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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
Vikings' Adrian Peterson to begin probation on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will begin his probation on Wednesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Peterson will begin community service, and will undergo counseling to determine whether he has a drug problem. Peterson will report to a probation officer once a month in order to take a drug test. The strict drug testing stems from an Oct. 8 pre-trail urinalysis. Peterson admitted to "smoking a little weed," though the results from the test were never disclosed. 

Probation officials will also determine whether Peterson needs to attend parenting classes. 

Per his plea agreement, Peterson was fined $4,000 and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service. He's required to perform at least 16 hours per month, which would allow him to complete to program prior to training camp.

Peterson is under contract with the Vikings for next season, and is set to earn $12.75 million. The team is not allowed to communicate with Peterson during his suspension. 


Austin Collie signs with CFL's BC Lions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Free-agent receiver Austin Collie has signed with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League, the team announced Thursday.

"I’m excited to be joining the Lions and very much look forward to playing in the CFL," said Collie. "The wide-open play of the Canadian game and the passion of fans across the league is going to be a lot of fun to experience."

Collie played four seasons with the Colts and one with the Patriots. In his last NFL action, he caught four passes for 57 yards in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.


Eagles RB LeSean McCoy: 'I don't want to take less money'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Eagles running back LeSean McCoy reiterated Thursday that while he'd be willing to restructure his contract if asked, he would not accept a pay cut, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

"I know how hard it is to keep a team together and I want to be part of this team. But I don't want to take less money," McCoy said. "I want to figure a way to make it happen [where] we're all together."

McCoy, who is due to count $11.95 million against the cap in 2015, turned in his fourth 1,000-yard season in the last five years in 2014, finishing with 1,319 rushing yards on 312 carries and 155 receiving yards on a career-low 28 receptions. All five of his touchdowns came on the ground.


Bills' Rex Ryan won't commit to EJ Manuel as starting QB
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) When asked about who his starting quarterback would be in 2015, Bills coach Rex Ryan said the team would look at every available option, reports The Buffalo News.

"We're going to exhaust every resource we can," Ryan said. "We'll look at free agents. We'll look at the draft. We'll look at anything."

The Bills have former first-round pick EJ Manuel on their roster, but Ryan said he would not commit to Manuel as his starting quarterback at this time.

"To say that he's definitely going to be the guy, it's way too early to say that," Ryan said.


Bills RB Fred Jackson excited to play for new coach Rex Ryan
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Bills veteran running back Fred Jackson said he hasn't had the opportunity to meet with new coach Rex Ryan, but that didn't stop him from expressing his excitement about the new coaching regime in Buffalo.

"I can't wait to play for him. I've heard nothing but good things," Jackson said Wednesday of Ryan during an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "I'm looking forward to that [first] conversation when I sit down and talk to him."

The Bills finished 9-7 in 2014, which was their best record since 2004. While Jackson believes Ryan is going to "be that catalyst that comes in and pushes us over that hump," he didn't have many bad things to say about coach Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract New Year's Eve.

"I thought he was a tremendous coach," Jackson said. "He showed up, he worked hard, he pushed players to give their best effort. He got us to a 9-7 record -- we hadn't won nine games in 10 years. There's definitely some things about him that made him a great coach. It's just the way he exited. I don't think anybody expected that. 

"Players, the way we found out is we got a generic text from him, saying that he was moving on and he had chosen to opt out of his contract." 


Justin Tuck: Raider Nation would appluad signing Ndamukong Suh
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) If defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh doesn't sign a long-term deal with the Lions, then he will become a free agent March 10 and there will be plenty of teams interested in the Pro Bowl lineman. 

Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck indicated if Suh wanted to sign with Oakland, then he would be welcomed in Raider Nation.

"(He's) Raider-ish," Tuck said, per the Detroit Free Press. "And that's one of the reasons why I know Raider Nation would applaud that move, beyond the fact that he's an awesome football player. He kind of fits the mold of ... the toughness and the ferocious player that built the Oakland Raiders."

It is speculated Suh will receive a contract worth at least $100 million. Tuck believes the three-time All-Pro deserves such a lucrative deal.

"The thing about him, you know what you're getting every day. Some of the tactics, you could probably do without, but he's a hell of a football player," Tuck said. "I would love to have the opportunity to line up beside of him and let him take all the double teams that I normally take."


Nick Foles: 'I plan on being in Philly' in 2015
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(1/29/2015) There has been a lot of talk about quarterback Nick Foles' future with the Eagles, especially since Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly's former pupil at Oregon -- Marcus Mariota -- will be part of this year's draft class.

On Thursday, Foles addressed the rumors and stated he is expecting to be back on the Eagles' roster in 2015.

"Yeah you hear about it," Foles said in between doing paid appearances at Super Bowl XLIX, per NJ.com. "You are going to hear about it every single year. That's just part of it. The main word is 'rumor.' You can't put too much into it....I plan on being in Philly.

"I only listen to (head coach) Chip Kelly. That's what is most important. He is the one that will make the decision. Right now all I am going to do is work because I plan on being back in Philadelphia and playing with my team. That's all I ever thought. So that is what I plan on doing and I'm not looking at it any other way."

Foles added he hasn't talked with Kelly since the end of the season.

"We haven't talked a lot. He has a lot going on," Foles said. "This time of year you really just get away from everything. He is busy looking at the draft, doing all that. I saw he is more of the decision maker. Haven't really talked to him too much, but I'm sure I'll hear from him soon."


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by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer pleaded guilty Thursday in Maricopa County (Ariz.) Superior Court to a single count of disorderly conduct pertaining to his domestic violence case, according to The Arizona Republic.

Dwyer was sentenced to 18 months of probation and community service following the plea, according to a court spokesman.

The 25-year-old Dwyer was arrested Sept. 17 for a July 21 incident in which he allegedly head-butted his wife in the face and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances and bit his lip, according to reports taken at the time.

Dwyer's wife told police she reported the incident in September because she feared for their child's safety after seeing reports of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's arrest on child-abuse charges.

The Cardinals placed Dwyer on the reserve/non-football injury list after his September arrest. He did not play again during the 2014 season.


Tom Brady on Peyton Manning: 'I certainly hope he comes back'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) While the football world anxiously awaits official word from Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning about his playing status for the 2015 season, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- and longtime Manning rival -- said Thursday he hopes the five-time NFL MVP will continue his career.

"What a great player he's been for this league," Brady said Thursday, per NFL.com. "He's a great competitor, and I've been fortunate to play against him a bunch of times. I certainly hope he comes back, 'cause the league will miss him if he doesn't. But those decisions are up to him. I'm sure it's up to whether he's mentally and physically -- that's what he wants to do. But I certainly hope he's back."

Archie Manning, Peyton's father, told NFL Network on Thursday that his son hasn't made a decision yet.

"Well, Peyton evaluates things; he's pretty good at that," he said. "I can't tell him what to do, and he hasn't told me what he's going to do. But I do know that he's really giving a lot of things a lot of thought. He's thinking about where he is physically, he wants to see how he can do this some more, trying to get over an injury."

Archie added starting over with new Broncos coach Gary Kubiak will not be an issue for Peyton, if he decides to return next season.

"Yeah, but he loves Gary. He likes Gary," Archie Manning said. "He liked John Fox. He liked Adam Gase. All those things, I think, are considered with. But my deal is he's always made good decisions; he's pretty thorough. He's going to evaluate a lot of things, and I think he'll make a good decision."


RG3: 'I could've sat out the rest of last year' after hurting ankle
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) During a radio interview Wednesday night, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III indicated the dislocated ankle he suffered in Week 2 against the Jaguars hindered him the rest of the season. He missed six games due to the injury.

“I had never suffered an ankle injury of that severity before, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Griffin said, per The Washington Times. “It just became more and more tough the more games that we lost, because you know how hard your guys work, and you want to get out there and help them win games.

“I could’ve sat out the rest of last year, with how bad the ankle was, but I felt like I could play, and I wanted to get out there and play with my guys and help them win games. And that didn’t happen when I got back out there. Then coach made a decision [to bench me]. That was an unfortunate decision, and something we all had to go with because that was coach’s choice.”

Griffin will be entering the final guaranteed year of his contract in 2015. The Redskins have until May 3 to decide if they want to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract for 2016. 

Griffin added his focus this offseason will simply be on getting healthy.

“Last year, I wasn’t healthy, and it sucked,” Griffin told ESPN 980. “There’s no other way to say it other than that. When you dislocate your ankle in the second week of the season, when you and your team had big things in mind. So I guess it’s just getting healthy, getting a mental break, getting a chance to spend time with family, and then formulate my plan going forward from this year so we can go out there and win games.”


 
 
 
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