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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
Ex-teammate: Marshawn Lynch to hold out of training camp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, who's reportedly unhappy with his contract, is expected to hold out of training camp, former teammate Michael Robinson told NFL Network Total Access on Thursday.

"Marshawn Lynch just called me, we just talked. He said he will be holding out from training camp," Robinson said on the show.

Lynch attended the team's mandatory minicamp and is subject to fines if he holds out of training camp. He totaled over 1,500 yards of offense with 14 total touchdowns last year but had over 400 total touches between the regular season and postseason.


Chris Johnson looks 'light on his feet, and fast'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) Jets running back Chris Johnson, who had offseason knee surgery, "looked light on his feet, and fast" at practice Thursday, reports ESPN.com. "I haven't really [gone] 100 percent with the team since I have been here so being able to go out there and run and do all the team periods felt good," Johnson said.

The Jets used him on rushing plays and also lined him up wide as a receiver. Johnson fumbled on a running play but overall "seemed right at home," the website said. "I felt good," Johnson said. "I felt no pain or anything like that."

His main competition for carries, Chris Ivory, sat out with a hamstring problem.


Bills make roster moves
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) The Bills claimed center Jared Wheeler off waivers from the Panthers and waived/injured cornerback Brandon Smith.

Giants working extensively on no-huddle
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) The Giants ran 59 no-huddle plays all of last season. That represented 4.7 percent of their total plays. In contrast, the Eagles ran a league-high 705 no-huddle plays (51.1 percent) and the Broncos ran 537 (35.4 percent).

It appears the Giants plan to have Eli Manning operating out of the no-huddle more often. Their first three practices featured frequent use of the no-huddle.

"It keeps defenses on their toes," running back Rashad Jennings said. "[Offensive coordinator Ben] McAdoo has a way to keep the defense on their toes, put pressure on them, get the long shots, get the grinding yards. It’s a lot of different ways to attack a defense. Also, it puts a lot of ownership on the players to learn the playbook. It puts the capability in the quarterback’s hands to make decisions."

Jennings said the team can run its entire offense out of the no-huddle. Wideout Rueben Randle also loves it.

"It gives us time to get set and see what the defense is going to do, to keep them out of position," he said. "Switching in our personnel to take advantage of the personnel they have out there. Hopefully, they’re in regular [defense] and we’re in three-wide, so we can spread the ball out a little bit and use our speed to make a few plays."


Steve Smith 'puts on a show'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) New Ravens receiver Steve Smith "put on a show" in the team's first training camp practice, reports ESPN.com. Smith faked out starting corner Lardarius Webb on an out route, then beat Webb and projected No. 3 corner Chykie Brown on deep passes, the report said.

The website also credited Smith with raising the intensity level at practice.


Vince Wilfork practicing without limitations
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork, who's coming back from a ruptured Achilles, looked good during the team's first practice and said he's working without restrictions.

"If I had limitations, I wouldn’t be practicing," Wilfork told the Boston Herald. "My job is to help my teammates the best way I can, whatever that may be. The only way for me to help my teammates is to be on the field and be healthy. Right now, I’m on the field and I’m healthy. If anything happens in the future, I can’t predict that. But right now my job is to help this team the best way I can and get better each day and that’s what I’m going to do."


Ronald Leary has strained hamstring
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) Cowboys starting guard Ronald Leary strained his hamstring taking a conditioning test Monday, reports ESPN.com. He's starting camp on the PUP list. It's unclear how long he'll be out.

Jamaal Charles gets $8.3 million guaranteed
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) Jamaal Charles' four-year contract extension includes $8.3 million guaranteed but no guaranteed money beyond this season, reports Pro Football Talk. The Chiefs' star running back is now signed through 2017.

Marcus Lattimore on NFI list with two injuries
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/24/2014) 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said running back Marcus Lattimore is starting camp on the non-football injury list because that's what doctors and trainers recommended, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Asked if the problem was Lattimore's surgically reconstructed knee or the hamstring strain he suffered in the spring, Harbaugh replied, "A combination of the two." Harbaugh declined to elaborate.

Other reports indicate Lattimore is not too far away from being ready. He could be activated at any time.


'Won't be too long' until Knowshon Moreno returns for Miami
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7/24/2014) Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said he's not worried about Knowshon Moreno coming back in bad shape. The team opens training camp on Thursday and will begin practicing soon thereafter. Moreno had offseason knee surgery after reportedly showing up to camp out of shape. 

"Not full throttle 100 percent reps yet but won't be too long," Philbin said of Moreno via the Miami Herald.


 
 
 
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