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2013 Draft Prep: Busts for Draft Day

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The term 'bust' is relative. Rare is the player I refuse to draft regardless of round. When I think of a bust, I think of a guy I wouldn't draft at his average draft position. If I can get him after that point, that's different. I'd take my enemy's cat in Round 17 if I thought it would help my Fantasy team win.

Last year's busts were either laughable or stunningly on point.

I cringe seeing C.J. Spiller, Robert Griffin, Andre Johnson and Reggie Bush written about as busts last year. For whatever it's worth I did say Spiller would be a "dynamo" if Fred Jackson got hurt, that RG3 would have weeks where he'd put up "solid numbers" but that his "sleek frame" was part of his downfall, and that I "can't help but think (Johnson will) have a good season in helping Houston make a playoff run" but not be worth the Round 2 price tag. Bush I flat out whiffed on.

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The other seven guys -- especially Miles Austin and Kenny Britt, right down to their projections -- were good calls. I'm learning from last year and coming out swinging this year with another 10 names who are good but not good enough to draft on par with their averages.

Note: I had Tom Brady and Russell Wilson originally as busts based on ADP, but not anymore. Some might say I'm chickening out. To them I say "Bawk-bawk." The Patriots have reloaded to the point where Brady has a realistic chance of maintaining his three-year statistical average of 4,654 yards and 36.3 touchdowns. Wilson also has the look of a quarterback who can get by with his current receiving corps and still be productive. I am fine calling Brady a Top 5 quarterback who might actually get drafted as a relative bargain. While I wouldn't reach for Wilson, I wouldn't call him a bust based on his 73.36 draft average.

Jay Cutler, QB, Bears: Some people rank Cutler among the top sleepers in Fantasy because of new coach Marc Trestman bringing his version of the West Coast offense to Chicago. In time, Trestman's playbook could make a 4,000-yard passer out of Cutler, but it seems unlikely this year. He didn't have a good training camp and his preseason began inauspiciously with two interceptions, a fumble that a teammate recovered and three sacks taken. There seems to be a disconnect of sorts between Cutler and Trestman and until it's solved, he's not going to be a great Fantasy weapon. He's also due to start the season against three tough pass rushes: Cincinnati, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. You can do better with a late-round quarterback pickup.
I'd rather draft: Sam Bradford, Matt Schaub, Josh Freeman

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: You know the name and expect big games, but he's got a chance to come up lame. A changed receiving corps combined with a refreshed philosophy on the run game might hurt his production, from pass attempts to completion percentage. Mike Wallace cashed a big check in Miami, eliminating the big deep threat the Steelers need for Big Ben to be great. Heath Miller was Roethlisberger's security blanket last year but isn't likely to be as explosive coming off of a torn ACL. It leaves Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders as Roethlisberger's best receiving threats -- neither one has proven to be a legitimate weapon for defenses to get scared of. Moreover, the Steelers are going to demand more of their run game, which means more handoffs for Roethlisberger. Like Cutler, Big Ben is just not expected to be good enough to draft over some other passers you'll look at in the late rounds. I haven't drafted Roethlisberger to any of my Fantasy teams this summer.
I'd rather draft: Joe Flacco, Carson Palmer

Andre Brown, RB, Giants: Count me in the David Wilson camp for the Giants' running back workload race. Brown looks like the better bargain on Draft Day but questions about his durability have followed him since college. Brown hurt his left foot in 2007 and again in the spring of 2008 (but didn't miss any college games). He ruptured his Achilles in 2009, had a minor toe injury in 2010, was out of the league in 2011 and had a concussion, minor shoulder ailment and a broken fibula in 2012. It's too bad because Brown is a pretty good talent with the size to be an effective goal-line rusher, but he'd need a serious Wilson injury and his own body to stay strong to ever get a chance at being the primary running back for the Giants. Don't overdraft him.
I'd rather draft: Mark Ingram, Ronnie Hillman, DeAngelo Williams

Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: I think it's gutsy to take Gore with a third-round pick, which is what his draft average is as of now. Most people gravitate toward Gore because of his familiar name and steady production (at least 1,200 total yards each of the last seven seasons) but we've seen his reps dwindle under coach Jim Harbaugh at about a carry on average per year. We've also seen him become less of a weapon as a receiver -- he had 46 catches in 2010 (pre-Harbaugh) and 45 catches combined under Harbaugh in 2011 and 2012. There's going to be a conscious effort to keep Gore fresh as he not only turned 30 in May but went over 2,000 carries during the Super Bowl last year. Besides, the year after a Super Bowl run isn't so good for running backs in the first place. I'm fine with taking Gore as my Flex in Round 4 or beyond, so long as I find Kendall Hunter with one of my last picks. But, I'm settling for Gore, not trying hard to land him.
I'd rather draft: Lamar Miller, David Wilson, Roddy White

Chris Ivory, RB, Jets: If you're into running backs who play a few weeks, then get hurt, then come back and play, then get hurt again, Ivory's your man. Only once in his last seven years of playing football has Ivory managed to string together more than five consecutive games of action. As a pro he's totaled 15 or more carries seven times, doing it in consecutive games just one time over three years. The laundry list of injuries Ivory has dealt with include a season-ending knee injury in 2009, another knee injury, a concussion and a Lisfranc in 2010, a sports hernia and a hamstring in 2011 and a hamstring again in 2012. Oh, and he missed 17 days of Jets training camp with a hamstring this summer. And, by the way, the Jets' offense is a mess. He's going to be a headache to own this season. Bilal Powell is the Jets running back you want.
I'd rather draft: DeAngelo Williams, Mark Ingram, Bilal Powell

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Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders: Anyone who suggests McFadden as a nice No. 2 running back is blind. Not only is he a walking injury risk but he happens to be the only decent offensive weapon on a team loaded with weaknesses. That puts the target squarely on him and I'm not sure he's good enough to consistently beat eight in the box Adrian Peterson-style. Moreover, everything else about Oakland is brutal. The offensive line is beat up already, sporting two has-beens at the tackle spots. The receiving corps has potential but with Matt Flynn, Terrelle Pryor and Tyler Wilson making up the quarterback group, the passing game doesn't look good. The defense has a lot of holes and could mean a lot of playing from behind. Nothing makes McFadden appealing other than his contract-year status, but that's meaningless if he can't play 16 games.
I'd rather draft: David Wilson, Darren Sproles, Le'Veon Bell

Danny Amendola, WR, Patriots: Call me a nerd or a worrywart or whatever, but there's nothing the Patriots can say or do to change the fact that Amendola is an injury risk. Last year alone he had an ankle injury, a dislocated clavicle and an heel injury that needed a walking boot. The year before he dislocated his elbow and tore his triceps. Amendola has proved this preseason that he's a dynamic version of Wes Welker -- able to run incredible routes both in the short area and deeper down the field. Tom Brady will go to him often, particularly when an opponent is ignorant enough to cover him with a linebacker or inadequate cornerback. So long as he's on the field he's going to be a stat machine. But it feels like he's tough to count on for more than a dozen games. That makes him too risky, even for me, with a pick at 54th overall or higher.
I'd rather draft: Pierre Garcon, Eric Decker, James Jones

Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings: Rich, old and slow is the way to go through life if you're retired or the man behind pogs, but it's not good if you're a football player. Jennings has missed part of the last two seasons with injuries and jumps from the Packers and Aaron Rodgers to the Vikings and Christian Ponder. That's like leaving a free meal at Quality Meats for the White Castle drive-thru. And while I love a good slider (double with cheese of course), I'd rather have the bone-in ribeye. Rodgers is the ribeye, Ponder is the slider and Jennings has enough dough from the Vikings to feed himself as much of whatever he wants without caring about hoisting a championship. Don't be surprised if teams start to worry more about rookie Cordarrelle Patterson than Greg Jennings by the time the season finishes up.
I'd rather draft: Michael Floyd, Chris Givens, Justin Blackmon

Hakeem Nicks, WR, Giants: Nicks has quite a medical record and has had trouble staying healthy over the last calendar year. He missed time already in training camp with a groin pull and seemingly dragged his feet to get back on the field, raising the ire of coach Tom Coughlin. That leads me to believe that Nicks is worried about getting hurt in his contract year, kind of like DeSean Jackson did in Philadelphia a couple of years back. Nicks might realize that if he gets hurt again he'll jeopardize his chances of getting paid a lot of money. He'd be right -- no team will roll out the Benjamins for a player who breaks his foot in an offseason practice or comes up lame in a training camp drill. That's Nicks, and after playing last season at less than 100 percent we saw a player who was masterful in one game and mostly a disappointment in the rest. Someone else can draft Nicks in my Fantasy leagues.
I'd rather draft: DeSean Jackson, Antonio Brown, Cecil Shorts

Mike Wallace, WR, Dolphins: When camp started there appeared to be more mojo in the Dolphins' new logo than there was between Wallace and Ryan Tannehill. Their timing was off and questions arose over just how effective Wallace would be. In recent preseason play the two have started to hook up more, and that's all well and good, but I'm not buying. Wallace figures to be next in a long line of receivers who underwhelm after landing a lot of guaranteed money with a new team. Tannehill isn't as good as you might think, his pass protection is iffy and even though the Dolphins will be in a lot of games where they'll need to pass, you can bet your stone crab claws that defenses will try to eliminate Wallace first. That's a lot easier to do in Miami than it was in Pittsburgh. I'd be stunned if Wallace wound up with over 1,000 yards.
I'd rather draft: Cecil Shorts, T.Y. Hilton, Tavon Austin

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard .

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Player News
Eagles coach Chip Kelly: 'Everybody's in competition' for QB spot
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(11:10 am ET) Eagles coach Chip Kelly said Sam Bradford and Mark Sanchez will actively compete for the top quarterback spot this season, per ESPN.com.

“Everybody’s in competition,” Kelly said, “and the best players play.”

Sanchez played in nine games for the Eagles last season, passing for 2,418 yards, 14 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Bradford missed all of last season due to an ACL tear.


Ravens DE Timmy Jernigan on replacing Ngata: 'Big shoes to fill'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:50 am ET) When the Ravens traded away Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata it shocked a lot of people, including defensive end Timmy Jernigan, according to NFL.com.

Jernigan will play a huge role as Ngata's replacement this upcoming season. 

"It's definitely something I've been waiting for for a long time," Jernigan said. "I've known I'm more than capable of doing the job. Now it's just a point of proving it. Last year, I showed flashes. You've got to be able to do it consistently day in and day out. It's huge shoes to fill."

Jernigan recorded 23 tackles and four sacks last season in 12 games as a rookie.


Ravens WR Steve Smith: 'I will not be playing until I'm 40'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:32 am ET) Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has other things to do outside of the gridiron, and the 36-year-old has no plans on still being in pads when he's 40, per NFL.com.

Smith was asked this week if he had any desire to play into his 40s like the great Jerry Rice.

"Jerry Rice is obviously the greatest wide receiver to ever play, and I really don't have the family structure to chase 40, to be honest," Smith said. "I have got a lot of things on my to-do list that don't have anything to do with football. I'm going to take it day-by-day, but I will not be playing until I'm 40."

Smith, who's heading into his 15th NFL season, caught 79 passes for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns last season.


Bengals' Jeremy Hill expects balance attack with Giovani Bernard
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:20 am ET) The Bengals have weapons at the running back position. With Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, the team has a pair of more than capable rushers at its disposal.

It seems as if the Bengals are going to use both of them as much as possible, per ESPN.com.

"Obviously there's going to be a balanced attack," Hill said. "I don't think he's got to wear either one of us out, so that way we can make it through all 16 games for a playoff push."

Hill rushed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns last season as a rookie, while injuries limited Bernard to 680 yards and five touchdowns. The duo plans on coming back even stronger next season.

"We want to lift ourselves to the next level and earn the respect of this league," Hill said. "We have the guys in the [running back] room to do that."


Giants QB Eli Manning is expecting best pro season next year
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(10:06 am ET) Giants quarterback Eli Manning is an accomplished 11-year veteran. There isn't much for the two-time Super Bowl MVP to prove, except that he will have his best season ever as a pro next year, according to NFL.com.

"I am," Manning said when asked if he was expecting his best season ever. "I like the guys we have in the locker room, I like our talent, I like how everybody's approaching this season, I'm looking forward to it."

Manning will certainly have the weapons at his disposal for a fantastic season. Wide receiver Odell Beckham, the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year, is as talented a player there is. A healthy Victor Cruz will scare opposing defenses. And Rueben Randle has improved every season in the league. 

"I think he can have a dominant season," Cruz said. "I think that with the type of offense we have, and the way that we all can click come September and all that good stuff, I think it's gonna make for a very, very dominant type of offense where we could go and put up 28, 35 points at a clip, and really do some fun things this year."

Manning will have to try to eclipse last season's performance, when he threw for 4,410 yards and 30 touchdowns.


Packers QB Rodgers could have more control after play-calling change
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(9:44 am ET) Aaron Rodgers was at the helm of the league's highest-scoring offense last season, and he could now have even more control of that offense this season, per ESPN.com.

Rodgers, who won the his second NFL MVP award while helping the Packers score 30.4 points per game, will probably be more involved in every facet of the offense this year -- including some play-calling.

"He has," Packers quarterbacks coach, Alex Van Pelt, said when asked if Rodgers could call plays. "He could. Sure. Definitely."

The official play-calling duties are in the hands of associate head coach Tome Clements, after coach Mike McCarthy passed them down before last season. The switch is what can give Rodgers more freedom than ever when it comes to the play selection.

"I've always had a lot of freedom," Rodgers said. "It's just occasionally the personnel groupings restricts some of the checks you can make. But that's kind of a natural progression for a quarterback who's been in a system for a long time, if they can handle it to do more things. I have always liked a good starting point for a play, and then have the ability to get us in a better play if you can do it quickly and it’s clean."

Rodgers passed for 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns in 16 games last season.


Falcons DT Jackson hires personal chef to lose weight, fit into defense
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(9:27 am ET) Falcons defensive tackle Tyson Jackson can sit back and relax after signing a five-year, $25 million deal with the team last season, but he's showing more dedication than ever.

Jackson, who currently weighs 318 pounds, hired a personal chef with the goal of slimming down to 305 pounds, per ESPN.com.

"I just started recently, and constantly, week by week, I want to trim down," Jackson said. "I got my personal chef at the end of March. I know Matt Ryan used her, and a couple Falcons in the past have used her, too."

Jackson wants to slime down because the Falcons' defensive schemes will be much different this year. Last season he was encouraged to be as big as possible because the team pictured him as a run-stuffer. This year's defense is a more complex version of last season's 4-3 scheme and it incorporates a lot of 3-4 principles, so Jackson's big frame isn't an ideal fit.

"Playing this 4-3 style of defense, there's no reason to be heavy because you're not two-gapping no more," Jackson said. "Everything is ball, key and get-off. So, that's pretty much the reason for [losing weight]."

Jackson started all 16 games for the Falcons last year and recorded 22 tackles.


Texans' Louis Nix 'trying to move forward' in sophomore season
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/28/2015) Texans nose tackle Louis Nix spoke about his lost rookie season this week in OTAs, the Houston Chronicle reports.

"A lot went on my first year here. It was a lot to deal with," said Nix, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery during the preseason and eventually was placed on season-ending injured reserve. "It was difficult to maintain it with all the issues. But I'm happy about now, and that's what I'm worried about. I'm just trying to move forward and do the best I can."

Coach Bill O'Brien expressed frustration with Nix earlier this offseason.

"Bill is Bill. He challenges everybody," Nix said. "Sometimes you guys make it more than what it is. … He wants guys to be better. I take no offense to it. I know he just wants me to be the best player that I can be. He sees potential, and I see it in myself. I'm starting to get back in a groove of things. I'm just going to keep trying to do the best I can."

Nix is finally healthy and working his way into game shape.

"Make it through a practice, man," Nix said. "That's my goal."


Eagles' Earl Wolff, Marcus Smith limited in OTAs with injuries
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/28/2015) Eagles safety Earl Wolff and linebacker Marcus Smith were limited in OTAs with injuries, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Wolff is recovering from knee surgery. Coach Chip Kelly said the safety has been cleared to return, and the team is waiting for him to reach full participation in OTAs. Smith has been dealing with a pulled leg muscle.


Packers' Casey Hayward dealing with foot injury
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(5/28/2015) Packers cornerback Casey Hayward is dealing with a foot injury and doesn't expect to return to action until training camp, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.

"I’ll probably take it easy into camp right now," Hayward said. "I have a minor foot thing right now. We’ll probably take it easy into camp."

Hayward said the foot "flared up" on him earlier in the offseason. He finished with 42 tackles and three interceptions last season.


 
 
 
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