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2013 Draft Prep: Breakouts, 2.0

Senior Fantasy Writer
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It's time to take our second look at breakouts for 2013.

Guys who qualify for this distinction are those on the verge of becoming stars, superstars or, in the case of C.J. Spiller, the best running back in the NFL.

You can see who I listed in this space back in July before the start of training camp, and the players I still stand behind include Andrew Luck, Lamar Miller, David Wilson, Shane Vereen, Randall Cobb, Danny Amendola and Jared Cook.

This updated version is to give you 10 more players to consider on Draft Day. All of these guys have the potential to be amazing in 2013.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills: Adrian Peterson should be the first player drafted in all leagues. What he did in 2012, and what he should do again this season, warrants him being selected No. 1 overall. But if there's one player I had to pick who could challenge Peterson for the No. 1 running back spot it would be Spiller. He's that good. Spiller is going to be used "until he throws up," according to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Last year, when Spiller replaced Fred Jackson, he had just 207 carries and 43 catches with only nine starts, and he was No. 7 in Fantasy points in a standard league. If he gets just 300 total touches -- all six running backs in front of him in Fantasy points (Peterson, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris and Ray Rice) all had more than 300 touches -- he could dominate. So for fun, give him 255 carries and 45 catches at his same averages. That would give him 2,012 total yards (1,530 rushing, 482 receiving), and his touchdowns could increase from eight to 10. I think he'll get more work than that, and I like him at No. 2 overall. This is going to be a big year for Spiller.
I'd take him ahead of: Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, Marshawn Lynch

DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys: Murray was a bust last season when he was drafted in the first round and failed to produce because of a foot injury. When healthy, Murray was solid with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league in five of the 10 games he played in and never having fewer than seven points. I'm counting on Murray playing at least 13 games this year, and he should finally live up to his potential. I'd gamble on Murray in the second round in standard leagues and early in the third round in PPR formats. It's always risky to gamble on injury-prone players, especially someone like Murray who has missed nine games in two seasons, but when talented guys do stay on the field they reward you in a big way. I'm counting on this being the year for Murray to do that.
I'd take him ahead of: Maurice Jones-Drew, Lamar Miller, David Wilson

Mark Ingram, RB, Saints: Ingram comes into this season with likely his best chance to succeed, and he's not battling any nagging injuries. The Saints, with Sean Payton back calling plays, promise to give a little more emphasis to the run game, which would take pressure off their defense. Chris Ivory is gone, and Pierre Thomas (leg) has missed time during practice. Ingram showed some signs of life at the end of last season with double digits in Fantasy points in two of his final three games, and he closed the year with a touchdown in four of his final seven outings. We're not talking about a weekly starter with Ingram, but he could turn into a flex option. And the best part about him is you can draft him as your fourth running back in Round 9, which is great value given his upside.
I'd take him ahead of: DeAngelo Williams, Bernard Pierce, Bryce Brown

Montee Ball, RB, Broncos: The battle for the starting running back job in Denver is likely going to play out over the next couple of weeks, but it's hard to see Ball not being heavily involved. While Ronnie Hillman and even Knowshon Moreno should factor into the mix, Ball has the chance to lead the Broncos in rushing touchdowns with plenty of yards. He's struggled in the preseason and has played behind Hillman, but it's hard to gauge the performance for any of the running backs in Denver given their opponents through two games (San Francisco and Seattle). The good thing is the Broncos have a soft schedule, which should help Ball succeed, and he could be a vital cog late in games killing the clock. Based on his potential to score double digits in touchdowns, Ball could easily become a Top 20 Fantasy running back this year. But since he'll share time, especially early in the year with at least Hillman, he enters the season as a flex option (he also has to improve his pass protection). He's still someone I would buy into with a pick in Round 5 in standard leagues as a flex option based on his upside in an explosive offense.
I'd take him ahead of: Chris Ivory, Ahmad Bradshaw, Ryan Mathews

Pierre Garcon, WR, Redskins: When Garcon was healthy in 2012 he was among the best receivers in the NFL. He had four games with double digits in Fantasy points in the eight games he was close to 100 percent. But Garcon missed six outings and was limited in two others with a toe problem, which he now says is manageable. There's always the risk of a setback, but Garcon has the ability to be a Top 10 Fantasy option with the Redskins. He's shown flashes of greatness before during his tenure with the Colts, but he's never reached 1,000 receiving yards or had more than six touchdowns. I'm expecting him to eclipse both those marks and have a career season, and he's a Top 15 Fantasy receiver coming into the year. He's a great No. 2 receiver to target beginning in Round 4 or 5 in the majority of leagues.
I'd take him ahead of: Eric Decker, Reggie Wayne, Wes Welker

Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers: Brown ascends to the No. 1 receiver spot in Pittsburgh with Mike Wallace gone, and the Steelers will need him to play at a high level, especially with Heath Miller (ACL) banged up. Last year, Wallace and Miller combined for 36 red-zone targets and came away with 16 touchdowns. Brown closed 2012 with four touchdowns in his final four games, and he had a career-high five scores. He has the the chance to see that number rise, especially with the expected increase from his 106 targets last year. He should get back to 1,000-plus receiving yards like he had in 2011, and he has the chance for 75-plus catches. Brown has the potential to be a Top 20 Fantasy receiver, but he's falling to Round 6 as the No. 25 receiver off the board based on Average Draft Position. I'd gamble on Brown in Round 5 based on his upside.
I'd take him ahead of: Cecil Shorts, Jordy Nelson, Mike Wallace

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Torrey Smith, WR, Ravens: Smith has posted nearly identical stats for two seasons in row of about 50 catches, 850 yards and seven touchdowns, but this is the year for him to improve. It's his third year in the NFL, which is when receivers tend to break out, and he's a prime candidate with the Ravens missing Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta. Smith is aware of this based on a conversation we had this offseason. "I'm improving every day," Smith said. "It's all about consistency. I was saying the same thing last year. Being consistent in my technique. Being consistent with everything. I grew in that way. Now it's about being consistent on offense." Smith should be drafted as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver, but he could easily become a Top 20 option by the end of the year. It wouldn't be a surprise to see him get well over 1,000 receiving yards with double digits in touchdowns given his potential and the need of playmakers in the passing game for the Ravens.
I'd take him ahead of: Jordy Nelson, Mike Wallace, Steve Johnson

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: It's hard to find a receiver having a better preseason than Hilton. Through two games he has five catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns, but the troubling thing is the Colts continue to use him as the third receiver behind Reggie Wayne and Darrius Heyward-Bey. There's no way Hilton should be behind Heyward-Bey, and you can argue he has more upside than Wayne. He's being drafted as the No. 29 receiver, but Hilton could easily be a weekly starter in the majority of leagues. He was a surprise rookie with 50 catches for 861 yards and seven touchdowns, but he can easily eclipse 1,000 yards while maintaining a healthy amount of scores. He's a receiver to be excited about this year, and hopefully the Colts keep him on the field as much as possible. With an increase in targets -- he only had 91 as a rookie -- he could be a dominant force.
I'd take him ahead of: Tavon Austin, Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson

DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles: Once upon a time Jackson was on the verge of being the next big thing for Fantasy owners. He had consecutive seasons of 1,000 receiving yards and six touchdowns, but then came the ill-fated 2011 campaign. Jackson had his money on his mind, and it impacted his play. He hasn't been the same since, but Jackson's value is pointing up again. The addition of new coach Chip Kelly and the subtraction of receiver Jeremy Maclin (ACL) make Jackson a high-upside No. 3 Fantasy option. Michael Vick has to throw to someone, and Jackson should lead the Eagles in targets. He has to stay healthy after being out the final five games last year, and he has to hope Vick can stay upright as well. But if Jackson and Vick master this Kelly offense and play the majority of the season, we could see Jackson finally live up to his immense potential this year.
I'd take him ahead of: Kenny Britt, Steve Johnson, Mike Wallace

Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks: Tate went into the offseason as the No. 3 receiver for the Seahawks behind Percy Harvin and Sidney Rice, but come Week 1 he should be No. 1 on the depth chart. Harvin (hip) is out for majority of the year, and Rice (knee) should miss the entire preseason. It will fall on Tate to lead this passing game, and he's ready to dominate in a potential contract year. He had a third-year breakout type performance in 2012 with 45 catches for 688 yards and seven touchdowns -- which were all career highs -- but he should post better stats in 2013. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported that Tate has the chance to make a leap into the upper echelon of receivers this year, and the opportunity is there to make that happen. He's a great No. 3 Fantasy receiver to target in Round 9, which is where he's going based on ADP.
I'd take him ahead of: Anquan Boldin, Miles Austin, Greg Jennings

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
The heartbreak begins for Antone Smith
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:11 pm ET) After he delivered a touchdown of 35 yards or more in four straight games and five of six to begin the season, you really couldn't blame anyone for starting Falcons running back Antone Smith in Week 7, as happened in 26 percent of CBSSports.com Fantasy leagues. But those who started him had to know based on the limited number of opportunities he gets that whenever he had a week when he didn't break a long one, he'd leave them high and dry.

That's exactly what happened at Baltimore. He got his usual allotment of touches -- three carries and two catches -- and netted a total of 9 yards with them.

We may not have seen the last long touchdown from Smith this year, but he couldn't sustain the pace he was on. You're playing with fire every time you use him in Fantasy because for all the Falcons' big talk, they're not increasing his role. He played only 15 percent of their snaps in Week 7, less than any of their other three running backs. He has played the fewest snaps of the four in four of the team's seven games this season, and rookie Devonta Freeman was the only one with fewer in the other three.

Smith is and always has been a touchdown-or-bust player, and I predict a lot more bust in his future.


Buccaneers QB Josh McCown returns to practice Monday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:07 pm ET) Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering a right thumb injury. He on the field taking snaps and throwing the ball during the media availability portion of the session on Monday, according to the Tampa Tribune. McCown, who was wearing a wrap around his thumb, has not played since Week 3 because of the injury. 

The Buccaneers will face Minnesota in Week 8.


Lions announce several roster moves Monday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(2:00 pm ET) The Lions have announced several roster moves on Monday, ESPN reports. The team signed tight end Kellen Davis, and in order to free up a roster spot, Detroit has waived safety Jerome Couplin. Wide receiver Ifeanyi Momah was also signed to the practice squad.

Report: Lions sign TE Kellen Davis
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:56 pm ET) The Lions have signed tight end Kellen Davis, a league source told Pro Football Talk on Monday. The move will give the team more depth at tight end after Joseph Fauria (ankle) and rookie Eric Ebron (hamstring) all sat out Week 7. The only healthy tight end on the roster, Brandon Pettigrew, injured his ankle on Sunday against New Orleans.

Davis caught three passes in 15 appearances last season for the Seahawks. He has yet to play a game this season.


Bears K Robbie Gould downplays Brandon Marshall 's rant
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:49 pm ET) Bears kicker Robbie Gould has downplayed his teammate Brandon Marshall 's dramatic postgame rant in a radio appearance on WSCR 670-AM on Monday, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"I wouldn't give this any more attention than it obviously needs," Gould said. "Everyone's trying to make this a story out of something that really wasn't that big of a deal. … Obviously everyone's frustrated. Everyone wants to win. Our fans want to win. Coaches want to win. The players want to win. And everyone's obviously frustrated."

After losing to his former team on Sunday, the star wideout was heard screaming at his teammates -- including Gould -- through the locker room doors before venting to the media. The Bears have lost their first three games at home this season, matching their home loss total from each of the previous five seasons.

They'll look to get back on track Week 8 at New England.


Demaryius Thomas clearly the top wide receiver
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:38 pm ET) Coming into the season, Demaryius Thomas wasn't the clear No. 1 wide receiver in Fantasy. Calvin Johnson was. And while Thomas was in the discussion for the No. 2 spot, so were A.J. Green and Julio Jones.

But with Johnson and Green battling injuries and Jones an indirect victim of the Falcons' offensive line woes, Thomas has emerged as the top dog at the position. Frankly, he'd probably be there even if those other three played exactly as they were supposed to. He's the most talented wide receiver the (soon to be) most prolific passer in league history has ever had to work with, and the two are beginning to click like never before. Over his last three games, Thomas has averaged 8.7 catches for 173.7 yards with five touchdowns.

Certainly, he won't maintain that pace for the rest of the season. If he did, he'd finish with about 2,400 yards. But if Peyton Manning continues to give him preferential treatment instead of reverting to the equal opportunity passer he was in his first two years with the Broncos, the two could challenge the record books.

Nothing against Jordy Nelson, who has actually been the best wide receiver in standard CBSSports.com leagues to date, but I think Thomas blows him and every other wide receiver out of the water going forward.


Dolphins attribute read option to Ryan Tannehill's recent success
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:37 pm ET) Dolphins offensive coordinator Bill Lazor credited quarterback Ryan Tannehill's ability to successfully run the read option as a reason for his team's success as of late. Tannehill completed his first 14 pass attempts and finished 25 for 32 with 277 yards and two scores in a 27-14 victory over the Bears in Week 7.

"Every day, practice and games, he gets better at it," Lazor said, per the Palm Beach Post. "He's confident in it. It helped us win the game."

In the past six quarters, Tannehill has completed 37 of 47 attempts for 437 yards, with four touchdown passes. He's also carried the ball seven times for 88 yards and a score.


Idzik: Percy Harvin could be 'a potential coup for the Jets'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1:21 pm ET) Although wide receiver Percy Harvin arrives in New York amid rumors of multiple physical altercations with former Seattle teammates, Jets general manager John Idzik is excited to have Harvin on the roster.

"This can be a potential coup for the Jets," Idzik said Monday, per the New York Daily News.

Despite Harvin's past, Idzik said the team did "a ton" of background work on Harvin and doesn't believe Harvin will be disruptive.

"You never know how a player is going to behave, react, respond until you put him in your environment," Idzik said. "In Percy’s case, University of Florida, Minnesota, Seattle, they’re all different environments than here in New York. We have a very healthy environment for Percy Harvin. 

"It’s really immersing him in what it is to act like a Jet, be a Jet, play like a Jet."


No reason for concern over Emmanuel Sanders
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:17 pm ET) It was good news, bad news for Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders Week 7 against the 49ers. The good news is he scored his first touchdown of the season, catching a 3-yard pass from quarterback Peyton Manning in the first quarter. The bad news is it was one of just three catches he had all day ... for only 41 yards.

The performance was especially discouraging coming on the heels of a three-catch, 38-yard effort at the Jets in Week 6. Prior to then, he may not have had any touchdowns, but he delivered three straight 100-yard games.

I still say it's nothing to worry about in Fantasy. You can't expect every game to unfold the exact same way. You know the Broncos are going to throw the ball. Demaryius Thomas has been getting most of the looks lately, but if he maintained his pace from the last three weeks, averaging 173.7 yards per game, for the rest of the season, he'd have nearly 2,400 yards.

He won't have 2,400 yards, and on the days when he falls of pace, Manning's favorite target figures to be Sanders. He has too big of a role in too productive of an offense for you to lose faith in him.


Panthers' Bene Benwikere expected to get starting nickel job back
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) Panthers cornerback Bene Benwikere is expected to get his starting job back at the nickel once he's fully recovered from an ankle injury, the Associated Press reports. Benwikere was inactive Sunday against the Packers and has not played since Week 5 against the Bears.

 
 
 
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