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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
Peyton Manning, Emmanuel Sanders cleared to play for Broncos
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(3:27 pm ET) The Broncos will have both Peyton Manning and Emmanuel Sanders Week 17 against the Raiders. 

Manning came into the contest listed as probable due to a thigh injury. He was never really expected to miss the contest. Sanders was listed as questionable with a hip issue. He was a limited participant in practice all week.

The team will also have nearly all of their probable players. That means C.J. Anderson, Lamin Barrow, David Bruton Jr., Ryan Clady, Chris Clark, Ronnie Hillman, Will Montgomery, Manny Ramirez, Jacob Tamme, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, Kayvon Webster and Derek Wolfe will all attempt to play. 


Eagles CB Nolan Carroll checked for concussion
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(3:22 pm ET) Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn has a knee injury and will not return to Sunday's game against the Patriots. Glenn injured his knee early in the fourth quarter and was able to limp off the field. 


Broncos list inactives for Week 17
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(3:22 pm ET) The Broncos have listed S T.J. Ward, RB Juwan Thompson, LB Brandon Marshall , OL Paul Cornick, OL Michael Schofield, TE Dominique Jones and DT Mitch Unrein as inactive Week 17 against the Raiders. 

Marshall was the only player ruled out prior to Sunday. Both Cornick and Ward were listed as questionable. Cornick is dealing with a toe injury. Ward has a neck issue. Thompson was actually listed as probable, but will not play. He has both hip and knee injuries. Unrein was also listed as probable. He's dealing with an illness. The other two players listed are healthy scratches. 


T.Y. Hilton makes no impact Week 17 before leaving
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:15 pm ET) Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton was targeted three times without a catch in the first half at Tennessee on Sunday. With Indy all but locked into the No. 4 playoff seed, the team pulled Hilton and other starters after halftime.

Hilton came into the game nursing a hamstring injury that caused him to miss Week 16. He did not appear to aggravate the injury.

Hilton finishes the regular season with 82 catches for 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns. He'll face the Bengals or Steelers in the playoffs.


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(3:14 pm ET) The Raiders will have both Ras-I Dowling and Khalil Mack Week 17 against the Broncos.

Dowling entered the game listed as probable due to a hamstring injury. He was never a real threat to miss the contest. 

Mack was listed as questionable with a hamstring issue. He was able to put in limited practice all week, but will attempt to play through the injury. 


Lions unveil seven players as inactive for Sunday's game
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:12 pm ET) The following players have been declared as inactive for the Lions in Sunday's game against the Packers: Nick Fairley, Ryan Broyles, Kellen Moore, Rodney Austin, Larry Webster, Josh Thomas and Caraun Reid.

Raiders list inactives for Week 17
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(3:10 pm ET) The Raiders have listed WR Denarius Moore, WR Vincent Brown, CB Chimdi Chekwa, CB T.J. Carrie, G Tony Bergstrom, T Menelik Watson and DT Stacy McGee as inactive Week 17 against the Broncos.

Brown, Chekwa and Moore had all been ruled out prior to Sunday. Both Carrie and Watson entered the contest listed as questionable. Carrie is dealing with an ankle injury. Watson has foot and ankle issues. Bergstrom and McGee are healthy scratches. 


Packers QB Aaron Rodgers ready to roll in Week 17
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(3:09 pm ET) Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is active and set to start Sunday's game against the Lions. Rodgers was probable all week after suffering a calf injury against the Bucs in Week 16. He missed the final series of the game as a precaution with the game in hand.

The Packers are 7 1/2-point favorites against the Lions Sunday.


Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald good to go for Week 17
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(3:07 pm ET) Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald is active Week 17 against the 49ers.

Fitzgerald entered the contest listed as probable due to a knee injury. He was never a serious candidate to miss the game. 

The club will also have Lorenzo Alexander, Jaron Brown, Calais Campbell, Rashad Johnson, Ted Larsen, Tyrann Mathieu and Matt Shaughnessy for the contest. All seven players were also considered probable.

Deone Bucannon, John Carlson and Dan Williams will all attempt to play through injuries. They were all listed as questionable coming into the game. 


 
 
 
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