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2012 Draft Prep: Buy-low candidates

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Everyone loves to save and find a bargain. It's why we cut coupons and look for two-for-one specials. You always want to get more value than what you actually spend, and it's a great feeling when that happens.

With that in mind, we're here to help find your Draft Day deals. These are buy-low candidates, which are players who are being drafted in Round 10 or later based on Average Draft Position, but they have the chance to become Fantasy starters.

We see it happen almost every year; a player selected with a late-round pick ends up becoming a quality Fantasy option in all leagues. Some buy-low candidates from last year included Cam Newton (2011 ADP was Round 13), DeMarco Murray (2011 ADP was Round 13), Antonio Brown (2011 ADP was Round 17) and Brent Celek (2011 ADP was Round 11).

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Now, we all have our late-round sleepers who we think are going to shine. But the reality is most of the players listed below are going to be drafted late for a reason. Still, we hope to point out a few players who should be great bargains on Draft Day.

Editor's note: Average Draft Position data as of Aug. 3.

Quarterback

Guys available: Joe Flacco (pick No. 128), Carson Palmer (130), Andrew Luck (139), Josh Freeman (140), Andy Dalton (143), Sam Bradford (152), Ryan Fitzpatrick (155), Alex Smith (157), Matt Flynn (159), Matt Cassel (212)
I'd draft ... Palmer, Luck, Freeman, Dalton, Fitzpatrick and Smith
Here's why: Freeman and Smith might have benefited the most this offseason with the weapons added to their respective receiving corps. Freeman got a new No. 1 receiver in Vincent Jackson, an upgrade at tight end in Dallas Clark over Kellen Winslow and a tremendous backfield threat in Doug Martin. Keep in mind that Freeman is just one year removed from being a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback, and he could easily get back to that level if things break right. Smith got two new targets in Randy Moss and Mario Manningham and LaMichael James should help out of the backfield also. ... Most Fantasy analysts, myself included, expect Robert Griffin III to be the top rookie quarterback, but Luck might be right there with him. He has quality talent around him in Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie and Coby Fleener, and the Colts might be trailing in every game, forcing Luck to throw a lot in comeback efforts. ... Palmer only saw limited action last year after being traded to the Raiders, but he had at least 18 Fantasy points in six of nine starts. He should have a similar ratio this season and makes for a quality No. 2 Fantasy passer. The same goes for Dalton and Fitzpatrick, especially since Fitzpatrick finished as a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback last year. ... One other quarterback not being drafted who is worth consideration is Jake Locker, who could end up as the starter for the Titans by Week 1.

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Running back

Guys available: Ryan Williams (116), David Wilson (125), Felix Jones (126), Tim Hightower (127), Daniel Thomas (133), Pierre Thomas (135), Ronnie Hillman (136), Rashard Mendenhall (137), Kevin Smith (141), Jacquizz Rodgers (147), Robert Turbin (151), Mike Goodson (153), Brandon Jacobs (154), Shane Vereen (160), Cedric Benson (167), Evan Royster (168), Rashad Jennings (171), Bernard Scott (173), Isaiah Pead (181), Mike Tolbert (194)
I'd draft ... Williams, Wilson, Pierre Thomas, Hillman, Smith, Rodgers, Turbin, Goodson, Royster, Jennings, Scott and Pead
Here's why: Williams is one of my favorite sleepers this year. I'd rather pass on Beanie Wells in Round 5 -- which is his ADP -- and take Williams in Round 10, because their production should be similar, making Williams the better buy. ... Hillman and Rodgers are two running backs I plan to target in PPR leagues. The Broncos and Falcons are expected to be pass-heavy this season, and Hillman and Rodgers will be on the field in those situations more than Willis McGahee and Michael Turner, respectively. Hillman might also turn out to be a fine option in standard leagues as well. ... The Giants drafted Wilson in the first round, which speaks volumes about how they view Ahmad Bradshaw as a featured running back. While Bradshaw should still dominate the touches, Wilson will also get plenty of playing time, and Bradshaw has a lengthy injury history with foot problems. ... Some excellent backup running backs could be Turbin, Jennings and Pead. Turbin could be the starter in Seattle at some point if Marshawn Lynch is suspended. Jennings could open the season as the starter in Jacksonville if Maurice Jones-Drew has a lengthy holdout and Pead has drawn comparisons to Chris Johnson as the backup to Steven Jackson. New Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who coached Johnson in Tennessee, might use Pead to supplement Jackson, and Jackson is nearing the end of his run as a featured rusher, which means a breakdown could possibly happen this year. ... I'm coming around on Smith as the best running back for the Lions. He's healthy, which is something that can't be said about Mikel Leshoure and Jahvid Best during training camp. ... Goodson is an emergency option in case Darren McFadden goes down, and Royster might end up as the best running back for the Redskins. At least for one week. The next week it could be Roy Helu. The week after that it could be Hightower. You never know with Mike Shanahan, but Royster could get an extended look.

Wide receiver

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Guys available: Justin Blackmon (pick No. 110), Santonio Holmes (113), Lance Moore (115), Sidney Rice (123), Darrius Heyward-Bey (131), Santana Moss (132), Michael Crabtree (134), Greg Little (138), Laurent Robinson (142), Nate Washington (146), Mike Williams (148), Brian Quick (161), Kendall Wright (162), Danny Amendola (164), Michael Floyd (165), Brandon LaFell (169), Randall Cobb (174), Mario Manningham (176), Doug Baldwin (179), David Nelson (180), Austin Collie (184), Jon Baldwin (187), Chad Johnson (188), Rueben Randle (193), Vincent Brown (200), Emmanuel Sanders (203), Jacoby Ford (205), Jerome Simpson (207)
I'd draft ... Holmes, Moore, Rice, Heyward-Bey, Moss, Little, Washington, Williams, Quick, Wright, LaFell, Cobb, Jon Baldwin and Randle
Here's why: It's never a bad thing to draft a team's No. 1 receiver even if the quarterback situation isn't great. That's what we have here with Holmes, Rice, Little and potentially Quick (I'd pass on Blackmon/Robinson because I don't trust either one coming into the season). Each of these receivers has the potential to be No. 3 Fantasy options, with Holmes and Rice proven commodities and Little and Quick likely featured targets on bad teams. ... Moore is an underrated Fantasy receiver playing with an elite quarterback in Drew Brees, and he should benefit with more targets now that Robert Meachem is in San Diego. Cobb is another receiver that has the chance for big stats based on his quarterback, and Aaron Rodgers should enjoy throwing to Cobb down the field. ... Denarius Moore should be considered the No. 1 receiver for the Raiders, but Heyward-Bey was a breakout in his third year in 2011. Hopefully he can build off that in 2012. ... Speaking of third-year receivers, LaFell should be a breakout candidate catching passes from Newton. He should make tremendous strides this season. We hope Williams takes advantage of his third season after a disappointing sophomore campaign. A bounce-back year from Freeman would help. ... Washington and Wright will benefit from a potential Kenny Britt suspension, and Britt is still dealing with a knee injury. ... Baldwin is taking advantage of Dwayne Bowe's holdout, and Randle has the chance to make plays early in the year with Hakeem Nicks (foot) hurt. ... Moss is being overlooked with the Redskins adding Pierre Garcon and Josh Morgan this offseason, but don't be surprised if Moss remains the best receiver in Washington this year. ... Speaking of the Redskins, two receivers not being drafted worth consideration are Leonard Hankerson and Josh Gordon. Hankerson could start opposite Garcon with Moss in the slot. And Gordon, who was a supplemental draft pick in Cleveland, could be the starter along with Little.

Tight end

Guys available: Jacob Tamme (pick No. 109), Brandon Pettigrew (112), Jermaine Gresham (118), Brent Celek (121), Owen Daniels (149), Coby Fleener (158), Jared Cook (163), Dustin Keller (170), Kyle Rudolph (175), Greg Olsen (183), Heath Miller (198), Dallas Clark (201), Martellus Bennett (208), Kellen Winslow (211)
I'd draft ... Tamme, Pettigrew, Gresham, Celek, Daniels, Fleener, Cook, Keller, Rudolph and Olsen
Here's why: Tight end is one of the deepest positions this year. You can definitely take one of the elite options in the first five rounds like Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski or Antonio Gates, which is fine. But if you choose to wait, there are great tight ends out there, including the ones listed here. Gresham is my favorite breakout tight end this year, and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden wants to feature him in the passing game like the Patriots use Gronkowski. He should be the No. 2 target for Dalton after A.J. Green. ... Pettigrew and Celek were Top 12 tight ends last year, and they should finish in that range again. ... Tamme will benefit from being reunited with Peyton Manning in Denver after the two were teammates with the Colts, and the same goes for Fleener with Luck. The two were college stars at Stanford, and Luck should lean on Fleener. ... Daniels and Keller will likely be the No. 2 options in the passing game for the Texans and Jets, respectively, and each should see plenty of targets. ... Olsen will improve now that Jeremy Shockey is gone in Carolina, and Olsen has the talent to be a Top 10 tight end. ... Cook also could thrive for the Titans, but he needs to be more consistent.

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
Marcus Lattimore eager to start pro career
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4/20/2014) 49ers running back Marcus Lattimore is ready to start his proffesional career. After blowing out his knee in a gruesome injury in October of 2012 at South Carolina, Lattimore told The State on Sunday that his knee rehab is complete and that he's "ready to play."

Lattimore, who will attend the first day of the team's offseason workouts, will enter a crowded backfield with Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James already backing up current starter Frank Gore. However, James has expressed his desire for a bigger role and could be dealt, opening the door for the No. 3 spot in the backfield.

"If that happens, it does put me in that No. 3 spot," Lattimore said. "But I've just got to go in there and work hard. I can pass-protect and run the ball. I've got to show that."


Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jogging
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

 
 
 
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