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2014 Draft Prep: Picking No. 7 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. 6
Pick No. 8 | Pick No. 9 | Pick No. 10 | Pick No. 11 | Pick No. 12

When you get to No. 7 overall in most standard and point-per-reception leagues, you're at the point in the draft where things start to get interesting with the players left on the board.

By this time in standard leagues, the Top 5 running backs of Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson and Eddie Lacy are gone, and Calvin Johnson has probably been selected as well. In the PPR league, the Top 4 running backs and Johnson have probably been drafted, and Demaryius Thomas could also be gone.

If that happens, which it did during this two-man draft I did with my colleague Dave Richard, then don't worry. You're still going to get a great player. In this case, it was Jimmy Graham in both leagues.

Now, there's a chance Graham could be gone, especially in the PPR format. I would take Graham over Thomas. But don't hesitate to draft Graham in this spot because, barring a Rob Gronkowski return to pre-injury form (which is a strong possibility, mind you), than Graham should be the best player at a thin position. And even if Gronkowski is back at 100 percent, it doesn't hurt to draft Graham here. He's that good.

With your next move, however, target a running back in Round 2. I would even advise drafting a running back with your next two picks. Taking a receiver in the second round would be OK, especially since you'd be looking at someone in the Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall and A.J. Green range. But quarterback is out of the question.

The reason to lock up a running back -- your choices could be from Arian Foster, Montee Ball, DeMarco Murray, Le'Veon Bell, Alfred Morris, Giovani Bernard, Marshawn Lynch, Zac Stacy and Doug Martin -- is the position gets thin quickly. And since you went tight end in Round 1, you don't want to fall too far behind. It's also why I would look at a running back in Round 3.

We typically tell you drafting a quarterback and tight end in the first five rounds is a mistake, and remember receiver is deep this year. Since you invested in Graham in Round 1, load up on running back early and often next. At least that's how I would approach it.

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

You're going to have to gauge how the draft goes when you pick at No. 7 overall because there's a chance Lacy or Johnson could fall in the standard league, and Johnson could be a surprise and make it here in PPR. You also could decide to draft Peyton Manning in the standard format, which is something I would never do. Most likely, you'll have to make a decision on Graham, and I'm comfortable with him in this spot. His contract situation is settled, and he's been the No. 1 tight end each of the past two years. If he plays to his usual level and no one like Gronkowski or Julius Thomas challenges him for the No. 1 spot, then he's well worth the price in the first round.

Players you can get here (standard): Jimmy Graham, Arian Foster, Montee Ball, Marshawn Lynch, DeMarco Murray
Players you can get here (PPR): Jimmy Graham, Giovani Bernard, DeMarco Murray, Arian Foster, Montee Ball
My selection at No. 7 standard: Jimmy Graham
My selection at No. 7 PPR: Jimmy Graham

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 5% RB 60% WR 35% TE 0%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 70% WR 30% TE 0%

You might want to gamble on a quarterback or receiver here, but I would plan on a running back in both formats. A good one should still be available in Round 2, and I'd hate to get behind at that position based on how thin it gets. In the standard league, Martin was the best available at the time, and even though early reports in training camp have him losing some touches to Charles Sims, Mike James or Bobby Rainey, I'm still expecting a big year as a low-end No. 1/high-end No. 2 option. He's a great running back to pair with Graham. In the PPR league, I was thrilled to get Bell here. He should be stellar in his second season as the lead rusher for the Steelers.

Players you can get here (standard): Doug Martin, Zac Stacy, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green
Players you can get here (PPR): Le'Veon Bell, Andre Ellington, Antonio Brown, Randall Cobb, Alshon Jeffery
My selection at No. 18 standard: Doug Martin
My selection at No. 18 PPR: Le'Veon Bell

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 10% RB 50% WR 40% TE 0%
Round 3 - PPR QB 5% RB 50% WR 45% TE 0%

Locking up a No. 1 receiver here isn't a horrible idea, especially when the options are Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Michael Crabtree, Vincent Jackson and Pierre Garcon in the standard league and Garcon, Crabtree and Jackson in PPR. But I still think the better route is to lock up as much quality running back talent as possible and just stockpile receivers later in the draft. With that in mind, I went with Gerhart in the standard league and Vereen in PPR. Gerhart has the chance to be a breakout running back this season with his move from Peterson's shadow to the starter in Jacksonville. His volume of work should make him a potential Top 15 running back. And Vereen has 80-plus catch potential for the Patriots with the chance to share time with Stevan Ridley running the ball. I like both these running backs in Round 3 in their respective formats.

Players you can get here (standard): Toby Gerhart, Ryan Mathews, Bishop Sankey, Larry Fitzgerald, Julius Thomas
Players you can get here (PPR): Shane Vereen, Bishop Sankey, Peyton Manning, Pierre Garcon, Toby Gerhart
My selection at No. 31 standard: Toby Gerhart
My selection at No. 31 PPR: Shane Vereen

Round 4

Round 4 - Standard QB 20% RB 20% WR 60% TE 0%
Round 4 - PPR QB 10% RB 20% WR 70% TE 0%

As I said earlier, we would avoid drafting a quarterback and tight end together with your first five picks. And since we already have two running backs, looking at receiver becomes a priority. There is great talent at receiver this season, so even if you miss on the elite-level guys you can still corral a good group and be competitive at the position. Keenan Allen isn't your ideal No. 1 receiver, but he is a good No. 2 option worth drafting in Round 4 or 5. Since we passed on receiver through three rounds because we started with Graham, Allen suffices as a capable No. 1 option in both formats. He was good last year with 71 catches, 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns and should post similar stats in 2014.

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. 42 standard: Keenan Allen
My selection at No. 42 PPR: Keenan Allen

Round 5

Round 5 - Standard QB 20% RB 20% WR 60% TE 0%
Round 5 - PPR QB 10% RB 30% WR 60% TE 0%

We continued with the receiver theme here to make sure we got the best talent for our rosters. Obviously, you won't pass on a running back or quarterback who makes sense, but none were available at this point in Round 5. In the standard league, the best running backs on the board were Chris Johnson, Rashad Jennings and Ben Tate, so I'll pass. At quarterback, it was Colin Kaepernick, Matt Ryan and Andrew Luck. I like those guys, but I'd rather get another Top 20 receiver with Victor Cruz. The change at coordinator to Ben McAdoo should help Cruz and this entire offense. In the PPR league, we can definitely wait on quarterback even though Matthew Stafford was still around, but receiver is more of a priority. The top running back was Frank Gore, so I passed and went with Julian Edelman, who could be in the 80-plus catch range again as the slot receiver for the Patriots.

Players you can get here (standard): Victor Cruz, Vernon Davis, Percy Harvin, Colin Kaepernick, Golden Tate
Players you can get here (PPR): Julian Edelman, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore, Matthew Stafford, Percy Harvin
My selection at No. 55 standard: Victor Cruz
My selection at No. 55 PPR: Julian Edelman

Round 6

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

You don't have to follow the formula of filling out your running backs and receivers after drafting Graham as I did here, but the pieces fell into place where I thought it made sense. You can always zig when someone else zags and grab a quarterback or multiple running backs and receivers. But since the team is set at those starting spots, we can now target flex options and key reserves, along with looking for a quarterback. As I've said multiple times now, running back is thin, so I'll always look at that position first to see who is available. Ben Tate was the best option in the standard league, and hopefully he can hold off Terrance West enough to be a capable flex option or spot starter if needed. In the PPR league, Pierre Thomas is not only a flex candidate, but potential starter. He led all running backs in receptions in 2013, and now Darren Sproles is gone. That could lead to bigger things this season.

Players you can get here (standard): Ben Tate, Jordan Cameron, Andrew Luck, Mike Wallace, Steven Jackson
Players you can get here (PPR): Pierre Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Ben Tate, Danny Woodhead, Dennis Pitta
My selection at No. 66 standard: Ben Tate
My selection at No. 66 PPR: Pierre Thomas

Round 7

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

We're at the point of the draft of taking talent regardless of position, so I leaned toward a No. 3 receiver with upside to solidify that position. It's such a deep position this year that someone you draft in this round could become a Top 20 option if not higher. Some of the candidates in the standard league include Terrance Williams, T.Y. Hilton, Eric Decker and Sammy Watkins. In the PPR league, it's Hilton, Watkins, Brandin Cooks and Rueben Randle. Those guys are oozing with upside, especially Williams and Hilton, and we grabbed them here. I could easily start Williams and Hilton as flex options also. And in the PPR league, I planned ahead knowing that only one other owner at No. 12 overall is without a quarterback, and Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III were on the board. I'm happy with either one, so I can gamble here.

Players you can get here (standard): Terrance Williams, Maurice Jones-Drew, T.Y. Hilton, Knowshon Moreno, Eric Decker
Players you can get here (PPR): T.Y. Hilton, Fred Jackson, Steven Jackson, Sammy Watkins, Andrew Luck
My selection at No. 79 standard: Terrance Williams
My selection at No. 79 PPR: T.Y. Hilton

Round 8

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

In the PPR league, our move paid off. The owner at No. 12 went with Griffin, leaving me with Romo. I love Romo this season because the Cowboys should be great on offense and bad on defense, so Romo should have plenty of chances to throw. In the standard league, only one other owner needed a quarterback before I picked again, and that's at No. 1 overall. The best choices left were Griffin and Jay Cutler. Now, I like Griffin a lot better than Cutler, but there was a running back staring at me I found hard to pass up, which is Devonta Freeman. He could end up as the best running back in Atlanta, especially with Steven Jackson battling hamstring problems in training camp. I'll take Freeman here and go with the leftover of Cutler, Nick Foles or Cam Newton, who were also on the board. I'll try and pair two of those together if Griffin gets drafted this round.

Players you can get here (standard): Devonta Freeman, Danny Woodhead, Jordan Reed, Brandin Cooks, Jeremy Hill
Players you can get here (PPR): Tony Romo, Lamar Miller, Devonta Freeman, Zach Ertz, Brandin Cooks
My selection at No. 90 standard: Devonta Freeman
My selection at No. 90 PPR: Tony Romo

Round 9

Round 9 - Standard QB 70% RB 10% WR 20% TE 0%
Round 9 - PPR QB 0% RB 50% WR 50% TE 0%

Like the PPR team, our move to wait on a quarterback paid off with Cutler coming back. Obviously, Griffin would have been better, but I'm excited about Cutler this season. The Bears made a huge investment in him while letting Josh McCown leave as a free agent. The offseason reports on Cutler have been positive, and he has an amazing receiving corps led by Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. He's the last quarterback I like to wait for, and I did draft him ahead of Foles and Newton because his ceiling is higher. But like I said, I will pair him with another quarterback just in case he gets hurt again. In the PPR league, I took a flier on Dexter McCluster here. If he plays the Danny Woodhead role in Ken Whisenhunt's offense (Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator in San Diego last year) then he could be a star. If not, he's an easy guy to cut at this spot.

Players you can get here (standard): Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle, Nick Foles, Kyle Rudolph, Andre Williams
Players you can get here (PPR): Dexter McCluster, Marvin Jones, Christine Michael, Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Hill
My selection at No. 103 standard: Jay Cutler
My selection at No. 103 PPR: Dexter McCluster

Round 10

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

I'm not big on taking two quarterbacks in a 14-round draft, but every situation is different. So after drafting Cutler, I was now watching to see what happened with Foles and Newton. Foles went two picks after I drafted Cutler as the No. 12 quarterback off the board, so at that point I planned to take Newton if he made it back to me. This could either be the steal of the draft based on Newton's history or a potential open roster spot if I cut him early in the season. We're down on Newton this year with his reshuffled receiving corps and offensive line and coming off ankle surgery. But he's still someone to target in all leagues just in case he proves us wrong. Just don't overvalue him as a Top 10 option. In the PPR league, I took a flier on Stepfan Taylor, who could surprise as the No. 2 running back in Arizona.

Players you can get here (standard): Cam Newton, Riley Cooper, Tavon Austin, Carlos Hyde, Hakeem Nicks
Players you can get here (PPR): Stepfan Taylor, Nick Foles, Tavon Austin, Chris Ivory, James White
My selection at No. 114 standard: Cam Newton
My selection at No. 114 PPR: Stepfan Taylor

Round 11

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

You can look at best player available with these next two picks unless you want to pull the trigger early on a DST. We passed on that option here, and instead bolstered our receiving corps in the standard league with Jarrett Boykin and our running back group in the PPR league with LeGarrette Blount. I like Boykin a lot this season as the No. 3 receiver for the Packers. James Jones is gone, and the tight end position is shaky. Boykin should see plenty of targets in the slot or outside as a complementary weapon behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Blount is worth taking here in the PPR league solely as a handcuff for Bell. Should Bell go down, Blount would likely be a must-start running back in any format.

Players you can get here (standard): Jarrett Boykin, Doug Baldwin, Dexter McCluster, Harry Douglas, Lance Dunbar
Players you can get here (PPR): LeGarrette Blount, Darren McFadden, Anquan Boldin, Andre Brown, Cam Newton
My selection at No. 127 standard: Jarrett Boykin
My selection at No. 127 PPR: LeGarrette Blount

Round 12

Round 12 - Standard QB 0% RB 50% WR 40% TE 0% DST 10%
Round 12 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 50% TE 0% DST 10%

We have a solid group of running backs in the PPR league with Bell, Vereen, Thomas, McCluster, Taylor and Blount. It was in our best interest now to take a reserve receiver behind Allen, Edelman and Hilton. The best option, and someone you should target with a late-round pick, is Rod Streater. I know he plays for the Raiders and has Matt Schaub at quarterback, but Streater should be Oakland's No. 1 target. He's also a third-year breakout candidate and has done well to increase his totals each of his first two seasons. I like stashing him late in all formats. In the standard league, another receiver I plan to target is Justin Hunter. He could also have a breakout season in his sophomore campaign as the expected starter opposite Kendall Wright.

Players you can get here (standard): Justin Hunter, Kelvin Benjamin, James White, Anquan Boldin, Rod Streater
Players you can get here (PPR): Rod Streater, Rams DST, Ahmad Bradshaw, Cardinals DST, Ben Roethlisberger
My selection at No. 138 standard: Justin Hunter
My selection at No. 138 PPR: Rod Streater

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%

When you wait until the end of the draft to select a DST, especially if you're picking in the middle of the round, you're usually looking at second-tier options, like we were here. But don't fret. A DST like the Steelers is a solid option because of their schedule, facing some offensively-challenged teams like Cleveland, Baltimore, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, Cleveland and Houston for the first seven weeks. It might not work out if the defense struggles like last season, but based on past performance and opponent, they were worth the risk here. In the PPR league, we went with the Patriots DST with the hope the additions of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner and return to health of Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly and Jerod Mayo pay off with a big year.

Players you can get here (standard): Steelers DST, Saints DST, Chiefs DST, Stephen Gostkowski, Cecil Shorts
Players you can get here (PPR): Patriots DST, Steelers DST, Stephen Gostkowski, Phil Dawson, Saints DST
My selection at No. 151 standard: Steelers DST
My selection at No. 151 PPR: Patriots 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%

Justin Tucker is a proven commodity at this point since he was a Top 3 kicker last season in standard leagues and has made 68 field goals the past two years. He's a Top 5 candidate this year. Steven Hauschka is coming off a big season with 41 of 43 field goals, including the playoffs, and has made 57 of 62 field goals the past two years. He's another Top 5 kicker coming into the season.

Players you can get here (standard): Justin Tucker, Mason Crosby, Adam Vinatieri, Shayne Graham, Dan Bailey
Players you can get here (PPR): Steven Hauschka, Shayne Graham, Justin Tucker, Dan Bailey, Adam Vinatieri
My selection at No. 164 standard: Justin Tucker
My selection at No. 164 PPR: Steven Hauschka

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Jay Cutler QB Tony Romo
RB Doug Martin RB Le'Veon Bell
RB Toby Gerhart RB Shane Vereen
WR Keenan Allen WR Keenan Allen
WR Victor Cruz WR Julian Edelman
FLEX Ben Tate FLEX Pierre Thomas
TE Jimmy Graham TE Jimmy Graham
K Justin Tucker K Steven Hauschka
DST Steelers DST Patriots
Reserve Cam Newton Reserve Dexter McCluster
Reserve Devonta Freeman Reserve Stepfan Taylor
Reserve Terrance Williams Reserve LeGarrette Blount
Reserve Jarrett Boykin Reserve T.Y. Hilton
Reserve Justin Hunter Reserve Rod Streater

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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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