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2014 Draft Prep: Picking No. 3 overall

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Pick No. 1 | Pick No. 2 | 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

The No. 3 overall pick should be relatively easy, depending on who you want in this spot. In most leagues, Jamaal Charles and LeSean McCoy will go with the first two picks, leaving you with a choice of Matt Forte or Adrian Peterson.

In some leagues, like this two-man draft I did with Dave Richard, Forte or Peterson could go ahead of Charles or McCoy (Dave likes Forte at No. 2 overall), pushing one of the top two selections down. Then it's easy, and you take McCoy.

But if the draft holds to form based on Average Draft Position, you're looking at Forte or Peterson. I like Forte slightly better because Peterson is getting close to some scary milestones with more than 2,000 career carries, and he's 29 years old. He's also had surgery on his knee and groin in two of the past three years, so wear and tear is becoming an issue, even for someone as great as him.

Forte, 29, is also flawed coming off a heavy workload in 2013 with 363 touches, but I like his upside better than Peterson. Both should play in running back friendly offenses, and whoever you end up with makes for a great first-round pick.

After taking a running back in this spot, you should look for a receiver in Round 2, and the options based on ADP are likely A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson in standard formats. In PPR leagues, you're probably looking at Nelson, Antonio Brown or Alshon Jeffery.

I wouldn't be afraid of a running back in Round 2, especially if you believe in Alfred Morris, Doug Martin or Zac Stacy. But getting a stud receiver is what I would do and then look at the best available player in Round 3.

Remember, as we mentioned with the No. 1 overall pick, you should have a strategy for your draft. And we hope this lays out a plan for you to follow if you pick at No. 3 overall.

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%

The players you can get here will likely be Forte and Peterson, but in this scenario we got McCoy. And I consider McCoy 1a to Charles. He was amazing last season playing for coach Chip Kelly, and he should again dominate touches even with the addition of Darren Sproles. He led the NFL in rushing, and his reception total shouldn't suffer too much. Keep in mind McCoy has at least 52 catches in three of the past four years, with 500-plus receiving yards in two of those campaigns. He is a 2,000-yard candidate again this season, and you should be thrilled if he falls past the No. 2 overall pick.

Players you can get here (standard): LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson
Players you can get here (PPR): LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson
My selection at No. 3 standard: LeSean McCoy
My selection at No. 3 PPR: LeSean McCoy

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 5% RB 40% WR 50% TE 5%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 35% WR 50% TE 15%

I like to draft two receivers in Rounds 2 and 3 after taking a running back early in Round 1, but I'll never pass on talent if someone I like falls. In the standard league, I was able to get Green in Round 2 and then Jeffery in Round 3. It's an excellent trio with McCoy, and I didn't have to worry about receiver for a while with two potential studs. In the PPR league, Jeffery was the top receiver at No. 22 overall, so he made sense there even over a quality running back in Stacy or Martin. Jeffery showed last season he can be a stud with 89 catches for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns, and he's entering his third year in the NFL. We hope he only continues to improve this season.

Players you can get here (standard): A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Drew Brees
Players you can get here (PPR): Alshon Jeffery, Zac Stacy, Doug Martin, Rob Gronkowski, Andre Johnson
My selection at No. 22 standard: A.J. Green
My selection at No. 22 PPR: Alshon Jeffery

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 15% RB 60% WR 20% TE 5%
Round 3 - PPR QB 5% RB 30% WR 50% TE 15%

When I mentioned in the second round that I won't pass on a talented player, that's what happened here with Lynch. He's not a great PPR option, he was a holdout to start training camp and clearly I've campaigned against him this season based on his workload from 2013. But that is mostly due to his potential Round 1 price tag. I'd consider Lynch in Round 2, and I definitely will gamble on him in Round 3. Ideally, if I draft Lynch, I'll target Christine Michael as a handcuff, but this could be a steal if Lynch overcomes the potential hazards in front of him heading into the season.

Players you can get here (standard): Alshon Jeffery, Randall Cobb, Andre Ellington, Aaron Rodgers, Toby Gerhart
Players you can get here (PPR): Marshawn Lynch, Reggie Bush, Alfred Morris, Larry Fitzgerald, Shane Vereen
My selection at No. 27 standard: Alshon Jeffery
My selection at No. 27 PPR: Marshawn Lynch

Round 4

Round 4 - Standard QB 20% RB 50% WR 10% TE 20%
Round 4 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 40% TE 15%

Based on the first three rounds, you might have had some decisions to make in this spot. In the standard league, you could have taken a quarterback or tight end to pair with McCoy, Green and Jeffery, but I prefer to wait on a passer and build depth at running back. It was too early for my No. 4 tight end in Dennis Pitta, and I wouldn't reach for Vernon Davis, Jason Witten or Jordan Cameron here. I took my highest running back in Joique Bell, who has breakout potential as the expected starter for the Lions. In the PPR league, I avoided a quarterback here, and the tight end scenario is the same as the standard format. I'm happy to get Michael Floyd here to pair with Jeffery and give me two potential Top 15 receivers in this format.

Players you can get here (standard): Joique Bell, Ray Rice, Stevan Ridley, Trent Richardson, Emmanuel Sanders
Players you can get here (PPR): Michael Floyd, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz, Aaron Rodgers, Kendall Wright
My selection at No. 46 standard: Joique Bell
My selection at No. 46 PPR: Michael Floyd

Round 5

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

Two players who I don't plan on drafting this season based on their potential ADP keep falling to me in good spots. The first was Lynch in Round 3 and now Ryan Mathews in Round 5. Even though I expect Mathews to struggle this season with the addition of Donald Brown taking away a few carries and Danny Woodhead still in the mix, he's still too talented to pass up here. He gives me the option of using him as a No. 2 running back or flex, and he's excellent insurance for Lynch. In the standard league, don't be afraid to use a receiver as a flex option, which is why I went with Floyd. He should have 1,200 yards and at least seven touchdowns, putting him ahead of most of the running backs left at this spot, with more upside.

Players you can get here (standard): Michael Floyd, Frank Gore, Wes Welker, Roddy White, Victor Cruz
Players you can get here (PPR): Ryan Mathews, Emmanuel Sanders, Trent Richardson, Chris Johnson, Julian Edelman
My selection at No. 51 standard: Michael Floyd
My selection at No. 51 PPR: Ryan Mathews

Round 6

Round 6 - Standard QB 30% RB 30% WR 10% TE 30%
Round 6 - PPR QB 30% RB 10% WR 30% TE 30%

This was the time to start thinking about quarterback and tight end in both leagues, but don't reach for someone just because the position is starting to thin out a little bit. In the standard league, don't pass on a running back if one is available that you like, and I went with Steven Jackson here. This draft was done prior to the news he would be out for the preseason, but if he's ready for Week 1 and can stay healthy he should produce decent stats. He closed last year with at least nine Fantasy points in five of his final six games with six touchdowns over that span. He's worth a flier with a mid-round pick. In the PPR league, I pulled the trigger on Dennis Pitta, who is a breakout candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense.

Players you can get here (standard): Steven Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Julian Edelman, Kendall Wright, Jason Witten
Players you can get here (PPR): Dennis Pitta, Stevan Ridley, DeSean Jackson, Torrey Smith, Colin Kaepernick
My selection at No. 70 standard: Steven Jackson
My selection at No. 70 PPR: Dennis Pitta

Round 7

Round 7 - Standard QB 40% RB 10% WR 10% TE 40%
Round 7 - PPR QB 30% RB 20% WR 50% TE 0%

In the standard league, seven quarterbacks have been drafted prior to this selection. Since I like the way this team started with McCoy, Bell and Jackson at running back and Green, Jeffery and Floyd at receiver, I decided to take a quarterback here since one of the guys I plan to target in all leagues was available in Tony Romo. The Cowboys are going to lean heavily on Romo this season with Scott Linehan calling plays and a bad defense. I'm expecting eye-popping numbers. In the PPR league, we passed on quarterback again for a No. 3 receiver, and don't overlook Mike Wallace this season. New offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is going to help Wallace by allowing him to run different routes. It could allow for a big season and he's worth taking here.

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
My selection at No. 75 standard: Tony Romo
My selection at No. 75 PPR: Mike Wallace

Round 8

Round 8 - Standard QB 0% RB 40% WR 20% TE 40%
Round 8 - PPR QB 40% RB 20% WR 40% TE 0%

I considered tight end in this spot in the standard league, but first I wanted to see what happened with the owners picking at No. 1 and 2 overall since they had four picks before my next selection in Round 9. The owner at No. 1 overall took Rob Gronkowski in Round 3, and the owner at No. 2 overall took Jason Witten in Round 7. That allowed me to wait since I didn't expect either one would take a second tight end now. Instead, I fortified my running back depth with Jeremy Hill, who will take over for BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the power back in Cincinnati. He could lead the Bengals in rushing touchdowns and has plenty of sleeper potential as the complementary option to Giovani Bernard. In the PPR league, I took the same approach at quarterback since owner No. 1 has Aaron Rodgers and owner No. 2 has Colin Kaepernick. I went with Brandin Cooks instead, and he might be the best rookie receiver in PPR leagues playing for Drew Brees and the Saints.

Players you can get here (standard): Jeremy Hill, Bernard Pierce, Robert Griffin III, Christine Michael, DeAngelo Williams
Players you can get here (PPR): Brandin Cooks, DeAngelo Williams, Knowshon Moreno, Bernard Pierce, Kyle Rudolph
My selection at No. 94 standard: Jeremy Hill
My selection at No. 94 PPR: Brandin Cooks

Round 9

Round 9 - Standard QB 0% RB 20% WR 20% TE 60%
Round 9 - PPR QB 60% RB 20% WR 20% TE 0%

My plan paid off in both leagues since neither owner drafting before me went with a tight or quarterback in each respected format. I landed Greg Olsen in the standard league, and he should lead the Panthers in catches and receiving touchdowns and possibly receiving yards. He's the only remaining member of Carolina's receiving corps from last year with Steve Smith, Brandon LaFell and Ted Ginn gone. I don't mind waiting for Olsen, Kyle Rudolph or Zach Ertz in this spot because all have the potential to be solid starting tight ends with consistent production. Don't expect Jimmy Graham or Gronkowski, but these tight ends won't ruin your team. In the PPR league, I waited for Jay Cutler, who I like a lot this season as well. He will likely be the last Top 10-caliber quarterback off the board, and he could be a Top 5 option if he stays healthy all year. If you like to wait for a quarterback as long as possible, he's the perfect target in any league.

Players you can get here (standard): Greg Olsen, Zach Ertz, Stepfan Taylor, Tre Mason, Jay Cutler
Players you can get here (PPR): Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle, Khiry Robinson, Mike Evans, Dexter McCluster
My selection at No. 99 standard: Greg Olsen
My selection at No. 99 PPR: Jay Cutler

Round 10

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

This should be the point in the draft where every position of need is filled, and you can now focus on depth at running back and receiver with players who have the upside to start if things go right. In the standard league, I went with my No. 4 receiver in Hakeem Nicks. He gets a quarterback upgrade this year going from Eli Manning and the Giants to Andrew Luck and the Colts, and if he's healthy he could be an amazing bargain at this spot. In the PPR league, I took a flier on James White, who could play a vital role for the Patriots if Shane Vereen gets hurt or Stevan Ridley continues to have fumble issues. There is a lot of buzz on White in the early part of training camp.

Players you can get here (standard): Hakeem Nicks, Marvin Jones, Kenny Stills, Knile Davis, LeGarrette Blount
Players you can get here (PPR): James White, Seahawks DST, Jarrett Boykin, Knile Davis, Harry Douglas
My selection at No. 118 standard: Hakeem Nicks
My selection at No. 118 PPR: James White

Round 11

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

It will be interesting to see how far Chris Ivory falls as Fantasy owners give up on him with the addition of Chris Johnson. Ivory obviously has trouble staying healthy and will lose touches to Johnson, but the Jets plan to use him at the goal line. And if Johnson struggles we could see Ivory get an increased role. I have no problem drafting him with a late-round pick in standard leagues. In the PPR league, I don't expect Riley Cooper to replicate his production from last year, but I'll gamble on him as a No. 5 receiver behind Jeffery, Floyd, Wallace and Cooks. If he struggles then I'll cut him since there's little investment here.

Players you can get here (standard): Chris Ivory, 49ers DST, Darren McFadden, Eric Ebron, Jarrett Boykin
Players you can get here (PPR): Riley Cooper, Eric Ebron, Heath Miller, Travaris Cadet, LeGarrette Blount
My selection at No. 123 standard: Chris Ivory
My selection at No. 123 PPR: Riley Cooper

Round 12

Round 12 - Standard QB 10% RB 30% WR 40% TE 0% DST 20%
Round 12 - PPR QB 30% RB 40% WR 10% TE 0% DST 20%

In the PPR league, even though I'm confident in Cutler, I still wanted a capable backup given his injury history. And Ben Roethlisberger makes for a good target with a late-round pick in all leagues. Roethlisberger is annually overlooked as a starting Fantasy quarterback, but he was No. 10 in standard leagues last year. He could easily reach that level again given his system and weapons. In the standard league, Rod Streater is a receiver I like to target with a late-round pick because he's entering his third season and should be Oakland's best receiver this year. Like I said with Cooper, if he struggles early in the season then I'll cut him and find someone else to stash in this spot.

Players you can get here (standard): Rod Streater, Cardinals DST, Carson Palmer, Panthers DST, KaDeem Carey
Players you can get here (PPR): Ben Roethlisberger, Justin Hunter, Kenny Stills, Panthers DST, KaDeem Carey
My selection at No. 142 standard: Rod Streater
My selection at No. 142 PPR: Ben Roethlisberger

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%

We're down to DST and kicker, and the Bengals DST was our pick here in both leagues. They were a Top 5 DST each of the past two years and should again be dominant, especially with Geno Atkins (ACL) expected to return as the anchor of a great defensive line. The loss of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and pass rusher Michael Johnson will hurt, but there is still plenty of talent on this unit to make them worthy of being a Top 10 pick at their position with a late-round selection.

Players you can get here (standard): Bengals DST, Broncos DST, Patriots DST, Steelers DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Bengals DST, Broncos DST, Patriots DST, Steelers DST
My selection at No. 147 standard: Bengals DST
My selection at No. 147 PPR: Bengals 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%

I'll almost always wait until the last round to take a kicker, and I usually look for one in a high-powered offense who kicks indoors. I got both of those here with Dan Bailey in the standard league and Adam Vinatieri in the PPR format. Both were Top 10 kickers last year and could easily repeat based on their scenarios. I like Vinatieri better, but I'm happy to settle for either kicker. They both also have the added bonus of late bye weeks with Vinatieri in Week 10 and Bailey in Week 9.

Players you can get here (standard): Dan Bailey, Robbie Gould, Nick Novak
Players you can get here (PPR): Adam Vinatieri, Robbie Gould, Nick Novak
My selection at No. 166 standard: Dan Bailey
My selection at No. 166 PPR: Adam Vinatieri

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Tony Romo QB Jay Cutler
RB LeSean McCoy RB LeSean McCoy
RB Joique Bell RB Marshawn Lynch
WR A.J. Green WR Alshon Jeffery
WR Alshon Jeffery WR Michael Floyd
FLEX Michael Floyd FLEX Ryan Mathews
TE Greg Olsen TE Dennis Pitta
K Dan Bailey K Adam Vinatieri
DST Bengals DST Bengals
Reserve Steven Jackson Reserve Ben Roethlisberger
Reserve Jeremy Hill Reserve Mike Wallace
Reserve Chris Ivory Reserve Brandin Cooks
Reserve Hakeem Nicks Reserve Riley Cooper
Reserve Rod Streater Reserve James White

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Player News
Eagles' Chris Polk gets first-team reps in practice
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Eagles running back Chris Polk received first-team reps in practice on Wednesday, according to CSNPhilly.com.

Polk opened practice with the starters and ran a couple of plays. LeSean McCoy watched the plays from the sideline. Following practice, McCoy stressed that it wasn't a big deal. "We rotate all the time," he said. "[Running back coach Duce Staley] pulled me out. [Darren] Sproles wasn't in either." Polk is coming off a three touchdown performance in Week 15. It's possible he could find his way into more playing time given the practice situation. 


Seahawks without three offensive lineman on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Seahawks did not have three of their offensive linemen at practice on Wednesday, according to ESPN.

Max Unger, Russell Okung and J.R. Sweezy were all held out. Unger has missed the past four games due to an ankle and knee issue. He was able to practice last Friday, but did not play on Sunday. Okung is dealing with a bruised lung, but there's a chance he'll recover in time for Sunday's game. "[Okung is] going to have some stuff done [Thursday] that will let us know where he sits and all that," head coach Pete Carrol said. "He’s not out of the plan yet."

Sweezy is dealing with an ankle injury. His appearance on the injury report comes as somewhat of a surprise. 


Lions pick up CB Josh Thomas
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Lions have claimed cornerback Josh Thomas on waivers, according to the New York Post

Thomas was cut by the Jets on Tuesday, but found a new job quickly. He's played in three games this season, registering two tackles. 


Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch sits out on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch did not practice on Wednesday.

Lynch has been using Wednesday as a veteran's day all season, so the move isn't a big surprise. He's been battling a back injury throughout most of the season, but has been able to play through it. Lynch has 1133 rushing yards, with 10 touchdowns, this year. 


Texans' DeAndre Hopkins unable to practice on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Texans wideout DeAndre Hopkins did not practice on Wednesday.

Hopkins is dealing with an ankle injury, and was unable to go. Hopkins has played in all 14 games this season. He has 1167 yards on 69 receptions. Hopkins has caught six touchdowns. His status will likely be determined based on how much he is able to practice on Thursday and Friday. 


49ers WR Michael Crabtree misses practice Wednesday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) 49ers wideout Michael Crabtree did not practice Wednesday due to a knee injury, reports CSNBayArea.com. Crabtree, who has not cleared 60 receiving yards since Week 11, isn't believed to be seriously hurt.

He's scheduled to play the Chargers on Saturday night. If Crabtree can't go, it could mean increased targets for fellow starter Anquan Boldin.


Raiders QB Derek Carr limited by thumb injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was limited in Wednesday's practice with a thumb injury, but coach Tony Sparano isn't too concerned, reports CSNBayArea.com. Carr has thrown one or zero touchdown passes in four of his past five games entering Sunday's contest against Buffalo.

Report: Jay Cutler to be benched Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Bears will bench starting quarterback Jay Cutler Week 16 against the Lions, according to ESPN.

The move comes as a big surprise given the seven-year, $126 million contract Cutler signed in January. Cutler has had a big problem with turnovers this season, throwing 18 interceptions and fumbling 12 times. The move could mark the end of Cutler's season as the starter, and puts his future in Chicago in jeopardy. 

The team will turn to Jimmy Clausen to replace Cutler.


Texans RB Arian Foster held out Wednesday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) Texans running back Arian Foster did not practice Wednesday with what the team called a hip injury. Foster was listed on the injury report last week with a groin injury, then racked up 117 yards from scrimmage on 29 touches at Indy.

Foster, who might just be getting a veteran's rest day, is expected to start Sunday against the Ravens. Houston is a 5.5-point underdog at Caesars Palace Race and Sports Book.


Report: Bears to start Jimmy Clausen Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/17/2014) The Bears will start Jimmy Clausen Week 16 against the Lions, according to ESPN.

The move comes as a major surprise. While Jay Cutler has faced scrutiny for his body language and demeanor, the team handed him a seven-year, $126 million contract last season. The move seems to indicate that Cutler is done for the season, and puts his career with the Bears in jeopardy.

Clausen has seen time in three games this season, completing three passes in nine attempts. His last start came back in 2010, his rookie season. That year, Clausen threw for 1,558 yards, with three touchdowns against nine interceptions. 

The Lions are currently 7-point favorites, according to VegasInsider.com.


 
 
 
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