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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
Bears QB Jay Cutler expected back in Chicago with new staff
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:42 am ET) Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is expected to be back in Chicago next season, likely with a new offensive staff, reports CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora on Sunday.

Cutler has accounted for 30 touchdowns and a league-high 24 turnovers for the 5-9 Bears. He has the seventh-best completion percentage (66.1) among all quarterbacks this season. He signed a seven-year, $126 million contract in January and is guaranteed to make $15.5 million next season.


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(9:33 am ET) The Falcons remain optimistic that wide receiver Julio Jones will be in the starting lineup Sunday against New Orleans, despite missing another week of practice because of a hip injury, Albert Breer of the NFL Network reports.

Jones ran on Saturday and will test his injured hip hours before kickoff in order to see how it responds. According to Breer, Jones' hip is in "better shape" than last week, and if he warms up without any setbacks, he'll be cleared to play Sunday.

Jones is third among all receivers in receptions (93) and second in receiving yards (1,428) this season. Harry Douglas would get the start if Jones sits out a second straight game.

Atlanta has moved from 6-point to a 6 1/2-point underdog at New Orleans.


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(9:25 am ET) Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who missed a week of practice due to a nagging hamstring injury, appears to be a "long shot" to play Week 16 against the Cowboys, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Hilton will test his injured hamstring during warmups, but will only play if he's at 100 percent and "can be himself," coach Chuck Pagano told Ed Werder of ESPN.

Hilton is tied for ninth in receptions (82) and fourth in receiving yards (1,345) this season. If he's unable to play, rookie Donte Moncrief will see a slight increase in playing time.

The Colts remain a 3 1/2-point underdog at Dallas.


Report: Cowboys' DeMarco Murray to play with protective pad Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:17 am ET) Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is expected to play Sunday against the Colts, Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports.

The plan is for Murray to play with a pad on his surgically-repaired hand, which he debuted during the team's final walkthru on Saturday. The Cowboys remain concerned with how his injury holds up on Sunday, and if they clinch a playoff spot in Week 16, Murray could be a candidate to sit out Week 17 in order to rest his injured hand.

Murray leads the league with 1,687 yards on 351 carries through 14 games, which is the most in franchise history. He also has 54 receptions for 395 yards.

The Cowboys remain a 3 1/2-point home favorite over Indianapolis.


49ers K Phil Dawson scores five points vs. Chargers Week 16
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:14 am ET) 49ers kicker Phil Dawson made five extra points but missed his only field-goal attempt in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Dawson didn't have much of a shot at converting his lone field-goal try, as his team tasked him with attempting to avoid overtime by nailing a 60-yard field goal at the end of regulation. He didn't come close, and the 49ers went on to lose in overtime.

Dawson has made 23 of his 29 attempts this season and is now 5 for 8 from 50 yards or more. He'll square off with the Cardinals in Week 17.


49ers WR Michael Crabtree plays sparingly vs. Chargers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:11 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree managed just one catch for five yards in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Crabtree, who was questionable to play Saturday due to a knee injury, remained on the sidelines for large portions of the game, even donning a baseball cap at one point. It appeared he was set to play only in an emergency situation. However, the receiving corps was struck by multiple injuries, leaving the team to turn to Crabtree late, and he recorded his only catch in overtime.

Crabtree will try and heal up in time to serve a larger role in his team's season finale against the Cardinals in Week 17.


49ers WR Anquan Boldin catches seven passes vs. Chargers
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(1:08 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin recorded a team-high seven receptions on nine targets for 61 yards in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Boldin managed more than half of the team's receiving production Saturday, as the other San Francisco players combined for only 53 yards on eight receptions, though rookie Bruce Ellington did managed to catch a touchdown.

Boldin had his best performance since a nine-catch, 137-yard breakout in Week 12. He's racked up 81 receptions for 981 yards with four touchdowns going into a Week 17 matchup with the Cardinals, a team for which he played from 2003 to 2009. He'll be looking to secure his seventh career 1,000-yard performance in the season finale.


49ers WR Bruce Ellington scores twice in Week 16 loss
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(1:03 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington tallied three rushing attempts for 12 yards and a touchdown and added an eight-yard touchdown reception in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Ellington scored both of his touchdowns in the second quarter, first hauling in the eight-yard touchdown on a play-action pass for which he was wide open. He then added the rushing touchdown on a jet play on third-and-goal where he took the ball on the move immediately after the snap and found a crease on the right side for the score.

It wasn't all positive for the rookie, as he was ruled out in the second half with a hamstring injury. If he can heal sufficiently during the upcoming week, he'll be in line to face the Cardinals in Week 17.


49ers RB Frank Gore rumbles for 158 yards vs. Chargers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:58 am ET) 49ers running back Frank Gore racked up 26 carries for 158 rushing yards with one touchdown in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Both numbers represent season highs for Gore, who hasn't had a better rushing day since the 2009 season. He set the tone early, shaking off would-be tacklers en route to a 52-yard score less than two minutes into the game. Gore continually proved difficult to tackle, as he would have managed his third 100-yard game of the season even without the long touchdown.

Gore is now up to 962 rushing yards and four rushing scores on 230 carries. He has a reasonable shot at cracking the 1,000-yard mark in his team's Week 17 matchup with the Cardinals.


49ers QB Colin Kaepernick tallies 151 rushing yards vs. Chargers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:54 am ET) 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick completed 15 of his 24 pass attempts for jsut 114 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions but added 151 rushing yards on seven carries in his team's 38-35 overtime loss to the Chargers in Week 16.

Kaepernick had little trouble picking up chunks of yards against a defense that seemed adverse to tackling -- the 49ers set a new team record with 355 rushing yards in the game -- but his highlight came on a 90-yard scamper where he went untouched after crossing the line of scrimmage, with the Chargers committing a penalty on the play for good measure.

The rushing touchdown was the first of the season for Kaepernick, and his 151 rushing yards marked a new regular-season high. However, he's also failed to top 175 passing yards in any of his last four games. The 49ers will look to close out the season in strong fashion when they face the Cardinals in Week 17.


 
 
 
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