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2014 Draft Prep: Picking No. 1 overall

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Pick No. 2 | 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

Depending on the rank list you trust, only three players this season are worthy of going No. 1 overall in the majority of standard and point-per-reception leagues: Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson.

Some might argue Matt Forte deserves to be in the conversation, and Peyton Manning could go No. 1 overall in two-quarterback leagues. But in the majority of formats you will only see Charles, McCoy or Peterson in the top spot.

Charles is our choice, and we'll get more into his outlook below. But no matter which running back you like first when picking first, your game plan should be to take your favorite rusher at this position. Don't get cute.

What we're doing here in this 12-part series is outlining a strategy for you to use with each pick. My colleague Dave Richard and I are looking at all 12 picks individually after we did a two-man draft for 14 rounds to give you an idea of what positions to target in each round. Naturally, we're starting with No. 1 overall.

We'll highlight some players who should be available with each pick, and hopefully this is a guide you can use on Draft Day in standard and PPR formats with a lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, FLEX (RB/WR/TE), K, DST and five reserve spots. Every draft is different, so don't expect to follow this plan exactly. But if you have an idea of what you want to do with each round you should be able to put together a solid squad. And that's the goal of every owner.

When you draft at No. 1 overall sometimes your best strategy is to take the best player available, since you're stuck waiting for players to fall in your lap. In the standard league, I wanted a No. 1 receiver in Round 2, and Antonio Brown was the best one available. I also couldn't pass on Rob Gronkowski in Round 3.

I had the same approach in the PPR draft with Doug Martin falling to No. 24 overall, and then I gladly took Gronkowski again. You start filling in holes the rest of the way -- in the standard league I was now chasing running back and the PPR league I was behind at receiver -- but you have to be comfortable with each pick you make and live with the consequences.

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%

When you start comparing Charles to his competition, you're really nitpicking about who is better. I'll take Charles because of Andy Reid's coaching and how Charles played last season. In his first year under Reid, Charles had 259 carries for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns and 70 catches for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. The rushing touchdowns, catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns were all career highs. Reid now has coached a running back to seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons, eight 1,500-total yard seasons, 10 seasons with at least 50 catches and six seasons with at least 10 total touchdowns in his career. Yes, there are offensive line issues in Kansas City, but Charles also accomplished his production last year in fewer touches (329) than McCoy (379) and Forte (363). If the touches are comparable, Charles could blow away the competition. We'll see how it works out, but Charles is an easy selection in this spot in both leagues.

Players you can get here (standard): Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson
Players you can get here (PPR): Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson
My selection at No. 1 standard: Jamaal Charles
My selection at No. 1 PPR: Jamaal Charles

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 40% TE 10%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 50% TE 10%

I like the idea of drafting back-to-back receivers with the swing picks here in both formats, but I won't reach for a player just to follow a strategy. In the standard league, I was fine with Antonio Brown at No. 24 because he is a standout option with how the Steelers use him as the No. 1 target, and his production could rise with Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery gone. Based on ADP, you could be looking at Jordy Nelson and Brown here, which is an excellent receiver duo to start any team. In the PPR league, I was also hoping for a No. 1 receiver here, but the Top 10 guys on my board were gone, leaving slim pickings. I took a detour here and chose Martin, who still has Top 12 potential at running back even though the Bucs are talking about a reduced role. I'll believe it when I see it.

Players you can get here (standard): Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Drew Brees, Alshon Jeffery, Aaron Rodgers
Players you can get here (PPR): Doug Martin, Rob Gronkowski, Andre Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Peyton Manning
My selection at No. 24 standard: Antonio Brown
My selection at No. 24 PPR: Doug Martin

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 40% TE 10%
Round 3 - PPR QB 0% RB 45% WR 35% TE 20%

In the standard league, I considered pairing Brown with Jeffery, which would have been a high-end receiver duo and a great start for my team. But things changed when Gronkowski was still there. If he can suit up for 16 games, he will challenge Jimmy Graham for the No. 1 tight end spot and will prove to be better value with a second- or third-round pick. I went the same route in the PPR league with Gronkowski ahead of any of the quarterbacks or even a high-end running back like Lynch. Don't be surprised if quarterbacks fall in PPR leagues, even those that reward six points for passing touchdowns, because Fantasy owners like to jump on running backs and receivers with high catch potential. I put Gronkowski in that category because he could be a beast this year.

Players you can get here (standard): Rob Gronkowski, Drew Brees, Alshon Jeffery, Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb
Players you can get here (PPR): Rob Gronkowski, Andre Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Peyton Manning, Reggie Bush
My selection at No. 25 standard: Rob Gronkowski
My selection at No. 25 PPR: Rob Gronkowski

Round 4

Round 4 - Standard QB 10% RB 50% WR 40% TE 0%
Round 4 - PPR QB 10% RB 40% WR 50% TE 0%

I have an elite trio of players to start my team with Charles, Brown and Gronkowski, but I left myself thin at running back, which is never a good feeling. I had the chance to recover with two guys on the board I like a lot in Stevan Ridley and Trent Richardson. Both are in line for bounce back seasons and will make quality No. 2 running backs/flex options. In the PPR league, receiver was a must, and Victor Cruz has plenty of upside in new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system. There is already talk of Cruz catching 100 passes and if that happens, he's a steal in Round 4. I don't usually like taking a quarterback and tight end with my first five picks, but every now and then you have to adjust, like what happened next in the PPR league.

Players you can get here (standard): Stevan Ridley, Trent Richardson, Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Floyd, Frank Gore
Players you can get here (PPR): Victor Cruz, Aaron Rodgers, Kendall Wright, Ryan Mathews, Emmanuel Sanders
My selection at No. 48 standard: Stevan Ridley
My selection at No. 48 PPR: Victor Cruz

Round 5

Round 5 - Standard QB 10% RB 50% WR 40% TE 0%
Round 5 - PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 50% TE 0%

Like I said earlier, quarterbacks will fall in PPR leagues, but Rodgers in Round 5 is a little outrageous. Rarely will you see me take one of the first three quarterbacks or pair a quarterback with a tight end in the first five rounds, but I wasn't letting Rodgers go. So even though I'll be hurting at receiver, the idea of fielding a lineup with arguably the No. 1 quarterback, running back and tight end is exciting. In the standard league, I went with another running back in Richardson. If he and Ridley can regain their 2012 form then I have three potential Top 12 running backs with Charles. I hope both rebound in a big way, but if not then I can rotate each one as my second rusher and worry about a different flex option week to week.

Players you can get here (standard): Trent Richardson, Emmanuel Sanders, Michael Floyd, Frank Gore, Wes Welker
Players you can get here (PPR): Aaron Rodgers, Kendall Wright, Ryan Mathews, Emmanuel Sanders, Trent Richardson
My selection at No. 49 standard: Trent Richardson
My selection at No. 49 PPR: Aaron Rodgers

Round 6

Round 6 - Standard QB 30% RB 20% WR 50% TE 0%
Round 6 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 60% TE 0%

Receiver might be a deep position this year, but you won't want to wait too long before taking a No. 2 option because then you're picking at scraps. That's kind of how I felt here in the standard league, and I might regret passing on guys like Floyd, Sanders, Welker and Roddy White for Richardson. It will work out if Julian Edelman plays like he did last year, and I backed him up with Kendall Wright in Round 7. But this is now a question mark if these two don't live up to my expectations. In the PPR league, it's a similar situation since I went with Gronkowski and Rodgers so early. I went with DeSean Jackson and Torrey Smith with these two picks with the hope one becomes a reliable starter and/or flex option. They were the two best receivers on the board even if their value is better in standard leagues than PPR.

Players you can get here (standard): Julian Edelman, Kendall Wright, Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Terrance West
Players you can get here (PPR): DeSean Jackson, Torrey Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Mike Wallace, Tom Brady
My selection at No. 72 standard: Julian Edelman
My selection at No. 72 PPR: DeSean Jackson

Round 7

Round 7 - Standard QB 30% RB 20% WR 50% TE 0%
Round 7 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 60% TE 0%

I'm excited about Wright this season in his third year. He had 94 catches for 1,079 yards and two touchdowns last season and finished No. 31 in Fantasy points in a standard league, but if he scored three more touchdowns he would have been No. 21. He's easily capable of that and is worth the price at this point in the draft. In the PPR league, Torrey Smith made the most sense compared to other receivers like Wallace, Terrance Williams, T.Y. Hilton and Sammy Watkins. I don't love Smith in a PPR format, but he did have 65 catches for 1,128 yards last season, which were career highs. If he can stay at that level and score at least seven touchdowns, which he did each of his first two years, then he could be a steal here. He also will play the Andre Johnson role in Gary Kubiak's offense, and while he's not at Johnson's level, he could have a big season in this system.

Players you can get here (standard): Kendall Wright, Jason Witten, Tony Romo, Terrance West, Pierre Thomas
Players you can get here (PPR): Torrey Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Mike Wallace, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan
My selection at No. 73 standard: Kendall Wright
My selection at No. 73 PPR: Torrey Smith

Round 8

Round 8 - Standard QB 40% RB 30% WR 30% TE 0%
Round 8 - PPR QB 0% RB 60% WR 40% TE 0%

It's time to consider a quarterback in the standard league after going with three running backs, three receivers and a tight end with the first seven picks. I advocate waiting on a quarterback whenever possible, especially if you can target one you like and remain patient. Robert Griffin III is in line for a tremendous bounce back season now that he's healthy, and I'm thrilled to draft him here. In the PPR league, it's time to stockpile running back depth, and we'll go back to back here with Knowshon Moreno and Bernard Pierce.

Players you can get here (standard): Robert Griffin III, Christine Michael, DeAngelo Williams, Greg Olsen, Zach Ertz
Players you can get here (PPR): Knowshon Moreno, Bernard Pierce, Kyle Rudolph, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle
My selection at No. 96 standard: Robert Griffin III
My selection at No. 96 PPR: Knowshon Moreno

Round 9

Round 9 - Standard QB 10% RB 50% WR 40% TE 0%
Round 9 - PPR QB 0% RB 60% WR 40% TE 0%

No one is going to be excited about drafting Moreno right now. He's hurt, and all the reports about Lamar Miller are glowing. But it's a long season, and Moreno will play a prominent role when healthy. He's a worthy stash candidate here who still has upside, albeit minimal. As for Pierce, he gets a two-game audition with Ray Rice suspended. He could surprise us and make this a tandem all season. In the standard league, I target Christine Michael whenever possible. I've been down on Lynch since the Super Bowl because of his workload from 2013, and Michael is a lottery ticket worth waiting for all year.

Players you can get here (standard): Christine Michael, DeAngelo Williams, Greg Olsen, Zach Ertz, Stepfan Taylor
Players you can get here (PPR): Bernard Pierce, Kyle Rudolph, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle, Khiry Robinson
My selection at No. 97 standard: Christine Michael
My selection at No. 97 PPR: Bernard Pierce

Round 10

Round 10 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 50% TE 0%
Round 10 - PPR QB 0% RB 50% WR 50% TE 0%

There are a handful of receivers I like to target late in all formats, and I think all of them have No. 3 receiver potential, if not more. That group includes Kenny Stills, Jarrett Boykin, Justin Hunter, Rod Streater, Marvin Jones, Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews. Stills should continue to improve playing with Brees as a starter opposite Marques Colston. And Boykin remains the No. 3 receiver for the Packers after a promising display last season when Randall Cobb got hurt. These are the types of reserves you want because they are high upside players at minimal cost.

Players you can get here (standard): Kenny Stills, Knile Davis, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Ivory, 49ers DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Jarrett Boykin, Knile Davis, Harry Douglas, Riley Cooper, Eric Ebron
My selection at No. 120 standard: Kenny Stills
My selection at No. 120 PPR: Jarrett Boykin

Round 11

Round 11 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 30% TE 0% DST 20%
Round 11 - PPR QB 0% RB 50% WR 30% TE 0% DST 20%

If you draft Charles, you should cover yourself at all costs. And that means investing in Knile Davis if you can, which we did in both formats. Charles sat out Week 17 to rest and got hurt in the playoff loss to the Colts. During those two games, Davis got 45 carries, nine catches and scored four touchdowns. He would be a No. 1 running back if Charles got hurt, so don't make the mistake and miss on Davis if he's available.

Players you can get here (standard): Knile Davis, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Ivory, 49ers DST, Darren McFadden
Players you can get here (PPR): Knile Davis, Harry Douglas, Riley Cooper, Eric Ebron, Heath Miller
My selection at No. 121 standard: Knile Davis
My selection at No. 121 PPR: Knile Davis

Round 12

Round 12 - Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 20% TE 0% DST 30%
Round 12 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 40% TE 0% DST 20%

I'm expecting Griffin to be fine this season, but there's obvious risk he could get hurt again based on his style of play. And since there are a handful of standout No. 2 quarterbacks from Cam Newton to Ben Roethlisberger to Russell Wilson to Carson Palmer, you have plenty of options. Palmer was the pick here, and he could be this year's Philip Rivers as a low-end backup with Top 10 upside. He should thrive in his second season for coach Bruce Arians, and I'm excited about this quarterback duo with Griffin and Palmer.

Players you can get here (standard): Carson Palmer, Panthers DST, KaDeem Carey, Bengals DST, Jerick McKinnon
Players you can get here (PPR): Kenny Stills, Panthers DST, KaDeem Carey, Bengals DST, Jerick McKinnon
My selection at No. 144 standard: Carson Palmer
My selection at No. 144 PPR: Kenny Stills

Round 13

Round 13 - Standard QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% DST 90% K 10%
Round 13 - PPR QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% DST 90% K 10%

The Panthers DST was No. 3 in Fantasy points in a standard league and could easily repeat this season as a Top 5 option. The pass rush should remain dominant and cover up holes in the secondary. And linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are stout. They have a tougher schedule this season, which will hurt, but I still look for the Panthers as a starting option in all formats as I did here.

Players you can get here (standard): Panthers DST, KaDeem Carey, Bengals DST, Jerick McKinnon, Broncos DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Panthers DST, KaDeem Carey, Bengals DST, Jerick McKinnon, Broncos DST
My selection at No. 145 standard: Panthers DST
My selection at No. 145 PPR: Panthers DST

Round 14

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

Nick Novak was No. 6 in Fantasy points in a standard league last season and just one field goal and an extra point away from being tied for third. He won't finish that high since I expect the Chargers offense to regress a little this season, but he remains a No. 1 kicker worth drafting in the final round.

Players you can get here (standard): Nick Novak, Alex Henery, Caleb Sturgis
Players you can get here (PPR): Nick Novak, Alex Henery, Caleb Sturgis
My selection at No. 168 standard: Nick Novak
My selection at No. 168 PPR: Nick Novak

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Robert Griffin III QB Aaron Rodgers
RB Jamaal Charles RB Jamaal Charles
RB Stevan Ridley RB Doug Martin
WR Antonio Brown WR Victor Cruz
WR Julian Edelman WR DeSean Jackson
FLEX Trent Richardson FLEX Torrey Smith
TE Rob Gronkowski TE Rob Gronkowski
K Nick Novak K Nick Novak
DST Panthers DST Panthers
Reserve Carson Palmer Reserve Knowshon Moreno
Reserve Christine Michael Reserve Bernard Pierce
Reserve Knile Davis Reserve Knile Davis
Reserve Kendall Wright Reserve Jarrett Boykin
Reserve Kenny Stills Reserve Kenny Stills

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Player News
Titans' Lewan says QB Mettenberger still views himself as starter
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(5/4/2015) Even though the Titans drafted quarterback Marcus Mariota with the second-overall pick, tackle Taylor Lewan said that QB Zach Mettenberger, who started six games last season as a rookie, still regards himself as the starter, reports the Tennessean.com.

"That is the mentality that Zach has. He thinks of himself as a starter, and the guys in the locker room do also," Lewan said. "I don't think he is going to give it up easily,"
Lewan was the Titans' first-round pick in last year's draft.

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(5/4/2015) Browns coach Mike Pettine said in a radio interview Monday that it's "fair to say" that Josh McCown will enter camp as the team's starting quarterback, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reports.

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"I tried to play through the year. Once I had elbow surgery and I wasn’t going to come back, then I just got the shoulder done," Eifert said. "That’s why I’m excited now because I’m feeling strong, feeling upbeat. I’m not in any pain. It feels good."


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(5/4/2015) 49ers defensive end Justin Smith plans to sit down with team officials in May and decide whether he'll return for one more season, the Sacramento Bee reports.

"You'll know in about three weeks or so," Smith said Monday.

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(5/4/2015) Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (knee) worked out Monday, participating with the first-team offense in all drills, NFL.com reports.

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"You want all your guys out there," Palmer said. "I know I want my five starting linemen and my two starting receivers. You don’t ever want to see guys on the sidelines. Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to do everything once OTAs start, but I’ll be able to do just about everything. It’s important (to participate) because I enjoy it. I can’t wait for tomorrow and I can’t wait for every day."

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