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2014 Draft Prep: Picking No. 2 overall

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Pick No. 1 | Pick No. 3 | Pick No. 4 | Pick No. 5 | Pick No. 6 | Pick No. 7
Pick No. 8 | Pick No. 9 | Pick No. 10 | Pick No. 11 | Pick No. 12

Picking second overall is a good deal -- you'll land an elite-level running back with 300-plus-touch potential in Round 1 and end up with three of the Top 25 overall players on your Fantasy rank list.

The dilemma you'll face early on won't be who to take in Round 1 as much as what you'll want to do in Rounds 2 and 3. If you go with two running backs you'll be hurting at receiver. Taking back-to-back receivers might work out better but if you don't like the running backs ranked, say, 21st through 29th, then you probably shouldn't go that route since that will be what's left when you're up in Round 4.

Plan A should be one of each -- a running back and a receiver. But sometimes a better plan pops up and when it does, you should adjust.

That better plan involves an elite quarterback making it to you in Round 3. Call it a quarterback bonus. If you can get Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers by then, that's money. It'll definitely happen if both are available to you in Round 2, since the owner who picked before you to start the draft won't take both. Or shouldn't take both. Unless he's lost, he won't take both.

Another player who could challenge your best laid plans is Rob Gronkowski, a tight end with Jimmy Graham-esque production but more injury risk. Could you potentially take a stud in Round 1, Gronk in Round 2 and a stud quarterback in Round 3? If we're talking about a smaller league then definitely, but if you're in a league with 12 teams or more it might not be a good idea. Sure, you'll have difference makers, but you'll also lag behind at receiver and running back.

I'll say this: If you have a good nose for finding sleepers and maybe even love a lot of receivers and running backs you'll be able to land in Rounds 4 through ... well, pretty much the end of your draft, then it's worth it.

We'd argue that the consistency and productivity of the Top 7 receivers on our rank list outweighs the risk involved with taking Gronkowski. Besides, he might be the guy who slips to you in Round 3. That would be delightful.

So get familiar with running backs and receivers ranked outside of the Top 20 at their positions. Like a lot of them? Plan accordingly. If not, expect to start your draft with two running backs and a receiver.

Editor's note: The percentages listed are what position you should target based on that round for each pick.

Round 1

Round 1 - Standard QB 0% RB 100% WR 0% TE 0%
Round 1 - PPR QB 0% RB 100% WR 0% TE 0%

If you're in a two-quarterback league or some weird receiver-heavy PPR format, this pick will be a running back. And it'll be a good one, one who can start for you every week without question. The candidates are going to be Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson (with Jamaal Charles an option in case he doesn't go at the top of the draft). What's nice about these backs is that a handcuff isn't considered mandatory like some other rushers. All three have backups who aren't expected to play as well as the starters, so you're probably better off picking up a back on another team for depth in case of the unimaginable. There's no wrong answer here but of the three, Forte's the only one who should end up with the most touches (even more than McCoy now that Darren Sproles is in Philly) and doesn't have the career workload concern that Peterson has.

Players you can get here: (Standard and PPR): Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson
My selection at No. 2 standard: Matt Forte
My selection at No. 2 PPR: Matt Forte

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 5% RB 35% WR 40% TE 20%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 40% TE 20%

Let value be your guide here. We know there are three top-tier quarterbacks, 13 or so running backs, seven top-shelf receivers and a pair of tight ends worthy of a Top 24 pick (your numbers may vary). Add those numbers up and we get 25, so you're guaranteed one of them. Expect a lot of running backs and receivers to be gone when you're up, but if one of the Top 7 wideouts is there, it's probably a good idea to take one and then aim for another one of those Top 25 players in Round 3. The quarterback bonus we referred to earlier is also in play here -- you probably should not take a quarterback in this spot. What about Gronkowski? If you're not afraid of risk it's a good pick, but pairing him with an elite passer in Round 3 will mean chasing receivers and running backs for the rest of the draft. In a PPR league, expect a running back to fall into your lap, making your next pick a receiver (quarterback shouldn't be in the equation).

Players you can get here (Standard): A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, Doug Martin, Rob Gronkowski, Drew Brees
Players you can get here (PPR): Zac Stacy, Doug Martin, Alshon Jeffery, Randall Cobb, Rob Gronkowski
My selection at No. 23 standard: Jordy Nelson
My selection at No. 23 PPR: Zac Stacy

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 20% RB 35% WR 30% TE 15%
Round 3 - PPR QB 5% RB 40% WR 50% TE 5%

This is sort of a clean-up pick in that you should pick a starter from a position you didn't take in Round 2. It doesn't have to be this way, especially if you end up with a second consecutive receiver you really like (example: A.J. Green in Round 2, Jordy Nelson in Round 3). But expect it to be a running back if you took a wideout in Round 2 or a receiver if you took a rusher with the previous pick, with the standard-league caveat being that if you game-planned for an elite quarterback in Round 2 then get him now. For the first time in several years the idea of taking three backs to start a draft isn't that appealing. You'll be behind the eight ball at nearly every position if you go that route, though it doesn't mean you can't take three backs with your first four picks.

Players you can get here (Standard): Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, Alshon Jeffery, Randall Cobb, Andre Ellington
Players you can get here (PPR): Andre Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush, Alfred Morris, Larry Fitzgerald
My selection at No. 26 standard: Drew Brees
My selection at No. 26 PPR: Andre Johnson

Round 4

Round 4 - Standard QB 5% RB 45% WR 45% TE 5%
Round 4 - PPR QB 10% RB 35% WR 45% TE 10%

If Matthew Stafford or Julius Thomas are staring you in the face, draft one. But short of that, aim for a back or a receiver. The bad news is that the running backs remaining won't be ideal -- they'll have warts. The good news? You'll select again in three picks and can sort of use the owner in the Pick 1 slot to help determine what you should take. Like if the owner has two running backs and one receiver, expect him to take at least one receiver when up for two. Maybe you'll take a receiver you really like before that owner gets his filthy mitts on him.

Players you can get here (Standard): Joique Bell, Ray Rice, Stevan Ridley, Trent Richardson, Frank Gore, Michael Floyd
Players you can get here (PPR): Michael Floyd, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, Aaron Rodgers, Kendall Wright, Ryan Mathews
My selection at No. 47 standard: Ray Rice
My selection at No. 47 PPR: Wes Welker

Round 5

Round 5 - Standard QB 5% RB 40% WR 45% TE 10%
Round 5 - PPR QB 5% RB 45% WR 40% TE 10%

Pretty much the same advice as your previous pick: Fill your lineup up with quality starters at positions you need, with a heavy emphasis on running backs and wide receivers. Last year this was a good spot to take a quarterback, but we'd wait if you don't have one already. Too many quality ones will be available when you're up in Round 6, and if the owner in the Pick 1 slot has a quarterback by then, you can wait until Round 7. Matthew Stafford is the only good pick and he should be gone by this point. The same kind of depth is at tight end -- maybe a case could be made for Vernon Davis, but there's some worry he won't score as many touchdowns as he did last season and thus won't finish as a Top 5 tight end. If you love your first four picks and think of Davis as an elite option, then he's worth taking here. Finally, there's nothing wrong with having three receivers through five picks, especially if we're talking about high-reception wideouts in a PPR league.

Players you can get here (Standard): Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Floyd, Roddy White, Victor Cruz, Vernon Davis
Players you can get here (PPR): Kendall Wright, Ryan Mathews, Emmanuel Sanders, Trent Richardson, Julian Edelman, Vernon Davis
My selection at No. 50 standard: Emmanuel Sanders
My selection at No. 50 PPR: Kendall Wright

Round 6

Round 6 - Standard QB 15% RB 35% WR 35% TE 15%
Round 6 - PPR QB 10% RB 35% WR 40% TE 15%

We're still searching for starters in Round 6, though now you should be more open to the tight end and quarterback positions if you haven't filled them already. But hold on -- remember that advice from Round 4 about sizing up the needs of the owner in Pick 1? If you need a quarterback or a tight end and that owner already has one, chances are he won't draft another one this early. You can wait until Round 7 (an example of this is coming up) to fill a need the other owner has already taken care of. Generally speaking, Round 6 is a good enough time to start taking chances on players who might have some injury risk, playing time concerns, or both.

Players you can get here (Standard): Jeremy Maclin, Steven Jackson, Mike Wallace, Andrew Luck, Jordan Cameron, Ben Tate
Players you can get here (PPR): Pierre Thomas, Danny Woodhead, Stevan Ridley, DeSean Jackson, Torrey Smith, Jordan Cameron
My selection at No. 71 standard: Jeremy Maclin
My selection at No. 71 PPR: Stevan Ridley

Round 7

Round 7 - Standard QB 20% RB 20% WR 30% TE 30%
Round 7 - PPR QB 30% RB 20% WR 30% TE 20%

Round 7 still offers plenty of good starting options and certainly some good values at every position except running back and maybe receiver in standard leagues. This is a good spot to pick up a tight end or a quarterback, particularly if you use the needs of the Pick 1 owner against him. If that owner already has a quarterback and/or a tight end, you should have waited for one in Round 6 and gone with it here. Last year the running back depth dropped off a cliff here, but we suspect you'll have some decent options for third and fourth running backs when you're up late in Round 8 and early in Round 9.

Players you can get here (Standard): Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Terrance West, Kendall Wright, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston
Players you can get here (PPR): Colin Kaepernick, Mike Wallace, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Terrance Williams, Fred Jackson
My selection at No. 74 standard: Jason Witten
My selection at No. 74 PPR: Colin Kaepernick

Round 8

Round 8 - Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20%
Round 8 - PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20%

If you're still shopping for starters, it better be at quarterback or tight end. That's because we're entering backup and rookie territory at running back and receiver. The most-wanted handcuffs will begin getting picked off (if you drafted Ray Rice, this is the spot to get Bernard Pierce) and the quality upside receivers will also get snatched up. If you don't feel good about your running backs, then that's the direction to go in. Remember, you're up for another pick soon and can address other needs then.

Players you can get here (Standard): Jordan Reed, Brandin Cooks, Jeremy Hill, Bernard Pierce, Robert Griffin III
Players you can get here (PPR): Devonta Freeman, Brandin Cooks, DeAngelo Williams, Knowshon Moreno, Bernard Pierce, Kyle Rudolph, Jay Cutler
My selection at No. 95 standard: Bernard Pierce
My selection at No. 95 PPR: DeAngelo Williams

Round 9

Round 9 - Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 25% TE 25%
Round 9 - PPR QB 10% RB 30% WR 35% TE 25%

Things could start getting ugly at quarterback and at tight end, so if you don't have a starter at those spots by now then make a move for one. Depth at running back will go before depth at receiver. Make sure you don't actually see a receiver you'd want before taking the best available back. Players I'd expect to get drafted in Round 9: Zach Ertz, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle, Christine Michael and Khiry Robinson.

Players you can get here (Standard): Christine Michael, DeAngelo Williams, Greg Olsen, Zach Ertz, Tre Mason, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle
Players you can get here (PPR): Kyle Rudolph, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle, Khiry Robinson, Mike Evans, Dexter McCluster, Marvin Jones
My selection at No. 98 standard: DeAngelo Williams
My selection at No. 98 PPR: Kyle Rudolph

Round 10

Round 10 - Standard QB 10% RB 30% WR 35% TE 10% K 0% DST 15%
Round 10 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 30% TE 10% K 0% DST 15%

The fun part about the late rounds of a Fantasy draft is that there's no commitment. Draft someone who blows out a knee or struggles to get playing time? Cut 'em! So this is the time to start looking for two types of players: Relative bargains for quality depth or high-upside youngsters, especially if it's a receiver coming off a decent season or a running back with an older player with breakdown potential in front of them. Or ... you could take the best, most difference-making DST in Fantasy and find sleepers later on (like three picks later).

Players you can get here (Standard): Carlos Hyde, Marvin Jones, Kenny Stills, Knile Davis
Players you can get here (PPR): Tavon Austin, James White, Seahawks DST, Jarrett Boykin, Knile Davis
My selection at No. 119 standard: Marvin Jones
My selection at No. 119 PPR: Seahawks DST

Round 11

Round 11 - Standard QB 15% RB 30% WR 30% TE 10% K 0% DST 15%
Round 11 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 30% TE 10% K 0% DST 15%

Sleepers and quality backup running backs (or both in the case of guys like James White, Andre Williams and Travaris Cadet) are your targets. Nothing wrong with going for an older back who would get a ton of work in case the starter in front of them goes down. Also nothing wrong with taking a DST you have a major hunch about or even a backup quarterback that slides right under your nose. One factor is that roster spots are filling up and when you're up in the next round you might only have one or two open spots to fill before taking a kicker and a DST (assuming you have to take them).

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Knile Davis, Harry Douglas, Riley Cooper, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Ivory, Eric Ebron, Jarrett Boykin
My selection at No. 122 standard: LeGarrette Blount
My selection at No. 122 PPR: Harry Douglas

Round 12

Round 12 - Standard QB 10% RB 30% WR 25% TE 10% K 0% DST 25%
Round 12 - PPR QB 10% RB 25% WR 30% TE 10% K 0% DST 25%

Unless you splurged on a DST already, only one of your next two picks will be an actual skill-position player. This might be your last sleeper or a backup quarterback or tight end -- but it doesn't have to happen now. Most leagues have DSTs litter the second-to-last round of a draft. If this is your third-to-last round and you're up again in three picks, you might as well wait to take your sleeper unless it's someone you just don't want to risk losing. The benefit? You can rack up a Top 5 DST. Note that if the owner in Pick 1 already has a DST then you should pass on a DST since he'll draft a sleeper with one of his picks (two if he unfathomably has a DST and a kicker already).

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Any non-Top 3 DST, Carson Palmer, Justin Hunter, any middle- to low-end running back handcuff
My selection at No. 143 standard: Cardinals DST
My selection at No. 143 PPR: Justin Hunter

Round 13

Round 13 - Standard QB 10% RB 20% WR 15% TE 10% K 0% DST 45%
Round 13 - PPR QB 10% RB 20% WR 15% TE 10% K 0% DST 45%

Most owners will end up with the best-available DST in this spot. Units like the Patriots and Steelers stand out because of their improved personnel and easy schedule (especially for the Steelers). Going for a kicker (and probably the best kicker you can get) is only an option if you're sure you can land the player you want with your final pick -- someone like a low-end handcuff or a player no one else in your league has heard of. But why risk that for a kicker? Wait until the last round for the boot.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Any middle- to low-end running back handcuff, any DST not ranked in the Top 5, any kicker
My selection at No. 146 standard: Ka'Deem Carey (handcuff to Matt Forte)
My selection at No. 146 PPR: Ka'Deem Carey

Round 14

Round 14 - Standard QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% K 100% DST 0%
Round 14 - PPR QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% K 100% DST 0%

Your last pick should be the most dispensable one -- a kicker. Pick one that either has a track record of consistency (Shayne Graham, Steven Hauschka, Adam Vinatieri, Robbie Gould) or plays with a team that has a good early-season schedule (Alex Henery, Greg Zuerlein, whoever kicks for the Redskins)

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): A kicker
My selection at No. 167 standard: Robbie Gould
My selection at No. 167 PPR: Robbie Gould

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Drew Brees Colin Kaepernick
RB Matt Forte Matt Forte
RB Ray Rice Zac Stacy
WR Jordy Nelson Andre Johnson
WR Emmanuel Sanders Wes Welker
FLEX Jeremy Maclin Kendall Wright
TE Jason Witten Kyle Rudolph
K Robbie Gould Robbie Gould
DST Cardinals DST Seahawks DST
Reserve Bernard Pierce Stevan Ridley
Reserve DeAngelo Williams DeAngelo Williams
Reserve Marvin Jones Harry Douglas
Reserve LeGarrette Blount Justin Hunter
Reserve Ka'Deem Carey Ka'Deem Carey

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Player News
Cowboys' Garrett: DL Nick Hayden an 'important signing'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made it a point of emphasis to mention to reporters at the NFL Meetings that re-signing defensive lineman Nick Hayden was important, reports the Dallas Morning News.

“Well, we’re always trying to get better and we have to get better,’’ Garrett said. “We have to bring some impact players into our defense. But Nick has been such a good player for us as a leader of that defensive line and he’s a really productive player. There’s a lot of the dirty work but he’s one of those guys who makes a lot of hits on the ball, is around the football a lot and simply makes a lot of plays.

"That was an important signing for us.’’

Hayden has started all 16 games with the Cowboys for two consecutive seasons. Over his seven-year career, he has 135 total tackles, two sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.


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(3/26/2015) Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower is going to miss between six and seven months, according to the Boston Globe.

Hightower had surgery this February to repair a torn right labrum. The team is concerned that he might not be able to be ready for the start of the reguar season. He played through the injury for a good portion of the 2014 season prior to surgery.

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"I like the pistol," head coach Mike McCarthy said during a break at the NFL owners meetings this week. "I think there's a lot of value regardless of the injury to Aaron. I know he likes it. There's a place for it year-round in your offense."

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“I think you prepare to help him call that game throughout the course of the week," Kubiak said. “A lot of people put emphasis on him calling plays at the line, but you’ve also prepared to do that throughout the course of the week, so you, as a coach, 'Here’s what I think is best in that situation.' In a lot of ways you’re still working together. You’re just going about it a different way."

“You never want to put a player in a position where he’s doing something he’s uncomfortable with," Kubiak said. “One of things about having a veteran, especially like Peyton, he’s going to let you know, 'This is what I do best and this is what I feel comfortable with.' That’s what you need to go do as a coach. You might tweak things here or there that you think may help, but you’re never going to take him out of his comfort zone and what he feels like he does best.”

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(3/26/2015) After being released by the Buccaneers, linebacker Brandon Magee is going to participate in spring training with the Boston Red Sox. That being said, he is still committed to playing in the NFL, according to Pro Football Talk. 

Magee's agent, Blake Baratz, emailed Pro Football Talk regarding his client's desire to resume his NFL career.

“There have been rumors circulating that Brandon Magee, who was recently released by Tampa Bay, has given up football with the intention of playing professional baseball. This could not be further from the truth,” Baratz wrote. “While he does attend spring training for a few weeks up until the beginning of the NFL off-season program, he is 100% fully committed to playing in the NFL.”

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“He knows, and his agent knows, how much we want him back,” Hunt said. “We just all have to be patient, and eventually, we’re going to get him signed to a long-term deal.”

Houston has 48.5 sacks in his four-year career. 

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