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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
Patriots running back Stevan Ridley: 'I have something to prove'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:31 pm ET) Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is expected to become a free agent in the coming weeks and he is ready for the experience.

"I'm excited about it," Ridley told Sirius XM Radio Friday. "As a player coming into the league, you get there and your first contract you kind of have to establish yourself and see what you can do. Everybody is a good player if you get to make it to the NFL, but there is something to be said if you get to that second contract."

Ridley has rushed for 2,817 yards and 22 touchdowns in his first four seasons in the league with the Patriots.

"Where I'll be playing, and who I'll be playing for, is still unknown, but I know I've come in and done my job up to this point and now I have to put it in my agent's hands to get me on another team, or stay where I'm at, and make sure I’m in pads playing ball somewhere next year. I know if you think about it too much it will worry you sick."

Ridley has played in 20 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons, starting in just 11 of them.

"I take it personal to any team or anybody that says I can't be a very productive player on whatever team I land on," he said. "I've been playing ball my whole life, I'm going to come in and be a leader, and I'm going to be a guy that comes in and busts his butt in the weight room and busts his butt on the field. I'm a good teammate, I have fun with my guys, but when the lights come on Sundays, it's all business and I plan on going out there and making plays."


Patriots' Aaron Dobson doing well in rehab of hamstring injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(8:17 pm ET) Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson is still recovering from a hamstring injury that ended his season in 2014. Trainer Brett Fischer said Friday he thinks Dobson is going to turn heads when he heads back to Foxboro for training camp, according to the Boston Herald.

"He was talking about, 'When I go up there (to Foxboro) and they see me again, I want to make sure they know I'm in the best shape of my life.' He is really determined," Fischer said. "That is the underlying theme every day: 'Hey, I've got to be ready when April comes, be ready as far as the best shape of my life.' It's frustrating with two years of freaky-type stuff."

Dobson finished a disappointing 2014 season with three catches for 38 yards.

"He is doing great," Fischer said. "I'm really excited for him. He has put the time and effort into it, comes in early, gets all his work in and he is hungry. There are a few specific things we found, minor little things we're working on, that make his program a little bit unique to everybody else's. Nothing major."


Report: Should be a 'very active market' for Broncos' Julius Thomas
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(8:13 pm ET) Broncos tight end Julius Thomas turned down a five-year, $40 million contract for a reason. That's because it's believed he will have a "very active market" when the new league year begins on March 10, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. 

Two teams that are expected to target Thomas in free agency are the Raiders and Jaguars, both of which need to upgrade considerably at their skill positions to help out their young quarterbacks. The expectation is for Broncos general manager John Elway to let Thomas test the waters in free agency to see what he's offered. 

The Falcons have also reportedly been interested, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. 

Injuries slowed what was an otherwise fast start to his 2014 season. Thomas' season ended with 489 yards and 12 touchdowns. 


Report: Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be on the way out of Cleveland
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:44 pm ET) With the signing of Josh McCown Friday, Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer could be looking elsewhere for employment. Coach Mike Pettine called Hoyer to inform him the team was signing McCown and Hoyer appears ready to move on, according to Albert Breer of the NFL Network.

Hoyer played in 14 games for the Browns in 2014, throwing for 3,326 yards with 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He lost his starting position to Johnny Manziel in Week 15, but was forced back into action after Manziel suffered a season-ending injury.


Quarterback Josh McCown agrees to terms with Browns
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:29 pm ET) Free agent quarterback Josh McCown has agreed to terms with the Browns on a contract, according to his agent Mike McCartney. The team later confirmed the report. The deal is reportedly set to have McCown on the Browns for three seasons, according to ESPN.

McCown, who will turn 36 before the season begins, previously visited with the Bills before signing with the Browns. McCown threw for 2,206 yards with 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 2014 with the Buccaneers.


Jets WR Percy Harvin will not accept pay cut
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6:26 pm ET) Jets receiver Percy Harvin will not agree to a reduction in his 2015 salary, reports CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. 

Harvin is slated to earn $10.5 million this season, something the Jets cannot afford. Teams around the league are interested signing Harvin to a short-term deal. With his expensive contract, though, the Jets will be hard-pressed to find a suitor interested in trading Harvin. 

The Seahawks traded Harvin to the Jets for a conditional pick during the 2014 season. 


Report: Colts' Wayne undergoes triceps surgery, mulling retirement
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:19 pm ET) Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne underwent surgery Friday to repair his injured triceps, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Wayne, 36, is beginning rehab for the injury and is reportedly considering retirement, according to Rapoport.

Wayne played in 15 regular season games for the Colts in 2014, totaling 779 yards on 64 catches with two touchdowns.


Dolphins WR Mike Wallace interested in return to Steelers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(6:13 pm ET) Though the Dolphins are shopping Mike Wallace to prospective suitors, there is one team that is of interest to the speedy receiver. 

According to CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, Wallace has interest in potentially returning to the Steelers. Of course, the Steelers would have to decide if they'd be willing to take on a contract that's going to have a $12.1 million cap figure for 2015. 

Wallace has underperformed in relation to the five-year, $60 million contract he signed before the 2013 season. He's failed to reach 1,000 yards with the Dolphins in either season after recording that mark twice with the Steelers in his first four NFL seasons. 


Buccaneers' Vincent Jackson not accepting pay cut for 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(6:05 pm ET) Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson is likely to remain with Tampa Bay this offseason, but he is not willing to accept a pay cut, according to CBSSports.com NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

Jackson, who was shopped by the team before the trade deadline, is set to make $10 million in base salary and has a $12.2 million cap hit. He totaled 70 catches for 1,002 yards and two touchdowns in 2014.


Falcons' Dan Quinn wants to re-sign Sean Weatherspoon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5:40 pm ET) Though Sean Weatherspoon missed most of the past two seasons due to injuries, Falcons coach Dan Quinn is hopeful the franchise can re-sign the standout inside linebacker to a new contract before he hits the free agent market on March 10. 

"With him, it's that toughness and the speed that he can play with so, yes, definitely someone that we're talking to," Quinn said via ESPN.com. "I know he's got that kind of attitude. And you know me, just from watching our style of defense, it's fast and physical. And that's what Sean is. So, we're certainly hoping that he can be a big part of it moving forward."

Weatherspoon played in only seven games during the 2013 season due to a Lisfranc sprain in his foot. He missed all of 2014 due to an Achilles tear. 

Weatherspoon was the Falcons' first-round pick in the 2010 draft. He's totaled 290 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions during his career. 


 
 
 
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