. It’s supposed to be watches and some other stuff, but we don’t get them so I couldn’t tell you.”


 
 
 
Rankings