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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
Falcons' Mike Smith: Julio Jones looking 'really good' and 'spry'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:57 pm ET) Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones was able to play Sunday through a hip injury he suffered in Week 14, and coach Mike Smith said Monday Jones "looked really good" and "spry" on Saturday heading into their matchup with the Saints sunday. 

Jones hauled in seven catches for 107 yards in Atlanta's 30-14 win over New Orleans in Week 16, helping keep the Falcons alive for the division title. He indicated he inteds on playing in Week 17 against the Panthers. 

The Falcons are 3 1/2-point favorites against Carolina this week.


Lions C Dominic Raiola suspended one game for safety violation
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:47 pm ET) The NFL has suspended Lions center Dominic Raiola one game without pay on for his actions in Week 17 against the Bears. This is the sixth safety-related rules violation for Raiola since 2010. He will appeal to be heard tomorrow by an appeals officer.

After walking away from a pile, Raiola was caught on camera stepping on Chicago defensive lineman Ego Ferguson's ankle. Following the game, he told reporters his actions were "not intentional."

If the ruling is upheld, Raiola will sit out Sunday's regular season finale against the Packers. The winner of that game will clinch the NFC North division. Raiola will be eligible to return for Detroit's first playoff game.


Texans lineman Brandon Brooks 'day to day' with knee injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) Texans offensive lineman Brandon Brooks had his leg bent in an awkward direction and is considered day to day with a knee injury, coach Bill O' Brien said Monday.

Brooks left Week 16's game after sustaining the leg injury and was unable to return. 

If he is unable to go, guard David Newton would likely replace Brooks as he did in Week 16.

The Texans are 10-point favorites against the Jaguars in Week 17.


Vikings hopeful tight end Kyle Rudolph can play in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:37 pm ET) Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said Monday if tight end Kyle Rudolph is healthy enough to play, he will be on the field for Week 17.

Rudolph, who has only played in eight games this year with an ankle and knee injury, has 24 catches for 231 yards and two touchdowns this season. Week 16 was his first game out since Week 11 and had seven catches for 69 yards in his previous start for Minnesota. 


Chip Kelly unsure who will start at cornerback in Week 17
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:31 pm ET) Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Monday he has not determined who will start at the cornerback position Bradley Fletcher has started at most of the season. The coaching staff will meet later on in the day to determine starters for Week 17.

"I thought Bradley's played well during the year," Kelly said. "You've got to look at it through the whole time."

Fletcher struggled again in Week 16, getting burned this time by DeSean Jackson on multiple catches, including a 55-yard completion.


Vikings Chad Greenway away from team to deal with personal issue
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway did not travel back to Minneapolis with the team. Instead he flew to San Diego to tend to a personal matter, coach Mike Zimmer told reporters on Monday, per the Star-Tribune. Greenway left Sunday's loss against Miami with a knee injury. Zimmer said he's unsure if he'll be able to play Week 17 against Chicago.

QB Hoyer injury could result in Shaw starting for Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:25 pm ET) Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer sustained a right shoulder injury late in the Week 16 game at Carolina and is considered day-to-day, per CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

His potential absence Sunday in Baltimore, as well as the loss of Johnny Manziel to a hamstring problem, could open the door for undrafted rookie and current practice squad quarterback Connor Shaw to start against the Ravens.

Shaw is set to be activated if the two can't play. Given the monumental struggles of Hoyer and Manziel lately, a strong performance by Shaw could complicate the situation regarding the position heading into the offseason. The Browns have been searching for their franchise quarterback since returning to Cleveland in 1999.


Bills officially release wide receiver Mike Williams
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:16 pm ET) The Bills officially announced Monday the release of wide receiver Mike Williams. He was traded to Buffalo in the offseason and had eight catches for 142 yards and a touchdown in nine games for the Bills this season. 

Seahawks OT Russell Okung due back at practice on Wednesday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:16 pm ET) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told reporters that tackle Russell Okung is expected to return to practice on Wednesday, according to 710 AM ESPN Radio in Seattle. Okung was unable to play Sunday night at Arizona due to a chest injury. His status remains up in the air for Week 17 at home against St. Louis.

Falcons' Steven Jackson, William Moore to have further testing done
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:12 pm ET) The Falcons were unable to provide updates on injuries suffered by running back Steven Jackson and safety William Moore, the team announced Monday. Both will have further testing done Monday on injuries sustained in Week 16's game against the Saints. 

Moore sustained a shoulder injury Sunday to the same shoulder he injured in Week 4. He did not return to action. Jackson suffered a quad injury in the second quarter and was also unable to return to the game.

The Falcons are hoping to have both ready for Week 17 with the division on the line against the Panthers. Atlanta is a 3 1/2 point favorite, according to Vegas Insider.


 
 
 
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