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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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Giants' Bennett Jackson making transition to safety
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(5/23/2015) Giants second-year cornerback Bennett Jackson is spending the offseason transitioning to safety. 

"At the end of the day, I’m a DB,’" Jackson said, per the New York Post. "I think my strengths are cover skills, I got good speed and I got good ball skills. The thing it’s gonna take for me to get out there and make an impact is, I just got to learn the defense and really just communicate the calls fluently."

"It is all in front of him," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We think he can cover. He has done a good job of getting us lined up and then we will see how he plays."


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"I've been impressed with the way JD's been working," O'Brien said, per HoustonTexans.com. "He's been out there. He's in early. He's rehabbing. But he's also being able to take part in some of the things that we do in the weight room. He's not able to do all of the things that we do on the field just yet, because of his rehab. But he's on the right track."


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McCarron is now throwing deep again. "I feel great," McCarron said, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. "Body feels great and I feel like I'm slinging it better than I ever have, really."


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(5/23/2015) Falcons linebacker Brooks Reed suffered a groin injury during the recently-completed voluntary minicamp, per ESPN.

The injury was termed "minor", but it still might keep Reed from full participation in the Falcons' upcoming OTAs, which start Tuesday. 


GM: EJ Manuel on 'equal footing' with Bills' other QBs
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(5/23/2015) Bills general manager Doug Whaley denied reports that the team is moving on from quarterback EJ Manuel

The team acquired Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor in the offseason.

In an interview with Jim Rome, Whaley said, "I look at it this way, in this business controversy sells,. The more controversy that you can drum up then the more intereste people are going to be."

"For us we’re excited about the future of all three of those guys," Whaley said. "It’s going to be a great competition. And we can keep three quarterbacks. So I dismiss that as just someone trying to get something stirred during this down time and lack of media stories for the NFL." 

Whaley said all three quarterbacks have an equal shot of winning the starting job. 

"I look for him to come in and compete and try to take the job," he said. "Everybody has got an equal footing. It’s a clean slate for all four of our quarterbacks. We’re not tied to anybody. We just want the best man to start."


Bengals' Vontaze Burfict may start year on PUP
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict's rehab may not be progressing as quickly as the team had hoped.

Burfict had microfracture knee surgery and initial post-surgery reports said that he could be recovered by the start of training camp. 

This week, the team's website said that Burfict's status was "up in the air" and that a return by the start of the season would be a "tight call".

If Burfict isn't ready by the opener, the Bengals may choose to put him on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list. 


So far, so good for Texans rookie CB Kevin Johnson
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(5/23/2015) First impressions aren't necessarily important for first-round picks in the NFL. They are far more critical to lower selections and undrafted free agents who desperately need to raise a few eyebrows immediately lest they be back out looking for work.

But whether necessary or not, Texans first-rounder Kevin Johnson is making one heck of a first impression on Bill O'Brien. The clornerback opened some eyes at minicamp.

"This is a guy that's a very quick guy," O'Brien said. "He's a tall guy. He's a guy that has really good transition ability. He's got what I call really good recover transition. If he's getting beat, he can stick his foot in the ground and really make up a lot of ground.

"He's a very bright player. If you ask him questions in the morning meeting, he really has obviously studied the night before. He's working out on his own and doing things to help stay up on material that's being installed."

Johnson believes he needs to do the little things right to make a big impact in his rookie year.

"From the training room to the classroom to the film study, everything is just more detailed," he told the team website. "I'm just trying to take it all in and use everything around here and just get better."


Bears CB Tim Jennings could transition into slot role
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(5/23/2015) Bears cornerback Tim Jennings is "still trying to figure out" where he will fit into the secondary this season, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

The nine-year veteran, who is entering his sixth season in the Windy City, has 95 career starts and led the league in interceptions in 2012. He is even a two-time Pro Bowler. But he spent significant time as the slot corner in minicamp. That's an unsatisfying role for him that he just might be forced to embrace.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio prefers his outside corners tall and physical. Jennings is 5-8, 185 pounds. He might still earn an outside role opposite Kyle Fuller, but do achieve that goal he must at the very least outperform free agent pickup Alan Ball, who better fits the ideal description.

If the words of new coach John Fox are any indication, that's unlikely to happen.

"Dimension-wise, he's built like a nickel corner," Fox said. "He's played it before."

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(5/22/2015) Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington is approaching the one-year mark for his suspension though his NFL status is still in limbo. 

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However, he was expected to apply for reinstatement a month ago but did not do so. 

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