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2011 Draft Prep: Targeting MJD in first round?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The season is getting closer as we finish the second week of preseason games, and that means more leagues are doing their drafts. That's a good gauge for us in looking at Average Draft Position.

As we told you with the first column in this series, we're going to take a weekly look at the ADP as things change from what happened prior to preseason games heading into Labor Day Weekend. The idea is to highlight players who are moving up and down on Draft Day based on what happens on the field and in practice.

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This weekend, we suffered a significant injury when Arizona rookie running back Ryan Williams was lost for the year when he hurt his knee Friday against Green Bay. That opens the door for Beanie Wells to become a popular player on Draft Day, and his ADP will be on the rise.

We've also seen Michael Vick move past Aaron Rodgers as the No. 1 quarterback, Reggie Bush get a boost based on his play in his preseason debut for the Dolphins on Friday against Carolina and Chris Johnson hold steady at the No. 3 overall spot despite still in a holdout. Roddy White also has moved past Calvin Johnson as the No. 2 wide receiver.

While I will highlight players moving up and down at certain positions and also look at the changes in Round 1, you should use our interactive visualization below for a complete look at the ADP. You can view the changes in standard and point per reception formats, as well as guys who are being undervalued and overvalued based on our rankings.

The first round looks like this ...

Michael Vick is now a Top 10 selection

There's a lot of debate over who is the No. 1 quarterback this year between Vick and Rodgers, and Rodgers was holding the top spot prior to this weekend. But Vick jumped into the Top 10 and is now being drafted at No. 6 overall, with Rodgers one spot behind him.

I'm not big on taking a quarterback in the first round, but I would definitely take Vick first if I changed my strategy. There's no quarterback who can produce at his level if he plays 14 or more games. Even following a disappointing preseason game against Pittsburgh, Vick's Fantasy value is going up.

Ray Rice vs. Jamaal Charles

The No. 4 overall spot is interesting because after Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster and Johnson, Fantasy owners are torn between Rice and Charles. For now, Rice has the edge as he moved into the No. 4 overall spot.

I lean toward Charles in this debate because I like what he did last year, he will get increased carries as Thomas Jones moves into even more of a secondary role and he should be more involved in the passing game. Rice is awesome also, but I'm not sold on his touchdowns increasing dramatically even with his potential to see more goal-line work.

Maurice Jones-Drew still in Round 1

Fantasy owners are concerned about Jones-Drew and his knee, especially since he has yet to play in the preseason, but he is still being drafted at No. 11 overall. He moved ahead of Darren McFadden, who is now at No. 12, but he remains behind Michael Turner.

Once LeSean McCoy comes off the board, and he should be drafted as the No. 6 running back behind Foster, Peterson, Johnson, Charles and Rice, then the questions creep in with Jones-Drew (knee), McFadden (durability) and Turner (wearing down). If Jones-Drew is healthy, and we should get more information this week, then he is the best Fantasy running back of this trio.

Quarterbacks on the rise

Tom Brady the new No. 3

Once Vick and Rodgers are drafted, Fantasy owners are then left with a tough decision of Brady, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or Philip Rivers. The ADP right now has them in that order, and all four are being drafted in Round 2.

I have them ranked that way also, and the player with the biggest concern is Manning based on his neck injury. If he's ready for Week 1 then he should still be drafted as a Top 5 quarterback in Round 2, but I wouldn't be surprised if he falls behind Rivers since some Fantasy owners are scared.

Matthew Stafford is a starter

Stafford has moved into the Top 12, and he is being drafted in Round 8. He is behind Josh Freeman, and he is being drafted ahead of Eli Manning. This is the right spot to take Stafford because if he plays 16 games then he could easily be a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback, if not higher, but there's still some risk based on his injury history.

Manning is now being considered a backup Fantasy quarterback, but that's OK. What we've suggested is if you take Stafford then try to land Manning one round later to have a solid backup in case Stafford gets hurt.

Quarterbacks on the decline

Jay Cutler is falling

Cutler continues to fall on Draft Day, and he is being drafted in Round 10 instead of Round 9 like last week. But he is now being drafted behind Sam Bradford and Kevin Kolb.

I consider Cutler a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback also, but I'm not sure I would take Kolb ahead of him. Cutler remains another quarterback to target if you draft Stafford as a starter.

No one trusts Matt Cassel

Cassel is being drafted as the No. 18 quarterback in Round 11. He is being drafted right after Cutler and ahead of Mark Sanchez.

Cassel is the last quality No. 2 Fantasy quarterback that you would feel comfortable as a starter if your No. 1 option got hurt. But this is the right place to draft Cassel since he doesn't have the upside of Bradford or Kolb and is not as safe as Joe Flacco or Cutler.

Running backs on the rise

Reggie Bush looks better than expected

When the Dolphins traded for Bush, he was being viewed as a potential late-round flier in Fantasy leagues following the move. The expectation was Daniel Thomas would be the starter, and Bush would be used as a third-down option.

But Bush played well in the second preseason game against the Panthers, and he should share carries somewhat evenly with Thomas during the year. He is now being drafted in Round 9, and he is worth taking as your No. 4 Fantasy running back. Thomas is being drafted in Round 6, and while he still has more value, he is a No. 3 Fantasy option.

Jahvid Best now being drafted in Round 4

With the injury to Mikel Leshoure (Achilles' tendon), Fantasy owners have jumped all over Best. He is now being drafted in Round 4 behind DeAngelo Williams and ahead of Ryan Mathews.

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Mathews is falling because of the excitement over Mike Tolbert, but Best should have a tremendous season if he stays healthy. He is a great No. 2 running back to draft in Round 4. Just continue to monitor his potential concussion situation, but Best said he should be fine for Week 1.

Running backs on the decline

Jonathan Stewart is being drafted in Round 7

When we first presented this story last week, Stewart was being drafted ahead of Williams based on all the drafts done prior to the start of the preseason. But now that more leagues are drafting, Williams has moved ahead of Stewart.

Stewart has fallen to Round 7, and he could drop a couple of more spots behind Tolbert and Wells. We would definitely take Tolbert and Wells ahead of Stewart, but he's still worth drafting as a key reserve based on how he's played throughout his career and Williams' recent injury history.

Ryan Torain is now behind Tim Hightower

It's clear that Hightower is going to start for the Redskins this year, but this backfield could be a mess with Roy Helu and Torain also in the mix. Still, Hightower is being drafted as the best running back for the Redskins in Round 9. Torain is now after Hightower in Round 9 also, and Helu is not being drafted until Round 11.

We would draft Hightower as a No. 3 running back, and Torain is still worth taking as a No. 4 option considering he should play a prominent role following his hand injury. Helu is only worth drafting with a late-round flier in deep leagues.

Wide receivers on the rise

Chad Ochocinco is being drafted as a starter

We like Ochocinco in New England, but he should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy wide receiver coming into the season and not a No. 2 option. He is being drafted ahead of Mario Manningham and Austin Collie in Round 6, and that's too high.

When it comes to the Patriots and their receivers, keep in mind that Brady will spread the ball around to Wes Welker, Ochocinco, Deion Branch, both tight ends and the running backs. While Ochocinco should improve from his performance with the Bengals last season, he should not be considered a Fantasy starter coming into the year.

Julio Jones is the top rookie receiver

Jones is the No. 30 receiver with the latest ADP, and he is being drafted in Round 7. By comparison, fellow rookie A.J. Green is the No. 34 receiver, and he is being drafted in Round 9.

We like Jones much better than Green because of his quarterback situation. Matt Ryan should be able to help Jones play well as a rookie, but Andy Dalton is not going to do much for Green since the Bengals should be a bad team in 2011.

Wide receivers on the decline

Illness hurts Jeremy Maclin

Maclin has been out with an illness, and he has gone from a potential Top 15 Fantasy receiver to No. 20 in the latest ADP in Round 5. Fantasy owners are scared to draft Maclin, and it's understandable why that has happened.

I would still draft Maclin as a starting Fantasy receiver, and Round 5 is good value. If you draft two running backs, a wide receiver and a quarterback with your first four picks then Maclin is a good starter for your roster. If he returns for Week 1 he will post quality stats for the season.

Jacoby Ford is losing steam

Ford has sleeper potential with the Raiders losing Zach Miller to Seattle and Louis Murphy (hamstring) out for Week 1, but his ADP is just at 130 overall in Round 11. Fantasy owners could be concerned about his hand injury and also the increased attention being paid to rookie Denarius Moore.

We still consider Ford a sleeper with a late-round pick since the Raiders need someone to catch the ball, and Ford played well as a rookie last year. If he continues to fall on Draft Day then consider him a steal with a pick after Round 10.

Tight ends on the rise

Jermichael Finley is the No. 4 tight end

The top three tight ends are pretty standard in most formats with Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark and Jason Witten. After that, some people like Finley, but others would rather have Vernon Davis.

Both tight ends should play well this season, but Finley has more upside. If he can play a full season then he could be the No. 1 Fantasy tight end. Of course that's a big if based on Finley's injury history, but I'm in agreement that Finley should be drafted ahead of Davis, who still has a mediocre quarterback in Alex Smith.

Greg Olsen is turning into a sleeper

The Panthers are going to feature their tight end this season, and Olsen has the chance to be a great sleeper. He is currently the No. 15 tight end, but he should be considered a starting option on Draft Day.

In Friday's preseason game against the Dolphins, rookie quarterback Cam Newton did not complete a pass to a wide receiver. He focused solely on tight ends Olsen and Jeremy Shockey, and that happens a lot with young quarterbacks. Now, Steve Smith didn't play in the game because of an injury, but Olsen will still thrive this year. He's a great pick in Round 8 or later.

Tight ends on the decline

Zach Miller is now a No. 2 tight end

Miller's move from Oakland to Seattle has hurt his Fantasy value. He is now the No. 13 Fantasy tight end, and he is being drafted as a backup option in Round 11. You can argue that Miller will still have a successful season, but I agree with his ADP because I don't want him starting on my team.

If I could choose between Miller and Olsen, and I would rather have Olsen. He moved to a team like the Panthers that will use the tight end, and Miller is in a system with the Seahawks that barely used John Carlson last year.

Chris Cooley continues to fall

Last week we told you that Cooley was being drafted as the No. 13 tight end. Now he is the No. 18 option at his position. Fantasy owners are scared by his knee injury, and it could be a difficult year for Cooley if he's not 100 percent.

Cooley said he expects to be ready for Week 1, but we're skeptical. And if he's out for any point in the regular season then put Fred Davis on your sleeper list. Davis has played well in place of Cooley as a starter, and we could see Davis posting quality stats if he gets the chance for increased playing time.

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 .

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Player News
Cardinals' Larry Foote '50-50' on playing in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:17 pm ET) Though Larry Foote is on the Cardinals' coaching staff at the moment, he hasn't ruled out a potential return to the team

Speaking to the team's website, Foote said he's "50-50" about playing in 2015. He talked about the factors that could play into whether or not he returns to playing. 

“Draft, what happens with (suspended linebacker) Darryl Washington, stuff like that, how my knee feels (after offseason surgery),” Foote said. “I’ll sit down with (Bruce Arians) and the next couple of months are really going to be the deciding factor.”

If Foote doesn't play, he'll be the linebackers coach for Arizona's upcoming season. He's been adjusting to the role of being a coach this offseason. 

“I am starting to like coaching,” Foote said. “It’s a little tough in the office, eating M&Ms, snacking all day, drinking coffee. I started my diet a couple days ago.”


Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


Mark Sanchez: Eagles said Tim Tebow was just a camp arm
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


 
 
 
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