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2012 Draft Prep: 14-team mock draft

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Every draft presents different challenges, but adding more owners to the mix can make Draft Day a nightmare. In a 14-team league you can get into Round 3 or 4 and find the quality of running backs looking thin based on the talent pool, especially with the lack of depth at that position this year.

That happened to one owner in this 14-team draft, Will Brinson, a Senior NFL Blogger at CBSSports.com. Brinson started his draft with Drew Brees in Round 1 at No. 10 overall, Larry Fitzgerald in Round 2 at No. 19 and A.J. Green in Round 3 at No. 38. Instead of reaching for a running back in Round 4 that he didn't like -- the players available to him were BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Roy Helu, Reggie Bush and Isaac Redman -- Brinson continued to stockpile talent at other positions.

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He drafted Victor Cruz in Round 4 at No. 47, Jason Witten in Round 5 at No. 66 and Peyton Manning in Round 6 at No. 75. Brinson admitted that the Manning pick was a "planning to trade" strategy since he already had Brees, and he was looking at the best player available. Brinson said in the draft room "at this point in the draft, I'd rather gamble on Peyton and hope he looks great in training camp."

He finally took his first running back in Round 7 with Ben Tate at No. 94, and then he started loading up at the position with Ronnie Hillman in Round 8 (No. 103), Shane Vereen in Round 9 (No. 122), Jacquizz Rodgers in Round 10 (No. 131) and Isaiah Pead in Round 11 (No. 150). He could be in great shape if injuries happen to Arian Foster, Willis McGahee, Michael Turner or Steven Jackson, but running back is clearly his biggest weakness.

Brinson is loaded at the other spots with a Top 3 quarterback in Brees, three stud receivers in Fitzgerald, Green and Cruz and a standout tight end in Witten, but he will need some breaks for his running back corps to be successful. Still, his team should be competitive in a 14-team league.

But this draft should be an example of not letting one position get away from you in a deeper league. You can still compete with elite level talent at other spots, but you'd rather have a balanced squad like some of the other teams below.

As always, we ask you to share your thoughts on this draft. Take advantage of our Fantasy Football Twitter feed (@CBSFantasyFB) and post your comments there, or share your thoughts on our Fantasy Football Facebook page.

In this league, all touchdowns are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST and a FLEX (RB/WR/TE). There will also be five reserve spots for a 14-round draft. This lineup reflects our CBSSports.com free Fantasy Football game.

We also had two special guests join us for this draft as Dylan Demming and Kurt Panchura -- two randomly selected readers -- were chosen on Twitter to mock with us. This is something we plan to do going forward, so be on the lookout for your chance to draft with us.

Our draft order is as follows ...

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1. J. Darin Darst, College Football Production Editor
2. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
3. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
4. Mike Freeman, National NFL Insider
5. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
6. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
7. Aleese Kopf, Social Media Coordinator
8. Dylan Demming, Twitter follower
9. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
10. Will Brinson, Senior NFL Blogger
11. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
12. Adam Aizer, Podcast/Video Host
13. Kurt Panchura, Twitter follower
14. Nathan Zegura, Senior Fantasy Writer

Round by Round
Round 1
Pick Owner Player
1 Darst Arian Foster, RB, HOU
2 White Ray Rice, RB, BAL
3 Towers LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI
4 Freeman Ryan Mathews, RB, SD
5 Tobin Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC
6 Richard Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
7 Kopf Calvin Johnson, WR, DET
8 Demming Trent Richardson, RB, CLE
9 Di Fino Chris Johnson, RB, TEN
10 Brinson Drew Brees, QB, NO
11 Eisenberg Darren McFadden, RB, OAK
12 Aizer DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL
13 Panchura Steven Jackson, RB, STL
14 Zegura Tom Brady, QB, NE
Round 2
Pick Owner Player
15 Zegura Matt Forte, RB, CHI
16 Panchura Michael Turner, RB, ATL
17 Aizer Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
18 Eisenberg Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
19 Brinson Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
20 Di Fino Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG
21 Demming Julio Jones, WR, ATL
22 Kopf Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
23 Richard Greg Jennings, WR, GB
24 Tobin Cam Newton, QB, CAR
25 Freeman Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
26 Towers Jimmy Graham, TE, NO
27 White Roddy White, WR, ATL
28 Darst Wes Welker, WR, NE
Round 3
Pick Owner Player
29 Darst Tony Romo, QB, DAL
30 White Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
31 Towers Frank Gore, RB, SF
32 Freeman Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI
33 Tobin Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
34 Richard Darren Sproles, RB, NO
35 Kopf Jamaal Charles, RB, KC
36 Demming Michael Vick, QB, PHI
37 Di Fino Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ
38 Brinson A.J. Green, WR, CIN
39 Eisenberg Doug Martin, RB, TB
40 Aizer Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG
41 Panchura Mike Wallace, WR, PIT
42 Zegura Miles Austin, WR, DAL
Round 4
Pick Owner Player
43 Zegura Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
44 Panchura Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
45 Aizer Beanie Wells, RB, ARI
46 Eisenberg Steve Smith, WR, CAR
47 Brinson Victor Cruz, WR, NYG
48 Di Fino Antonio Gates, TE, SD
49 Demming Percy Harvin, WR, MIN
50 Kopf Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE
51 Richard BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, CIN
52 Tobin Roy Helu, RB, WAS
53 Freeman Marques Colston, WR, NO
54 Towers Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI
55 White Reggie Bush, RB, MIA
56 Darst Isaac Redman, RB, PIT
Round 5
Pick Owner Player
57 Darst Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
58 White DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI
59 Towers Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC
60 Freeman Steve Johnson, WR, BUF
61 Tobin Vincent Jackson, WR, TB
62 Richard Willis McGahee, RB, DEN
63 Kopf Torrey Smith, WR, BAL
64 Demming Vernon Davis, TE, SF
65 Di Fino Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
66 Brinson Jason Witten, TE, DAL
67 Eisenberg Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET
68 Aizer Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
69 Panchura Eli Manning, QB, NYG
70 Zegura Brandon Lloyd, WR, NE
Round 6
Pick Owner Player
71 Zegura Eric Decker, WR, DEN
72 Panchura Jermichael Finley, TE, GB
73 Aizer Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
74 Eisenberg Philip Rivers, QB, SD
75 Brinson Peyton Manning, QB, DEN
76 Di Fino Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
77 Demming Denarius Moore, WR, OAK
78 Kopf Matt Schaub, QB, HOU
79 Richard Donald Brown, RB, IND
80 Tobin Stevan Ridley, RB, NE
81 Freeman Matt Ryan, QB, ATL
82 Towers C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF
83 White Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS
84 Darst Titus Young, WR, DET
Round 7
Pick Owner Player
85 Darst Michael Bush, RB, CHI
86 White Jay Cutler, QB, CHI
87 Towers Peyton Hillis, RB, KC
88 Freeman DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR
89 Tobin Fred Davis, TE, WAS
90 Richard Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
91 Kopf Santonio Holmes, WR, NYJ
92 Demming James Starks, RB, GB
93 Di Fino Greg Little, WR, CLE
94 Brinson Ben Tate, RB, HOU
95 Eisenberg Robert Meachem, WR, SD
96 Aizer Lance Moore, WR, NO
97 Panchura Jahvid Best, RB, DET
98 Zegura Toby Gerhart, RB, MIN
Round 8
Pick Owner Player
99 Zegura Mark Ingram, RB, NO
100 Panchura Malcom Floyd, WR, SD
101 Aizer Felix Jones, RB, DAL
102 Eisenberg Ryan Williams, RB, ARI
103 Brinson Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN
104 Di Fino Randy Moss, WR, SF
105 Demming LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB
106 Kopf Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA
107 Richard Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL
108 Tobin Pierre Thomas, RB, NO
109 Freeman Brandon Jacobs, RB, SF
110 Towers Joe Flacco, QB, BAL
111 White Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS
112 Darst David Wilson, RB, NYG
Round 9
Pick Owner Player
113 Darst Sidney Rice, WR, SEA
114 White Tim Hightower, RB, WAS
115 Towers Justin Blackmon, WR, JAC
116 Freeman Mike Tolbert, RB, CAR
117 Tobin Brandon LaFell, WR, CAR
118 Richard Brent Celek, TE, PHI
119 Kopf Santana Moss, WR, WAS
120 Demming Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT
121 Di Fino David Nelson, WR, BUF
122 Brinson Shane Vereen, RB, NE
123 Eisenberg Robert Turbin, RB, SEA
124 Aizer Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, OAK
125 Panchura Mike Goodson, RB, OAK
126 Zegura Rashad Jennings, RB, JAC
Round 10
Pick Owner Player
127 Zegura Michael Crabtree, WR, SF
128 Panchura Laurent Robinson, WR, JAC
129 Aizer Tony Gonzalez, TE, ATL
130 Eisenberg Carson Palmer, QB, OAK
131 Brinson Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL
132 Di Fino Mike Williams, WR, TB
133 Demming Nate Washington, WR, TEN
134 Kopf Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
135 Richard Kevin Smith, RB, DET
136 Tobin Danny Amendola, WR, STL
137 Freeman Mario Manningham, WR, SF
138 Towers Andrew Luck, QB, IND
139 White Josh Freeman, QB, TB
140 Darst Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN
Round 11
Pick Owner Player
141 Darst Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, BUF
142 White Jacob Tamme, TE, DEN
143 Towers Kendall Hunter, RB, SF
144 Freeman Austin Collie, WR, IND
145 Tobin Alex Smith, QB, SF
146 Richard Bernard Scott, RB, CIN
147 Kopf Joe McKnight, RB, NYJ
148 Demming Kevin Kolb, QB, ARI
149 Di Fino Sam Bradford, QB, STL
150 Brinson Isaiah Pead, RB, STL
151 Eisenberg Brandon Pettigrew, TE, DET
152 Aizer 49ers DST
153 Panchura Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA
154 Zegura Coby Fleener, TE, IND
Round 12
Pick Owner Player
155 Zegura Owen Daniels, TE, HOU
156 Panchura Delone Carter, RB, IND
157 Aizer Brian Quick, WR, STL
158 Eisenberg Nate Burleson, WR, DET
159 Brinson Kendall Wright, WR, TEN
160 Di Fino Mohamed Sanu, WR, CIN
161 Demming Jon Baldwin, WR, KC
162 Kopf Vincent Brown, WR, SD
163 Richard Dustin Keller, TE, NYJ
164 Tobin Rueben Randle, WR, NYG
165 Freeman Cedric Benson, RB, CIN
166 Towers Michael Floyd, WR, ARI
167 White Jared Cook, TE, TEN
168 Darst LaMichael James, RB, SF
Round 13
Pick Owner Player
169 Darst Eagles DST
170 White Steelers DST
171 Towers Ravens DST
172 Freeman Mason Crosby, K, GB
173 Tobin Texans DST
174 Richard Giants DST
175 Kopf Packers DST
176 Demming Falcons DST
177 Di Fino Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
178 Brinson Cowboys DST
179 Eisenberg Bears DST
180 Aizer Evan Royster, RB, WAS
181 Panchura Patriots DST
182 Zegura Bills DST
Round 14
Pick Owner Player
183 Zegura David Akers, K, SF
184 Panchura Sebastian Janikowski, K, OAK
185 Aizer Jason Hanson, K, DET
186 Eisenberg Garrett Hartley, K, NO
187 Brinson Dan Bailey, K, DAL
188 Di Fino Lions DST
189 Demming Matt Bryant, K, ATL
190 Kopf Alex Henery, K, PHI
191 Richard Robbie Gould, K, CHI
192 Tobin Randy Bullock, K, HOU
193 Freeman Jets DST
194 Towers Nate Kaeding, K, SD
195 White Matt Prater, K, DEN
196 Darst Dan Carpenter, K, MIA
 
Team by Team
Adam Aizer
Rd.Pk Player
1.12 DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL
2.3 Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
3.12 Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG
4.3 Beanie Wells, RB, ARI
5.12 Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
6.3 Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
7.12 Lance Moore, WR, NO
8.3 Felix Jones, RB, DAL
9.12 Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, OAK
10.3 Tony Gonzalez, TE, ATL
11.12 49ers DST
12.3 Brian Quick, WR, STL
13.12 Evan Royster, RB, WAS
14.3 Jason Hanson, K, DET
Aleese Kopf
Rd.Pk Player
1.7 Calvin Johnson, WR, DET
2.8 Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
3.7 Jamaal Charles, RB, KC
4.8 Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE
5.7 Torrey Smith, WR, BAL
6.8 Matt Schaub, QB, HOU
7.7 Santonio Holmes, WR, NYJ
8.8 Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA
9.7 Santana Moss, WR, WAS
10.8 Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
11.7 Joe McKnight, RB, NYJ
12.8 Vincent Brown, WR, SD
13.7 Packers DST
14.8 Alex Henery, K, PHI
Chris Towers
Rd.Pk Player
1.3 LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI
2.12 Jimmy Graham, TE, NO
3.3 Frank Gore, RB, SF
4.12 Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI
5.3 Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC
6.12 C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF
7.3 Peyton Hillis, RB, KC
8.12 Joe Flacco, QB, BAL
9.3 Justin Blackmon, WR, JAC
10.12 Andrew Luck, QB, IND
11.3 Kendall Hunter, RB, SF
12.12 Michael Floyd, WR, ARI
13.3 Ravens DST
14.12 Nate Kaeding, K, SD
Dave Richard
Rd.Pk Player
1.6 Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
2.9 Greg Jennings, WR, GB
3.6 Darren Sproles, RB, NO
4.9 BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, CIN
5.6 Willis McGahee, RB, DEN
6.9 Donald Brown, RB, IND
7.6 Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
8.9 Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL
9.6 Brent Celek, TE, PHI
10.9 Kevin Smith, RB, DET
11.6 Bernard Scott, RB, CIN
12.9 Dustin Keller, TE, NYJ
13.6 Giants DST
14.9 Robbie Gould, K, CHI
Dylan Demming
Rd.Pk Player
1.8 Trent Richardson, RB, CLE
2.7 Julio Jones, WR, ATL
3.8 Michael Vick, QB, PHI
4.7 Percy Harvin, WR, MIN
5.8 Vernon Davis, TE, SF
6.7 Denarius Moore, WR, OAK
7.8 James Starks, RB, GB
8.7 LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB
9.8 Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT
10.7 Nate Washington, WR, TEN
11.8 Kevin Kolb, QB, ARI
12.7 Jon Baldwin, WR, KC
13.8 Falcons DST
14.7 Matt Bryant, K, ATL
J. Darin Darst
Rd.Pk Player
1.1 Arian Foster, RB, HOU
2.14 Wes Welker, WR, NE
3.1 Tony Romo, QB, DAL
4.14 Isaac Redman, RB, PIT
5.1 Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
6.14 Titus Young, WR, DET
7.1 Michael Bush, RB, CHI
8.14 David Wilson, RB, NYG
9.1 Sidney Rice, WR, SEA
10.14 Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN
11.1 Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, BUF
12.14 LaMichael James, RB, SF
13.1 Eagles DST
14.14 Dan Carpenter, K, MIA
Jamey Eisenberg
Rd.Pk Player
1.11 Darren McFadden, RB, OAK
2.4 Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
3.11 Doug Martin, RB, TB
4.4 Steve Smith, WR, CAR
5.11 Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET
6.4 Philip Rivers, QB, SD
7.11 Robert Meachem, WR, SD
8.4 Ryan Williams, RB, ARI
9.11 Robert Turbin, RB, SEA
10.4 Carson Palmer, QB, OAK
11.11 Brandon Pettigrew, TE, DET
12.4 Nate Burleson, WR, DET
13.11 Bears DST
14.4 Garrett Hartley, K, NO
Jeff Tobin
Rd.Pk Player
1.5 Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC
2.10 Cam Newton, QB, CAR
3.5 Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
4.10 Roy Helu, RB, WAS
5.5 Vincent Jackson, WR, TB
6.10 Stevan Ridley, RB, NE
7.5 Fred Davis, TE, WAS
8.10 Pierre Thomas, RB, NO
9.5 Brandon LaFell, WR, CAR
10.10 Danny Amendola, WR, STL
11.5 Alex Smith, QB, SF
12.10 Rueben Randle, WR, NYG
13.5 Texans DST
14.10 Randy Bullock, K, HOU
Kurt Panchura
Rd.Pk Player
1.13 Steven Jackson, RB, STL
2.2 Michael Turner, RB, ATL
3.13 Mike Wallace, WR, PIT
4.2 Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
5.13 Eli Manning, QB, NYG
6.2 Jermichael Finley, TE, GB
7.13 Jahvid Best, RB, DET
8.2 Malcom Floyd, WR, SD
9.13 Mike Goodson, RB, OAK
10.2 Laurent Robinson, WR, JAC
11.13 Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA
12.2 Delone Carter, RB, IND
13.13 Patriots DST
14.2 Sebastian Janikowski, K, OAK
Mike Freeman
Rd.Pk Player
1.4 Ryan Mathews, RB, SD
2.11 Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
3.4 Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI
4.11 Marques Colston, WR, NO
5.4 Steve Johnson, WR, BUF
6.11 Matt Ryan, QB, ATL
7.4 DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR
8.11 Brandon Jacobs, RB, SF
9.4 Mike Tolbert, RB, CAR
10.11 Mario Manningham, WR, SF
11.4 Austin Collie, WR, IND
12.11 Cedric Benson, RB, CIN
13.4 Mason Crosby, K, GB
14.11 Jets DST
Nando Di Fino
Rd.Pk Player
1.9 Chris Johnson, RB, TEN
2.6 Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG
3.9 Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ
4.6 Antonio Gates, TE, SD
5.9 Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
6.6 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
7.9 Greg Little, WR, CLE
8.6 Randy Moss, WR, SF
9.9 David Nelson, WR, BUF
10.6 Mike Williams, WR, TB
11.9 Sam Bradford, QB, STL
12.6 Mohamed Sanu, WR, CIN
13.9 Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
14.6 Lions DST
Nathan Zegura
Rd.Pk Player
1.14 Tom Brady, QB, NE
2.1 Matt Forte, RB, CHI
3.14 Miles Austin, WR, DAL
4.1 Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
5.14 Brandon Lloyd, WR, NE
6.1 Eric Decker, WR, DEN
7.14 Toby Gerhart, RB, MIN
8.1 Mark Ingram, RB, NO
9.14 Rashad Jennings, RB, JAC
10.1 Michael Crabtree, WR, SF
11.14 Coby Fleener, TE, IND
12.1 Owen Daniels, TE, HOU
13.14 Bills DST
14.1 David Akers, K, SF
Scott White
Rd.Pk Player
1.2 Ray Rice, RB, BAL
2.13 Roddy White, WR, ATL
3.2 Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
4.13 Reggie Bush, RB, MIA
5.2 DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI
6.13 Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS
7.2 Jay Cutler, QB, CHI
8.13 Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS
9.2 Tim Hightower, RB, WAS
10.13 Josh Freeman, QB, TB
11.2 Jacob Tamme, TE, DEN
12.13 Jared Cook, TE, TEN
13.2 Steelers DST
14.13 Matt Prater, K, DEN
Will Brinson
Rd.Pk Player
1.10 Drew Brees, QB, NO
2.5 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
3.10 A.J. Green, WR, CIN
4.5 Victor Cruz, WR, NYG
5.10 Jason Witten, TE, DAL
6.5 Peyton Manning, QB, DEN
7.10 Ben Tate, RB, HOU
8.5 Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN
9.10 Shane Vereen, RB, NE
10.5 Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL
11.10 Isaiah Pead, RB, STL
12.5 Kendall Wright, WR, TEN
13.10 Cowboys DST
14.5 Dan Bailey, K, DAL

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Player News
Ben Roethlisberger deserves to start
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) It goes without saying that Ben Roethlisberger's six-touchdown, 522-yard performance Week 8 against Indianapolis was a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, and I stand by my earlier assessment that he's too inconsistent to start in standard 12-team leagues. But that's more for those weeks when every quarterback is available. With six teams on bye, that's certainly not the case in Week 9.

For those owners accustomed to starting Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler, Roethlisberger may be the best choice. His matchup against Baltimore isn't great. The Ravens rank a suspect 22nd against the pass, giving up 256.0 yards per game, but having allowed just seven touchdowns through the air, they've surrendered the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Regardless of the matchup, though, Roethlisberger has a better chance than most of the quarterbacks who might be available of putting up the numbers you're accustomed to.

I'd prefer Carson Palmer, Nick Foles and Cam Newton to him, to name just a few fringy types, but Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Ricahrd both have Roethlisberger in their top 10 for this week.


Brandon LaFell not the only Patriots WR to consider
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) It's time to give Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell a shot in Fantasy -- as in not just owning him, but starting him. If his 11 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown Week 8 against the Bears weren't enough to convince you, his matchup Week 9 against Denver should be.

It's not that the Broncos are so bad against the pass. They rank in the middle of the pack, allowing 242.9 yards per game. It's just that the Patriots' only hope against them is to beat Peyton Manning at his own game. Their passing attack -- at least the version they've shown in the last four weeks -- is good enough to beat anybody when they're motivated to use it.

LaFell appears to have leapfrogged Julian Edelman in the pecking order, but frankly, Edelman might not be such a bad play either. Tom Brady is going to need every weapon at his disposal to outscore Manning and company. Edelman is more of a desperation play than LaFell, I think, advisable only if you're short on startable wide receivers, but Dave Richard likes him enough with this matchup to rank him 24th at the position.


Shane Vereen a better choice than Jonas Gray
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) By giving the previously unknown Jonas Gray 17 carries for 86 yards Week 8 against Chicago, the Patriots revealed that they'll stick with a two-man backfield even with preferred rusher Stevan Ridley out for the year with a torn ACL and MCL.

But Week 9 against Denver might be a better matchup for preferred receiver Shane Vereen, who also thrived in Week 7 against the Jets. The Broncos, like the Jets, have done a good job stopping the run this season. They rank No. 1, in fact, allowing 72.4 yards per game.

Plus, the Patriots will most likely have to throw more than usual just to keep up with the league's highest-scoring team. These days, a team's only real choice against Peyton Manning is to beat him at his own game.

So most likely, Gray will spend much of Week 9 on the sidelines while Vereen spends much of it in the backfield. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Vereen among their top 20 running backs for this week.


Vincent Jackson not such a great play
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) On a day when the Buccaneers couldn't get anything going offensively Week 8 against Minnesota, wide receiver Vincent Jackson was barely involved, catching one pass for 13 yards. He was targeted five times, but for a player who misses a lot of the balls thrown his way, both because of his role in the passing game and his issues with drops, that's a pretty low number. He averaged 10.0 targets in his first six games.

Even worse for Jackson, quarterback Mike Glennon has developed a nice rapport with both Mike Evans and Louis Murphy, and the Buccaneers passing attack isn't prolific enough to sustain three wide receivers. Is it more likely to sustain him than those other two? Yeah, probably. But it'll likely cut into his production regardless.

And it could cut into his production in a big way Week 9 at Cleveland. The Browns don't rank especially high against the pass, but they don't give up many touchdowns through the air, allowing the fourth-lowest quarterback rating of any team this season. Cornerback Joe Haden, who has played better in recent weeks after a slow start, is a big reason for that, and he'll likely go up against Jackson on Sunday.

Neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard rank Jackson among their top 30 wide receivers -- and that's in a week with six teams on bye.


Time to the roll the dice on Denard Robinson?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Sitting Denard Robinson the week after his breakout 127-yard effort against the Browns was understandable. It was an outlier performance achieved with an especially favorable matchup, and there was some big talk about Toby Gerhart still playing a big role. But now, after back-to-back 100-yard games, taking a conservative approach with Robinson just seems kind of silly.

Especially since his matchup Week 9 at Cincinnati is, at least on paper, a favorable one. The Bengals rank 29th against the run, allowing 140.7 yards per game, and have given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to running backs. And as tough as the Jaguars defense has played in recent weeks, you don't have to worry so much about the Bengals running away with the game, compelling the Jaguars to throw every down.

Calling Robinson a must-start is taking it a bit far. Some people have enviable depth at the position. But in Week 9, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Robinson among their top 24 running backs, with Dave slotting him as high as 15th.


Is starting Andy Dalton a good idea?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank the Bengals' Andy Dalton among their top 12 quarterbacks for Week 9, presumably because he's facing the Jaguars. But how did that work out for Ryan Tannehill in Week 8, Brian Hoyer in Week 7 or, yep, even Ben Roethlisberger in Week 5?

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of the whole "start Player X against the Jaguars because they're bad" argument. Because they're not. At least not anymore -- not on defense, anyway. The Jaguars have allowed an average of 16.5 points in their last four games, and if not for the Dolphins' two defensive touchdowns in Week 8, it'd be 13.0

True, star wide receiver A.J. Green is looking likely to return from a three-game absence for a toe injury, which would certainly improve Dalton's chances. But again, quality quarterbacks -- namely, Tannehill and Roethlisberger -- have had their full arsenals when they faced the Jaguars, and they still underwhelmed against them. I'm not sure this is Dalton's week.

Now, with so many high-profile quarterbacks (such as Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler) on bye this week, you may want it to be Dalton's week, but I'd give Carson Palmer, Nick Foles, Cam Newton or Tannehill a shot before I turned to him.


Greg Olsen deserves your trust
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Panthers coach Ron Rivera mentioned Monday that the reason tight end Greg Olsen had only one catch for 16 yards in Week 8 is because the Seahawks rotated their coverage toward him, particularly in the red zone. You can understand why they'd do that after Olsen averaged 70.4 yards with four touchdowns in his first four games.

Unfortunately, since the Seahawks limited the Panthers to just nine points in that game, they've invited other teams to emulate them, and while the Saints, Olsen's Week 9 opponent, certainly aren't the Seahawks defensively, they've done good job of containing tight ends this season, giving up the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to them. And that's even though they rank 31st against the pass.

But just because you can make a reasonable case to sit one this year's most productive and reliable tight ends doesn't mean you should follow through with it. Week 8 was just the second time in eight games that Olsen's production didn't justify a starting spot -- a terrific ratio for any player, regardless of position -- and the Saints haven't really faced a team with a top-flight tight end until now.

If quarterback Cam Newton has big numbers in this game -- and the data suggest he should -- Olsen will, too. Keep him active.


Who knows with the Saints wide receivers?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) On the road against the Panthers in Week 9, chances are one of the Saints top two wide receivers, be it Marques Colston or Brandin Cooks, will have a big game. The Panthers are tied for the fourth-most passing touchdowns allowed and have given up the fifth-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

So which one? Particularly with Kenny Stills getting involved the last couple weeks, it's become a real crapshoot. Cooks tends to be more of a volume receiver in his good games, but Colston showed with six catches for 111 yards in Week 7 that he can still make an impact as well.

Of course, star tight end Jimmy Graham was basically just a decoy in that game. When his shoulder had recovered enough for him to catch a few passes himself in Week 8, Colston's numbers shrank again. Cooks, meanwhile, had six catches for 94 yards and a touchdown and has generally had an easier time coexisting with Graham.

I'd feel OK about starting Cooks in this one, particularly in points-per-reception leagues. Yeah, he's basically a 50-50 proposition, but that's more than I can say for Colston, particularly with Graham back in the mix. Colston still matters in Fantasy, but mostly in leagues with 14 teams or more.


Kelvin Benjamin could come up big
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) With the Panthers expected to pass a lot in Week 9 against a Saints team that ranks second in total offense and fifth in scoring offense, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin figures to be one of the prime beneficiaries. After all, he's emerged as quarterback Cam Newton's preferred downfield target as a rookie and, at 6-feet-5, is a big target in the red zone as well.

After a strong start to the season, his yardage has been hit or miss lately, but generally speaking, when Newton is on, so is Benjamin. And all signs point to a big game for Newton. Not only is that the only way he keeps the Panthers in the game, but the Saints rank 31st against the pass, giving up 289.3 yards per game. They've also allowed the second-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

Considering he's scored a touchdown in five of eight games this season, you're probably starting Benjamin regardless of any matchup data. But you can do so with confidence this week. Both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank him among their top 10 wide receivers.


Good chance Cam Newton bounces back
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Granted, Cam Newton hasn't been the most predictable quarterback from week to week, and because his production is largely a function of how often and how effectively he runs the ball, that doesn't figure to change. But after a disappointing showing against the Seahawks in Week 8, he should be in for an easier time Week 9 against the Saints.

After all, the Saints' explosive offense combined with their suspect defense predisposes them to shootouts. Of course, the last time I predicted a shootout for the Panthers Week 7 at Green Bay, it didn't go so well for Newton either, but that matchup wasn't as favorable as this one. The Saints rank 31st against the pass, allowing 289.3 yards per game, and have given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

In a week when high-profile quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler are all on bye, I would think someone in a 12-team league would want to start Newton, even if that someone isn't you.


 
 
 
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