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2012 Draft Prep: 12-team standard draft

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Every draft features difficult decisions for Fantasy owners to make. When do you draft a quarterback? Is this the right time to take a tight end? Did I get the right food for my draft party?

Our recent 12-team standard mock draft featured many tough decisions -- although none involved food. It started in Round 1 with the No. 6 overall pick. Five running backs were drafted in a row with Arian Foster, Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Ryan Mathews and Chris Johnson.

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Nathan Zegura decided to stop that run there, taking the first quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. He also passed on the No. 1 receiver in Calvin Johnson, but he was looking for the most consistent option, which in his view is Rodgers.

Two other quarterbacks (Tom Brady and Drew Brees) went in the first round, and Johnson wasn't drafted until No. 10 overall by Adam Aizer. He decided to go the unconventional route of drafting receiver-receiver with his first two picks, taking Larry Fitzgerald in Round 2.

Aizer didn't draft his first running back until Round 4 because for some reason, Cam Newton dropped into the third round, as did Matthew Stafford. You can't fault Aizer for his first three picks even if his running back corps started out a little thin with Doug Martin and Willis McGahee. He did say following the draft if he had to do it again, he might have taken Matt Forte ahead of Fitzgerald.

Dave Richard and I did something you might see a lot this year, going running back-running back with our first two picks at the end of the first round. Richard ended up with Darren McFadden and Michael Turner, and I took Trent Richardson and DeMarco Murray with the swing picks. I was extremely happy with those two selections based on their potential coming into the season.

Some other interesting decisions included Nando Di Fino drafting Michael Vick over Stafford and Newton to start Round 3. Di Fino said he likes Vick's upside based on his rushing ability, the return of a "happy" DeSean Jackson and he doesn't believe Newton will repeat his 2011 prowess.

Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham also fell to Round 3, which isn't crazy in a standard draft. What was interesting was Peter Madden drafting Gronkowski and then taking Jermichael Finley as his flex player in Round 8. There's no way Finley should have been on the board that late, and drafting two elite tight ends when you can use one as a flex -- in standard or PPR leagues -- is underrated, especially when they produce like standout receivers. Madden also took advantage of other great value picks by drafting Hakeem Nicks in Round 4 and Mike Wallace in Round 5. There's obvious risk involved if Nicks (foot) and Wallace (holdout) are out for an extended period of time, but if they are active and ready for Week 1 then his team should be tough to beat.

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.

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We also had a special guest join us for this draft as Kevin Leonard -- a randomly-selected reader -- was 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 ...

1. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
2. J. Darin Darst, College Football Production Editor
3. Aleese Kopf, Social Media Coordinator
4. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
5. Bill Passonno, Fantasy Writer
6. Nathan Zegura, Senior Fantasy Writer
7. Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
8. Will Brinson, Senior NFL Blogger
9. Kevin Leonard, Twitter follower
10. Adam Aizer, Podcast/Video Host
11. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
12. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer

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

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Player News
QB struggles begin to impact Cardinals DST
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:13 am ET) The Cardinals DST scored just one Fantasy point in standard CBSSports.com leagues Week 16 against Seattle, interrupting a stretch of 10 games in which it averaged 15.1, and the Cardinals' offensive woes may have had something to do with it.

Specifically, they've been unable to find a decent quarterback since losing Carson Palmer to injury in Week 10. Backup Drew Stanton at least mounted some kind of threat, but with him sidelined by a sprained knee in Week 16, the Cardinals had to turn to third-stringer Ryan Lindley. He turned the ball over twice without once leading his team into the end zone, completing less than half of his passes in the process.

The quick trips back to the sideline gave the Seahawks more chances to pile up points and yards, and they did, finishing with 35 and 596. Only one other time have the Cardinals allowed more than 30 points in a game, and the 596 yards were a season high. Worse yet, they were lacking in big plays, recording one sack with no takeaways.

Fortunately, the Cardinals will take on a struggling 49ers offense in Week 17, so even if Lindley is back under center, the DST at least has a chance of a respectable performance. Still, if you've been relying on it all season, you might want to make sure there isn't an appealing matchups play on the waiver wire.


Seahawks DST can't be stopped
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:04 am ET) The Seahawks DST had another dominant performance Week 16 at Arizona, continuing a nine-week run that has made it once again arguably the top unit in Fantasy. During that stretch, it has averaged 16.2 Fantasy points, allowing 11.9 points on 231.3 yards.

It allowed only six points on 216 yards in Week 16, recording four sacks and one interception. Of the Seahawks' 33 sacks this season, 20 have come in their last five games.

Clearly, they had a favorable matchup in this one, but they also shut down the Eagles in Week 14. You don't have any reason to shy away from the Seahawks DST against St. Louis in Week 17.


Kenbrell Thompkins comes out of nowhere
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:58 am ET) After making only modest contributions since coming over from the Patriots in Week 6, Raiders wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins suddenly emerged as quarterback Derek Carr's favorite target Week 16 against Buffalo, catching five passes for 90 yards. He hadn't caught even one pass since Week 13, and his previous high in yardage was 47.

Of course, you should know how this goes by now. Fellow wide receivers James Jones and Andre Holmes have both had their stretches of Fantasy relevance this season, as has tight end Mychal Rivera. The Raiders have a multitude of viable receiving targets, but their roles aren't so clear, which makes the task of picking the most impactful from week to week next to impossible.

In other words, you'd need to play in an especially deep league to take a flier on Thompkins for the season's final week.


Latavius Murray trustworthy up to a point
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:51 am ET) If his 23 carries Week 14 against San Francisco didn't convince you, Latavius Murray's 23 carries Week 16 against Buffalo should make the message loud and clear: He is the Raiders' top running back, and they're putting more faith in him than they ever did Darren McFadden.

Granted, it hasn't translated to much production yet, but the 49ers and Bills are two of the toughest defenses against the run. Unfortunately, Denver, the Raiders' Week 17 opponent, is ranked even higher at both.

Can you trust Murray to get his carries? He's gotten them two of the last three weeks, so most likely, yes. And with 20-plus chances, there's always the chance he breaks a long one. But the matchup will make it difficult.

You'd like to start him given his ever-increasing role, but you shouldn't force him into your lineup if you have two (or maybe three) respectable running backs already.


One way or another, Fred Jackson gets his
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:44 am ET) Trailing early Week 16 at Oakland with their playoff hopes on the line, the Bills didn't stick with the running game for long, attempting only three runs in the second half. But in a way, that worked to running back Fred Jackson's advantage. He's such a good pass-catcher out of the backfield that he still topped 100 total yards, doing so for the first time since returning from a groin injury in Week 12.

Even with the return of C.J. Spiller from a long-term shoulder injury, Jackson still led the Bills in carries, but with only six for 10 yards. He also led the team in catches with nine for 93 yards. He had 10 catches just two weeks ago, so clearly, he's a PPR stud.

Is he worth starting in standard leagues as well? Well, he's also gotten 20 carries twice in five games since returning. He hasn't been as effective on the ground as through the air, but yards are yards, however he gets them.

Their matchup Week 17 at New England will probably force the Bills to go pass-heavy again, so unless you're stacked at running back, you can find a spot for Jackson in your lineup.


Desperation fuels Kyle Orton's performance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:35 am ET) Bills quarterback Kyle Orton didn't have the most efficient day throwing the ball Week 16 at Oakland, but from a Fantasy perspective, it was a productive one. He threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns but also had two interceptions.

What's crazy, though, is that 196 of those yards came in the second half. The Bills were trailing a winnable game with their playoff hopes on the line, and their desperation showed. Unfortunately, that desperation also contributed to the second of Orton's interceptions.

The Bills have been eliminated, so no matter how much they're trailing Week 17 at New England, they probably won't be quite as desperate. You can expect more typical numbers from Orton -- maybe about 250 yards with one or two scores -- even if the matchup appears to be a favorable one, making him a player better left for two-quarterback leagues.


Kenny Britt clearly better with Shaun Hill
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:27 am ET) Rams wide receiver Kenny Britt caught a season-high nine passes on a season-high 11 targets Week 16 against the Giants, but his 103 receiving yards actually weren't a season high.

That's because he had 128, along with a touchdown, Week 11 against the Broncos.

That was Shaun Hill's first game back under center. Week 16, obviously, was his latest one. In the six games since Hill reclaimed the role, Britt has averaged 3.8 catches for 66.3 yards. In the nine games before then, he averaged 2.3 catches for 34.7 yards.

Britt has been especially good lately, averaging 73.3 yards in his last three games. Hill has also been fond of Stedman Bailey, but he doesn't seem to have a clear preference for one or the other.

Of course, the Rams passing attack isn't prolific enough to sustain both, so if you're going to target Britt or Bailey off the waiver wire, make sure it's in a deeper league. You wouldn't want to roll the dice on either in the season's final week if you can help it.


Andre Williams showing more ability
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:19 am ET) Carrying the load for the third straight game with Rashad Jennings sidelined by an ankle injury Week 16 at St. Louis, Giants rookie running back Andre Williams delivered his second 100-yard effort during that stretch, picking up 110 yards on 26 carries. Of course, just like in Week 14, it wasn't the steadiest performance. He had a 50-yard run in that one en route to a career-best 131 yards. He had a 45-yard run en route to his 110 yards in this one.

But that's true for most 100-yard rushing performances. The best backs break long runs occasionally, which makes up for all the 2- and 3-yard gains in between. It's easy to discount Williams' performance because of a long run here or a long run there because he's been so bad on a per-carry basis this season (take that 45-yard run away, and he averaged only 2.6 yards per carry -- oh noes!), but the fact is those long runs count, too. And he barreled over a couple of tacklers to complete it, which was nice to see.

Because Williams is short on receiving ability, his numbers don't look so great when he doesn't break a long run, but with all the carries he's getting now, his chances are better than not of breaking one. He's worth starting in standard leagues Week 17 against Philadelphia.


Rueben Randle not overshadowed for once
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:08 am ET) Since the emergence of rookie Odell Beckham in Week 9, and especially since his even bigger emergence in Week 12, wide receiver Rueben Randle has been an afterthought in the Giants passing game, averaging 2.3 catches for 31.8 yards in the four games leading up to Week 16 at St. Louis. But quarterback Eli Manning finally had enough yards to go around in that one, delivering Beckham his usual eight grabs for 148 yards and still finding Randle on six passes for 132 yards.

Randle even caught a touchdown pass, his first since Week 5. Of course, Beckham caught two and is now up to eight in his last five games, averaging 9.6 catches for 131.4 yards during that stretch.

You see the problem here, don't you? Manning was able to sustain both Beckham and Randle in this one, but that's only because he threw for a season-high 391 yards. If he regresses to a more modest total Week 17 against Philadelphia, we all know Randle is the one taking a back seat. Beckham has other-worldly talent, and Manning is smart enough to deliver him the ball as often as possible.

Of course, the Giants will probably have to throw a lot to keep pace with the Eagles, which bodes well for Randle, but you should still treat him as no more than a No. 3 wide receiver in Fantasy.


Odell Beckham making Eli Manning a stud
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:58 am ET) Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham had another eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns Week 16 at St. Louis, which has become par for the course for him. It was his second straight game and third game in five with more than 140 receiving yards and multiple scores.

What you may not have noticed, though, is that quarterback Eli Manning has taken off during that same stretch. He had a season-high 391 yards and three touchdowns in Week 16, completing 25 of 32 passes. Over his last five games, he has averaged 297.2 yards with 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

It stands to reason, of course. Beckham couldn't be putting up all those numbers without someone throwing him the ball. This may be one of those rare cases of the wide receiver making the quarterback as opposed to the other way around. Beckham is clearly a special talent, and Manning has made a point to deliver him the ball as often as possible.

It's reason enough to give Manning another chance Week 17 against Philadelphia if you've been suffering with Matthew Stafford or Colin Kaepernick and are somehow still alive in spite of it.


 
 
 
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