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Offseason Extra: Our frightening 15 for Draft Day

Senior Fantasy Writer
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You need to gamble on sleepers and potential breakout players to get ahead in Fantasy football. But don't underestimate the value in knowing when to pass on somebody on Draft Day.

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Spot the players you think will let you down this year and make sure they're not on your team.

We've already highlighted guys I would target on Draft Day with the 15 players I want in 2012. Here is the list of players I plan to avoid in most leagues unless they land in my lap, which likely won't happen in the majority of formats.

I'm not counting on Adrian Peterson, Vincent Jackson or Tony Gonzalez to live up to past reputations, and those are some of the players I don't want on my Fantasy team this year. If they play at a high level, my hat is off to them, but I have little confidence in these players coming into the season.

Kenny Britt, WR, Titans
2011 stats: 17 catches, 289 yards and three touchdowns
Early 2012 projections: 63 catches, 955 yards and eight touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 5
I would draft him in: Round 7
Britt suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 last year, and he needed another minor surgery in May on the same knee. He's expected to be ready for training camp, but I want to see him in action first before I commit to him. He was among the best receivers in the NFL through two games last year, and he has amazing potential. But the Titans might have tipped their hand in terms of counting on Britt when they drafted Kendall Wright in the first round. Granted, Wright can play in the slot for the Titans and might be the eventual replacement for Nate Washington, but he also is a great insurance policy for Britt if he's not ready by Week 1. The only way I would draft Britt would be as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver since I can't rely on him as a starter.

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins
2011 stats: 1,086 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 43 catches for 296 yards and one touchdown
Early 2012 projections: 988 rushing yards and seven touchdowns; 56 catches for 444 yards and two touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 4
I would draft him in: Round 6
This entry should be for the entire Dolphins roster because there's not one player I want from that team on my Fantasy squad this year. Bush has the most potential based on how he finished last season, but the Dolphins have to involve Daniel Thomas more and they drafted Lamar Miller. The Dolphins also are going away from a run-based attack under new coach Joe Philbin, who was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay last year. Now, Bush should be more involved than what the Packers had with James Starks and Ryan Grant, but this offense isn't going to live or die with Bush. In fact, it's hard to know who the Dolphins will rely on, which is why this is a team to avoid in most Fantasy formats.

Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers
2011 stats: 72 catches, 874 yards and four touchdowns
Early 2012 projections: 67 catches, 961 yards and five touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 9
I would draft him in: I won't draft him
Crabtree has plenty of talent, but he has yet to show that he can be a reliable Fantasy receiver. In 2011, which was Crabtree's third year in the NFL, he had a successful campaign with career highs in catches and yards, but he had only four games with double digits in Fantasy points. His quarterback situation didn't help since Alex Smith isn't exactly a premier passer, and the 49ers decided to upgrade at receiver this offseason with Mario Manningham, Randy Moss and A.J. Jenkins. Crabtree now has plenty of competition for catches, including Vernon Davis, and his Fantasy value will take a hit as a result. He may never live up to the potential he showed at Texas Tech as long as he stays with the 49ers.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
2011 stats: 83 rushing yards; five catches for 9 yards and a touchdown
Early 2012 projections: 1,413 rushing yards and five touchdowns; 37 catches for 321 yards and one touchdown
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 3
I would draft him in: Round 6
This entry should be about a player I would avoid in Charles and someone I would target in Peyton Hillis, who is now the No. 2 running back for the Chiefs. I don't expect Charles to live up to his draft status. For starters, Charles is coming off a torn ACL suffered in Week 2 last year. He should be fine for the beginning of the season, but with the addition of Hillis, Charles' production won't be the same. Hillis can play on all downs, and he will most likely take away goal-line opportunities. On top of that, Hillis is being reunited with his former offensive coordinator in Cleveland, Brian Daboll. We can see Hillis having a bounce-back year, and he presents better value on Draft Day then Charles since you can get Hillis with a mid-round pick.

Matt Forte, RB, Bears
2011 stats: 997 rushing yards and three touchdowns; 52 catches for 490 yards and one touchdown
Early 2012 projections: 1,345 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 65 catches for 505 yards and two touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 2
I would draft him in: Round 4
Forte has been one of the best Fantasy options since coming into the NFL in 2008, but his outlook is not enticing this season. His contract situation, which could lead to a holdout, is clearly on his mind, and the Bears gave him direct competition with the addition of Michael Bush. Now, if Forte is with the Bears in training camp without any issues, he would be the No. 1 option in the backfield. But Bush is still going to get his touches, and he will likely work at the goal line. The Bears also will be more pass-happy this year with the addition of Brandon Marshall, and Forte might not be worth drafting as a No. 1 Fantasy running back this season.

Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins
2011 stats: 70 catches, 947 yards and six touchdowns
Early 2012 projections: 64 catches, 976 yards and five touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 7
I would draft him in: Round 10
The Colts passing game was a mess in 2011 with Peyton Manning (neck) out, but Garcon still managed to set career highs in catches and yards and match his career best in touchdowns. But I'm not expecting him to improve going to Washington and playing with a rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III. There are a lot of mouths to feed for the Redskins with Santana Moss, Fred Davis and Josh Morgan. And Garcon's production last year was fluky. He had three games with double digits in Fantasy points, which were the only games he scored. In his other 13 games he topped five Fantasy points just twice. Garcon should be considered a No. 4 Fantasy receiver at best. If you draft him as a starter or even your first reserve you will likely be disappointed.

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons
2011 stats: 80 catches, 875 yards and seven touchdowns
Early 2012 projections: 51 catches, 622 yards and six touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 9
I would draft him in: I won't draft him
Gonzalez is a future Hall of Famer, and his impressive career is coming to an end. He has set the standard for elite tight ends, but you're drafting for the future and not the past. Gonzalez's last good season will be 2011, and he is due to falter this year. A full year with Roddy White, Julio Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers will leave Gonzalez behind, and there are more Fantasy tight ends with upside this season. I'd rather pass on Gonzalez and draft a tight end like Jermaine Gresham, Jacob Tamme or even rookie Coby Fleener. Gonzalez will still post decent stats, but this will be the year of his decline. He's 36 and has mulled retirement this offseason, and I'm not banking on him having another good year to close out his career.

Frank Gore, RB, 49ers
2011 stats: 1,211 rushing yards and eight touchdowns; 17 catches for 114 yards
Early 2012 projections: 987 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 22 catches for 133 yards
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 4
I would draft him in:: Round 7
The 49ers did a lot to enhance their offense this offseason by adding Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James to the backfield. That will help the team, but it will significantly impact Gore in a negative way. Jacobs will likely vulture touchdowns, and James will take away from Gore even more in the passing game. Kendall Hunter also remains on the roster, and the 49ers now have plenty of options to keep Gore fresh for a playoff run while limiting his production during the year. He was once a No. 1 Fantasy running back in the majority of leagues, but you can argue that he's just a No. 3 option now. It's best to view him as a low-end starter, and if you're going to draft him it should be after Round 4 at the earliest.

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Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
2011 stats: 934 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 39 catches for 442 yards
Early 2012 projections: 1,155 rushing yards and seven touchdowns; 36 catches for 311 yards and two touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 3
I would draft him in: Round 5
The allure for Jackson the past few years was his lack of competition for touches. He had more than 250 touches in 2009-10, and he was on his way to that total last year before he suffered a broken leg in Week 11. This year, Jackson should again be the workhorse for the Bills, but the presence of C.J. Spiller will hurt. When Jackson went down last year, Spiller shined with double digits in Fantasy points in four of his final five games. The Bills can't keep Spiller off the field any more with Jackson healthy, and that will hurt his overall production. He's also 31, and the Bills would be smart not to overwork him. Most Fantasy owners will draft Jackson as a No. 2 running back, but don't be surprised if he's more of a No. 3 option by the end of the season.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Buccaneers
2011 stats: 60 catches, 1,106 yards and nine touchdowns
Early 2012 projections: 68 catches, 1,108 yards and six touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 4
I would draft him in: Round 7
I tend to stay away from players like Jackson who beg for a new contract and leave a team for big money elsewhere. Does he deserve to get paid? Absolutely. Does that mean he will succeed in his new home? Probably not. To give you an idea of some receivers who have left a good situation and not panned out look at Sidney Rice in Seattle, Santonio Holmes with the Jets and Anquan Boldin in Baltimore. All were better with their previous team, and the same could happen with Jackson. He gets a downgrade in quarterback from Philip Rivers to Josh Freeman, and Jackson's production should decline. I don't consider him a guaranteed starter in the majority of leagues.

Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots
2011 stats: 51 catches, 683 yards and five touchdowns
Early 2012 projections: 63 catches, 1,029 yards and seven touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 4
I would draft him in: Round 7
Lloyd going to the Patriots this offseason was a great move for his career and the team. He follows offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and Lloyd has thrived with McDaniels in two previous stops in Denver and St. Louis. The Patriots also get a receiver who can stretch the field and play outside the numbers. But I would rather have seen Lloyd go somewhere that had a need at receiver. The Patriots are loaded with Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Deion Branch. There are only so many targets Tom Brady can focus on, and Lloyd's stats could suffer. He's a great No. 3 Fantasy receiver, but most owners will draft him as a starter. I consider that a mistake.

Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
2011 stats: Did not play
Early 2012 projections: 4,565 passing yards, 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 5
I would draft him in: Round 8
You have to be rooting for Manning this year after he sat out 2011 following neck surgery. We hope his comeback effort is successful, but Fantasy owners need to commit to two quarterbacks early if you draft him. You can't be left without a capable No. 2 Fantasy quarterback in case Manning goes down. He should do wonders for his top targets in Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Jacob Tamme if he's healthy, but there is a lot of risk involved with Manning in case he suffers a setback. You might want to let another owner in your league take the chance on drafting Manning unless he falls to you in the right spot. And if you can somehow draft Manning as your No. 2 quarterback then your team is in great shape.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
2011 stats: 970 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns; 18 catches for 139 yards and one touchdown
Early 2012 projections: 1,213 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns; 34 catches for 312 yards and one touchdown
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 2
I would draft him in: Round 5
Peterson suffered a gruesome knee injury in Week 16 last year, but he said his goal this offseason is to be ready by Week 1. We hope he can make it, but I don't want to risk it by drafting Peterson before Round 5. In fact, I'd rather wait to take Toby Gerhart in Round 8 or later, and Gerhart had five games with double digits in Fantasy points in his final six outings last year. Peterson has been an elite Fantasy running back since coming into the NFL in 2007, but his best days might be behind him. And he could suffer a setback if he tries to rush back before he's ready. The Vikings would be best served to put Peterson on the PUP list to open the season and bring him back at 100 percent in October. No matter what happens the advice here is not to reach for Peterson too soon because, for the first time in his career, he could disappoint you.

Laurent Robinson, WR, Jaguars
2011 stats: 54 catches, 858 yards and 11 touchdowns
Early 2012 projections: 56 catches, 833 yards and six touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 8
I would draft him in: I won't draft him
Robinson capitalized on his career year in 2011 with a big payday this offseason in Jacksonville. He had career highs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns in 2011, but that was playing with Tony Romo and the Cowboys. In Jacksonville, Robinson will have to get cooking with a young quarterback in Blaine Gabbert. As such, his stats should suffer. Prior to his one-year stint in Dallas, Robinson combined for 89 catches for 1,000 yards and four touchdowns in four injury-plagued years with Atlanta and St. Louis. Don't be the one to reach for Robinson as a starting option, and I would pass on him altogether. He is definitely going to be a letdown after what he accomplished last year.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers
2011 stats: 761 rushing yards and four touchdowns; 47 catches for 413 yards and one touchdown
Early 2012 projections: 877 rushing yards and six touchdowns; 38 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns
Likely Average Draft Position: Round 6
I would draft him in: Round 10
Put DeAngelo Williams and Mike Tolbert in this entry because I don't want any of Carolina's running backs on my team if I can avoid it. The addition of Tolbert makes this backfield even more of a headache, especially when you factor in Cam Newton and his rushing prowess. Stewart has plenty of upside in a contract year, and he stepped up his game in 2011 with a career high in catches and receiving yards. But he was already a risky Fantasy option before Tolbert signed because of Williams, and now this could be a mess. There will be some moments where Stewart is great, but consistency will be an issue. He should only be drafted as a reserve with a late-round pick.

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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49ers shopping LaMichael James
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:06 pm ET) The 49ers are looking to trade running back LaMichael James in advance of next month's NFL Draft, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Meanwhile, James is aware of the trade rumors, apparently for a while now, since he tweeted Wednesday "when old news becomes new news" following the report.

James, a second-round pick in 2012, finds himself behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on the depth chart at running back this season. James served as the team's primary returner last year, but he wants a bigger role since he carried the ball just 12 times in 2013.


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(2:11 pm ET) Offensive lineman Joe Reitz signed his restricted free agent tender offer on Thursday, giving him another year with the Colts. He started three games last season. 

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Earlier Thursday ESPN reported the Jets had "some concerns" about his knee

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by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:43 am ET) Now that the Giants have signed Josh Freeman to a contract, does it mean that second-year quarterback Ryan Nassib will be off the roster soon? 

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Receiver Santana Moss said via an ESPN podcast that Griffin "looks more comfortable because he don't have to worry about that brace. I think the brace was the big discomfort last year. You know, he’s a young guy with those fiery legs that want to do so much, and that brace probably gave him a little pinch in the behind because he couldn't do the things that he was normally accustomed to doing. You can already see, when we're out there in conditioning and stuff, he's running around, looking like the old Robert Griffin."

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Report: Jets have concerns over Chris Johnson's knees
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(10:33 am ET) Less than 24 hours after signing Chris Johnson to a two-year deal that might be worth as much as $9 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Jets have some concerns over the condition of his knee. Johnson apparently has some arthritis in it stemming from his torn meniscus in 2013 (which he played through). 

Johnson hasn't missed a game in five straight seasons. He's expected to form a one-two punch with Chris Ivory in the Jets' backfield this year. 


Brian Cushing says he's 100 percent
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"Quick Trip to Pensacola with my lead blocker, better believe I'm 100% #beachday #cleared #fivesixback," he wrote. 


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The thought process behind Manning being asked to throw less is that it would accentuate the run game and give the offense (read: Manning) more of an opportunity to build confidence in the running backs, namely Montee Ball.

No one on the Broncos has come out and suggested Manning will throw less. He still passed 583 times in 2012, seventh-most that year. Expect Manning to still throw plenty in 2014.


 
 
 
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