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2014 Draft Prep: Picking No. 6 overall

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Pick No. 1 | Pick No. 2 | Pick No. 3 | Pick No. 4 | Pick No. 5 | Pick No. 7
Pick No. 8 | Pick No. 9 | Pick No. 10 | Pick No. 11 | Pick No. 12

Should the owner who draws the sixth overall selection take the best available running back or the best available non-running back? Let the debate begin!

There's no question that if you pass on a running back you'll get an elite player. Calvin Johnson or Demaryius Thomas, Jimmy Graham or Peyton Manning are at your fingertips. All of them are consistent, strong Fantasy choices that can bolster a team. But by taking them, you're putting pressure on yourself to find good running backs later (scope the backs ranked 10th and beyond in our rankings). Maybe you like that pressure -- it's kind of fun to hunt running backs and hope to strike gold with one. But it's painful if you pass up a great running back.

That's the risk you'll take if you don't stay on the ground in Round 1. Guys like Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson are likely to be long gone. You might have a shot at Eddie Lacy, which is the next best back in our opinion. But if he's gone and you're set on getting a rusher, you'll have a big choice to make from:

• Arian Foster is coming off of a minor back surgery and has dealt with minor injuries for a while. He'll be the bell cow for the Texans, but will their passing game push defenders closer to shutting him down?

• DeMarco Murray has been stellar when healthy and the Cowboys figure to have an explosive offense. But could Murray lose some targets in the passing game, and what guarantees are there that he'll stay healthy?

• Montee Ball is next in line to run the ball for the Broncos, and playing next to Peyton Manning has always been a good thing for a rusher. But is he a lock to keep the job even if he struggles or fumbles? Can he be trusted in just his second season?

• Marshawn Lynch has been a beast for several Fantasy seasons, displaying the role of No. 1 Fantasy running back quite well. Will his holdout affect him? And if not, will the 400-plus touches he took on en route to the Super Bowl make for some eventual bad news?

Ugh, it's enough to just make you take a non-running back, isn't it?

We'd consider going with a receiver or a tight end in Round 1 if our league were smaller and/or gave full points for receptions (PPR). That matters because smaller leagues will allow owners opportunities to pick up running backs later on and points for catches mean more points for receivers. We would not go with a quarterback unless owners could start more than one every week -- there's just too much supply for the demand involved. Maybe our tune would change in a league with 16 or more teams. Maybe.

The only person who can settle the debate is you. If it helps, the running backs that will be there all have the potential to be exceptional, just some of them come with more questions than others. And as you'll soon see, passing on a quarterback, receiver or tight end in Round 1 isn't such a bad thing.

We have two teams to show you: One in which we took a running back first and one in which we went with a receiver (a PPR league). Hopefully you'll learn something from the differences in philosophy.

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 55% WR 30% TE 15%
Round 1 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 45% TE 15%

In a perfect world, one of the Top 4 running backs slides to this spot for an easy pick. But the world is an imperfect place. Eddie Lacy might be the best you can get and if not him, then someone like we mentioned above. Don't limit yourself to a running back if you're in a PPR league or a small league. One of the perks of taking an elite receiver early on is that you'll never have to replace him except in case of injury, and the production should end up being very consistent. Yes, you will feel a little pressure to add running backs, but you should find one to your liking in Round 2 if you want to take one (which is probably a good plan).

Players you can get here (Standard): Eddie Lacy, Arian Foster, Montee Ball, DeMarco Murray, Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham
Players you can get here (PPR): Jimmy Graham, Demaryius Thomas, Giovani Bernard, DeMarco Murray
My selection at No. 6 standard: Eddie Lacy
My selection at No. 6 PPR: Demaryius Thomas

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 5% RB 60% WR 30% TE 5%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 40% TE 15%

You might feel the need to take a running back here regardless of your first-round pick. The position dries up quickly and the likes of Zac Stacy and Doug Martin could be too appealing to pass up. Of course, you might have taken a running back in Round 1 and would like to opt for an elite receiver in Round 2. Those are bound to be there, and it means having a rock solid starter in your lineup. The best reason to wait on a receiver is knowing that there will be pass catchers in the third and fourth tiers waiting for you in Round 3 and potentially Round 4.

Players you can get here (Standard): Zac Stacy, Doug Martin, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green
Players you can get here (PPR): Jordy Nelson, Le'Veon Bell, Andre Ellington, Antonio Brown, Randall Cobb, Alshon Jeffery
My selection at No. 19 standard: Zac Stacy
My selection at No. 19 PPR: Andre Ellington

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 15% RB 35% WR 40% TE 10%
Round 3 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 45% TE 10%

This is a nice spot to take a quality receiver (think 11th to 16th in our wideout ranks), though there's also a chance a Top 3 quarterback falls into your lap. Can't argue with taking a passer like Aaron Rodgers in Round 3 of a standard league or Peyton Manning in a PPR format. That's quality value. Now, if you started your draft with at least one receiver, you might be inclined to roll with a running back. I might fight that feeling since there should be some good enough running back choices coming up in Round 4.

Players you can get here (Standard): Aaron Rodgers, Toby Gerhart, Ryan Mathews, Bishop Sankey, Larry Fitzgerald, Julius Thomas, Michael Crabtree
Players you can get here (PPR): Larry Fitzgerald, Shane Vereen, Peyton Manning, Michael Crabtree, Pierre Garcon
My selection at No. 30 standard: Aaron Rodgers
My selection at No. 30 PPR: Larry Fitzgerald

Round 4

Round 4 - Standard QB 5% RB 45% WR 45% TE 5%
Round 4 - PPR QB 10% RB 40% WR 40% TE 10%

Kind of a simple formula for this pick: If you need a second running back, take one. If you need a second receiver, take one. Anticipate going with one of those two positions; the only players who you might otherwise remotely consider here are Matthew Stafford or Julius Thomas (if Thomas slides). Aaron Rodgers could make it here in a PPR format. Anyway, you might want to lean toward a rusher since that position will drop a tier sooner than the receivers. Players like Joique Bell, Shane Vereen and Ray Rice will make for the best of the bunch before names like Frank Gore and Chris Johnson begin to invade the draft in a round or so.

Players you can get here (Standard): Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson, Shane Vereen, Matthew Stafford, Joique Bell
Players you can get here (PPR): Keenan Allen, Joique Bell, Cordarrelle Patterson, Roddy White, Michael Floyd
My selection at No. 43 standard: Cordarrelle Patterson
My selection at No. 43 PPR: Joique Bell

Round 5

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

A round ago we talked about running backs dropping down to the next tier. The kind of backs left make decent No. 2 options but are better flexes. Thing is, running backs will fall yet another tier soon, so it's not a bad idea to pick up the best of what's left in Round 5 -- a player with 1,000-yard, six touchdown potential. That's for the owners who already have two capable receivers on their roster -- if you don't have two receivers already then it's probably in your best interests to invest in someone like Roddy White, Wes Welker or Victor Cruz. This pick shouldn't be a quarterback unless someone falls into your lap (not sure Stafford qualifies here if it's a PPR league) and aside from maybe Vernon Davis the tight ends won't pick up again until Round 6.

Players you can get here (Standard): Frank Gore, Wes Welker, Roddy White, Victor Cruz, Vernon Davis
Players you can get here (PPR): Emmanuel Sanders, Trent Richardson, Chris Johnson, Julian Edelman, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore
My selection at No. 54 standard: Roddy White
My selection at No. 54 PPR: Chris Johnson

Round 6

Round 6 - Standard QB 20% RB 25% WR 30% TE 25%
Round 6 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 30% TE 25%

This is a terrific spot to wind up with a tight end or quarterback, assuming you don't have one of each already (you might have one or the other already but it's sort of frowned upon to have both). While running backs and receivers become slim pickings, the tight ends and quarterbacks offer quality value. One name you should find is Jordan Cameron, the breakout Browns tight end from a season ago and likely De facto leading receiver again in 2014. Quarterbacks you'll find available include Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo and Andrew Luck. Thing is, one of those quarterbacks might make it back to you in Round 7, so there could be less urgency to take one now.

Players you can get here (Standard): Torrey Smith, DeSean Jackson, Ben Tate, Jordan Cameron, Andrew Luck, Mike Wallace
Players you can get here (PPR): Golden Tate, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Ben Tate
My selection at No. 67 standard: Jordan Cameron
My selection at No. 67 PPR: Jordan Cameron

Round 7

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

You're either looking for depth, a quality starter at a deep position or a sleeper here. That doesn't really narrow things down, but your roster and your needs will do that for you. If you need a running back or a receiver for comfortable depth this is the last round you'll really feel okay about whoever you take (things take a turn in Round 8). If you need a quarterback or a tight end this is a good time to pick up a solid value (though sleepers and insane values at those positions will start infiltrating the draft in Round 8 and 9). And the sleepers that go here will be the kind that everyone in your league has earmarked. If one of those sleepers could also fill a need for you (like running back depth, for instance), then it's a winner.

Players you can get here (Standard): Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, Terrance Williams, Maurice Jones-Drew, T.Y. Hilton
Players you can get here (PPR): Matt Ryan, Terrance Williams, T.Y. Hilton, Fred Jackson, Steven Jackson, Sammy Watkins
My selection at No. 78 standard: Marques Colston
My selection at No. 78 PPR: Terrance Williams

Round 8

Round 8 - Standard QB 15% RB 40% WR 30% TE 15%
Round 8 - PPR QB 15% RB 40% WR 30% TE 15%

The halfway point of the draft is a good time to pick up some depth at running back if you haven't collected enough already. The longer you wait for running backs, the more likely you'll run into ones with too many question marks or road blocks for playing time. If not that then some quarterbacks along with some high-upside receivers will be in the offing.

Players you can get here (Standard): Fred Jackson, Mike Evans, Danny Woodhead, Jordan Reed, Brandin Cooks, Jeremy Hill
Players you can get here (PPR): Maurice Jones-Drew, Lamar Miller, Devonta Freeman, Zach Ertz, Kyle Rudolph, Brandin Cooks
My selection at No. 91 standard: Danny Woodhead
My selection at No. 91 PPR: Lamar Miller

Round 9

Round 9 - Standard QB 15% RB 35% WR 30% TE 20%
Round 9 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 35% TE 20%

As the draft begins to wind down, this round represents a chance to either go for big-time sleepers that are still on the board or pick up an in-demand handcuff for one of your starting running backs. Rushers like Tre Mason, Stepfan Taylor, Khiry Robinson and Christine Michael are worth taking here because in Round 10 some owners will start to gobble them up, even if they don't have the starter in front of them. If you don't have the desire to get 'cuffed, then find a sleeper with outrageous upside and plunk him on your roster. Do not reach for a DST or a second quarterback.

Players you can get here (Standard): Zach Ertz, Stepfan Taylor, Tre Mason, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle
Players you can get here (PPR): Khiry Robinson, Mike Evans, Dexter McCluster, Marvin Jones, Christine Michael, Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Hill
My selection at No. 102 standard: Tre Mason
My selection at No. 102 PPR: Mike Evans

Round 10

Round 10 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 35% TE 10% K 0% DST 5%
Round 10 - PPR QB 15% RB 35% WR 35% TE 10% K 0% DST 5%

There's going to be an owner in every league who will be last to draft a starting quarterback. The owner will have incomparable value fall into his lap, making it worth his while to wait on the position. That pick might get made in Round 10, particularly in a PPR format, where people de-value quarterbacks to begin with. That happened here with Nick Foles freefalling into the double-digit round. He would have been a great pick two rounds prior! Things like this happen on Draft Day, which is why as a general rule, it's a good idea to keep track of everyone who's been drafted and pounce if someone falls through the cracks. If there isn't someone in the cracks waiting to get caught, then look for depth or maybe the top DST.

Players you can get here (Standard): Tavon Austin, Riley Cooper, Charles Sims, Dwayne Bowe, Philip Rivers, Seahawks DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Tavon Austin, Stepfan Taylor, Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Bowe, Carlos Hyde, Seahawks DST
My selection at No. 115 standard: Riley Cooper
My selection at No. 115 PPR: Nick Foles

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%

Round 11 is a good time to go sleeper shopping. A DST could also be in order if you so choose, but only if it's a real difference maker. Remember that handcuffs and backup quarterbacks can also double as sleepers -- those are the best ones. Naturally if you feel like you need to pick up a legit handcuff for one of your previously drafted backs, then don't take the chance unless you're positive you can get him later.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Eric Ebron, Heath Miller, Doug Baldwin, Harry Douglas, Travaris Cadet, Darren McFadden
My selection at No. 126 standard: Eric Ebron
My selection at No. 126 PPR: Travaris Cadet

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%

If you don't have a kicker and a DST, and don't want one of those, then this is your last pick. Two options: A handcuff or yet another sleeper -- no such thing as too many sleepers! It's not a bad thing to go with a DST in this spot, especially if all of the owners picking after you in Round 12 don't have a DST already. That's because they'll all have to take one in Round 13 (assuming you're in a 14-round draft and assuming you have to take a DST). You can beat them to the punch and take a solid unit and then have a sleeper available with your next pick.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Any non-Top 3 DST, Kelvin Benjamin, James White, Anquan Boldin, Carson Palmer, Justin Hunter, Rod Streater, any middle- to low-end running back handcuff
My selection at No. 139 standard: Kelvin Benjamin
My selection at No. 139 PPR: Rams 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%

The advice for Round 13 is the same as Round 12, though most owners will have splurged on a sleeper with their previous pick and now should be shoe-horned into taking a DST here. Handcuffs and serious late-round fliers will be in play if you don't need 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. 150 standard: Broncos DST
My selection at No. 150 PPR: Antonio Gates

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%

Most Fantasy owners know by now not to be sentimental with their own players -- and that includes kickers. Maybe a Jaguars fan wants "at least one of my guys" on his roster and takes Josh Scobee. Great. He's not a prolific kicker and his offense figures to be meh. You wasted a pick. Don't go for kickers on offenses that have issues. Sure, sometimes it works out and the kicker turns out to be great -- Dan Carpenter is an example from 2013. But just roll with those guys off of waivers instead of turning to them on Draft Day.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): A kicker
My selection at No. 163 standard: Mason Crosby
My selection at No. 163 PPR: Shayne Graham

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Aaron Rodgers Nick Foles
RB Eddie Lacy Andre Ellington
RB Zac Stacy Joique Bell
WR Cordarrelle Patterson Demaryius Thomas
WR Roddy White Larry Fitzgerald
FLEX Marques Colston Chris Johnson
TE Jordan Cameron Jordan Cameron
K Mason Crosby Shayne Graham
DST Patriots Rams
Reserve Danny Woodhead Terrance Williams
Reserve Tre Mason Lamar Miller
Reserve Riley Cooper Mike Evans
Reserve Eric Ebron Travaris Cadet
Reserve Kelvin Benjamin Antonio Gates

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Player News
LB Lance Briggs to visit with 49ers on Monday
(3:35 pm ET) Free-agent linebacker Lance Briggs said he will meet with the 49ers on Monday, reports ESPN.com.

Briggs, a seven-time Pro Bowler, has played all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Bears.

Briggs appeared in just 17 games during the last two seasons due to various injuries.

The 49ers are looking to replace linebacker Chris Borland, who recently announced his retirement.

Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) walking without a limp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3:17 pm ET) Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney said his rehab from microfracture surgery in his knee is going well, according to the Houston Chronicle. Clowney, who is four months removed from the procedure, was spotted walking without a limp during a promotional event on Saturday.

"It's going good. I'm taking it one day at a time, having some fun hanging out with fans," said Clowney, who made his first public comments since Thanksgiving.


Report: Vikings LB Chad Greenway agres to take paycut
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(10:59 am ET) Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has agreed to restructure his contract, reducing his $7 million base salary to $3.4 million, according to Field Yates of ESPN. The move created $3.2 million in cap room for the Vikings.

Greenway, 32, has spent all nine years of his career with the Vikings, recording 992 total tackles, 15.5 sacks, 30 passes defensed, nine interceptions and eight forced fumbles.


Cardinals coach Arians: I was not going to let Logan Thomas fail
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians still believes in young quarterback Logan Thomas. Arians didn't want to ruin his confidence last season after being forced into action with multiple injuries to Arizona quarterbacks, reports the team's website.

"He's going to get a ton of work and those reps are invaluable," Arians said. "Just in decision-making, how fast you're getting it out of your hand, where you're going with it, where you're going when 'one' and 'two' are still covered. Are you still scrambling around or are you going to find your outlets? That growth process comes strictly from reps."

Arians still has a plan for the second-year pro.

"We drafted him for two years from now, not November," Arians said. "It just so happened his number got called (earlier.) I was not going to let him fail (in San Francisco) because once you fail those scars never go away.

"It's very hard to get the guys back in the locker room if you cost them the playoffs. I just wasn't going to put him in that situation. Right or wrong, it just was my decision."


DT Letroy Guion visits with Seahawks
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(3/27/2015) Nose tackle Letroy Guion visited with the Seahawks on Friday, adding another suitor into the mix as the Packers attempt to retain his services, per ESPN.com.

After Guion's criminal case was closed earlier in the week, with Guion paying only a fine, the Seahawks set up a visit. Guion recorded career-highs in tackles (32) and sacks (3 1/2) with the Packers in 2014. 


Panthers claim OT Jonathan Martin off waivers
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(3/27/2015) The Panthers announced Friday they have signed tackle Jonathan Martin off waivers, one day after the lineman was released by the 49ers. 

Martin played in 15 games with San Francisco last season, starting nine of them. Prior to that, he was a member Dolphins before being traded for a conditional seventh-round pick in 2014. The 25-year-old has started 32 of the 38 games he's played in. 

"Jonathan brings quality experience to our offensive line, having started 32 games in his career at both tackle spots," Panthers GM Dave Gettleman said. 


Panthers sign WR Jarrett Boykin to one-year deal
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(3/27/2015) The Panthers signed free agent wide receiver Jarrett Boykin to a one-year deal Friday, per David Newton of ESPN.com. 

The 25-year-old receiver had a big campaign with the Packers in 2013, catching 49 passes for 681 yards, but fell out of favor last season, grabbing just three balls for 23 yards in 13 games. Boykin has 57 career receptions in three seasons, all with the Packers. 


Bears sign CB Alan Ball to one-year deal
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) The Bears have signed cornerback Alan Ball to a one-year contract on Friday, per the team's official website.

Ball, 29, spent the last two seasons with the Jaguars, but was limited to only seven games in 2014 due to a biceps injury. He racked up 59 total tackles, 17 passes deflected and three interceptions over that span. He has played eight NFL seasons with the Cowboys, Texans and Jags.


Titans sign CB Brandon Harris to one-year deal
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(3/27/2015) The Titans have signed cornerback Brandon Harris to a one-year contract on Friday, per the team's official website. Harris played 11 games in 2014, his first season with the Titans. He finished with 11 combined tackles and three pass deflections last season.

Redskins' Thompson, Redd to compete for third-down back role
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3/27/2015) Redskins coach Jay Gruden said this week at the NFL owners' meetings running back Chris Thompson will get the first chance to secure third-down responsibilities, according to The Washington Post. Silas Redd will also get consideration for the role of third-down back.

“Chris [Thompson] came in last year at the end and did some things, and we’re hoping that he can come back and stay healthy in the offseason and give us a little jolt back there,” Gruden said. “And Silas Redd will get every chance to do some things also.”

Although, the Redskins could look to bring in some competition before training camp begins.

“I also think that at the running back position in the draft, there’s a ton of them,” Gruden said. “It’s a very deep running back draft in my opinion, and we’re excited to add another piece at some point, hopefully. We have seven picks. Hopefully one of them will be a running back, or a free agent to compete. There are some good free agents that haven’t been signed yet. But, giving Chris an opportunity, Silas, Alfred (Morris), that’s where it starts. And we’ll add some more later on for competition.”


 
 
 
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