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2012 Draft Prep: Latest ADP analysis

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Using CBS Average Draft Position (ADP) on Draft Day, here's a look at five players to target who will outplay their current ADP and five players who are currently being taken too early and therefore represent an unnecessary risk.

Undervalued on Draft Day

2012 Draft Prep essentials
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Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers
Current ADP: 19th quarterback (130th overall)
My rank: 16th quarterback
Given that Freeman was the 16th-ranked quarterback in his horrendous 2011 season, you have to like his value for 2012 as the 19th quarterback off of the board. His physical shape, offensive scheme and most importantly, supporting cast, have all been upgraded in major ways headed into this season, so you know his totals will improve as well. The team added a legit No. 1 receiver in Vincent Jackson, a good pass catching running back in Doug Martin, a reliable tight end in Dallas Clark and a Pro Bowl guard in Carl Nicks. Having a legit deep threat like Jackson -- who has averaged over 10 yards per target and 17 yards per catch for his career -- will be huge for Freeman, because he has struggled to get the ball down the field. Jackson will also open things up for Mike Williams as the second receiver and increase the efficiency of the short passing game. New offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan was the quarterbacks coach for Eli Manning, so he knows how to orchestrate an excellent passing game. Freeman has also lost some weight (at Sullivan's request) and the team wants to utilize his mobility more this season, which could give him a bump to 400 yards rushing (same as 1,000 yards passing) and four touchdowns on the ground. With Jackson and Martin in the mix, along with Nicks providing superior protection, I think Freeman will see his yards per attempt climb back over 7.0 and he will improve his TD-INT ratio back into a positive one. Given that Freeman has definite Top 10 upside, I love where you can steal him as your second quarterback late on Draft Day.

Honorable mentions at quarterback: Andrew Luck, Jake Locker

Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions
Current ADP: 41st running back (110th)
My rank: 31st running back
All of the attention in Detroit is on Kevin Smith right now and as a result, he has been one of the fastest risers on draft boards in recent weeks. Leshoure was a very hot sleeper early in the preseason but has lost considerable steam of late due to a now healed hamstring injury, which is great news for you bargain hunters out there. Jahvid Best will open the 2012 season on the PUP list and let's be honest; Kevin Smith is no model of health himself. In fact, Smith couldn't even stay healthy during his brief stint as the starter in Detroit at the end of 2011. Leshoure will be 100 percent healthy when he makes his 2012 debut in Week 3 and will be very involved for one of the best offenses in the NFL. He will be the goal line back, main between-the-tackles runner and should be utilized as a fourth quarter closer. He will not be a big factor in the passing game, but Leshoure has 10-touchdown potential in this offense and there is a good chance he will start four or more games as the only show in town given the injury histories of his backfield mates. Don't forget that Leshoure accounted for nearly 1,900 yards and scored 20 touchdowns without fumbling in 2010 for the Fighting Illini, so he knows how to produce and take care of the football. He has BenJarvus Green-Ellis upside (BGE as a Patriot) to me and considering that he has very little risk as a fourth running back in the 10th round you should make him "your 'Kel" and reap the rewards.

Steven Jackson, RB, Rams
Current ADP: 10th running back (22nd overall)
My rank: Eighth running back (he is worthy of 12th overall pick to me)
Jackson is still among the Top 10 backs in terms of ADP, but I think he is being extremely undervalued considering that he can be had as the second to last pick of the second round. Jackson is a bell cow running back who has produced at least 1,420 total yards in four straight seasons and is expected to be extremely busy under new head coach Jeff Fisher. A lack of scoring has kept Jackson from Top 5 status in recent years, but there is hope that he can get back to the 8-10 touchdown level in 2012. Last year, Jackson's 25 percent red zone scoring rate ranked fifth among all runners, as did his 60 percent scoring rate, at the goal line. He did not get enough opportunities to score, because last year the Rams decided to throw the ball nearly 66 percent of the time in red zone and 50 percent of the time at the goal line for some unknown reason. That will change under Fisher, which is why Jackson represents an incredible value as your first running back when paired with a Top 3 quarterback or receiver Calvin Johnson. Jackson is an absolute steal as your second runner should you start with a McCoy, Rice, Johnson or McFadden in the first round and come back with the reliable veteran in the second round. He is a true workhorse in a running back friendly offense, so I fully expect Jackson to outplay his Draft Day position. Even though he has only missed two games in the last three years, be sure to grab Isaiah Pead later in your draft as a handcuff.

Honorable mentions at running back: Ryan Williams, Evan Royster, Alfred Morris, Stevan Ridley/Shane Vereen, Ahmad Bradshaw

Eric Decker, WR, Broncos
Current ADP: 27th wide receiver (68th overall)
My rank: 21st wide receiver
Given Decker's current ADP, you could start your draft with an elite quarterback and two running backs before snagging receivers in Rounds 4-6 and still end up with him as your third receiver. Decker is exactly the kind of receiver that Peyton Manning loves and all reports out of Denver indicate that he will be Manning's top target and go-to guy based on the awesome chemistry they already display. Sure, he lacks the explosiveness and raw physical talents of Demaryius Thomas, but he is a better route runner and is certainly more likely than Thomas to be in precisely the right spot at the right time, which is something that Manning will value above all else. So in my mind, Decker is a steal as your third receiver and it is crazy to me that he is going 13 receivers and two full rounds after Thomas. Keep in mind that Decker was excellent with Kyle Orton under center in 2011, catching 20 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns in just four full games. I think we can all agree that Manning represents and upgrade from Orton in the pantheon of pocket passers, which is why I am shocked that Decker continues to take distant second billing to Thomas and frankly numerous other receivers. Steal him as your third receiver and you will be very, very happy.

Honorable mentions at wide receiver: Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, Steve Johnson, Nate Washington, Greg Little, James Jones

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Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers
Current ADP: 15th tight end (146th overall)
My rank: 12th tight end
Olsen was a popular sleeper in 2011 but failed to wake up, finishing with 45 catches for 540 yards and five touchdowns, finishing the year as the 17th-ranked Fantasy tight end. He caught just 50 percent of his targets, third-worst among the 30 most targeted tight ends and averaged just 6.0 yards per target, sixth worst. The good news for Olsen is that Jeremy Shockey is gone and the Panthers are talking about using more one tight end sets. Considering that Shockey caught 37 passes for 455 yards and four touchdowns last year, you have to think Olsen will get a bump from his departure. Don't forget that Olsen was on a new team, in a new offense and had a new quarterback with no real offseason to get acclimated. This year he will have more familiarity and I expect his production to see a boost as a result. After all, prior to 2011, Olsen had caught 60.4 percent of his targets and averaged 6.2 yards per target in Chicago, despite never topping 10.5 yards per catch in a season. If he maintains his career high 12.0 yards per catch this year and catches 60.4 percent of his targets, Olsen will bump up to 7.25 yards per target, which is a vast improvement. If Olsen picks up half of Shockey’s 62 targets, he could set career highs in both catches and yards, easily topping 60 catches and 700 yards with six touchdowns in a best case scenario. To put that in perspective, 700 yards and six scores would have placed ninth at the tight end position in 2011. Olsen was a Top 10 tight end twice in Chicago and has that kind of potential again in 2012, but you can easily snag him as a backup tight end, which means he has little or no risk.

Honorable mentions at tight end: Jared Cook, Martellus Bennett

Overvalued on Draft Day

Matt Forte, RB, Bears
Current ADP: Eighth running back (14th overall)
My rank: 11th running back
Let me start off by saying that I like Matt Forte a lot (especially in PPR leagues) and know that he is one of the best total-yardage producers in the league. That being said, I do not like him as the eighth running back taken, because he has not been a Top 8 runner since his rookie year and has been 15th or higher in two of the last three seasons. Forte pays the bills with his yardage, because he has just 17 scores in his last 44 games (four total scores in two of the last three seasons) and absolutely stinks in scoring situations. In 2009, he had the worst red zone and goal line scoring rates of the top 32 busiest running backs in scoring situations. In 2010, he was 10th worst in the red zone (12.8 percent) and third worst at the goal line (20 percent). Last year, Forte had just two scores on 33 red zone chances (6.1 percent), which was third worst among the 28 backs with at least 25 attempts. He failed to score on seven goal line chances, obviously the worst rate in the league. With Michael Bush in town, look for Forte to be pulled at the goal line, which limits his upside. Yes, I know Marion Barber filled that role last year, but the difference between Barber and Bush is that Bush will also cut into Forte's overall touches and total yardage. Bush is arguably the best backup running back in the NFL and he will be utilized to help keep Forte fresh and healthy, so I do not think we will see 20-25 touches for Forte week in and week out. Any kind of downward movement on his total yardage numbers (he was at 124 per game last year) will have a bigger impact on his Fantasy totals than it will on other backs. I still have Forte in my Top 12 at running back, but I would not rush out to grab him in a standard league ahead of full time backs who also score touchdowns (or at least get the chance to score touchdowns) like Marshawn Lynch, Steven Jackson and Trent Richardson, to name a few. A bad offensive line coupled with the arrival of a very competent and productive Bush leaves me a little more concerned about Forte than many still drafting.

Reggie Bush, RB, Dolphins
Current ADP: 22nd running back (55th overall)
My rank: 28th running back
I am not comfortable with the idea of Reggie Bush as a weekly starter for my Fantasy teams, so I don't like his current ADP as the 22nd runner taken. Yes, Bush is coming off of a career year and his first 1,000-yard rushing season in 2011, but a lot has changed in Miami for the talented runner. Gone is coach Tony Sparano, who had the 'Fins run the ball over 29 times per game, sixth most in the NFL. Also gone is Brandon Marshall, leaving the team without a credible receiver to occupy opposing defenses. The new coaching staff in Miami reportedly views Bush more as a pass catcher than a full time featured back, so I expect his rushing totals to fizzle like his romance with Kim Kardashian. When you consider that Bush has never played more than 12 games in a year following a 200-touch season (he had a career high 259 last year) and that the 'Fins have a very crowded backfield with Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, I just do not see the upside for Bush this year. That's why I am fine with him as a third runner, but not at his current Draft Day value.

Roy Helu, RB, Redskins
Current ADP: 35th running back (98th overall)
My rank: 46th running back
If any of you read my stuff from last year, you know Helu is one of my absolute favorites and I think he is extremely talented. In five games as the main man last year, Helu touched the ball 136 times and picked up 651 total yards (428 rushing and 223 receiving) with two scores. He averaged 130.2 total yards and 15.4 points per game in that run, which was a Top 5 pace for the season. The problem is that Helu broke down from the workload and as a result, Mike Shanahan does not think Helu is cut out to be a full time back. Helu's preseason Achilles' injury is doing nothing to dispel that notion and he is falling down the depth chart as a result. Shanahan is a very fickle Fantasy hater, so this could all change by the time you read it, but all reports out of Washington seem to indicate that Helu is behind Evan Royster, Tim Hightower and Alfred Morris for the job of primary rusher. That being said, Helu is the best pass catcher of the bunch and will have a role, but he may not get the chance to have a big run like he did in 2011. He was bottom three in both red zone (2.3 percent) and goal line (14.3 percent) scoring rates last year, so he will likely need to be heavily involved from a yardage standpoint to produce big Fantasy points. I am fine taking that gamble with Helu as my fourth or, even better, as my fifth runner, but I will not take on all of that risk with no guaranteed payoff as my third running back. Shanahan has not coached a Top 24 running back since 2005, so I am not snagging a 'Skins running back unless I can do it much later in my draft.

Honorable mention at running back: Maurice Jones-Drew, Beanie Wells, C.J. Spiller or Fred Jackson (because they both can't live up to their current ADP ... my money is on Spiller there if Jackson stays healthy)

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Wes Welker, WR, Patriots
Current ADP: Fifth wide receiver (28th overall)
My rank: 11th wide receiver
I am sure many of you are gasping at this, but let me explain myself. I actually don't have a problem with Welker being drafted in the third round, but I do think he is overvalued in non-PPR leagues as fifth receiver taken. As good as Welker has been in New England, last year was his first foray into the Top 10 in standard scoring leagues. In fact, from 2007 to 2010, Welker averaged finishing as the 16th-ranked receiver in standard leagues. Last year, Welker's 173 targets, 1,536 yards, nine touchdowns and 1.2 points per target were all career highs. With Brandon Lloyd in town, I don't think there is any way that Welker has another season of 173 or more targets and is likely to fall back under 180 Fantasy points, where he had been every year of his career prior to 2011. If Welker sees 150 targets and loses any efficiency off of his career number last year, he will have a tough time finishing in the Top 10. In 2008 for example, with Randy Moss still in town, Welker saw 150 targets and was the 20th-ranked receiver. With Gronkowski, Hernandez, Lloyd and Welker to all feed on a consistent basis and only one ball to go around, I just can't see taking Welker as the fifth receiver in non-PPR leagues right now. In PPR leagues he is a definite Top 5 receiver, but in standard leagues I'd rather have A.J. Green, Hakeem Nicks, Roddy White and Greg Jennings instead of Welker.

Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens
Current ADP: 33rd wide receiver (96th overall)
My rank: 40th wide receiver
Since joining the Ravens, Boldin has never topped 900 yards receiving in a season nor has he finished in the Top 24 at the receiver position. Last year was a bad year for Boldin, who set full-season career lows in touchdowns (three), touchdown rate (2.8 percent), target conversion rate (53.8 percent), Fantasy points (106) and Fantasy rank (37th). Torrey Smith is the star in the Baltimore receiving corps and I expect Boldin to continue to take a back seat to Smith in 2012 as he did in the second half of 2011. Boldin is averaging just five touchdowns per season over the last three and with very little yardage upside; it is tough to get too excited about his prospects for 2012. As a steady backup, I guess he is fine (especially in PPR formats), but I want more upside from my backups, let alone my starters. At his current ADP, I would not touch Boldin this year and would instead want the upside of Titus Young, Robert Meachem, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Greg Little, Nate Washington and Malcom Floyd. All four of those receivers can be had within two picks of Boldin or are being drafted well after him.

Honorable mention at wide receiver: Mike Wallace, Vincent Jackson, Randy Moss

Have a great Labor Day (or should I say Fantasy draft) Weekend everybody and remember to snag the great values and avoid overhyped players in your drafts.

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Player News
Cardinals' Larry Foote '50-50' on playing in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Though Larry Foote is on the Cardinals' coaching staff at the moment, he hasn't ruled out a potential return to the team

Speaking to the team's website, Foote said he's "50-50" about playing in 2015. He talked about the factors that could play into whether or not he returns to playing. 

“Draft, what happens with (suspended linebacker) Darryl Washington, stuff like that, how my knee feels (after offseason surgery),” Foote said. “I’ll sit down with (Bruce Arians) and the next couple of months are really going to be the deciding factor.”

If Foote doesn't play, he'll be the linebackers coach for Arizona's upcoming season. He's been adjusting to the role of being a coach this offseason. 

“I am starting to like coaching,” Foote said. “It’s a little tough in the office, eating M&Ms, snacking all day, drinking coffee. I started my diet a couple days ago.”


Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


Mark Sanchez: Eagles said Tim Tebow was just a camp arm
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


 
 
 
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