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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
Patriots' running back situation mostly clear
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:22 pm ET) Forget about Brandon Bolden. The Patriots' use of him against the Jets in Week 7 -- he played only one snap -- pretty much tells the story there. Granted, they've had their share of about-faces at the running back spot over the last few years, so I wouldn't dare claim to know what they're thinking, but if they've decided their next-best choice at the position is Jonas Gray, who at least saw the field for 11 plays Thursday, it's pretty clear what direction they intend to go, right?

With that in mind, I cautiously, carefully and with a preemptive tinge of regret plan to start Shane Vereen Week 8 against Chicago and hopefully every week thereafter. Yes, he played 80 percent of the snaps in Week 7, and yes, he scored two touchdowns. But you'll notice both of them came through the air. True, he also got more than two-thirds of the Patriots' carries, but I can't help but wonder if in a different matchup, one that encouraged them to pound the ball instead of rushing just 15 times as a team, they would have been more creative. That would work to Vereen's detriment, obviously.

For more of my biggest takeaways from Week 7, be sure to check out my latest post to the Fantasy Football Today blog.


Darren McFadden still carries limited value
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(2:16 pm ET) Raiders running back Darren McFadden has fallen on such hard times that even a three-week span with one double-digit Fantasy performance counts as a career renaissance. Does he have another level he can take his game to?

McFadden ranks 29th among running backs in Fantasy points over his last three games, but has just 25 Fantasy points. This might be more indicative of just how bad the position has been recently, as he isn't exactly lighting the world on fire. McFadden has topped 4.0 yards per carry just once this season, and has registered one or more Fantasy points through the air in just two games.

McFadden gets work, which will always make him an interesting Fantasy option, no matter how mediocre he is. Still, there are higher upside options out there than McFadden, who also carries the constant risk of injury. As a third Fantasy running back, McFadden is fine, but he doesn't have much more value than that at this point.  


Dolphins RB Lamar Miller wearing brace on right knee
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:14 pm ET) Dolphins running back Lamar Miller practiced Tuesday wearing a brace on his right knee, reports the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Miller has been on the injury report lately with a knee injury, but it's not believed to be serious. He has not missed a game.

Martavis Bryant a threat to Markus Wheaton
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:11 pm ET) Wide receiver Markus Wheaton didn't impress through the first six weeks of the season, so the Steelers saw fit to give someone else a chance Week 7 against Houston. Active for the first time this season, Martavis Bryant had as productive a day as any pass catcher not named Antonio Brown or Le'Veon Bell, hauling in two passes for 40 yards, including a 35-yarder in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. His five targets were third-most on the team, and no one after him had more than two.

That includes Wheaton, who was among those with two targets, going without a catch. He actually played 48 percent of the Steelers' snaps compared to Bryant's 34 percent, which makes his lack of production even more discouraging. Considering he's been up around 80 percent most of the year, he may be in danger of being overtaken.

Of course, Wheaton probably wouldn't disappear completely, and because Antonio Brown is still the go-to guy in the Steelers passing game, Bryant probably wouldn't have the opportunity for big numbers in his place. But in leagues deep enough that Wheaton is relevant, Bryant is now, too.


Bills put C.J. Spiller on short-term IR
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:10 pm ET) The Bills placed running back C.J. Spiller on injured reserve/designated for return, meaning he's eligible to return Week 16 at Oakland. Spiller had surgery Monday to fix the broken collarbone he suffered Sunday against the Vikings.

Outlook for Le'Veon Bell continues to improve
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:51 pm ET) Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell averaged 4.7 receptions per game through his first six games, but because he was involved in the passing game only intermittently as a rookie, you had reason to wonder if you could rely on him for that long-term.

But then he went and caught eight passes for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Texans in Week 7, putting him second among all running backs with 36 receptions, behind only Matt Forte (who remains in a class of his own). In PPR leagues, he's also third among running backs, behind Forte and DeMarco Murray, in Fantasy points to date.

Even better, his touchdown came from the 2-yard line -- a situation where the Steelers may have gone to LeGarrette Blount earlier in the season. Only one of Blount's seven carries even came in Texans' territory in this one.

Bell's touchdown total seven weeks into the season may be disappointing, but in terms of his receiving ability and role on offense, the verdict is in. If we were re-drafting today, he might be one of the first five running backs off the board.


49ers add QB Josh Johnson, cut S Raymond Ventrone
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:37 pm ET) The 49ers re-signed quarterback Josh Johnson and released safety Raymond Ventrone.

Travaris Cadet's role about to change
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(1:29 pm ET) With Pierre Thomas expected to miss a healthy chunk of time with a shoulder injury, Travaris Cadet is now the main receiving option out of the Saints backfield, and that should mean good things for the third-year man out of Appalachian State.

Cadet was already fifth on the team in targets through six games, and the absence of Thomas is only going to increase his workload. The two are averaging 8.3 targets out fo the backfield between them, and with Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram more traditional backs, the majority of those looks should go Cadet's way.

Cadet has already shown he can be a useful receiver in a growing role recently, with 15 receptions for 129 yards and a touchdown over the last three games. The Saints have always featured running backs in the passing game prominently, and now it is Cadet's turn. In PPR leagues, he should make for a solid starting option moving forward, with 29 Fantasy points over the last three weeks already. 


When DeAndre Hopkins is targeted, good things happen
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:25 pm ET) In Week 7 at Pittsburgh, Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was on equal terms with Andre Johnson for once, tying for the team lead with nine targets. It was the first time he got as many targets as Johnson in a game this season, and just as encouraging, it came only a week after getting a season-low two targets.

Hopkins led the Texans with 108 yards on six catches. Despite the disparity in targets, it wasn't the first time he went for more yards than Johnson, but the third. The first came in his only other nine-target game Week 3 at the Giants, when he had 116 yards on six catches.

Hopkins may not get the targets you'd like for a wide receiver to get in Fantasy, but he's efficient with what he gets, meaning when he gets a decent number of targets, like in Weeks 3 and 7, he's almost assured big numbers. With Johnson still the go-to guy for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, though, Hopkins also has the potential to underwhelm any given week.

He's best used as a No. 3 wide receiver in Fantasy, making him a bye-week replacement in some leagues. But if Johnson ever goes down, as he has done all too often in his career, watch out.


Eagles LB Mychal Kendricks practices Tuesday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:21 pm ET) Eagles linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who's missed four straight games with a calf injury, practiced Tuesday and appears on track to return Sunday at Arizona. Kendricks had 13 tackles and a sack in the first two games.

 
 
 
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