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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
49ers shopping LaMichael James
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:06 pm ET) The 49ers are looking to trade running back LaMichael James in advance of next month's NFL Draft, reports the Sacramento Bee.

Meanwhile, James is aware of the trade rumors, apparently for a while now, since he tweeted Wednesday "when old news becomes new news" following the report.

James, a second-round pick in 2012, finds himself behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on the depth chart at running back this season. James served as the team's primary returner last year, but he wants a bigger role since he carried the ball just 12 times in 2013.


Joe Reitz stays with the Colts
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:11 pm ET) Offensive lineman Joe Reitz signed his restricted free agent tender offer on Thursday, giving him another year with the Colts. He started three games last season. 

Chris Johnson says arthritis reports 'not accurate'
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(2:10 pm ET) On a conference call with New York media, new Jets running back Chris Johnson said the report that he had arthritis in his knee was "not accurate," adding that he was "pretty sure I wouldn't have passed the physical" if he did have it. 

Earlier Thursday ESPN reported the Jets had "some concerns" about his knee

Johnson is expected to serve as part of a one-two punch at running back with Chris Ivory for the Jets. 


Vikings sign Kurt Coleman
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(11:31 am ET) The Vikings signed safety Kurt Coleman on Thursday. He spent the past four seasons with the Eagles and has seven career interceptions.

Coleman will try to make the final roster in Minnesota as a reserve defensive back and play on special teams.


Dwayne Bowe pleads guilty to amended charges
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(10:54 am ET) Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty to amended charges relating to his Nov. 10 arrest for marijuana possession, the Kansas City Star reports. He paid $610 in fines and didn't get probation. It remains to be seen if he'll be subject to the NFL's substance abuse program. 

Report: Giants should consider dealing Ryan Nassib
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:43 am ET) Now that the Giants have signed Josh Freeman to a contract, does it mean that second-year quarterback Ryan Nassib will be off the roster soon? 

The Newark Star-Ledger believes the Giants should assess Nassib's value going into the draft considering the lack of great quarterback talent available. A team looking for a quarterback-of-the-future could make an offer. 

Nassib had 19 pass attempts during the preseason last August and wasn't active for a single regular-season game. 


Robert Griffin III looking like old self
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:43 am ET) A couple of members of the Redskins organization have started raving about how good quarterback Robert Griffin III looks this offseason, reports the Washington Post.

Receiver Santana Moss said via an ESPN podcast that Griffin "looks more comfortable because he don't have to worry about that brace. I think the brace was the big discomfort last year. You know, he’s a young guy with those fiery legs that want to do so much, and that brace probably gave him a little pinch in the behind because he couldn't do the things that he was normally accustomed to doing. You can already see, when we're out there in conditioning and stuff, he's running around, looking like the old Robert Griffin."

And former tight end Chris Cooley, currently one of the team's radio broadcasters, said "he's another person right now. I was like, 'you're running unbelievably well.' It was silly to watch. ... When you watch him run, you're like, 'You're a freak. You're seriously a freak.'"


Report: Jets have concerns over Chris Johnson's knees
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:33 am ET) Less than 24 hours after signing Chris Johnson to a two-year deal that might be worth as much as $9 million, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Jets have some concerns over the condition of his knee. Johnson apparently has some arthritis in it stemming from his torn meniscus in 2013 (which he played through). 

Johnson hasn't missed a game in five straight seasons. He's expected to form a one-two punch with Chris Ivory in the Jets' backfield this year. 


Brian Cushing says he's 100 percent
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:27 am ET) Posting a picture of himself with his son from a beach, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing said via Twitter that he's been cleared for football. Cushing missed the last nine games of last season with a knee injury. 

"Quick Trip to Pensacola with my lead blocker, better believe I'm 100% #beachday #cleared #fivesixback," he wrote. 


Could Peyton Manning throw less in 2014?
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:23 am ET) Peyton Manning might be asked to throw less so "the offense can be more," ESPN speculated on Thursday. Manning threw 659 passes last season, completing 450 of them (68.3 pct.) for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. The yardage and touchdowns are NFL records. 

The thought process behind Manning being asked to throw less is that it would accentuate the run game and give the offense (read: Manning) more of an opportunity to build confidence in the running backs, namely Montee Ball.

No one on the Broncos has come out and suggested Manning will throw less. He still passed 583 times in 2012, seventh-most that year. Expect Manning to still throw plenty in 2014.


 
 
 
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