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2014 Draft Prep: Picking No. 4 overall

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Pick No. 1 | Pick No. 2 | Pick No. 3 | Pick No. 5 | Pick No. 6 | Pick No. 7
Pick No. 8 | Pick No. 9 | Pick No. 10 | Pick No. 11 | Pick No. 12

There aren't many guarantees in Fantasy Football, but this year if you're picking fourth overall you're guaranteed to get a running back with great expectations. There might be more than four running backs expected to do a lot of heavy lifting for their teams but the four best ones -- Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson -- are consensus picks.

Not only are you guaranteed one of those guys, but you're also guaranteed to get a player in Round 2 that is either a Top 3 quarterback, a Top 13 running back, a Top 7 receiver or Jimmy Graham. Do the math! That's 24 players and you'll pick 21st in Round 2 (17th if it's a 10-team league). You're in the perfect spot to grab a stud receiver that you'll never pull from lineups.

And best of all, you'll pick that player before the owners who also took an elite running back in Round 1 get to take a player in Round 2.

The guarantees continue in Round 3 when you pick another Top 30 player. Remind me how this is worse than picking 12th? Three players in the Top 30 including a Top 4 running back are at your fingertips. Fourth overall is the best spot to draft at this summer.

Here's our guide for your entire 12-team, 14-round draft.

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%

Jamaal Charles. Matt Forte. LeSean McCoy. Adrian Peterson. You're doing it wrong if you're not taking one of these four. Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham are nice and the argument can be made that they're worth considering in a PPR league, but we all know how valuable big-workload running backs are. Why pass one up, even for Megatron or Jimmy? If we're talking even one pick later then maybe, but those running backs are precious. You have to take one.

Players you can get here: (Standard and PPR): Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson
My selection at No. 4 standard: Adrian Peterson
My selection at No. 4 PPR: Adrian Peterson

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 5% RB 40% WR 50% TE 5%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 40% TE 20%

The payoff to picking fourth overall happens here. You're in a great spot to land a Top 5 receiver in a standard league and at worst a Top 12 running back/Top 10 receiver in a PPR format (receivers go earlier in PPR leagues, pushing the running back talent down). Ideally you'd like two difference-makers on your roster at the two toughest positions to fill, though going with two running backs isn't such a bad idea either. We can be flexible here because we're up again soon in Round 3 -- in a standard league I'd expect a Top 10 receiver to make it to you whereas in a PPR it would be more like a Top 20 running back. Naturally, there could be a quarterback or a tight end that looks good at this point, but sticking with a plan to get elite talent at the rare positions will pay off later.

Players you can get here (Standard): Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Doug Martin, Drew Brees
Players you can get here (PPR): Randall Cobb, Alshon Jeffery, Marshawn Lynch, Zac Stacy
My selection at No. 21 standard: Brandon Marshall
My selection at No. 21 PPR: Randall Cobb

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 10% RB 35% WR 45% TE 10%
Round 3 - PPR QB 10% RB 45% WR 35% TE 10%

Another nice perk of picking fourth is getting three players in the Top 30. Chances are this pick will be another running back or a receiver, but if Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers or Rob Gronkowski falls here, they're tough to pass up. The reality is that they'll be gone by now, not to mention it's not mandatory to take any of them if you're not inclined, so running back or receiver it is. If you have two running backs then there should be a Top 10 receiver left to grab. If you have one running back and one receiver then you can be flexible, but it makes for a safer, stronger lineup to lock up two Top 10 receivers. You'll never bench them except for bye weeks (which means you don't have to draft a bunch of backups) and should be able to find one or two serviceable running backs to platoon as your No. 2 option with your next few picks.

Players you can get here (Standard): Randall Cobb, Andre Ellington, Aaron Rodgers, Toby Gerhart, Larry Fitzgerald
Players you can get here (PPR): Reggie Bush, Alfred Morris, Larry Fitzgerald, Shane Vereen, Peyton Manning
My selection at No. 28 standard: Randall Cobb
My selection at No. 28 PPR: Reggie Bush

Round 4

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

We're still looking for running backs and wideouts in Round 4, with only Matthew Stafford or Julius Thomas potentially taking our attention. Stafford offers excellent value in Round 4 considering his potential (maybe even likelihood) to put up numbers like an elite quarterback. He did it last season until the very end of the year. The running back pool will get thinned out more than the receivers at this point, so that could be the direction to go in. Just don't force a running back in place of Stafford or a quality PPR-value receiver. The nice thing about picking 45th overall is that 52nd overall is just a few choices away and the same caliber of running back you're looking at here will still be there in Round 5.

Players you can get here (Standard): Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson, Shane Vereen, Matthew Stafford, Joique Bell, Ray Rice
Players you can get here (PPR): Roddy White, Michael Floyd, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Mathews
My selection at No. 45 standard: Matthew Stafford
My selection at No. 45 PPR: Roddy White

Round 5

Round 5 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 35% TE 15%
Round 5 - PPR QB 10% RB 35% WR 40% TE 15%

One goal a Fantasy owner should shoot for in the early-to-middle rounds is to land a player who should find over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. It's not wrong to expect to find someone with that kind of potential at this point. The goal for this very pick is to find a potential starter, especially if one of your first four picks included a quarterback or a tight end. If you took one of those positions it'll mean fishing for a back or a receiver, which should still offer some decent options. On the flip side, the quarterback and tight end run should kick off with your next pick and you could get a jump on it if there's someone you really want. Starting your team with three running backs and two receivers, two running backs and three receivers or two running backs, two receivers and one quarterback/tight end is totally cool.

Players you can get here (Standard): Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Floyd, Frank Gore, Wes Welker, Roddy White, Victor Cruz, Vernon Davis
Players you can get here (PPR): Kendall Wright, Ryan Mathews, Emmanuel Sanders, Trent Richardson, Chris Johnson, Julian Edelman, Vernon Davis
My selection at No. 52 standard: Frank Gore
My selection at No. 52 PPR: Emmanuel Sanders

Round 6

Round 6 - Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20%
Round 6 - PPR QB 15% RB 35% WR 30% TE 20%

If you're getting comfortable with your backs and receivers then it's fine to start checking out tight ends and quarterbacks. The run on them probably started earlier in this round, so there might not be as many choices out there as you might want. Still, expect a quarterback you wouldn't mind owning being there for the taking. But do a little homework here: If the owners who pick after you in Round 6 and before you in Round 7 all have a quarterback (or a tight end) already, then it's probably unlikely that they'll take another. This means you can wait a round and pick up some added value. The decision to wait is made easier if there are two or three quarterbacks/tight ends you wouldn't mind having. Follow the philosophy laid out in Round 5 otherwise -- aim for a player with 1,000-yard, six-touchdown potential. Nothing wrong with adding depth at running back or receiver, because players in those groups are going to get thin in about two rounds.

Players you can get here (Standard): Jordan Cameron, Andrew Luck, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Witten, Steven Jackson
Players you can get here (PPR): Ben Tate, Danny Woodhead, Dennis Pitta, Stevan Ridley, DeSean Jackson, Torrey Smith
My selection at No. 69 standard: Mike Wallace
My selection at No. 69 PPR: Danny Woodhead

Round 7

Round 7 - Standard QB 20% RB 20% WR 30% TE 30%
Round 7 - PPR QB 25% RB 25% WR 30% TE 20%

This is when the sleepers will start to get attractive and rookies will start to pick up, but don't be a fool and let an amazing value get past you here. There will be quarterbacks and tight ends that slip into Round 7 and if you're in need of one, you'll feel good about your Fantasy team and life in general if you take one. Hopefully you're not looking for a reliable Fantasy running back here because if you are, you're going to be disappointed. Same thing with receiver. If you're in pre-draft planning, expect to target a passer or a tight end with this pick.

Players you can get here (Standard): Tony Romo, Terrance West, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, Terrance Williams
Players you can get here (PPR): Mike Wallace, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Terrance Williams, T.Y. Hilton, Fred Jackson
My selection at No. 76 standard: Terrance West
My selection at No. 76 PPR: Tom Brady

Round 8

Round 8 - Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 25% TE 25%
Round 8 - PPR QB 20% RB 25% WR 30% TE 25%

It's not a great time to target running backs as everyone left will be in a part-time situation, though high-demand handcuffs will begin hitting the street. It's a little bit better for receivers as high-upside types will be in play. The back-half of our Top 12 tight ends will begin coming off the board here as well the last three or four Top 12 quarterbacks. The value is there, but the big-time sleepers will also draw attention.

Players you can get here (Standard): Jordan Reed, Danny Woodhead, Brandin Cooks, Robert Griffin III, Bernard Pierce, Jeremy Hill
Players you can get here (PPR): Devonta Freeman, Zach Ertz, Kyle Rudolph, Brandin Cooks, DeAngelo Williams, Knowshon Moreno
My selection at No. 93 standard: Brandin Cooks
My selection at No. 93 PPR: Zach Ertz

Round 9

Round 9 - Standard QB 15% RB 30% WR 30% TE 25%
Round 9 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 30% TE 25%

No owner is looking for starters at this point unless it's a tight end or quarterback that's fallen into your lap (and that can happen if you played your cards right in Round 8 by noticing the needs of the owners picking after you then). So gear up for more sleepers -- players who have a shot to outperform the expectations of a typical ninth-round pick. In fact, no one you should pick in Round 9 should have modest expectations. Shoot for the moon. The exception? A handcuff you desperately need because they might not make it back to you in Round 10.

Players you can get here (Standard): Christine Michael, Zach Ertz, Stepfan Taylor, Tre Mason, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle
Players you can get here (PPR): Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle, Khiry Robinson, Mike Evans, Dexter McCluster, Marvin Jones
My selection at No. 100 standard: Zach Ertz
My selection at No. 100 PPR: Rueben Randle

Round 10

Round 10 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 30% TE 10% K 0% DST 10%
Round 10 - PPR QB 15% RB 35% WR 30% TE 10% K 0% DST 10%

What would constitute a waste of a pick in Round 10? Probably taking someone you can get in Round 12 or 13. A real no-name. So don't do that. The sleepers left at this point won't have the same appeal as the ones taken a couple of rounds sooner. If you're fortunate enough to find a running back that can provide depth and either work as a handcuff or as a sleeper (or both) then you're on the right track. There are probably some decent sleeper receivers left, albeit none with huge potential. I wouldn't rule out the Seahawks DST here either since they can make a difference in your lineup.

Players you can get here (Standard): Tavon Austin, Carlos Hyde, Hakeem Nicks, Marvin Jones, Seahawks DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Tavon Austin, Chris Ivory, James White, Jarrett Boykin, Seahawks DST
My selection at No. 117 standard: Carlos Hyde
My selection at No. 117 PPR: Chris Ivory

Round 11

Round 11 - Standard QB 10% RB 35% WR 30% TE 15% K 0% DST 10%
Round 11 - PPR QB 10% RB 30% WR 35% TE 15% K 0% DST 10%

It's important not to mail in the rest of your draft. Rounds 11 through whenever aren't exactly a grand spectacle of talent, but you can still find players with potential here -- or at the very least a Top 5 DST. If you need a handcuff, go ahead. If you want running back depth you could go that way too, but don't be afraid to pick a player regardless of position. Another home run. Now, if you can combine the home run with a running back then you'd be in business.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Eric Ebron, Heath Miller, Travaris Cadet, LeGarrette Blount, Darren McFadden, 49ers DST
My selection at No. 124 standard: 49ers DST
My selection at No. 124 PPR: Eric Ebron

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%

This pick might be your last non-kicker, non-DST pick. Might want to look into a handcuff for one of your top running backs. But what if the handcuff is someone who just isn't on the Fantasy radar? Should you wait until your early Round 13 pick to take him? It's a risk worth taking only if there's a very solid DST you'd be willing to ride with for the first chunk of the season is available. In the case of Adrian Peterson, his handcuff is considered to be Jerick McKinnon. Not many owners are thinking about him, so you could probably still afford to take a Top 5 DST and then expect the rookie rusher to fall into your lap in the next round.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Any non-Top 3 DST, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Justin Hunter, Rod Streater, any middle- to low-end running back handcuff
My selection at No. 141 standard: Anquan Boldin
My selection at No. 141 PPR: Cardinals DST

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, but if you've taken one already do not take another. Why do it? To play the matchups? Fine, you can still play the matchups while using the waiver wire and not clogging up valuable roster space with another DST. And good luck trying to trade a DST for anyone of significant value. Handcuffs and serious late-round fliers (Lance Dunbar, Robert Woods, Jordan Matthews) will be in play if you don't take a DST.

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. 148 standard: Jerick McKinnon
My selection at No. 148 PPR: Jerick McKinnon

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%

When you go kicker shopping, it's good to look for one that plays with a quality offense that sets up lots of field goal opportunities. Sometimes you might take a kicker that plays with an offense that's too good and it makes for extra point attempts, not field goal tries. If that ends up happening to your kicker, you can just boot him (ha ha, kicker jokes!) and find someone else on waivers.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): A kicker
My selection at No. 165 standard: Shayne Graham
My selection at No. 165 PPR: Dan Bailey

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Matthew Stafford Tom Brady
RB Adrian Peterson Adrian Peterson
RB Frank Gore Reggie Bush
WR Brandon Marshall Randall Cobb
WR Randall Cobb Roddy White
FLEX Mike Wallace Emmanuel Sanders
TE Zach Ertz Zach Ertz
K Shayne Graham Dan Bailey
DST 49ers Cardinals
Reserve Terrance West Danny Woodhead
Reserve Brandin Cooks Rueben Randle
Reserve Carlos Hyde Chris Ivory
Reserve Anquan Boldin Eric Ebron
Reserve Jerick McKinnon Jerick McKinnon

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Player News
Cardinals pushing for more consistency out of WR Michael Floyd
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:11 am ET) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians knows wide receiver Michael Floyd is capable of big things in his offense. He also feels Floyd was the victim of the quarterback injuries last year, reports Fox Sports 910.

"I think some frustration went into his play at times," Arians said. "But he still needs to hit a consistency level. He's a thousand-yard player every year. He should have had a thousand, easily, last year."

Floyd finished with 47 catches for 841 yards and six touchdowns in 2014. He is entering the final year of his contract in 2015.


Bears defensive end Jared Allen played through herniated disc in 2014
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:03 am ET) Bears defensive end Jared Allen still thinks he can get the job done next season. Allen claims he was slowed last season while dealing with a nagging back issue, which was diagnosed as a herniated disc, reports the Chicago Tribune.

"I just don't know how to miss games," Allen says. "It killed me that I had to miss one."

Allen totaled 55 tackles with 5 1/2 sacks in 15 games last season.


QB Sam Bradford's college coach talked him out of retiring last year
(3/29/2015) After suffering his second season-ending injury in nine months last year, quarterback Sam Bradford contemplated retiring but his former quarterbacks coach from Oklahoma talked him out of it, according to Philly.com.

Bradford, who was aquired by the Eagles in a trade in March, missed the entire 2014 season with the Rams after tearing his left ACL during a preseason game.

Josh Heupel, a former college coach, talked with Bradford after the injury and persuaded him to stay in the NFL.

"When a player goes through a big letdown, it's natural to be down," said Heupel. "I just tried to reach out to him and say, 'Hey, I still see this in you as a person and a player. I think the best is yet to come for you. You've got to get yourself healthy and get yourself back on the field and get yourself in the right environment ...'"

Heupel, who coached Bradford during his 2008 Heisman Trophy-winning season, is currently the offensive coordinator at Utah State.


Seahawks re-sign Demarcus Dobbs
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) The Seahawks re-signed defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs to a one-year contract on Sunday.

Dobbs' agent, Wesley Spencer confirmed the news on Twitter.

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C.J. Anderson enters offseason as Broncos top RB
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Broncos coach Gary Kubiak declared that C.J. Anderson was the team's starting running back entering OTAs. 

"He made a big jump as a player, and I think he's earned the right to walk in to the offseason program -- the OTAs -- and line up as our starter," Kubiak said, per DenverBroncos.com. "But he's got to continue to earn it on a daily basis. I think he's shown he has all the ability to be an excellent starter in this league, so we're really looking forward to working with him."

Anderson rushed for 849 yards and eight touchdowns last season, most coming late in the season, after Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman went down to injury. 

"All those guys are young. I think all three of those guys ... have all kind of had their little spurts of success with the club when they've had their opportunity," Kubiak said. "But they're all young. Who's going to be the bell cow, who's going to play every down, who's going to be the three-down player, they've got to sort that out. C.J. has shown the flashes of doing that."


Erin Henderson will meet with Jets
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Linebacker Erin Henderson has scheduled a meeting with the Jets. Henderson is looking to reenter the NFL after sitting out last season, following his release from the Vikings.

Henderson met with the 49ers GM and coach on Thursday and also had dinner with the team's linebacker coach, his agent told the Sacramento Bee


Jared Allen tells Bears 'I'm still good, really'
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/29/2015) Bears defensive end Jared Allen met with coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace at last week's NFL Owners' Meetings to tell them he's not on the decline. 

"I was less anxious and so much more eager to talk to them," Allen said, per NFL.com. "Just to say, 'Hey guys. I know the film from last year only shows 5.5 sacks. But don't believe that's all I have left. I'm good still. Really."

Allen also said he was willing to play a stand-up pass rushing spot instead of the hand-in-the-dirt stance he's used most of his career. "It requires you to refocus and rekindle your energy," he said. "You can't get stuck in your same old patterns."


Saints' Brian Dixon arrested for resisting officer
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(3/29/2015) Saints cornerback Brian Dixon was arrested in Miami on Sunday morning. He's been charged with resisting an officer, per the Times-Picayune.

According to the New Orleans Advocate, Dixon was pulled over for riding a moped. He questioned the officer about why that wasn't permitted, which led to his arrest. 

Dixon was booked at 5:50 AM and was being held on $1,000 bond. The team is aware of the incident, and NFL security is investigating. 

Later in the morning, Dixon tweeted, "It hurts to know that I wasn't causing no trouble and was fully cooperating. :( "


Report: LB Desmond Bishop will visit 49ers
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Linebacker Desmond Bishop will visit the 49ers on Monday, according to csnbayarea.com.

Bishop played in two games for the 49ers last season after beginning the year with the Cardinals. After losing both Patrick Willis and Chris Borland to retirement, the team is looking for linebackers.

Over his eight-year NFL career, the 30-year-old has 299 total tackles, nine sacks, nine passes defensed, one interception and eight forced fumbles.


Packers want to keep RB Eddie Lacy fresh this season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/28/2015) Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is working on ways to keep running back Eddie Lacy fresh this season, reports the Journal Sentinel.

McCarthy had talks with Lacy at the end of the last two seasons talking about his number of snaps and what he expected of the running back.

"I really felt that last year's conversation was more important than this year's, the ability to make a huge jump from Year One to Two, being a three-down player, that was something we stressed from Day One, and I thought he delivered," McCarthy said at the NFL owners meetings this week.

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"Maybe not run attempts," McCarthy said of hitting the target he set. "But I thought we were really smart the way we used him....I thought his pass protection he made a huge jump, and his ability to play out of the backfield.

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In his first two seasons in the NFL, the 24-year-old has 2,317 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. He has also added 77 receptions for 684 yards and four touchdown catches. 


 
 
 
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