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2012 Draft Prep: Dissecting reader strategies

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We provide advice for your Fantasy teams all the time. We have rankings, projections, predictions, strategies, tiers, videos and podcasts. While I'm at it, you might as well check it out in our Draft Prep Index.

2012 Draft Prep essentials
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Mock Drafts | Projections | Draft Index

But we're well aware not all of you need our help on Draft Day. You're seasoned Fantasy Football players and you know what you're doing. With that in mind, we're giving a few select readers the chance to be analysts and share their secrets to success.

I solicited owners on Twitter who have won multiple Fantasy championships and I asked them how they did it, which we'll show here. We'll then break down if those strategies actually make sense or not – and if it's advice worth using.

Strategy No. 1: Drafting RB-RB with your first two picks

From: @SavageSportsFan
He says: I've learned that RB/RB is the way to go. … People seem to get enamored with Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers they fail to do the smart thing and build your team around your backs. … For instance this year, I am drafting 12th. I will be drafting Marshawn Lynch and Steven Jackson at 12 and 13. … Right off the bat my team is more well-rounded than the guy who went for the stud WR or QB. … I can still scoop up two great receivers in Round 3 and 4 and grab a QB like Peyton Manning in the sixth. … Right there I have a balanced team that can go off any week.
Our take: Many owners shared this sentiment, which is old-school drafting. I don't mind this strategy at all, especially picking toward the end of Round 1, because finding workhorse running backs is difficult to do. Last year there were nine running backs who averaged 20 touches a game (Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster, Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Fred Jackson and Steven Jackson). If you follow the formula of @SavageSportsFan and get the right receivers and quarterback you should be in excellent shape.

Strategy No. 2: Drafting a quarterback in Round 1

From: @Sarkkasm
He says: There's always a sleeper RB that develops but rarely ever a sleeper QB. … What I'm trying to say is top quarterbacks like Brady, Rodgers, Brees never fail, but top running backs sometimes do, a La Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden.
Our take: As @mrdeadlier points out, this only works when passing touchdowns are worth six points. We prefer running backs in Round 1, but if you want a safe first-round pick then take Rodgers, Brady or Brees. You know they will play 16 games and likely be the Top 3 scorers in the majority of standard leagues. The key to drafting a quarterback in Round 1 is landing a quality running back in Round 2. Based on Average Draft Position, the running backs available in the second round are Jones-Drew, DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte, Lynch, Steven Jackson, Ryan Mathews and Adrian Peterson. For example, you can take Brees at No. 6 overall and then draft Lynch in the second round based on ADP. That's a solid start if it works out that way -- unless @Sarkkasm is in the same league as @SavageSportsFan.

Strategy No. 3: Best player available

From: @mwcoast
He says: I have never entered a draft with the "I must pick (insert player) in (insert position) approach." … I try to do a fair amount of mocks to get an idea of who is going where to know who will be available when and then set my rankings based on when I would be willing to take them. … In the draft I try to stay true to those ranks -- looking for value in terms of round, who has gone and who I think will be gone. … Where my true success has come has been through waivers. … My drafts get me solid starts but waivers put me over the top every time.
Our take: I love and hate this strategy. I hate it because I don't like winging it on Draft Day, even though @mwcoast clearly does his homework. But I love it because it keeps you paying attention and staying on top of the news and trends all throughout the year with the waiver wire. You're obviously going to need some luck for (insert player) to fall to you in (insert round), but you could find elite talent if you're taking an aggressive approach. If you want Julio Jones, draft him in Round 2 instead of Round 3. Take Donald Brown in Round 6 instead of Round 7. Grab Brandon Pettigrew in Round 9 instead of Round 10. You might not have a strategy, but you should have players you want. Just make sure you get them instead of waiting for them to fall in your lap.

Strategy No. 4: Drafting WR-WR with your first two picks

From: @Jake_Lort
He says: I've won two in a row going WR-WR-WR. Then got the three-peat going WR-WR-RB. … Usually (I draft) WR-WR-WR-RB-QB-TE-RB-DST-Bench-K. … Last year I was able to get Mathew Stafford and Megatron, which helped a ton. … And for running backs I usually just wait until someone comes out of nowhere, and I'll pick them up.
Our take: Most people hate this strategy. As @dmschapira wrote, "wide receivers are a dime a dozen. … Studs like (Andre Johnson) or (Larry Fitzgerald) are great but still less consistent than similarly valued running backs. … It's easier to trade a RB for a WR." We liked this strategy more last season when Calvin Johnson was being drafted toward the end of Round 1. But now it's a waste to pass on a running back for two receivers with your first two picks, even if it means drafting Johnson and Jones, who are both studs. There is the most depth at receiver this year and you can find amazing talent later in the draft. Steve Smith, who was the No. 6 Fantasy receiver last year, is being drafted in Round 4 based on ADP. Hakeem Nicks, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Lloyd are all going in Round 5 or later. I'd rather do what @SavageSportsFan suggests and get Lynch and Jackson with my first two picks and then follow that up with Thomas and Bryant in Rounds 3 and 4. That's a much better team than going Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson to start your team and then taking Doug Martin and BenJarvus Green-Ellis based on ADP.

Strategy No. 5: Drafting Gronkowski or Graham in Round 1

From: @Afogg0855
He says: Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham are the elite of the elite. … They both put up numbers that are the same or better than most No. 1 receivers last year. … I don't see much of a drop off this year for either one, especially Graham. … Gronkowski may lose some catches but will continue to be a TD machine. … I'd say (these) two are the safest bets to put up big numbers.
Our take: This is obviously a new strategy this year after what Gronkowski and Graham did in 2011. To put it in perspective, Gronkowski had 233 Fantasy points and would have been the No. 5 running back or No. 2 receiver based on points. Graham had 187 Fantasy points and would have been the No. 7 running back or No. 5 receiver. They are worth drafting in Round 1, but it's risky to take them in that spot. You're leaving yourself potentially thin at running back, which is dangerous, and you can't afford to take a quarterback in Round 2. Even though it would look great to have Graham and Stafford with your first two picks, you're then settling for Frank Gore as your No. 1 running back. We'd prefer Gronkowski or Graham to actually be drafted at the beginning of Round 3 in standard leagues and in Round 2 in PPR formats. Just know that if you miss on these two, there is still plenty of elite talent at tight end with guys like Pettigrew, Fred Davis, Jermaine Gresham and Jacob Tamme with late-round picks.

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
Reggie Bush says he doesn't plan to retire
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:31 pm ET) Three days after being released by the Lions, RB Reggie Bush said he has no plans to retire. 

TMZ reporters confronted Bush outside a Beverly Hills restaurant and asked if Bush, who turns 30 on Monday, was going to quit football. Bush responded with, "No." 

Bush rushed for 297 yards and two touchdowns last season. 


Report: Cowboys to let DeMarco Murray test free agency
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) The Cowboys will let RB DeMarco Murray test the free-agent market, according to a report from Fox Sports Southwest

Cowboys VP Stephen Jones said that negotiations with Murray's agents have been "slow". 

Jones said that Murray "is probably going to get some peace and see what's out in the market, and then we'll talk and see. I do believe deep down he'd love to stay in Dallas."

Murray rushed for 1,845 yards and 13 touchdowns last season. 


Report: Cowboys to use franchise tag on Dez Bryant
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5:15 pm ET) The Cowboys will use the franchise tag on WR Dez Bryant on Monday, according to a report by Fox Sports Southwest

The team has been trying to negotiate a long-term contract with Bryant, a free-agent to be. If a deal can't be made by Monday's franchise tag deadline, the Cowboys will use the tag to keep Bryant a Cowboy. 

"I still think that (it) would be a stretch to think that we would have something done by Monday and beat the franchise-tag deadline," Cowboys VP Stephen Jones told Fox. "Looks like we're eyeing a franchise tag on Dez, but certainly won't stop us from working hard to get a long-term deal. ... We just don't want to lose his rights."

Bryant had 88 catches for 1,320 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. 


QB Josh McCown's contract with Browns worth $14 million
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4:46 pm ET) Quarterback Josh McCown's deal with the Browns will pay $14 million over three years, a league source told CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora.

With incentives related to playing time and playoff berths, McCown could earn $20 million over the course of the deal.

McCown will earn $6.25 million in fully guaranteed money, with $5.25 million of it coming in the first year of the deal.


Report: Panthers won't re-sign Greg Hardy
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:18 pm ET) Panthers DE Greg Hardy is scheduled to become a free agent on March 10. He missed most of last season while appealing his conviction for domestic violence. 

Even though the charges were dropped on appeal, the Panthers have no intention of bringing Hardy back, multiple league sources told BlackandBlueReview.com's Bill Voth


Texans' Brian Cushing has had three offseason surgeries
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3:15 pm ET) Texans LB Brian Cushing has had three surgeries since the end of the season. 

In a public appearance on Saturday, Cushing told the Houston Chronicle's John McClain that he's had surgery on his broken right wrist as well as arthroscopic procedures on his left knee and left ankle. 

"It’s not uncommon for stuff like that to happen," he said of the two arthroscopic surgeries. "It’s just little things here and there, the residual effects of two major surgeries and injuries, the wear and tear of playing throughout the season. There were still some things bothering me a little bit. Just went in there and had real good success in both areas."

Cushing has a cast on his wrist. “It’s coming along real well,” he said. “I’m going to start working out a little bit. From a pain standpoint, there’s really nothing going on there. I’m real happy about that. I’m real happy to get the cast off and start doing some physical therapy on it, and I don’t have to worry about it anymore."


Report: 49ers to release wide receiver Steve Johnson
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(11:34 am ET) The 49ers are expected to release wide receiver Steve Johnson, according to Dianna Marie Russini of NBC Washington D.C.

The move will reportedly save the team $5.5 million in cap space. Johnson had 35 catches for 435 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games last season.


Patriots running back Stevan Ridley: 'I have something to prove'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Patriots running back Stevan Ridley is expected to become a free agent in the coming weeks and he is ready for the experience.

"I'm excited about it," Ridley told Sirius XM Radio Friday. "As a player coming into the league, you get there and your first contract you kind of have to establish yourself and see what you can do. Everybody is a good player if you get to make it to the NFL, but there is something to be said if you get to that second contract."

Ridley has rushed for 2,817 yards and 22 touchdowns in his first four seasons in the league with the Patriots.

"Where I'll be playing, and who I'll be playing for, is still unknown, but I know I've come in and done my job up to this point and now I have to put it in my agent's hands to get me on another team, or stay where I'm at, and make sure I’m in pads playing ball somewhere next year. I know if you think about it too much it will worry you sick."

Ridley has played in 20 of a possible 32 games the last two seasons, starting in just 11 of them.

"I take it personal to any team or anybody that says I can't be a very productive player on whatever team I land on," he said. "I've been playing ball my whole life, I'm going to come in and be a leader, and I'm going to be a guy that comes in and busts his butt in the weight room and busts his butt on the field. I'm a good teammate, I have fun with my guys, but when the lights come on Sundays, it's all business and I plan on going out there and making plays."


Patriots' Aaron Dobson doing well in rehab of hamstring injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson is still recovering from a hamstring injury that ended his season in 2014. Trainer Brett Fischer said Friday he thinks Dobson is going to turn heads when he heads back to Foxboro for training camp, according to the Boston Herald.

"He was talking about, 'When I go up there (to Foxboro) and they see me again, I want to make sure they know I'm in the best shape of my life.' He is really determined," Fischer said. "That is the underlying theme every day: 'Hey, I've got to be ready when April comes, be ready as far as the best shape of my life.' It's frustrating with two years of freaky-type stuff."

Dobson finished a disappointing 2014 season with three catches for 38 yards.

"He is doing great," Fischer said. "I'm really excited for him. He has put the time and effort into it, comes in early, gets all his work in and he is hungry. There are a few specific things we found, minor little things we're working on, that make his program a little bit unique to everybody else's. Nothing major."


Report: Should be a 'very active market' for Broncos' Julius Thomas
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2/27/2015) Broncos tight end Julius Thomas turned down a five-year, $40 million contract for a reason. That's because it's believed he will have a "very active market" when the new league year begins on March 10, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. 

Two teams that are expected to target Thomas in free agency are the Raiders and Jaguars, both of which need to upgrade considerably at their skill positions to help out their young quarterbacks. The expectation is for Broncos general manager John Elway to let Thomas test the waters in free agency to see what he's offered. 

The Falcons have also reportedly been interested, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. 

Injuries slowed what was an otherwise fast start to his 2014 season. Thomas' season ended with 489 yards and 12 touchdowns. 


 
 
 
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