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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
Cardinals' Larry Foote '50-50' on playing in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) 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.”


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by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
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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
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(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.


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"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.


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(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. 

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RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
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(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.

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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. 

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"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]."

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