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2014 Draft Prep: Picking No. 5 overall

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Pick No. 1 | Pick No. 2 | Pick No. 3 | Pick No. 4 | Pick No. 6
Pick No. 7 | Pick No. 8 | Pick No. 9 | Pick No. 10 | Pick No. 11 | Pick No. 12

It's time to switch things up at No. 5 overall. So far, through the first four picks of this series in each format, it has been all running backs in this two-man draft with my colleague Dave Richard.

That changes here.

With this pick we're going with the No. 1 receiver on the majority of draft boards in Calvin Johnson. You can argue Jimmy Graham should be drafted here or another running back, but Johnson is the pick based on his sustained level of production. He has been a Top 3 Fantasy receiver each of the past three seasons, including No. 1 twice in standard formats.

The usual concern about drafting Johnson in Round 1 is going without a potential stud running back with your first pick. I went to the extreme here in both leagues by going receiver-receiver with my first two picks. In the standard league, I drafted Julio Jones in Round 2, and I selected Antonio Brown in the PPR format.

I wasn't concerned at all about running back because Andre Ellington and Shane Vereen were there in Rounds 3 and 4, respectively, in the standard league. And Alfred Morris was there in Round 3 in the PPR draft. He isn't a great No. 1 running back in this format, but he's definitely serviceable with a third-round pick after starting with Johnson and Brown.

We typically advise you to stockpile as many running backs as possible, especially early, because the position dries up quickly. But that doesn't mean it has to be with your first two picks. In the standard league, I went with a running back in Rounds 3, 4, 7 (Pierre Thomas), 9 (Stepfan Taylor), 11 (Darren McFadden) and 12 (James White). I only need to start two since Wes Welker is my expected flex option, so I'm confident in this group.

In the PPR league, I didn't draft my second running back until Round 5 with Trent Richardson. But then I went with Ben Tate in Round 6, Devonta Freeman in Round 8, Khiry Robinson in Round 9 and Ahmad Bradshaw in Round 12. Like the standard league, I only need two of these guys since Cordarrelle Patterson is my expected flex, so this team turned out very well.

You can judge for yourself as we analyze each pick. I think you'll find in both formats this is a good strategy to follow on Draft Day.

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 40% WR 40% TE 20%
Round 1 - PPR QB 0% RB 30% WR 50% TE 20%

There's some talk that Johnson's targets will decrease this season with the additions of Golden Tate and Eric Ebron. We doubt that happens enough to impact his Fantasy value in a negative way, and Johnson should again finish with 80-plus catches and 1,450-plus yards, which he's done each of the past three seasons. He's also scored at least 12 touchdowns in three of the past four years. Graham would also have been a good choice here, especially in PPR leagues, or Eddie Lacy in the standard format. But I'll take Johnson and know my team is in good shape with an excellent first-round pick.

Players you can get here (standard): Calvin Johnson, Eddie Lacy, Jimmy Graham, Arian Foster, Montee Ball
Players you can get here (PPR): Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Jimmy Graham, Giovani Bernard, DeMarco Murray
My selection at No. 5 standard: Calvin Johnson
My selection at No. 5 PPR: Calvin Johnson

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 5% RB 50% WR 40% TE 5%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 50% WR 40% TE 10%

My initial thought after taking Johnson in the standard league was to take a running back in Round 2. But once Zac Stacy and Doug Martin went off the board right in front of me, I didn't panic and drafted Jones instead. Now, I didn't have to worry about receiver for a while barring someone falling in my lap, and I have a distinct advantage over most owners at the position with two Top 5 guys coming into the year. In the PPR league, I wanted Brown over Stacy and Martin, who were available, because those two receivers with my first two picks should have the chance for 200 receptions between them and dominant production across the board.

Players you can get here (standard): Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown
Players you can get here (PPR): Antonio Brown, Randall Cobb, Alshon Jeffery, Zac Stacy, Doug Martin
My selection at No. 20 standard: Julio Jones
My selection at No. 20 PPR: Antonio Brown

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 10% RB 60% WR 20% TE 10%
Round 3 - PPR QB 5% RB 70% WR 20% TE 5%

Running back is clearly a priority in both formats after starting with two receivers through the first two rounds. Ellington is better suited as a No. 2 running back, but he has Top 12 potential if he plays to the offseason expectations. Ellington was a Top 24 running back last year in a shared role with Rashard Mendenhall, but Ellington's role will increase in what should be an explosive offense. In the PPR league, we'll find out if coach Jay Gruden was truthful when he told me this offseason he wants Morris in the 20-25 catch range. He has 20 career receptions, so it's a stretch, but if he's more involved in the passing game then getting him in Round 3 might be a steal. Either way, both running backs are solid options at this point in the draft after how I started each team.

Players you can get here (standard): Andre Ellington, Aaron Rodgers, Toby Gerhart, Ryan Mathews, Bishop Sankey
Players you can get here (PPR): Alfred Morris, Larry Fitzgerald, Shane Vereen, Bishop Sankey, Peyton Manning
My selection at No. 29 standard: Andre Ellington
My selection at No. 29 PPR: Alfred Morris

Round 4

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

I like the way this team has come together in the standard league with Johnson, Jones, Ellington and now Vereen. If he played all 16 games last season instead of missing time with a broken wrist he would have been a Top 15 running back in standard formats. He should play at a high level if he can stay healthy, but he's the type of running back to target in Round 4 no matter what you do with your first three picks. In the PPR league, I went a different route instead of what I planned. Running back was a priority, and I passed on Ryan Mathews, which I might regret. But I couldn't pass on Patterson here. He makes for a better flex option than Mathews at the No. 2 running back spot, and I know someone from the Richardson, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, Ben Tate, Rashad Jennings group should fall to me in Round 5. Unless I get burned by that gamble, I potentially hit a home run with Patterson in this spot.

Players you can get here (standard): Shane Vereen, Matthew Stafford, Joique Bell, Ray Rice, Stevan Ridley
Players you can get here (PPR): Cordarrelle Patterson, Roddy White, Michael Floyd, Wes Welker, Victor Cruz
My selection at No. 44 standard: Shane Vereen
My selection at No. 44 PPR: Cordarrelle Patterson

Round 5

Round 5 - Standard QB 20% RB 40% WR 30% TE 10%
Round 5 - PPR QB 10% RB 60% WR 20% TE 10%

My plan in the PPR league worked out with Richardson falling back to me here. There's a lot of ifs with him this season after last year's debacle once he was traded to the Colts, but he should bounce back in a big way. Again, based on my team so far, I should be awesome if Richardson can return to Top 15 status, and I like my chances for that happening. In the standard league, we passed on reaching for a quarterback or tight end and locked up a flex option in Welker. He's in a contract year and should benefit with Eric Decker gone, and I like his value here. I still needed to target another running back option as a flex with one of my next two picks, but Welker should produce at a high enough level to start each week.

Players you can get here (standard): Wes Welker, Roddy White, Victor Cruz, Vernon Davis, Percy Harvin
Players you can get here (PPR): Trent Richardson, Chris Johnson, Julian Edelman, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore
My selection at No. 53 standard: Wes Welker
My selection at No. 53 PPR: Trent Richardson

Round 6

Round 6 - Standard QB 30% RB 40% WR 10% TE 20%
Round 6 - PPR QB 20% RB 40% WR 20% TE 20%

Quarterback and tight end are becoming a priority in both leagues, and we addressed one of those spots now with Andrew Luck in the standard format. I like waiting for quarterbacks in the second tier, which for me includes Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Luck, Tony Romo, Colin Kaepernick, Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III. Any of these quarterbacks could be Top 5 options, and the longer I can wait for one of these guys -- in this order -- the better I feel. Luck just made sense here, and he should be awesome in likely his best season to date. In the PPR league, I struggled between a third running back in Tate or my tight end in Dennis Pitta. Given that I had just Morris and Richardson, I thought running back depth was the better route. It will only work out if Tate doesn't falter and loses his job to Terrance West and I get a tight end with Top 10 potential. These are some of the tough decisions you have to make in the middle rounds, and you just have to hope you choose right.

Players you can get here (standard): Andrew Luck, Mike Wallace, Steven Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Julian Edelman
Players you can get here (PPR): Ben Tate, Danny Woodhead, Dennis Pitta, Stevan Ridley, DeSean Jackson
My selection at No. 68 standard: Andrew Luck
My selection at No. 68 PPR: Ben Tate

Round 7

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

You never want to jump in on runs unless there's a player you're targeting, and that's what happened here in the PPR league. Round 7 had Kaepernick drafted at No. 74 overall followed by Brady at No. 76. Since I was looking at quarterback and consider Ryan a Top 5 option, he was the right pick for this team. With a healthy Jones and Roddy White, Ryan could easily have a career year. Prior to Jones getting hurt in Week 5, Ryan was on pace for 5,277 yards, 32 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He might not reach those heights this year, but he's worth the gamble if you wait on a quarterback like me. In the standard league, I added running back depth with Thomas. He's a better option in PPR leagues, but he can be a spot starter or flex option if needed.

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
My selection at No. 77 standard: Pierre Thomas
My selection at No. 77 PPR: Matt Ryan

Round 8

Round 8 - Standard QB 0% RB 30% WR 30% TE 40%
Round 8 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 20% TE 40%

Waiting for a tight end worked in the standard league with Jordan Reed at this spot. I'm now excited about this starting lineup of Luck at quarterback, Ellington and Vereen at running back, Johnson and Jones at receiver, Welker at the flex and Reed at tight end. He played well last season before concussion problems ended his year, but he should be a Top 10 tight end if he can stay healthy. In the PPR league, I landed a potential steal here in Freeman. With Steven Jackson out for the preseason with a hamstring injury, we could see Freeman's ADP rise. He might not be in Round 8 much longer, but if he is grab him, because he could challenge the likes of Bishop Sankey and West for the No. 1 rookie running back this year, especially if Jackson has to miss time during the season.

Players you can get here (standard): Jordan Reed, Brandin Cooks, Jeremy Hill, Bernard Pierce, Robert Griffin III
Players you can get here (PPR): Devonta Freeman, Zach Ertz, Brandin Cooks, DeAngelo Williams, Knowshon Moreno
My selection at No. 92 standard: Jordan Reed
My selection at No. 92 PPR: Devonta Freeman

Round 9

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

You can never have enough running backs, especially high-upside guys, and I added quality depth in both leagues here. In the PPR league, Robinson is the type of running back who could emerge from a crowded situation. He'll split time with Thomas and Mark Ingram, but he could end up as the best of the trio, especially if he gets consistent time in passing situations. In the standard league, I accomplished two goals by drafting Stepfan Taylor. He is not only a handcuff option for Ellington, but he also can stand on his own as the Cardinals will likely use him at the goal line and also to run between the tackles. Taylor is a sleeper to target with a late-round pick this year.

Players you can get here (standard): Stepfan Taylor, Tre Mason, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle, Nick Foles
Players you can get here (PPR): Khiry Robinson, Mike Evans, Dexter McCluster, Marvin Jones, Christine Michael
My selection at No. 101 standard: Stepfan Taylor
My selection at No. 101 PPR: Khiry Robinson

Round 10

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

There's a tight end I was targeting in the PPR league, and I was confident I could wait another round to get him. With that in mind, it's time for a lottery ticket pick with Tavon Austin. He was a bust as a rookie in 2013, but he could rebound with a healthy Sam Bradford. It worked out that he was available at this spot in both leagues, and he ends up as my No. 4 receiver for each team. Ideally, I'll never play Austin barring a breakout campaign, and if that happens I can either trade him or use him as a spot starter whenever Johnson, Jones or Welker are out in the standard league or Johnson, Brown and Patterson in the PPR format.

Players you can get here (standard): Tavon Austin, Carlos Hyde, Hakeem Nicks, Marvin Jones, Kenny Stills
Players you can get here (PPR): Tavon Austin, Chris Ivory, James White, Seahawks DST, Jarrett Boykin
My selection at No. 116 standard: Tavon Austin
My selection at No. 116 PPR: Tavon Austin

Round 11

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

Heath Miller might not excite many Fantasy owners, but I like him as a sleeper this season. The Steelers have to replace Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery, who combined for 113 catches, 1,342 yards and 16 touchdowns. Antonio Brown remains the No. 1 receiver in Pittsburgh, but Miller should be the No. 2 target in the passing game ahead of guys like Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant, Dri Archer and Justin Brown. Miller had a career year in 2013 with 71 catches for 816 yards and eight touchdowns, and I expect him to be closer to those stats this season after last year's comeback from a torn ACL left him a little out of sorts. In the standard league, we'll gamble on McFadden this late. He will share touches with Maurice Jones-Drew this year, but if McFadden doesn't get hurt he could be a steal in this round.

Players you can get here (standard): Darren McFadden, Eric Ebron, Jarrett Boykin, Doug Baldwin, Dexter McCluster
Players you can get here (PPR): Heath Miller, Travaris Cadet, LeGarrette Blount, Darren McFadden, Anquan Boldin
My selection at No. 125 standard: Darren McFadden
My selection at No. 125 PPR: Heath Miller

Round 12

Round 12 - Standard QB 0% RB 50% WR 30% TE 0% DST 20%
Round 12 - PPR QB 0% RB 50% WR 30% TE 0% DST 20%

In the PPR league, I decided to handcuff Richardson with Bradshaw. Not that I expect much from Bradshaw this season, but at least now I have the Colts backfield locked up after taking Richardson in Round 5. In the standard league, put White on your radar because he could be this year's LeGarrette Blount for the Patriots. Should Stevan Ridley start fumbling again or Vereen get hurt then White would play a prominent role, and he's worth a late-round flier in all formats.

Players you can get here (standard): James White, Anquan Boldin, Rod Streater, Cardinals DST, Carson Palmer
Players you can get here (PPR): Ahmad Bradshaw, Cardinals DST, Ben Roethlisberger, Justin Hunter, Kenny Stills
My selection at No. 140 standard: James White
My selection at No. 140 PPR: Ahmad Bradshaw

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 Broncos DST should be much improved this season after adding DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward through free agency and drafting Bradley Roby in the first round of the NFL Draft. If Von Miller (ACL) can return at 100 percent then this DST could be a Top 5 unit. I took them here in both leagues and like looking for the Broncos DST as a mid-level starting option in all formats.

Players you can get here (standard): Broncos DST, Patriots DST, Steelers DST, Saints DST, Chiefs DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Broncos DST, Antonio Gates, Patriots DST, Steelers DST, Saints DST
My selection at No. 149 standard: Broncos DST
My selection at No. 149 PPR: Broncos 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%

Adam Vinatieri fills a lot of the criteria I like for Fantasy kickers since he's part of a great offense in Indianapolis, he kicks indoors and has a late bye in Week 10. He also was a Top 10 kicker in standard leagues last season. Justin Tucker was a Top 3 kicker last season and has made 68 field goals the past two years. If the offense improves in Baltimore as expected, Tucker should have more opportunities to score this season.

Players you can get here (standard): Adam Vinatieri, Shayne Graham, Dan Bailey, Robbie Gould, Nick Novak
Players you can get here (PPR): Justin Tucker, Dan Bailey, Adam Vinatieri, Robbie Gould, Nick Novak
My selection at No. 164 standard: Adam Vinatieri
My selection at No. 164 PPR: Justin Tucker

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Andrew Luck QB Matt Ryan
RB Andre Ellington RB Alfred Morris
RB Shane Vereen RB Trent Richardson
WR Calvin Johnson WR Calvin Johnson
WR Julio Jones WR Antonio Brown
FLEX Wes Welker FLEX Cordarrelle Patterson
TE Jordan Reed TE Heath Miller
K Adam Vinatieri K Justin Tucker
DST Broncos DST Broncos
Reserve Pierre Thomas Reserve Ben Tate
Reserve Stepfan Taylor Reserve Devonta Freeman
Reserve Darren McFadden Reserve Khiry Robinson
Reserve James White Reserve Ahmad Bradshaw
Reserve Tavon Austin Reserve Tavon Austin

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Player News
Bills awarded waiver claim for QB Matt Simms
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) The quarterback situation in Buffalo has gotten a little more complicated on Friday. The Bills were awarded their waiver claim on QB Matt Simms, who was released by the Jets on Thursday, according to the team's official website. 

Simms has played just four games and has completed 19 of 39 passes for 195 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in his career.


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(5/29/2015) The Falcons have decided to waive linebacker Prince Shembo on Friday after he was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per nfl.com.

"We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo," the team said in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo."

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


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Watts, who made the team in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, played in 14 games last season and rushed for 30 yards on seven carries.

Watts is eligible to return for Week 5 against the Packers.


Falcons LB Prince Shembo charged with cruelty to animals
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo is being accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's dog and has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police said Denicia Williams, Shembo's ex-girlfriend, reported on April 19 that Shembo had killed her Yorkie.

Williams took the dog to Shembo's residence and left them unattended at some point. When she returned, the dog was unresponsive.

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Seahawks' Kam Chancellor: 'This is the strongest offseason I've had'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor feels good. He should, he's finally healthy.

Chancellor, who has become accustomed to rehabbing nagging injuries during the offseason, is practicing with the team during organized team activities for the first time in a while, per The News Tribune.

“I feel great. Back to football form. Feel fast. Feel strong. I just feel good out there," Chancellor said. "I think this is the strongest offseason I’ve had since I’ve been in the league. I’ve been actually able to train in the offseason instead of having surgeries.”

Chancellor recorded 78 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 14 games last season.


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(5/29/2015) Cardinals rookie runningback David Johnson received a huge compliment from his position coach, per nfl.com.

Running backs coach Stump Mitchell said the third-round pick reminds him of a Pro Bowl running back.

"He reminds me a lot of Matt Forte," Mitchell said. "You can put him outside and use him as a receiver and he's a good runner."

Mitchell sees the comparison between the two when it comes to Johnson's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, something Forte has excelled at throughout his career.

"He has excellent hands and he's a bigger target to throw the ball to," Mitchell said. "He's going to be a big piece of the puzzle before this season is said and done."

Johnson rushed for 1,553 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at Northern Iowa last year.


Patriots Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler absent at OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler was noticeably absent from organized team activities on Friday, per nesn.com. It's unclear why Butler was not at practice.

Butler recorded 15 tackles in 11 games last season, but most noticeably came up with a game-clinching interception in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX.


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(5/29/2015) Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee tore his ACL during organized team activities last year. This year, he has been limited to individual drills during non-padded parctices, per The Dallas Morning News.

Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus said the team is happy to have Lee back but that they will pace him along slowly.

"He's a ball of energy and excitement and that represents who we are," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's moving well. We're just being smart as we get him ready to go. But he's got a lot of good quality work in."


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Maclin, who signed a five-year, $55 million deal with the Chiefs, was a premier punt returner in college and played the role sparingly -- with little success -- with the Eagles.

Coach Andy Reid said the team is preparing Maclin just in case he's needed to return punts or kicks because of injuries.

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Eagles CB Byron Maxwell guarantees trip to Super Bowl 50
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/29/2015) Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell knows what it takes to make a Super Bowl run, he's appeared in two straight as a key member of the vaunted Seahawks defense.

Now, Maxwell is confident the Eagles will make a run to the big game and he will make his third consecutive appearance, per NFL.com.

"Because I've been there before," Maxwell said. "Knowing what it's like if we go that far. Because we're gonna go that far this year, meaning the playoffs and the Super Bowl. We're gonna go that far. Hopefully that experience I already had, I can help them."

The Eagles haven't made a Super Bowl since their 24-21 loss to the Patriots in 2004, but Maxwell didn't backtrack with his comments.

"You can take that as a guarantee," he said. "That's just me believing in my team and the product we're going to put out there on the field. I really do believe that. I have no choice but to think that way."

Maxwell, who signed a six-year, $60 million deal with the Eagles this offseason, recorded 39 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games last season.


 
 
 
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