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2011 Draft Prep: Avoid these misperceptions on Draft Day

Senior Fantasy Writer
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You should always be prepared on Draft Day. Pick a strategy, target certain players for certain rounds and go in with a plan.

But don't go into your draft with preconceived notions on players based on things that have happened in the past. And you should definitely be open to new things as the NFL, and Fantasy Football, continues to evolve.

Just because there are misperceptions about a certain player, that doesn't always mean that's what will happen. We're going to show you here that not all stereotypes are true. Sometimes, when you think you know something about a player, the exact opposite becomes reality.

Misperception: Injury-risk players always fail
Reality: You'll be upset if you avoid a player who gets healthy

There is a lot of concern this season about prominent players coming into the year with injuries or who have an injury history. It starts with running backs who missed time this preseason like Arian Foster (hamstring), Maurice Jones-Drew (knee), Darren McFadden (orbital bone) and Jahvid Best (concussion) and includes players who are injury risks like Michael Vick, Matthew Stafford, Marques Colston, Austin Collie, Antonio Gates and Jermichael Finley.

But if you go back to last season, plenty of Fantasy owners passed on injury risk running backs like McFadden and Matt Forte, and both finished as Top 15 options. You don't want the same thing to happen again this year.

A piece of advice I heard from an NFL talent scout was "don't let injury confuse you as to who the player is." If the player is good, and the injury isn't deemed serious, then take him on Draft Day.

If you're scared of drafting someone like Foster, Vick or Colston then pass on him on Draft Day. But don't be surprised if that move comes back to haunt you if he plays 16 games and plays well.

Misperception: The starting running back is the better Fantasy option
Reality: Sometimes the backup is the better

Don't be fooled by the depth chart because sometimes it lies. Just because a player is listed as the No. 1 running back, that doesn't mean he's the best Fantasy option.

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Last year, these running backs opened the season as No. 2 on the depth chart or lower: Peyton Hillis, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Mike Tolbert and LaDainian Tomlinson. But they all finished as Top 20 Fantasy running backs last year because the starter got hurt or struggled.

This year, some running backs who could emerge from backups to Fantasy starters are Tolbert (ahead of Ryan Mathews), Daniel Thomas (ahead of Reggie Bush), James Starks (ahead of Ryan Grant), Willis McGahee (ahead of Knowshon Moreno), Ben Tate (ahead of Foster) and Isaac Redman (ahead of Rashard Mendenhall).

You don't have to reach for the starter when the No. 2 option could present better value on Draft Day.

Misperception: Third-year receivers don't matter
Reality: There are still breakouts

Fantasy owners are starting to believe that the third-year wide receiver theory is a thing of the past. They point toward last year when rookie Mike Williams of Tampa Bay and second-year receivers like Hakeem Nicks, Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin were stars.

But if you look a little closer, you'll still find that third-year receivers still emerge on a yearly basis. Just last year we had Steve Johnson, Mario Manningham and Davone Bess make significant improvements in their stats.

This season, you might not get breakout years from Nicks, Wallace or Maclin, but some third-year receivers to target are Mike Thomas, Danny Amendola and Johnny Knox. You'll find that these are receivers you can draft with a mid- to late-round pick, and they will pay prominent roles for you this season in a breakout campaign.

Misperception: Rookie wide receivers don't make an impact
Reality: We still see rookies play well

Rookie wide receivers are never players to target on Draft Day because, as stated above, it usually takes three years for them to fully develop and grasp the NFL. But every now and then a rookie receiver becomes a legitimate Fantasy option.

Just go back to Randy Moss in 1998 and Anquan Boldin in 2003 when both were dominant in their rookie season. And last year, Williams and Dez Bryant provided tremendous production for Fantasy owners in their first year.

This year could be tricky with rookie receivers following the lockout and the lack of offseason work, but it doesn't mean to avoid all the receivers from this draft class in your Fantasy league. There's a good chance three rookie receivers could be prominent Fantasy options.

Julio Jones and A.J. Green are the obvious choices based on where they were drafted and the roles they should play in Atlanta and Cincinnati, respectively. Jones should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver coming into the year, and Green is a No. 4 option.

But if you're looking for a late-round pick with upside then target Cleveland's Greg Little with a late-round pick. He could be this year's version of Williams as a rookie no one expected to play at a high level but in the end was the best player of his class.

Misperception: Draft the guys you know
Reality: Unknown players make bigger impact

It happens in every draft. An owner will take Player A over Player B simply because he knows who he is or he's a veteran.

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And as we'll always tell you, draft someone based on what they'll do this year, not what they did in the past. Here are some examples.

DeAngelo Williams vs. LeGarrette Blount. Naïve owner's comment: I know what Williams can do, and Blount is a one-year wonder. Our advice: Take Blount in Round 3 and pass on Williams.

Reggie Bush vs. James Starks. Naïve owner's comment: Bush is still with the Saints, right? Our advice: Get to know Starks because he could be the best running back for the Packers.

Plaxico Burress vs. Lance Moore. Naïve owner's comment: Burress was a star before he went to prison. He'll be good with the Jets. Our advice: Take the No. 2 receiver for the Saints compared to the No. 2 receiver for the Jets.

Hines Ward vs. Antonio Brown. Naïve owner's comment: Ward won Dancing With the Stars. He's the best Steelers receiver. Our advice: Brown could be the second-best receiver for the Steelers behind Wallace and is the better value on Draft Day.

Tony Gonzalez vs. Greg Olsen. Naïve owner's comment: Gonzalez is the best tight end in NFL history. I've been watching him dominate for years. Our advice: Olsen has more upside, and Gonzalez was mediocre at best last season.

Name recognition only gets you in the door at a club and out of parking tickets. It doesn't help you win Fantasy leagues. Know what you're doing before you make a pick on Draft Day.

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
Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas all set to play in Super Bowl Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:57 pm ET) The Seahawks secondary starters are all active for Sunday's Super Bowl, the team announced. Cornerback Richard Sherman (elbow) and safeties Earl Thomas (shoulder) and Kam Chancellor (knee) are all active for Sunday after being listed as probable for the contest throughout the week.

Running back Marshawn Lynch (back) is also set to play after being listed as probable.

The game is currently pick'em between Seattle and New England.


Seahawks unveil inactives for Super Bowl 49
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:53 pm ET) The Seahawks have listed the following players as inactive for Sunday's Super Bowl: B.J. Daniels, Marcus Burley, Patrick Lewis, Keavon Milton, David King, Garry Gilliam and Kevin Norwood, the team announced.

Gilliam caught a fake field goal touchdown during the NFC Championship Game for Seattle.

The game is currently pick'em between Seattle and New England.


Tom Brady, Akeem Ayers get the green light for Super Bowl Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:46 pm ET) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (ankle) and linebackers Akeem Ayers (knee) and Dont'a Hightower (shoulder) are active and set to play in the Super Bowl Sunday against the Seahawks, the team announced.

All three were considered probable and in no real danger of missing the game Sunday. Brady threw for 4,109 yards with 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2014.

Patriots center Bryan Stork is also active after being upgraded to probable for the game Saturday.

The game is currently pick'em between New England and Seattle Sunday.


Jonas Gray among Patriots' inactives for Super Bowl 49
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4:41 pm ET) Patriots running back Jonas Gray will be inactive for Super Bowl 49 along with Zach Moore, Josh Boyce, Brian Tyms, Joe Vellano, Jordan Devey and James White, the team announced.

Gray, who ran for 412 yards on 89 carries in eight games this season, had four carries for four yards in the AFC Championship game for New England. It was his first action in a game since Dec. 21 againt the Jets when he had six carries for five yards.

The game is currently pick'em between Seattle and New England Sunday.


Report: Peyton Manning could decide on playing future this week
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2:55 pm ET) Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning may be making his decision sooner rather than later. The soon to be 39-year-old Manning is reportedly set to make his decision as early as this week, according to ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen.

Manning, who has already met with new coach Gary Kubiak, said last week he was waiting to meet with John Elway when he got back from vacation before making up his mind.

Manning, who threw for 4,727 yards and 39 touchdowns in 2014, is due $19 million guaranteed if he is still on the team March 9.


Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman will play Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2:22 pm ET) Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman is indeed playing in Sunday's Super Bowl. With his girlfriend preparing to have their son very soon, but it will not be happening Sunday.

"I'm playing today," Sherman texted Peter King before the game Sunday.

Sherman totaled 57 tackles and four interceptions in 2014 with one forced fumble.


Lions' president optimistic team will re-sign Ndamukong Suh
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1:47 pm ET) Lions team president Tom Lewand is expecting the team to be able to re-sign defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

"I really do believe he's got a lot invested in here, in himself and the community and the football team," Lewand said Sunday morning during an interview on WDIV-TV's Flashpoint. "He wants to have success in the NFL, obviously, but he wants to do that with us.

"I think there's a very, very good chance that we can get something done with him in the next few weeks."

Suh can become a free agent if the team does not use their franchise tag on him by March 2. 

"We've had a good chunk of our salary cap tied up in three players over the last few years," Lewand told WDIV. "Matthew, Calvin and Ndamukong have all had very lucrative contracts under the old rookie system, and even as Matthew and Calvin have done their extensions. So we've done that, we've lived in that environment. There's no reason we can't continue to live in that environment."


Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant expects to remain with team
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:50 pm ET) Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant said Saturday he is expecting to be back in Dallas in 2015 and have fans excited for a long time.

"Regardless, I’m a Cowboy," Bryant said to NBC Dallas. "But it is what it is. It’s business. I am a free agent. I’m very confident that something is going to happen, something is going to get done, and have these Cowboys fans excited for a long time."

Bryant is set to become a free agent this offseason if he and the Cowboys cannot agree to a deal or Dallas uses the franchise tag on him.

"I’m a Cowboy at heart. It’s Cowboys forever," Bryant said.


Falcons' owner wants Julio Jones long term, but not his decision
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:45 pm ET) Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Sunday the team wants to sign Julio Jones to a contract extension, but it is not his decision to make.

"As the owner, it's not my decision to make," Blank said. "The new coach will spend a great deal of time assessing the roster and all of our players, and obviously Julio is a critical one.

"Well, I think it's a decision that the head coach will look at the talent on the roster," Blank said. "Julio's been a great player for us and a great talent, and he represents us on the field and off the field as well as anybody else."

Jones is set to make $10.2 million in 2015 and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2016 if a new deal is not signed. In 2014, Jones set a franchise-record 1,593 receiving yards in 15 games on 104 receptions with six touchdowns.


Lions' Calvin Johnson wants to keep Ndamukong Suh in Detroit
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:26 am ET) Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson said he's willing to do just about anything to keep defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in a Lions uniform, reports MLive.com.

Suh is set to become a free agent in March if the Lions cannot reach a deal with him and Johnson said he wants Suh to remain a Lion.

"I'll do whatever I got to do," Johnson said.


 
 
 
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