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2011 Draft Prep: A lot of it is location

Senior Fantasy Writer
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There are many ways to approach Draft Day, and it all depends on the type of owner you are. Just make sure that when the draft starts you have a plan depending on where you pick in Round 1.

Everyone has a favorite strategy they like to use, and you really can't go wrong as long as you have a plan. As we'll always tell you, follow what works best for you. Remember, it's your team, but if you're looking for some tips, we're here to help.

This offseason, I took part in several mock drafts and drafted in various spots in Round 1 to try different strategies and what works best. What I found is you can build a solid team as long as you have an idea of what positions you want to target in certain rounds depending on where you start.

For example, if you pick toward the end of Round 1 and take the two best wide receivers with your first two picks, you can lock up two important spots on your roster at a position that lacks depth. You can then load up at running back over the next few rounds while still landing a quality quarterback and tight end.

If you draft early in Round 1, you should take one of the top four or five running backs and then target two elite wide receivers in the next two rounds. My goal in every draft is to come away with two Top 10 wide receivers with my first three picks, otherwise I'm not excited about my team.

What I'm not a fan of is taking a quarterback in the first round. There is definitely an advantage to having Michael Vick, Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady on your team, but then you could be chasing talent at your second wide receiver spot or even your second running back.

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Again, it's all a personal choice. You can also find yourself going after the best available player in each round, and that could work out great when someone you really want falls in your lap.

Below is a look at six drafts I took part in recently, and you can see how each team turned out with the rosters and respective draft picks. I'd be happy with any of these teams because I had a plan when the draft started, and in most cases I got the players I wanted.

Picking early in Round 1
Pick: No. 1 | Teams: 12 | Format: Standard
QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST, FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and five reserves
Position Player Round Overall
QB Matt Ryan, Falcons 6 72
RB Arian Foster, Texans 1 1
RB Jahvid Best, Lions 4 48
WR Mike Wallace, Steleers 2 24
WR Vincent Jackson, Chargers 3 25
TE Jimmy Graham, Saints 10 120
FLEX Mike Tolbert, Chargers 7 73
K Dan Carpenter, Dolphins 14 168
DST Cowboys 13 145
Bench
QB Matt Cassel, Chiefs 12 144
RB Michael Bush, Raiders 8 96
RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys 9 97
WR Wes Welker, Patriots 5 49
WR Braylon Edwards, 49ers 11 121

Analysis: I knew going in I would take Foster with the first pick, and it was just a matter of the two receivers who would be available to me with my next two selections. I love the duo of Wallace and Jackson, and now I don't have to worry about drafting a receiver for a while. As you can see, I didn't follow that script because I couldn't pass on Welker in Round 5 -- he can still be an excellent flex option in this format. I grabbed my second running back with Best in Round 4, and I went with Tolbert as my flex option in Round 7. You will find that I target Best and Tolbert often in these drafts. Graham is one of my favorite players this year, and I like taking chances on rookies like Murray with a late-round pick. Ryan is also the type of quarterback I target because he has tremendous upside.

Picking early in Round 1
Pick: No. 3 | Teams: 12 | Format: Standard
QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST, FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and six reserves
Position Player Round Overall
QB Tony Romo, Cowboys 4 46
RB Arian Foster, Texans 1 3
RB LeGarrette Blount, Bucs 3 27
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions 2 22
WR Brandon Marshall, Dolphins 5 51
TE Vernon Davis, 49ers 7 75
FLEX Mike Tolbert, Chargers 6 70
K Josh Brown, Rams 15 171
DST Ravens 13 147
Bench
QB Kyle Orton, Broncos 14 166
RB James Starks, Packers 8 94
RB Ben Tate, Texans 11 123
RB Javon Ringer, Titans 12 142
WR Santana Moss, Redskins 9 99
WR Plaxico Burress, Jets 10 118

Analysis: Foster fell to me at No. 3 overall following the news of his injured hamstring, but I'm not worried about him missing Week 1. Just in case, I knew I had to get Tate with a late-round pick, and I was happy to see him there in Round 11. I went in with the approach of best player available with this draft, which is why I took Blount after Johnson fell in my lap in Round 2. That's why I went with Romo in Round 4, Marshall in Round 5, Tolbert this time in Round 6 and Davis in Round 7. I feel very confident in this roster, especially with some promising reserves in Starks, Ringer, Moss and Burress. If Foster plays to the level he's capable of then this team should easily be in playoff contention.

Picking in the middle of Round 1
Pick: No. 5 | Teams: 12 | Format: Standard
QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST, FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and five reserves
Position Player Round Overall
QB Michael Vick, Eagles 2 20
RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs 1 5
RB Mark Ingram, Saints 4 44
WR Reggie Wayne, Colts 3 29
WR Chad Ochocinco, Patriots 7 77
TE Jermichael Finley, Packers 6 68
FLEX DeAngelo Williams, Panthers 5 53
K Nate Kaeding, Chargers 14 164
DST Cowboys 13 149
Bench
QB Mark Sanchez, Jets 12 140
RB Javon Ringer, Titans 11 125
WR Pierre Garcon, Colts 8 92
WR Lee Evans, Ravens 9 101
WR Nate Burleson, Lions 10 116

Analysis: I approached this draft with the plan to take two running backs with my first two picks, but something every owner should prepare for is a standout quarterback falling in Round 2. That happened in this draft with Vick following a run on running backs and receivers. Vick is my No. 1 quarterback, and the chance to pair him with Charles was too good to pass on. I knew taking him there would likely leave me hampered at either No. 2 running back or wide receiver, and I'm not sold on Ochocinco as a weekly starter. My top three running backs are solid, and I have one of the best tight ends in Finley. But based on my receiving corps, I was forced to spend three picks on reserves with upside in Garcon, Evans and Burleson. All three have the potential to start over Ochocinco for the season and, with Evans and Burleson, they are tremendous value picks on Draft Day.

Picking in the middle of in Round 1
Pick: No. 6 | Teams: 12 | Format: Standard
QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, K, DST, FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and six reserves
Position Player Round Overall
QB Drew Brees, Saints 4 43
RB Michael Turner, Falcons 2 19
RB Tim Hightower, Redskins 5 54
WR Andre Johnson, Texans 1 6
WR Greg Jennings, Packers 3 30
WR Plaxico Burress, Jets 9 102
TE Vernon Davis, 49ers 7 78
FLEX Mike Tolbert, Chargers 6 67
K Matt Bryant, Falcons 16 187
DST Eagles 14 163
Bench
QB Kevin Kolb, Cardinals 12 139
RB Jonathan Stewart, Panthers 8 91
RB Jason Snelling, Falcons 13 150
RB Isaac Redman, Steelers 15 174
WR Antonio Brown, Steelers 10 115
TE Greg Olsen, Panthers 11 126

Analysis: The more I look at this draft the more I like it. When the draft ended, I wasn't thrilled because taking Brees in Round 4 left me reaching a little early for running backs, especially Hightower. But I should be able to get by with Turner, Hightower, Tolbert and Stewart for the majority of the season, and if Rashard Mendenhall struggles then Redman would be a steal. My receiving corps is tremendous with Johnson, Jennings, Burress and Brown, especially if the latter two live up to early expectations. And Olsen and Kolb provide trade bait since I don't really need them early in the season. When drafting in the middle of Round 1 you have to be prepared to do things you might not expect, but don't be afraid to jump on bargains when they present themselves like Brees and Davis did here.

Picking late in Round 1
Pick: No. 10 | Teams: 12 | Format: Standard
QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST, FLEX (RB/WR/TE) and five reserves
Position Player Round Overall
QB Michael Vick, Eagles 2 15
RB Jahvid Best, Lions 3 34
RB Mark Ingram, Saints 4 39
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions 1 10
WR Percy Harvin, Vikings 5 58
TE Jimmy Graham, Saints 7 82
FLEX Mike Tolbert, Chargers 6 63
K Matt Bryant, Falcons 14 159
DST Chargers 13 154
Bench
QB Mark Sanchez, Jets 12 135
RB Pierre Thomas, Saints 8 87
RB Rashad Jennings, Jaguars 11 130
RB Antonio Brown, Steelers 9 106
WR A.J. Green, Bengals 10 111

Analysis: The plan for this draft was to take a quarterback early, and the way the draft was falling, I felt confident Vick or Rodgers would be available in Round 2. That's exactly what happened, and the gamble paid off after taking Johnson in Round 1. Again, I went after Best, Tolbert and Graham, and Ingram is another player who continues to find his way onto my roster. I like having three or four running backs from that group of Best, Ingram, Tolbert, Hightower, Felix Jones and Shonn Greene because I like the upside for all of them. I'll need one of my late-round receivers to be consistent with Brown and Green unproven, but they have plenty of potential. And if Jennings is healthy and something happens to Maurice Jones-Drew then he could be a steal in Round 11. Taking Thomas in Round 8 was to get the handcuff to Ingram just in case the rookie falters.

Picking late in Round 1
Pick: No. 12 | Teams: 12 | Format: Standard
QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST, FLEX (RB/WR) and five reserves
Position Player Round Overall
QB Matthew Stafford, Lions 7 84
RB Jahvid Best, Lions 3 36
RB Shonn Greene, Jets 4 37
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions 1 12
WR Roddy White, Falcons 2 13
TE Jimmy Graham, Saints 8 85
FLEX Tim Hightower, Redskins 5 60
K Matt Bryant, Falcons 14 157
DST Saints 13 156
Bench
QB Joe Flacco, Ravens 9 108
RB Ryan Mathews, Chargers 6 61
RB Javon Ringer, Titans 10 109
WR Hines Ward, Steelers 11 132
WR Greg Little, Browns 12 133

Analysis: This might be my favorite draft of the six here, and obviously I'll be rooting for the Lions hard in 2011 with Stafford, Johnson and Best. I love taking two receivers if you pick toward the end of Round 1, and with Johnson and White I will be hard to beat at those spots. I still drafted four quality running backs in Best, Greene, Hightower and Mathews, and Ringer still presents upside given the potential ramifications of the Chris Johnson holdout. I took a breakout quarterback candidate in Stafford and again landed Graham at tight end. When you draft Stafford you should take a safe backup like Flacco or Eli Manning in case Stafford gets hurt again. And when you draft receivers like Johnson and White you can afford to take a flier on a player with upside, which I did with Little in Round 12. If Little plays big as Cleveland's No. 1 receiver then I can trade him during the year.

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 and on Facebook .

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Player News
Titans receivers can thrive in YAC with Marcus Mariota's accuracy
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) The Titans wide receiving corps could gain more yards after the catch this season because of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and his accurate throws, per ESPN.com.

The Titans were 24th in the league in yards after the catch last season, but with Mariota under center that can all change.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” wide receiver Harry Douglas said. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”


Saints RB Khiry Robinson doesn't feel he's on outside looking in
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) Saints running back Khiry Robinson might be the least known of his backfield counterparts, but he doesn't feel like the off man out, per ESPN.com.

Robinson knows the team is heavily invested in the likes of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but he's still confident he can thrive in whatever role the Saints put him in.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said.

Robinson has shown flashes of success during his three years in the league. Injuries played a key role against him last season, which can ultimately put him as the third back on the depth chart. He will use the offseason to continue to improve and challenge his counterparts for playing time.

“I just gotta keep working,” Robinson. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”


Browns OL Michael Bowie itching to compete for starting spot
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/3/2015) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Redskins OLB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/3/2015) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery - not just for football but it makes my everyday life feel better so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


Texans waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


 
 
 
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