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2013 Draft Prep: Old faces, new places

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Flashback to a year ago when Peyton Manning left Indianapolis for Denver, Brandon Marshall went from Miami to Chicago and Vincent Jackson took a cross-country trip from San Diego to Tampa Bay.

There were doubts about all three of those moves, but they worked out great for Fantasy owners. Manning was the No. 4 quarterback in standard leagues, and Marshall and Jackson were Top 6 receivers.

Of course, not every move worked out great. Peyton Hillis (Cleveland to Kansas City), Robert Meachem (New Orleans to San Diego) and Brandon Lloyd (St. Louis to Denver) were busts and let a lot of Fantasy owners down.

Below is our take on the 20 most impactful offseason moves for Fantasy owners to consider entering Draft Day 2013.

Quarterback

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Carson Palmer, Cardinals
Palmer actually posted decent stats with the Raiders last season -- 61 percent completions, 4,018 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and 14 interceptions -- but he gets an upgrade going to Arizona. That's because head coach Bruce Arians' downfield passing attack should allow Palmer to air it out, and he gets the best receiver he's ever played with in Larry Fitzgerald (sorry Chad Johnson). He also has other quality weapons in Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts and Rob Housler. The key will be if the offensive line can give Palmer time, and if he can survive a brutal division with tremendous defensive opponents in San Francisco, Seattle and St. Louis. Palmer is a good No. 2 quarterback to target with a late-round pick.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 20 quarterback
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 20 quarterback

Alex Smith, Chiefs
We all know Smith's story by now with Colin Kaepernick and his exit from the 49ers. Smith might not win as much in Kansas City as he did in San Francisco, but he has the chance for a career season thanks to Andy Reid. The former Eagles coach has turned good quarterbacks into great ones (Donovan McNabb for his career and Michael Vick for one season) and gotten stellar performances at times from mediocre passers like Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley and Nick Foles. Smith has a great weapon in Dwayne Bowe and a stud running back in Jamaal Charles. He might not get drafted in the majority of leagues, but Smith could end up as a great bye-week replacement during the season.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 24 quarterback
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 24 quarterback

Other quarterback moves of note: Matt Cassel, Chiefs to Vikings; Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills to Titans; Kevin Kolb, Cardinals to Bills; Tim Tebow, Jets to Patriots

Running back

Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts
Bradshaw opened training camp on the PUP list, which means his foot problems with the Giants followed him to Indianapolis. The good thing for Bradshaw is he's played at least 14 games in three of the past four years, and during that time he's had two seasons with at least 1,200 total yards and eight touchdowns. If healthy, Bradshaw will start for the Colts ahead of Vick Ballard, and he should play on all three downs. Ballard started 12 games last year and had seven games with at least nine Fantasy points, and Bradshaw is an upgrade in talent. He is worth drafting as a flex option in Round 6, but keep an eye on his health as training camp goes on.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 15 running back
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 30 running back

Reggie Bush, Lions
Bush went to the Dolphins in 2011 from the Saints and proved he could be a complete running back by averaging more than 1,000 rushing yards in two seasons. He goes to Detroit now with the chance for a career year. Bush is expected to get back to catching the ball at a high level -- he had at least 52 catches in his first three seasons with the Saints but only 78 catches the past two seasons in Miami -- since the Lions have said he could get 70-plus receptions. Along with his rushing potential, Bush could total 1,500 yards for the first time in his career. If he scores at least six touchdowns, which he's done six times in seven seasons, he will be a steal with a pick toward the end of Round 2 or beginning of Round 3.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 20 running back
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 15 running back

Shonn Greene, Titans
Greene never lived up to his potential with the Jets, but he was a Top 20 Fantasy running back the past two seasons just based on volume. He had at least 250 carries the past two years with at least 1,050 yards and six touchdowns in both seasons. He won't get that much work in Tennessee as the backup to Chris Johnson, but he could find a way to still score at least six touchdowns with around 550 rushing yards, which makes him worth a late-round pick. And if something happens to Johnson then Greene could return as a viable Fantasy option. The Titans are a run-first team, and they invested heavily in their offensive line this offseason, which would only benefit Greene if he got an increased opportunity.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 24 running back
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 40 running back

Chris Ivory, Jets
If you look at what Greene did for the Jets the past two seasons you have to be excited for Ivory. He is more talented than Greene, and if he gets 250-plus carries he could shine. Ivory averaged 5.1 yards per carry in three seasons with the Saints, so he could rush for about 1,300 yards if he keeps that up in New York. If he matches Greene's six touchdowns then he could be a Top 15 running back. The problem is Ivory will face a lot of defenders at the line of scrimmage with the poor passing game expected for the Jets, and he has minimal receiving skills with 18 career catches in the NFL and college. Still, based on potential, you should draft Ivory in Round 5 because this could be a breakout season.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Not worth drafting
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 25 running back

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Steven Jackson, Falcons
Jackson was a stud with the Rams since his breakout season in 2005, but he could have a standout year with the Falcons. Jackson hasn't scored more than six touchdowns since 2008, but scoring is what Michael Turner, Jackson's predecessor, did best. In his five seasons with the Falcons, Turner had at least 10 touchdowns every year with 51 total scores over that span, and Jackson now has the chance for that production. He also should go back to being more involved as a receiver -- he had a five-year low with 38 catches last season -- since the Falcons want him on the field for all three downs. He's a great pick in the early part of Round 2.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 15 running back
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 12 running back

Rashard Mendenhall, Cardinals
Mendenhall will get the chance for plenty of work since Arians favors one running back to work on all three downs. And Arians knows Mendenhall from their days together with the Steelers. From 2009-11, Mendenhall had at least 1,000 total yards and eight touchdowns each year. He suffered a torn ACL at the end of the 2011 season and needs to prove he can recover at 100 percent since he looked sluggish in his comeback last year. And the offensive line in Arizona could be a detriment, along with a tough division. Still, based on workload and previous ability, Mendenhall is worth a pick in Round 6 as a flex option.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 24 running back
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 30 running back

Danny Woodhead, Chargers
Woodhead was the No. 24 running back in standard leagues last season despite getting just 76 carries. He managed 301 rushing yards and four touchdowns and had 40 catches for 446 yards and three touchdowns. He is expected to be the third-down back for the Chargers, but he's playing behind Ryan Mathews, who has struggled to stay healthy and produce. Woodhead could easily take plenty of work away from Mathews, and if the Chargers are trailing on a consistent basis -- which is likely -- Woodhead will be on the field a lot. He is worth a late-round pick in standard leagues, and his value is slightly higher in PPR formats. He won't be a Top 24 running back again, but he could end up as a viable reserve.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 30 running back
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 48 running back

Other running back moves of note: LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers to Patriots; Justin Forsett, Texans to Jaguars; Mike Goodson, Raiders to Jets; Peyton Hillis, Chiefs to Buccaneers; Rashad Jennings, Jaguars to Raiders; Felix Jones, Cowboys to Eagles; LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals to Steelers

Wide receiver

Danny Amendola, Patriots
This might be my favorite offseason move because I've been an Amendola fan for several years. He's had trouble staying healthy, but I think he's in line for a career season. He gets a significant upgrade at quarterback from Sam Bradford to Tom Brady, and he's expected to step into Wes Welker's role -- Welker averaged 112 catches, 1,243 yards and six touchdowns a year in New England over six years. If Amendola reaches those stats he'll end up as a Top 15 Fantasy receiver that you can draft in Round 5. I like Amendola better than Welker this season.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 40 wide receiver
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 20 wide receiver

Anquan Boldin, 49ers
Boldin was expected to go to San Francisco for the twilight of his career as a complementary option to Michael Crabtree. Instead, with Crabtree (Achilles) hurt, Boldin will now step into the No. 1 receiver role. He'll get plenty of help from Vernon Davis, but Boldin is a skilled slot receiver now instead of a consistent downfield threat. He's a good Fantasy reserve, but his best days are behind him. We recommend drafting Boldin with a late-round pick in the majority of leagues, and he could turn into a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in PPR formats. But don't expect him to replace Crabtree because they aren't the same type of player.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 36 wide receiver
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 40 wide receiver

Darrius Heyward-Bey, Colts
Heyward-Bey will never live up to where the Raiders drafted him as a first-round pick in 2009, but he did have a breakout season in his third year in 2011 with 64 catches for 975 yards and four touchdowns. He failed to build off that performance last season (41 catches for 606 yards and five touchdowns), and now he's competing for a starting spot in Indianapolis with T.Y. Hilton. While we expect Hilton to win the job, the Colts like what Heyward-Bey brings to the field, and he could end up posting quality stats this season. He's not worth drafting in the majority of leagues, but if he starts off the season playing well then add him off the waiver wire.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 40 wide receiver
Fantasy value after the transaction: Not worth drafting

Greg Jennings, Vikings
Once upon a time Jennings was an elite Fantasy option. He bridged the gap from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers and has three seasons in his career with at least 1,100 receiving yards and four seasons with at least nine touchdowns. But the past two years have been marred with injuries to his knee and groin. He gets a significant quarterback downgrade from "12," as Jennings called Rodgers, to Christian Ponder, and that will impact his stats. He's no longer a Top 15 Fantasy receiver, and he might not be a Top 36 option. I'd still draft him as a No. 3 receiver, but I would do it reluctantly after Round 6.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 15 wide receiver
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 36 wide receiver

Mike Wallace, Dolphins
Wallace got off to a slow start in training camp with his rapport with Ryan Tannehill, and if he struggles early then it could be a long year. Wallace has typically started hot and cooled off to close the season. Last year, Wallace had just one game with a touchdown in his final six outings and two games with 100 receiving yards on the year. The same thing happened to him in 2011 when he had one game with a touchdown in his final seven outings and four games with 100 receiving yards. He remains a No. 3 Fantasy receiver coming into the year, but if you consider him a Top 20 option this season you'll be left disappointed. Target Wallace in Round 6 if you want him on your team.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 20 wide receiver
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 36 wide receiver

Wes Welker, Broncos
Welker is a bust candidate for me because I don't expect him to play in Denver like he did in New England. Two strong sources -- the Denver Post and Welker himself -- expect his stats to decline. That doesn't mean he's going to be terrible, but he's a low-end No. 2 Fantasy receiver instead of a Top 15 option. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker are the best pair of receivers Welker has ever played with, and they aren't going away in this offense. Manning will keep Welker happy and use him quite a bit, but you can expect a decline in production from his days with Brady.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Top 12 wide receiver
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 24 wide receiver

Other wide receiver moves of note: Donnie Avery, Colts to Chiefs; Davone Bess, Dolphins to Browns; Brandon Gibson, Rams to Dolphins; Ted Ginn, 49ers to Panthers; Devery Henderson, Saints to Redskins; Domenik Hixon, Giants to Panthers; Michael Jenkins, Vikings to Patriots; Louis Murphy, Panthers to Giants; Donte Stallworth, Patriots to Redskins; Kevin Walter, Texans to Titans

Tight end

Martellus Bennett, Bears
Bennett had a breakout season with the Giants last year with 55 catches for 626 yards and five touchdowns, and he could be even better with the Bears. Chicago could lean on Bennett as the No. 2 receiving option behind Marshall, and tight ends have had success scoring for Jay Cutler. In the past three seasons, Cutler has thrown 16 touchdowns to tight ends, and Bennett is the best player at the position for Cutler since Greg Olsen in 2010. He is worth drafting with a late-round pick if you miss on an elite tight end on Draft Day.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Not worth drafting
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 12 tight end

Jared Cook, Rams
This is another favorable offseason move because we finally get to see if Cook can play at a high level. The Rams plan to use Cook in a variety of ways, and he could be a consistent threat for Bradford. St. Louis plans to throw a lot, and Cook has the potential to be a Top 10 Fantasy tight end. He's a great option to target with a late-round pick after the elite tight ends are drafted. Cook has the skill set to be a standout tight end, and we hope the Rams don't underutilize him like he was in Tennessee.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Not worth drafting
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 10 tight end

Dustin Keller, Dolphins
Keller has flashed his potential at times with the Jets. He had consecutive years of at least 55 catches for 680 yards and five touchdowns from 2010-11. He tailed off last season because he was hurt, but he gets a quarterback upgrade going from Mark Sanchez to Tannehill. The Dolphins are counting on Keller to be a prominent target over the middle, and Keller is already raving about his new offense. He might not get drafted in the majority of leagues, but Keller could end up as a great waiver wire addition.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Not worth drafting
Fantasy value after the transaction: Not worth drafting

James Casey, Eagles
If you're looking for a sleeper tight end in deeper leagues then put Casey on your radar. He goes from being a hybrid player with the Texans, where he lined up at fullback, to being a potential wild card for the Eagles. Chip Kelly's offense is expected to be tight end friendly. And while the Eagles have veteran Brent Celek and rookie Zach Ertz, Casey should still get plenty of targets, especially with Jeremy Maclin (knee) out. We don't recommend drafting Casey in the majority of leagues, but he could be a potential waiver wire addition if he starts off the season playing well.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Not worth drafting
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 24 tight end

Brandon Myers, Giants
Myers was one of the biggest surprises in 2012 when he had 79 catches for 806 yards and four touchdowns for the Raiders. He could continue to play at a high level with the Giants, especially stepping in for the departed Bennett. Eli Manning has always gotten quality production from his tight ends from Jeremy Shockey to Jake Ballard to Bennett. Myers is likely the No. 4 target in the passing game behind Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle, but he'll still make plays. He's a great fallback option, especially in PPR formats, and if he goes undrafted then consider him a waiver wire target.
Fantasy value prior to the transaction: Not worth drafting
Fantasy value after the transaction: Top 15 tight end

Other tight end moves of note: Anthony Fasano, Dolphins to Chiefs; Delanie Walker, 49ers to Titans; Kellen Winslow, Patriots to Jets

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 .

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Player News
Tom Brady has out-of-character performance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:52 pm ET) The Patriots have played some weird games against Jets in recent years, including a 27-25 squeaker when they were at their hottest back in Week 7. So perhaps it's not surprising quarterback Tom Brady wasn't at his best Week 16 at the Jets as the Patriots eked out another victory, this time by just one point.

He completed 23 of 35 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was coming off a streak of 10 games with both 200-plus passing yards and two-plus touchdowns.

Brady was playing without his top target, wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was out with a concussion. But with Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell still at his disposal and Danny Amendola filling in capably, that likely wasn't the reason for his struggles. The matchup shouldn't have been either given where the Jets rank against the pass, but in three of his last four games against the division rival, Brady has thrown for less than two scores. And in all four, he's thrown for less than 300 yards.

Maybe it's just a matter of them being too familiar with each other. In any case, you shouldn't let this performance discourage you from starting Brady Week 17 against Buffalo unless of course the Patriots have already secured homefield advantage throughout the playoffs by that point.


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet able to return Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:27 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was able to return Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Helfet was carted off in the first half with a rib injury. He was initially ruled questionable to return to the contest, but was cleared to return after half time. Helfet returned at the start of the third quarter. 


Patriots' backfield remains an enigma
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:17 pm ET) LeGarrette Blount was out for Week 16 at the Jets with a shoulder injury, which meant surely the Patriots would make Jonas Gray their go-to running back. After all, he had a 200-yard, four-touchdown game earlier this season and finally got out of coach Bill Belichick's doghouse with 11 carries for 62 yards last week.

Wrong again.

Gray was the Patriots' only running back to score a touchdown in Week 16, plunging in from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter, but to say he was the go-to back would be disingenuous. He and Shane Vereen tied for the team lead in carries with six, but Brandon Bolden also had five. And Vereen and Bolden were both more productive with their carries, averaging 6.3 yards and 6.4 yards, respectively, than Gray was with his, averaging 0.8 yards.

And then there's the fact that Vereen is far and away the best pass-catcher of the three, but he was hardly involved in the passing game on a quiet day for quarterback Tom Brady.

So basically, you wouldn't have gone right with any of Blount's three replacements, and considering they were all equally involved, you have to wonder how they'll impact Blount's role if he returns Week 17 against Buffalo. Given that it's a tough matchup anyway, you might just want to avoid every Patriots running back.


Field goals down Ravens in loss to Texans
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:01 pm ET) Coming off their best performance of the season, the Ravens DST unit failed to live up to expectations in Week 16's 25-13 loss to the Texans.

The Ravens mostly held the Texans offense in check, limiting them to 313 yards of total offense. However, the Texans had the ball in the red zone seven times, and were able to rack up a solid scoring day despite being held to just one touchdown, as they kicked six field goals in the win. The Ravens forced just one turnover, and failed to sack Case Keenum in the loss.

The Ravens finished Sunday's game with just 5 Fantasy points, one week after dropping 26 against the Jaguars. They will look to bounce back in Week 17, as they face the Browns in the season finale.


Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse ruled out with hamstring injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:59 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has been ruled out Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Kearse is dealing with a hamstring injury. He caught one pass for 8 yards before leaving the contest. 


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet gets carted off Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:57 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was carted off the field Week 16 against the Seahawks.

Helfet came into the game with an ankle injury, but was carted off with a rib injury. He is questionable to return to the contest. Helfet caught two passes for 9 yards before leaving. 


Texans DST keeps on rolling in win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:56 pm ET) The Texans defense dominated in Week 16, in a 25-13 win over the Ravens.

The Ravens managed just 211 yards of total offense in the game, despite running 68 plays. The Texans pass rush got home for just two sacks in the game, but they forced Joe Flacco into three interceptions anyways, as they finished the game with 18 Fantasy points, their second in a row with that total.

The Texans DST unit enters the final week of the season riding a eight-game streak with at least 10 Fantasy points, and they should have no trouble keeping it going with a matchup on the way against the Jaguars. 


Greg Zuerlein drills a 51-yarder
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:54 pm ET) Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 51-yard field goal against the Giants, making him 4 of 6 from 50-plus yards this season. He also hit a 20-yard field goal and three PATS for nine points.

Zuerlein wraps up the season at Seattle.


Steelers pass rush dominates in victory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:51 pm ET) The Steelers DST unit continued its solid play in Week 16, in a 20-12 win over the Chiefs.

The Chiefs racked up 327 yards of total offense in the win, but did little to take advantage of that. They made four trips to the red zone and failed to come away with a single touchdown, settling for four field goals in the loss. The Steelers forced one turnover and sacked Alex Smith six times, en route to 14 Fantasy points.  

The Steelers have at least 9 Fantasy points in eight of their last nine games, including 9 against the Bengals in Week 14. They will look to pull that feat again in Week 17, with the Bengals on the schedule again to close the season out. 


Don't lose faith in Mark Ingram
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 pm ET) Though Saints running back Mark Ingram scored a touchdown Week 16 against Atlanta, plunging in from 1 yard out in the first quarter, he didn't have the most productive afternoon, rushing 13 times for 38 yards and catching three passes for 17. He's now run for less than 60 yards in three straight games, averaging 46.7 during that stretch compared to 101.3 in his previous six.

It's not like the Saints have turned to other options, though, which was Ingram's problem in previous seasons. Khiry Robinson was the only other running back to get any carries in Week 16, and he had just two. It's just that the Saints haven't been in a position to run the ball in recent weeks, losing big in both Week 14 and, of course, Week 16.

So what about Week 15? That's partly on Ingram. He got the carries, finishing with 17, and didn't do much with him.

The good news is that the Saints should be able to win handily Week 17 at Tampa Bay, which should mean plenty of garbage-time opportunities against a so-so run defense. Outside of maybe PPR leagues, you'll want to keep Ingram active in Fantasy.


 
 
 
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