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2012 Draft Prep: 12-team PPR mock draft

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The biggest difference in PPR leagues from standard formats might be when quarterbacks are drafted. With the additional value given to running backs and receivers, quarterbacks tend to fall on Draft Day.

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That happened in this draft. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees went in Round 1 as expected, but Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton fell to Round 3. Now, that likely won't happen in most leagues, but you shouldn't reach for a quarterback in this format even with six points for passing touchdowns.

In most standard leagues, quarterbacks are the highest-scoring players. Last year, 18 of the Top 30 players in a standard league were quarterbacks based on total Fantasy points. But in a PPR league, that number was reduced to just 14 quarterbacks.

You can afford to wait on quarterbacks in this format, and in this league 15 running backs, seven receivers and two tight ends were drafted before Stafford at No. 28 overall (I took Newton two picks later at No. 30). The next quarterback after that wasn't drafted until No. 59 overall with Matt Ryan and Michael Vick went one pick later.

Another difference is when the better receiving options are drafted. For example, in this league Jimmy Graham went in Round 1 at No. 12 overall. Darren Sproles was drafted at No. 14 overall in Round 2 ahead of Steven Jackson, Ryan Mathews and Trent Richardson. And Wes Welker was the No. 3 receiver drafted ahead of Andre Johnson and Julio Jones. Roddy White also went ahead of Jones.

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I like the Graham pick, but Sproles went too soon. Welker is worth the risk there, but I'd still draft him after Johnson and Jones even in this format. There were some other interesting picks, which you can see here.

As always, we ask you to share your thoughts on this draft. Take advantage of our Fantasy Football Twitter feed (@CBSFantasyFB) and post your comments there, or share your thoughts on our Fantasy Football Facebook page.

In this league, all touchdowns are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving, one point for every 25 yards passing and one point for every reception. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST and a FLEX (RB/WR/TE). There will also be five reserve spots for a 14-round draft. This lineup reflects our CBSSports.com free Fantasy Football game.

Our draft order is as follows ...

1. Will Brinson, Senior NFL Blogger
2. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
3. Nando Di Fino, Senior Fantasy Writer
4. Aleese Kopf, Social Media Coordinator
5. J. Darin Darst, College Football Production Editor
6. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
7. Adam Aizer, Podcast/Video Host
8. Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
9. Michael Hurcomb, Fantasy Editor
10. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor, Fantasy Sports
11. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
12. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer

Round by Round
Round 1
Pick Owner Player
1 Brinson Ray Rice, RB, BAL
2 White Arian Foster, RB, HOU
3 Di Fino LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI
4 Kopf Chris Johnson, RB, TEN
5 Darst Calvin Johnson, WR, DET
6 Eisenberg Darren McFadden, RB, OAK
7 Aizer Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
8 Madden Tom Brady, QB, NE
9 Hurcomb Drew Brees, QB, NO
10 Tobin DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL
11 Richard Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
12 Towers Jimmy Graham, TE, NO
Round 2
Pick Owner Player
13 Towers Matt Forte, RB, CHI
14 Richard Darren Sproles, RB, NO
15 Tobin Steven Jackson, RB, STL
16 Hurcomb Ryan Mathews, RB, SD
17 Madden Wes Welker, WR, NE
18 Aizer Trent Richardson, RB, CLE
19 Eisenberg Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
20 Darst Roddy White, WR, ATL
21 Kopf Julio Jones, WR, ATL
22 Di Fino Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC
23 White Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
24 Brinson Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
Round 3
Pick Owner Player
25 Brinson A.J. Green, WR, CIN
26 White Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
27 Di Fino Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
28 Kopf Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
29 Darst Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG
30 Eisenberg Cam Newton, QB, CAR
31 Aizer Greg Jennings, WR, GB
32 Madden Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI
33 Hurcomb Jamaal Charles, RB, KC
34 Tobin Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
35 Richard Doug Martin, RB, TB
36 Towers Victor Cruz, WR, NYG
Round 4
Pick Owner Player
37 Towers Reggie Bush, RB, MIA
38 Richard Michael Turner, RB, ATL
39 Tobin Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG
40 Hurcomb Percy Harvin, WR, MIN
41 Madden Kevin Smith, RB, DET
42 Aizer Steve Smith, WR, CAR
43 Eisenberg Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
44 Darst Donald Brown, RB, IND
45 Kopf Frank Gore, RB, SF
46 Di Fino Marques Colston, WR, NO
47 White Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI
48 Brinson Antonio Gates, TE, SD
Round 5
Pick Owner Player
49 Brinson Brandon Lloyd, WR, NE
50 White Mike Wallace, WR, PIT
51 Di Fino Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
52 Kopf Eric Decker, WR, DEN
53 Darst Steve Johnson, WR, BUF
54 Eisenberg Peyton Hillis, RB, KC
55 Aizer BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, CIN
56 Madden Stevan Ridley, RB, NE
57 Hurcomb Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE
58 Tobin DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI
59 Richard Matt Ryan, QB, ATL
60 Towers Michael Vick, QB, PHI
Round 6
Pick Owner Player
61 Towers Miles Austin, WR, DAL
62 Richard Vincent Jackson, WR, TB
63 Tobin Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ
64 Hurcomb Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
65 Madden Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS
66 Aizer Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
67 Eisenberg Willis McGahee, RB, DEN
68 Darst Torrey Smith, WR, BAL
69 Kopf Isaac Redman, RB, PIT
70 Di Fino Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
71 White Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC
72 Brinson Titus Young, WR, DET
Round 7
Pick Owner Player
73 Brinson Ryan Williams, RB, ARI
74 White C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF
75 Di Fino DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR
76 Kopf Vernon Davis, TE, SF
77 Darst Eli Manning, QB, NYG
78 Eisenberg Robert Meachem, WR, SD
79 Aizer Beanie Wells, RB, ARI
80 Madden Toby Gerhart, RB, MIN
81 Hurcomb Greg Little, WR, CLE
82 Tobin Philip Rivers, QB, SD
83 Richard Nate Washington, WR, TEN
84 Towers Jason Witten, TE, DAL
Round 8
Pick Owner Player
85 Towers Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET
86 Richard Jermichael Finley, TE, GB
87 Tobin Brandon Pettigrew, TE, DET
88 Hurcomb Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, OAK
89 Madden Rashad Jennings, RB, JAC
90 Aizer Lance Moore, WR, NO
91 Eisenberg Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL
92 Darst Michael Bush, RB, CHI
93 Kopf Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL
94 Di Fino Peyton Manning, QB, DEN
95 White Tony Romo, QB, DAL
96 Brinson Justin Blackmon, WR, JAC
Round 9
Pick Owner Player
97 Brinson Ben Tate, RB, HOU
98 White Pierre Thomas, RB, NO
99 Di Fino Cedric Benson, RB, GB
100 Kopf Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN
101 Darst Mark Ingram, RB, NO
102 Eisenberg Evan Royster, RB, WAS
103 Aizer Shane Vereen, RB, NE
104 Madden Fred Davis, TE, WAS
105 Hurcomb LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB
106 Tobin Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
107 Richard Malcom Floyd, WR, SD
108 Towers Matt Schaub, QB, HOU
Round 10
Pick Owner Player
109 Towers Michael Crabtree, WR, SF
110 Richard David Wilson, RB, NYG
111 Tobin Roy Helu, RB, WAS
112 Hurcomb Santonio Holmes, WR, NYJ
113 Madden Danny Amendola, WR, STL
114 Aizer Brandon LaFell, WR, CAR
115 Eisenberg Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN
116 Darst Tony Gonzalez, TE, ATL
117 Kopf Denarius Moore, WR, OAK
118 Di Fino Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT
119 White Jacob Tamme, TE, DEN
120 Brinson Jay Cutler, QB, CHI
Round 11
Pick Owner Player
121 Brinson Joe Flacco, QB, BAL
122 White Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS
123 Di Fino Randy Moss, WR, SF
124 Kopf Felix Jones, RB, DAL
125 Darst Mike Williams, WR, TB
126 Eisenberg Andrew Luck, QB, IND
127 Aizer Sidney Rice, WR, SEA
128 Madden Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
129 Hurcomb Isaiah Pead, RB, STL
130 Tobin Jon Baldwin, WR, KC
131 Richard Mike Goodson, RB, OAK
132 Towers Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA
Round 12
Pick Owner Player
133 Towers Santana Moss, WR, WAS
134 Richard Josh Freeman, QB, TB
135 Tobin Kendall Wright, WR, TEN
136 Hurcomb Ronnie Brown, RB, SD
137 Madden Randall Cobb, WR, GB
138 Aizer Brent Celek, TE, PHI
139 Eisenberg 49ers DST
140 Darst Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
141 Kopf Alex Smith, QB, SF
142 Di Fino Greg Olsen, TE, CAR
143 White Terrell Owens, WR, SEA
144 Brinson Eagles DST
Round 13
Pick Owner Player
145 Brinson Robert Turbin, RB, SEA
146 White Steelers DST
147 Di Fino Ravens DST
148 Kopf Bears DST
149 Darst Jets DST
150 Eisenberg Brian Quick, WR, STL
151 Aizer Texans DST
152 Madden Giants DST
153 Hurcomb Packers DST
154 Tobin Patriots DST
155 Richard Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
156 Towers Cowboys DST
Round 14
Pick Owner Player
157 Towers David Akers, K, SF
158 Richard Seahawks DST
159 Tobin Alex Henery, K, PHI
160 Hurcomb Mason Crosby, K, GB
161 Madden Sebastian Janikowski, K, OAK
162 Aizer Garrett Hartley, K, NO
163 Eisenberg Dan Bailey, K, DAL
164 Darst Jason Hanson, K, DET
165 Kopf Matt Prater, K, DEN
166 Di Fino Matt Bryant, K, ATL
167 White Randy Bullock, K, HOU
168 Brinson Nate Kaeding, K, SD
 
Team by Team
Adam Aizer
Rd.Pk Player
1.7 Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
2.6 Trent Richardson, RB, CLE
3.7 Greg Jennings, WR, GB
4.6 Steve Smith, WR, CAR
5.7 BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, CIN
6.6 Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
7.7 Beanie Wells, RB, ARI
8.6 Lance Moore, WR, NO
9.7 Shane Vereen, RB, NE
10.6 Brandon LaFell, WR, CAR
11.7 Sidney Rice, WR, SEA
12.6 Brent Celek, TE, PHI
13.7 Texans DST
14.6 Garrett Hartley, K, NO
Aleese Kopf
Rd.Pk Player
1.4 Chris Johnson, RB, TEN
2.9 Julio Jones, WR, ATL
3.4 Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
4.9 Frank Gore, RB, SF
5.4 Eric Decker, WR, DEN
6.9 Isaac Redman, RB, PIT
7.4 Vernon Davis, TE, SF
8.9 Anquan Boldin, WR, BAL
9.4 Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN
10.9 Denarius Moore, WR, OAK
11.4 Felix Jones, RB, DAL
12.9 Alex Smith, QB, SF
13.4 Bears DST
14.9 Matt Prater, K, DEN
Michael Hurcomb
Rd.Pk Player
1.9 Drew Brees, QB, NO
2.4 Ryan Mathews, RB, SD
3.9 Jamaal Charles, RB, KC
4.4 Percy Harvin, WR, MIN
5.9 Aaron Hernandez, TE, NE
6.4 Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
7.9 Greg Little, WR, CLE
8.4 Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, OAK
9.9 LeGarrette Blount, RB, TB
10.4 Santonio Holmes, WR, NYJ
11.9 Isaiah Pead, RB, STL
12.4 Ronnie Brown, RB, SD
13.9 Packers DST
14.4 Mason Crosby, K, GB
Chris Towers
Rd.Pk Player
1.12 Jimmy Graham, TE, NO
2.1 Matt Forte, RB, CHI
3.12 Victor Cruz, WR, NYG
4.1 Reggie Bush, RB, MIA
5.12 Michael Vick, QB, PHI
6.1 Miles Austin, WR, DAL
7.12 Jason Witten, TE, DAL
8.1 Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET
9.12 Matt Schaub, QB, HOU
10.1 Michael Crabtree, WR, SF
11.12 Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA
12.1 Santana Moss, WR, WAS
13.12 Cowboys DST
14.1 David Akers, K, SF
Dave Richard
Rd.Pk Player
1.11 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
2.2 Darren Sproles, RB, NO
3.11 Doug Martin, RB, TB
4.2 Michael Turner, RB, ATL
5.11 Matt Ryan, QB, ATL
6.2 Vincent Jackson, WR, TB
7.11 Nate Washington, WR, TEN
8.2 Jermichael Finley, TE, GB
9.11 Malcom Floyd, WR, SD
10.2 David Wilson, RB, NYG
11.11 Mike Goodson, RB, OAK
12.2 Josh Freeman, QB, TB
13.11 Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
14.2 Seahawks DST
J. Darin Darst
Rd.Pk Player
1.5 Calvin Johnson, WR, DET
2.8 Roddy White, WR, ATL
3.5 Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, NYG
4.8 Donald Brown, RB, IND
5.5 Steve Johnson, WR, BUF
6.8 Torrey Smith, WR, BAL
7.5 Eli Manning, QB, NYG
8.8 Michael Bush, RB, CHI
9.5 Mark Ingram, RB, NO
10.8 Tony Gonzalez, TE, ATL
11.5 Mike Williams, WR, TB
12.8 Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
13.5 Jets DST
14.8 Jason Hanson, K, DET
Jamey Eisenberg
Rd.Pk Player
1.6 Darren McFadden, RB, OAK
2.7 Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
3.6 Cam Newton, QB, CAR
4.7 Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
5.6 Peyton Hillis, RB, KC
6.7 Willis McGahee, RB, DEN
7.6 Robert Meachem, WR, SD
8.7 Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL
9.6 Evan Royster, RB, WAS
10.7 Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN
11.6 Andrew Luck, QB, IND
12.7 49ers DST
13.6 Brian Quick, WR, STL
14.7 Dan Bailey, K, DAL
Jeff Tobin
Rd.Pk Player
1.10 DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL
2.3 Steven Jackson, RB, STL
3.10 Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
4.3 Hakeem Nicks, WR, NYG
5.10 DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI
6.3 Shonn Greene, RB, NYJ
7.10 Philip Rivers, QB, SD
8.3 Brandon Pettigrew, TE, DET
9.10 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
10.3 Roy Helu, RB, WAS
11.10 Jon Baldwin, WR, KC
12.3 Kendall Wright, WR, TEN
13.10 Patriots DST
14.3 Alex Henery, K, PHI
Nando Di Fino
Rd.Pk Player
1.3 LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI
2.10 Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, JAC
3.3 Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
4.10 Marques Colston, WR, NO
5.3 Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
6.10 Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
7.3 DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR
8.10 Peyton Manning, QB, DEN
9.3 Cedric Benson, RB, GB
10.10 Rashard Mendenhall, RB, PIT
11.3 Randy Moss, WR, SF
12.10 Greg Olsen, TE, CAR
13.3 Ravens DST
14.10 Matt Bryant, K, ATL
Peter Madden
Rd.Pk Player
1.8 Tom Brady, QB, NE
2.5 Wes Welker, WR, NE
3.8 Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI
4.5 Kevin Smith, RB, DET
5.8 Stevan Ridley, RB, NE
6.5 Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS
7.8 Toby Gerhart, RB, MIN
8.5 Rashad Jennings, RB, JAC
9.8 Fred Davis, TE, WAS
10.5 Danny Amendola, WR, STL
11.8 Kenny Britt, WR, TEN
12.5 Randall Cobb, WR, GB
13.8 Giants DST
14.5 Sebastian Janikowski, K, OAK
Scott White
Rd.Pk Player
1.2 Arian Foster, RB, HOU
2.11 Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
3.2 Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
4.11 Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI
5.2 Mike Wallace, WR, PIT
6.11 Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC
7.2 C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF
8.11 Tony Romo, QB, DAL
9.2 Pierre Thomas, RB, NO
10.11 Jacob Tamme, TE, DEN
11.2 Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS
12.11 Terrell Owens, WR, SEA
13.2 Steelers DST
14.11 Randy Bullock, K, HOU
Will Brinson
Rd.Pk Player
1.1 Ray Rice, RB, BAL
2.12 Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
3.1 A.J. Green, WR, CIN
4.12 Antonio Gates, TE, SD
5.1 Brandon Lloyd, WR, NE
6.12 Titus Young, WR, DET
7.1 Ryan Williams, RB, ARI
8.12 Justin Blackmon, WR, JAC
9.1 Ben Tate, RB, HOU
10.12 Jay Cutler, QB, CHI
11.1 Joe Flacco, QB, BAL
12.12 Eagles DST
13.1 Robert Turbin, RB, SEA
14.12 Nate Kaeding, K, SD

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Player News
Ben Roethlisberger deserves to start
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) It goes without saying that Ben Roethlisberger's six-touchdown, 522-yard performance Week 8 against Indianapolis was a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, and I stand by my earlier assessment that he's too inconsistent to start in standard 12-team leagues. But that's more for those weeks when every quarterback is available. With six teams on bye, that's certainly not the case in Week 9.

For those owners accustomed to starting Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler, Roethlisberger may be the best choice. His matchup against Baltimore isn't great. The Ravens rank a suspect 22nd against the pass, giving up 256.0 yards per game, but having allowed just seven touchdowns through the air, they've surrendered the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Regardless of the matchup, though, Roethlisberger has a better chance than most of the quarterbacks who might be available of putting up the numbers you're accustomed to.

I'd prefer Carson Palmer, Nick Foles and Cam Newton to him, to name just a few fringy types, but Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Ricahrd both have Roethlisberger in their top 10 for this week.


Brandon LaFell not the only Patriots WR to consider
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) It's time to give Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell a shot in Fantasy -- as in not just owning him, but starting him. If his 11 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown Week 8 against the Bears weren't enough to convince you, his matchup Week 9 against Denver should be.

It's not that the Broncos are so bad against the pass. They rank in the middle of the pack, allowing 242.9 yards per game. It's just that the Patriots' only hope against them is to beat Peyton Manning at his own game. Their passing attack -- at least the version they've shown in the last four weeks -- is good enough to beat anybody when they're motivated to use it.

LaFell appears to have leapfrogged Julian Edelman in the pecking order, but frankly, Edelman might not be such a bad play either. Tom Brady is going to need every weapon at his disposal to outscore Manning and company. Edelman is more of a desperation play than LaFell, I think, advisable only if you're short on startable wide receivers, but Dave Richard likes him enough with this matchup to rank him 24th at the position.


Shane Vereen a better choice than Jonas Gray
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) By giving the previously unknown Jonas Gray 17 carries for 86 yards Week 8 against Chicago, the Patriots revealed that they'll stick with a two-man backfield even with preferred rusher Stevan Ridley out for the year with a torn ACL and MCL.

But Week 9 against Denver might be a better matchup for preferred receiver Shane Vereen, who also thrived in Week 7 against the Jets. The Broncos, like the Jets, have done a good job stopping the run this season. They rank No. 1, in fact, allowing 72.4 yards per game.

Plus, the Patriots will most likely have to throw more than usual just to keep up with the league's highest-scoring team. These days, a team's only real choice against Peyton Manning is to beat him at his own game.

So most likely, Gray will spend much of Week 9 on the sidelines while Vereen spends much of it in the backfield. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Vereen among their top 20 running backs for this week.


Vincent Jackson not such a great play
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) On a day when the Buccaneers couldn't get anything going offensively Week 8 against Minnesota, wide receiver Vincent Jackson was barely involved, catching one pass for 13 yards. He was targeted five times, but for a player who misses a lot of the balls thrown his way, both because of his role in the passing game and his issues with drops, that's a pretty low number. He averaged 10.0 targets in his first six games.

Even worse for Jackson, quarterback Mike Glennon has developed a nice rapport with both Mike Evans and Louis Murphy, and the Buccaneers passing attack isn't prolific enough to sustain three wide receivers. Is it more likely to sustain him than those other two? Yeah, probably. But it'll likely cut into his production regardless.

And it could cut into his production in a big way Week 9 at Cleveland. The Browns don't rank especially high against the pass, but they don't give up many touchdowns through the air, allowing the fourth-lowest quarterback rating of any team this season. Cornerback Joe Haden, who has played better in recent weeks after a slow start, is a big reason for that, and he'll likely go up against Jackson on Sunday.

Neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard rank Jackson among their top 30 wide receivers -- and that's in a week with six teams on bye.


Time to the roll the dice on Denard Robinson?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Sitting Denard Robinson the week after his breakout 127-yard effort against the Browns was understandable. It was an outlier performance achieved with an especially favorable matchup, and there was some big talk about Toby Gerhart still playing a big role. But now, after back-to-back 100-yard games, taking a conservative approach with Robinson just seems kind of silly.

Especially since his matchup Week 9 at Cincinnati is, at least on paper, a favorable one. The Bengals rank 29th against the run, allowing 140.7 yards per game, and have given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to running backs. And as tough as the Jaguars defense has played in recent weeks, you don't have to worry so much about the Bengals running away with the game, compelling the Jaguars to throw every down.

Calling Robinson a must-start is taking it a bit far. Some people have enviable depth at the position. But in Week 9, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Robinson among their top 24 running backs, with Dave slotting him as high as 15th.


Is starting Andy Dalton a good idea?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank the Bengals' Andy Dalton among their top 12 quarterbacks for Week 9, presumably because he's facing the Jaguars. But how did that work out for Ryan Tannehill in Week 8, Brian Hoyer in Week 7 or, yep, even Ben Roethlisberger in Week 5?

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of the whole "start Player X against the Jaguars because they're bad" argument. Because they're not. At least not anymore -- not on defense, anyway. The Jaguars have allowed an average of 16.5 points in their last four games, and if not for the Dolphins' two defensive touchdowns in Week 8, it'd be 13.0

True, star wide receiver A.J. Green is looking likely to return from a three-game absence for a toe injury, which would certainly improve Dalton's chances. But again, quality quarterbacks -- namely, Tannehill and Roethlisberger -- have had their full arsenals when they faced the Jaguars, and they still underwhelmed against them. I'm not sure this is Dalton's week.

Now, with so many high-profile quarterbacks (such as Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler) on bye this week, you may want it to be Dalton's week, but I'd give Carson Palmer, Nick Foles, Cam Newton or Tannehill a shot before I turned to him.


Greg Olsen deserves your trust
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Panthers coach Ron Rivera mentioned Monday that the reason tight end Greg Olsen had only one catch for 16 yards in Week 8 is because the Seahawks rotated their coverage toward him, particularly in the red zone. You can understand why they'd do that after Olsen averaged 70.4 yards with four touchdowns in his first four games.

Unfortunately, since the Seahawks limited the Panthers to just nine points in that game, they've invited other teams to emulate them, and while the Saints, Olsen's Week 9 opponent, certainly aren't the Seahawks defensively, they've done good job of containing tight ends this season, giving up the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to them. And that's even though they rank 31st against the pass.

But just because you can make a reasonable case to sit one this year's most productive and reliable tight ends doesn't mean you should follow through with it. Week 8 was just the second time in eight games that Olsen's production didn't justify a starting spot -- a terrific ratio for any player, regardless of position -- and the Saints haven't really faced a team with a top-flight tight end until now.

If quarterback Cam Newton has big numbers in this game -- and the data suggest he should -- Olsen will, too. Keep him active.


Who knows with the Saints wide receivers?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) On the road against the Panthers in Week 9, chances are one of the Saints top two wide receivers, be it Marques Colston or Brandin Cooks, will have a big game. The Panthers are tied for the fourth-most passing touchdowns allowed and have given up the fifth-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

So which one? Particularly with Kenny Stills getting involved the last couple weeks, it's become a real crapshoot. Cooks tends to be more of a volume receiver in his good games, but Colston showed with six catches for 111 yards in Week 7 that he can still make an impact as well.

Of course, star tight end Jimmy Graham was basically just a decoy in that game. When his shoulder had recovered enough for him to catch a few passes himself in Week 8, Colston's numbers shrank again. Cooks, meanwhile, had six catches for 94 yards and a touchdown and has generally had an easier time coexisting with Graham.

I'd feel OK about starting Cooks in this one, particularly in points-per-reception leagues. Yeah, he's basically a 50-50 proposition, but that's more than I can say for Colston, particularly with Graham back in the mix. Colston still matters in Fantasy, but mostly in leagues with 14 teams or more.


Kelvin Benjamin could come up big
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) With the Panthers expected to pass a lot in Week 9 against a Saints team that ranks second in total offense and fifth in scoring offense, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin figures to be one of the prime beneficiaries. After all, he's emerged as quarterback Cam Newton's preferred downfield target as a rookie and, at 6-feet-5, is a big target in the red zone as well.

After a strong start to the season, his yardage has been hit or miss lately, but generally speaking, when Newton is on, so is Benjamin. And all signs point to a big game for Newton. Not only is that the only way he keeps the Panthers in the game, but the Saints rank 31st against the pass, giving up 289.3 yards per game. They've also allowed the second-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

Considering he's scored a touchdown in five of eight games this season, you're probably starting Benjamin regardless of any matchup data. But you can do so with confidence this week. Both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank him among their top 10 wide receivers.


Good chance Cam Newton bounces back
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Granted, Cam Newton hasn't been the most predictable quarterback from week to week, and because his production is largely a function of how often and how effectively he runs the ball, that doesn't figure to change. But after a disappointing showing against the Seahawks in Week 8, he should be in for an easier time Week 9 against the Saints.

After all, the Saints' explosive offense combined with their suspect defense predisposes them to shootouts. Of course, the last time I predicted a shootout for the Panthers Week 7 at Green Bay, it didn't go so well for Newton either, but that matchup wasn't as favorable as this one. The Saints rank 31st against the pass, allowing 289.3 yards per game, and have given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

In a week when high-profile quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler are all on bye, I would think someone in a 12-team league would want to start Newton, even if that someone isn't you.


 
 
 
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