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

You can make a strong argument that there are seven easy picks to make in the first round of a standard draft. And that includes passing on a quarterback -- even one as potentially dominant as Peyton Manning.

The Top 7, in some order, are likely Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy, Calvin Johnson and Jimmy Graham. Manning could easily creep into the conversation if you're inclined to take a quarterback early, and some owners might gamble on Demaryius Thomas here as well.

Now, after the Top 7, things get interesting. Again, Manning and Thomas are in the discussion, but so are other running backs like Montee Ball, Demarco Murray, Arian Foster, Le'Veon Bell, Marshawn Lynch and Giovani Bernard. I prefer Ball and Murray, but I like taking high-upside running backs early and often.

When picking at No. 9 overall, you have options, and it's a great draft slot to be in. Johnson or Graham could fall if you're lucky, you can target Manning or another receiver like Thomas or Dez Bryant or you can focus on a running back of your liking.

Then, in Round 2, you might get another high-end rusher or still nab a Top 5 receiver like Bryant, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall or A.J. Green. You can even consider Rob Gronkowski or Manning, Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers.

In a point-per-reception league, receivers like Thomas, Bryant, Jones, Marshall and Green get pushed up, and a top-flight running back like Lacy could fall. You'd like to get one of those receivers early, but don't pass on a running back like Murray, Ball, Foster or Bernard since they will be heavily involved in the passing game.

Some owners tend to fret about picking late in the draft, but I prefer it at times. At No. 9 overall, you can get two players in the Top 16, which is usually a standout running back and a stud receiver. It's a great start to any Fantasy roster.

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 10% RB 60% WR 20% TE 10%
Round 1 - PPR QB 0% RB 50% WR 40% TE 10%

I'm typically looking at two running backs here in a standard league with Ball and Murray unless Johnson or Graham remains on the board. I'm not likely to draft Manning or Brees in the first round, but I understand those owners who like to guarantee a stud quarterback early. The upside of Ball is to replicate what Knowshon Moreno did last season, which was a Top 5 finish at his position, and his appendectomy in training camp shouldn't scare you away from drafting him in the first round. I'll almost always gamble on Ball if available. In the PPR league, with Thomas being drafted at No. 6 overall in this draft, I went with a running back like Murray. Murray should be dominant as the lead running back in Scott Linehan's offense after his breakout performance in 2013.

Players you can get here (standard): Montee Ball, Marshawn Lynch, DeMarco Murray, Alfred Morris, Demaryius Thomas
Players you can get here (PPR): DeMarco Murray, Arian Foster, Montee Ball, Brandon Marshall, Eddie Lacy
My selection at No. 9 standard: Montee Ball
My selection at No. 9 PPR: DeMarco Murray

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 40% TE 10%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 30% WR 60% TE 10%

Some Fantasy owners may argue that the elite quarterbacks in Manning, Brees or Rodgers are safe bets, which they are. But so are the elite receivers, and that's the route I would go in Round 2 in both formats for your leagues. In the standard league, pairing Ball with someone like Bryant, Jones, Marshall or Green is the smart move, and we went with Bryant here. He could easily be the No. 1 Fantasy receiver this season with a contract on the line in this explosive offense. In the PPR league, it's imperative to come away with a stud option if possible, and you can argue Green is a first-round candidate in this format. To get Green and Murray through two rounds is a great achievement.

Players you can get here (standard): Dez Bryant, Peyton Manning, Doug Martin, Zac Stacy, Julio Jones
Players you can get here (PPR): A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, Le'Veon Bell, Andre Ellington, Antonio Brown
My selection at No. 16 standard: Dez Bryant
My selection at No. 16 PPR: A.J. Green

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 10% RB 40% WR 40% TE 10%
Round 3 - PPR QB 10% RB 40% WR 40% TE 10%

Sometimes you have to deviate from your plan when a superstar lands in your lap, and that's what happened here in the PPR league with Manning. Quarterbacks will fall in PPR leagues with receivers getting a bump, but I wouldn't pass on Manning here in leagues where you get six points for passing touchdowns. The alternative to Manning would have been Pierre Garcon or Julius Thomas, but Manning makes this roster dominant so far. In the standard league, we started to stockpile running backs with Bishop Sankey. Again, we could have gone with Thomas, but I like Sankey's upside as the lead rusher for the Titans.

Players you can get here (standard): Bishop Sankey, Larry Fitzgerald, Julius Thomas, Andre Johnson, Reggie Bush
Players you can get here (PPR): Peyton Manning, Pierre Garcon, Toby Gerhart, Julius Thomas, Ray Rice
My selection at No. 33 standard: Bishop Sankey
My selection at No. 33 PPR: Peyton Manning

Round 4

Round 4 - Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 40% TE 10%
Round 4 - PPR QB 0% RB 40% WR 40% TE 20%

In the PPR league, I was hoping C.J. Spiller would make it back to me, but he went at No. 39 overall. Instead of taking another running back, I went with a second receiver in Vincent Jackson. I'm thrilled with Jackson in Round 4, and he should do fine with the quarterback upgrade in Josh McCown this year. But this may be a move I regret based on the running back talent pool. More on that later. In the standard league, I got Spiller here to lock up a flex and add yet another running back to Ball and Sankey. I like this strategy since I already have Bryant and can look for a second receiver in Round 5.

Players you can get here (standard): C.J. Spiller, Pierre Garcon, Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson, Shane Vereen
Players you can get here (PPR): Vincent Jackson, Drew Brees, Keenan Allen, Joique Bell, Cordarrelle Patterson
My selection at No. 40 standard: C.J. Spiller
My selection at No. 40 PPR: Vincent Jackson

Round 5

Round 5 - Standard QB 20% RB 20% WR 50% TE 10%
Round 5 - PPR QB 0% RB 60% WR 20% TE 20%

Here's where I might regret taking Jackson in Round 4. I ended up with Frank Gore in this spot, and he's a fine fallback No. 2 running back, even in a PPR league. But here's what I could have done with these last two picks. If I went with Joique Bell or Ryan Mathews in Round 4, I could have had Percy Harvin here. So you tell me which lineup is better: Manning at quarterback, Murray and Bell at running back and Green and Harvin at receiver. Or Manning at quarterback, Murray and Gore at running back and Green and Jackson at receiver. Time will tell if I made the right call, but I'm leaning toward the latter roster. In the standard league, I took Harvin, who should bounce back in a big way now that he's healthy.

Players you can get here (standard): Percy Harvin, Colin Kaepernick, Golden Tate, Chris Johnson, Rashad Jennings
Players you can get here (PPR): Frank Gore, Matthew Stafford, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, Eric Decker
My selection at No. 57 standard: Percy Harvin
My selection at No. 57 PPR: Frank Gore

Round 6

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

The standard team is in good shape through five rounds with Ball, Sankey, Spiller, Bryant and Harvin, and we had our choice of quarterback, tight end or another receiver. Drafting another running back wouldn't be ideal barring a surprise player at this point, and since none jumped out at me I went with Dennis Pitta. I like Pitta as a breakout candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense, and I consider him a Top 5 tight end this year. In the PPR league, I felt like I needed a home run pick here after taking Gore. Drafting a running back would have made sense, and the top candidates on the board were Pierre Thomas, Ben Tate, Danny Woodhead and Stevan Ridley. None had the impact I was looking for, so I went with Golden Tate as a flex option. He should have a big year playing opposite Calvin Johnson in an explosive offense, and I like him as a breakout receiver now that he's out of Seattle.

Players you can get here (standard): Dennis Pitta, DeSean Jackson, Ben Tate, Jordan Cameron, Andrew Luck
Players you can get here (PPR): Golden Tate, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Ben Tate
My selection at No. 64 standard: Dennis Pitta
My selection at No. 64 PPR: Golden Tate

Round 7

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

Quarterback might have made sense here in the standard league with Tom Brady and Robert Griffin III still on the board, but I wanted to gamble and see how this team turned out by waiting for a passer. Instead of Brady or Griffin, I went with T.Y. Hilton as my No. 3 receiver. This could be one the best bargains of the draft since Hilton is the No. 1 receiver for the Colts and a third-year breakout candidate. We're chasing running back in the PPR league, so we'll go with Steven Jackson. This draft was done prior to the news of his hamstring injury, which will keep him out the entire preseason. Hopefully he will return in Week 1 at 100 percent, otherwise Devonta Freeman is going to be a potential star.

Players you can get here (standard): T.Y. Hilton, Lamar Miller, Eric Decker, Sammy Watkins, Tom Brady
Players you can get here (PPR): Steven Jackson, Sammy Watkins, Andrew Luck, Terrance West, Robert Griffin III
My selection at No. 81 standard: T.Y. Hilton
My selection at No. 81 PPR: Steven Jackson

Round 8

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

Making the decision to handcuff one of your top running backs isn't always easy. That running back typically has more value to you than anyone else, but how soon is too soon to draft a backup? It's always case specific, and this felt like an easy pick to draft Fred Jackson to handcuff with Spiller. We know Jackson was fantastic last year when Spiller struggled, and having the two best Bills running backs gives me a solid group at that position. In the PPR league, we'll continue to surround our potential mediocre running back corps with standouts at other positions. I went with Jordan Reed at tight end, and he should be a Top 10 player at his position if he stays healthy. He's a breakout candidate this year.

Players you can get here (standard): Fred Jackson, Mike Evans, Devonta Freeman, Danny Woodhead, Jordan Reed
Players you can get here (PPR): Jordan Reed, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tony Romo, Lamar Miller, Devonta Freeman
My selection at No. 88 standard: Fred Jackson
My selection at No. 88 PPR: Jordan Reed

Round 9

Round 9 - Standard QB 70% RB 20% WR 10% TE 0%
Round 9 - PPR QB 0% RB 60% WR 40% TE 0%

We've waited long enough at quarterback in the standard league, and my last Top 12 passer was on the board in Nick Foles. After Brady and Griffin were drafted, Jay Cutler also went at No. 103. I could have waited until Round 10 to select Foles here since the owner at No. 10 (Colin Kaepernick), No. 11 (Matt Ryan) and No. 12 (Brady) all had starters, but you never know if they wanted a backup in Foles. I'm not a Foles supporter based on his Average Draft Position at No. 60 overall, especially since he's being drafted ahead of Ryan, Griffin and Romo. But I love Foles in this spot because I think he's worth it here. In the PPR league, we went with Christine Michael, who is one of my favorite sleepers with Marshawn Lynch a potential bust candidate after his heavy workload in 2013.

Players you can get here (standard): Nick Foles, Kyle Rudolph, Andre Williams, Darren Sproles, Seahawks DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Christine Michael, Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Hill, Charles Sims, Andre Williams
My selection at No. 105 standard: Nick Foles
My selection at No. 105 PPR: Christine Michael

Round 10

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

We're at the point where we can go with the best player available in both formats, and surprisingly we landed on the same player here. Dwayne Bowe was a bust in 2013, his first with Alex Smith as his starter in Andy Reid's system. But the offseason reports have been solid with Bowe dedicating himself to staying in shape with a personal trainer and nutritionist. Bowe may never have a dominant season again like he did in 2010 when he scored 15 touchdowns, but he could remain a solid reserve with the chance to be a No. 3 receiver if the Chiefs use him more like a No. 1 option in the passing game.

Players you can get here (standard): Dwayne Bowe, Charles Sims, Cam Newton, Riley Cooper, Tavon Austin
Players you can get here (PPR): Dwayne Bowe, Hakeem Nicks, Stepfan Taylor, Nick Foles, Tavon Austin
My selection at No. 112 standard: Dwayne Bowe
My selection at No. 112 PPR: Dwayne Bowe

Round 11

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

At this point I'm committed to using a receiver at the flex in the PPR league and just going with a running back rotation at the No. 2 spot behind Murray with Gore, Jackson and Michael. Tate would be the starting flex, and Bowe and now Anquan Boldin could also be options. Boldin should regress with Michael Crabtree back and the addition of Steve Johnson and possibly Brandon Lloyd, but he's still a starter in the 49ers offense with 60-plus catch potential. He's done that in eight of the past nine years and can be a fill-in starter when needed. In the standard league, we'll handcuff Sankey this time with Dexter McCluster. The Titans could use McCluster this year like the Chargers used Danny Woodhead last year in Ken Whisenhunt's offense, and he has good late-round appeal in all formats.

Players you can get here (standard): Dexter McCluster, Harry Douglas, Lance Dunbar, Ben Roethlisberger, Jordan Matthews
Players you can get here (PPR): Anquan Boldin, Andre Brown, Cam Newton, Philip Rivers, Brian Hartline
My selection at No. 129 standard: Dexter McCluster
My selection at No. 129 PPR: Anquan Boldin

Round 12

Round 12 - Standard QB 30% RB 30% WR 30% TE 0% DST 10%
Round 12 - PPR QB 0% RB 60% WR 30% TE 0% DST 10%

With our running back question marks in the PPR league, we locked up the Dallas backfield by handcuffing Murray with Lance Dunbar. The Cowboys could use Dunbar in a specialized role this season even with Murray healthy, and he could be a candidate for 25-plus catches. I encourage everyone to draft Dunbar with a late-round pick, especially if you draft Murray in the first or second round. In the standard league, we backed up Foles with Russell Wilson. He's been a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback each of the past two years, but he's just not a standout option in the majority of leagues. He's the perfect complement to someone like Foles because if Foles falters then you have a quality replacement.

Players you can get here (standard): Russell Wilson, Andre Brown, Justin Hunter, Kelvin Benjamin, James White
Players you can get here (PPR): Lance Dunbar, Doug Baldwin, Rod Streater, Rams DST, Ahmad Bradshaw
My selection at No. 136 standard: Russell Wilson
My selection at No. 136 PPR: Lance Dunbar

Round 13

Round 13 - Standard QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% DST 80% K 20%
Round 13 - PPR QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% DST 80% K 20%

We're down to DST and kicker now, and the Chiefs DST was the best option at this point. They will regress from last year's No. 2 finish in Fantasy points in standard leagues, but this is still a unit with plenty of standout defenders with Derrick Johnson, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Eric Berry, and they spent a first-round pick on rookie pass rusher Dee Ford. It's easy to draft them after the elite units come off the board, and we got them in both formats.

Players you can get here (standard): Chiefs DST, Stephen Gostkowski, Cecil Shorts, Roy Helu, Phil Dawson
Players you can get here (PPR): Chiefs DST, Stephen Gostkowski, Phil Dawson, Saints DST, Matt Bryant
My selection at No. 153 standard: Chiefs DST
My selection at No. 153 PPR: Chiefs 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%

Steven Hauschka is a kicker I like to target because he typically falls a few spots behind guys like Stephen Gostkowski, Matt Prater and Phil Dawson, but he can deliver similar results. He's 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. Prater was slightly better than Hauschka last season with 13 more Fantasy points in a standard league, and he should again be excellent for the Broncos.

Players you can get here (standard): Stephen Hauschka, Matt Bryant, Justin Tucker, Mason Crosby, Adam Vinatieri
Players you can get here (PPR): Matt Prater, Mason Crosby, Steven Hauschka, Shayne Graham, Justin Tucker
My selection at No. 160 standard: Steven Hauschka
My selection at No. 160 PPR: Matt Prater

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Nick Foles QB Peyton Manning
RB Montee Ball RB DeMarco Murray
RB Bishop Sankey RB Frank Gore
WR Dez Bryant WR A.J. Green
WR Percy Harvin WR Vincent Jackson
FLEX C.J. Spiller FLEX Golden Tate
TE Dennis Pitta TE Jordan Reed
K Steven Hauschka K Matt Prater
DST Chiefs DST Chiefs
Reserve Russell Wilson Reserve Steven Jackson
Reserve Fred Jackson Reserve Christine Michael
Reserve Dexter McCluster Reserve Lance Dunbar
Reserve T.Y. Hilton Reserve Dwayne Bowe
Reserve Dwayne Bowe Reserve Anquan Boldin

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Player News
Giants pulling long-term contract offer to Jason Pierre-Paul
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) In the wake of a Fourth of July fireworks mishap, the Giants on Monday pulled their long-term contract offer to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who remains hospitalized in Miami, per NFL.com insider Ian Rapaport. 

The Giants had applied the franchise tag to Pierre-Paul this offseason, but the player has not yet signed it, technically leaving him not under contract with the team. The Giants move to yank the longer deal is a bit of gamesmanship, since according to Rapoport, Pierre-Paul was not going to sign the $60 million deal anyway. 


Bills sign veteran tackle Wayne Hunter
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) The Bills took another step to shore up their offensive line, signing veteran tackle Wayne Hunter to a one-year deal Monday, per the National Football Post. 

Hunter, who has not played in the NFL since 2012, did spend three years with the Jets under new Bills coach Rex Ryan from 2009-2011. 

Hunter's deal is reportedly worth $870,000.


RB Khiry Robinson could be odd man out in Saints backfield
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) Running back Khiry Robinson is a fan favorite with the Saints, but the third-year pro, who once was viewed as a breakout candidate for the team, may find his role squeezed by the presence of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, per ESPN.com. 

Robinson dealt with a broken arm last season, which limited him to 12 carries and 32 yards over the final 10 weeks of the year. The Saints then re-upped with Ingram and brought in Spiller to replace Pierre Thomas, meaning Robinson will have to fight hard in training camp to establish a role. 

"I just gotta keep working," Robinson said. "It's all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it's a good thing we've got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we've got another player right up there to do the same thing."


Report: Giants Jason Pierre-Paul hurt in fireworks accident
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/5/2015) Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul reportedly hurt his hand in a Fourth of July fireworks accident in Miami, according to the Daily News

The paper reports that the injury is not considered career-threatening, but that varying accounts of what happened have been reported. The Giants have not confirmed nor denied the incident. 

The Giants applied the franchise tag to Pierre-Paul this offseason, but the 26-year-old has not yet signed it as he seeks a long-term deal, meaning that he technically is not under contract. 

Pierre-Paul had 53 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks last year for New York. 


Report: Torn pectoral sidelines Vikings CB Josh Robinson
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/4/2015) The Vikings secondary took a hit last month when cornerback Josh Robinson sustained a partially torn pectoral muscle, a league source has told ESPN.

The nickel back played in 690 snaps last season and was expected to battle several others for playing time. The injury could sideline him from training camp and land him on the PUP list.


Report: Packers' Andrew Quarless arrested on gun charges
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(7/4/2015) Packers tight end Andrew Quarless was arrested for firing a gun twice in Miami on Saturday, per the Miami New Times.

Quarless was involved in a fight at South Beach and fired the gun into the ground. 


Titans receivers can thrive in YAC with Marcus Mariota's accuracy
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) The Titans wide receiving corps could gain more yards after the catch this season because of rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and his accurate throws, per ESPN.com.

The Titans were 24th in the league in yards after the catch last season, but with Mariota under center that can all change.

“If you have an accurate quarterback, it allows us to get more yards after that catch,” wide receiver Harry Douglas said. “And that’s one thing that makes a receiver dynamic -- first being able to catch the ball and then being able to do some things with it after you catch it. I feel like [to this point] Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers.”


Saints RB Khiry Robinson doesn't feel he's on outside looking in
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(7/3/2015) Saints running back Khiry Robinson might be the least known of his backfield counterparts, but he doesn't feel like the off man out, per ESPN.com.

Robinson knows the team is heavily invested in the likes of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, but he's still confident he can thrive in whatever role the Saints put him in.

“I’m the type of person, I’m gonna get what I get and do what I do with it. So whether it’s 20 carries or one carry, I’m gonna do the best of my ability every play,” Robinson said.

Robinson has shown flashes of success during his three years in the league. Injuries played a key role against him last season, which can ultimately put him as the third back on the depth chart. He will use the offseason to continue to improve and challenge his counterparts for playing time.

“I just gotta keep working,” Robinson. “It’s all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it’s a good thing we’ve got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we’ve got another player right up there to do the same thing.”


Browns OL Michael Bowie itching to compete for starting spot
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/3/2015) Browns offensive lineman Michael Bowie is not required to report to training camp until the end of July. But never mind that - he's heading out after the last Independence Day firework explodes in the sky.

Bowie is itching to get started. He missed all of last season due to a shoulder injury after starting for Seattle on its Super Bowl title team in 2013. He is seeking to stay in tip-top shape in an attempt to land a starting spot on a Cleveland line that is the strength of the team.

"It's up to them to decide who is the best five," Bowie told the team website. "All I can do is take care of my business. Hopefully I can get a shot. That's what I'm working for."

Bowie participated fully in the offseason program, working mostly with the second team at right tackle. That will likely be the spot at which he competes for a starting job. Incumbent Mitchell Schwartz has not performed particularly well there and Mike Pettine has vowed there will be competition all over the field in camp.


Skins LB Ryan Kerrigan nearly recovered from knee surgery
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/3/2015) Redskins outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan appears to be on target to join the team for training camp after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that prevented him from participating in earlier offseason activities.

Kerrigan, who registered a career-high 13 1/2 sacks a year ago, had the operation to alleviate pain in the area.

"My leg feels really good and I'm glad I got the surgery -- not just for football, but it makes my everyday life feel better, so I'm glad I got it done," he told CSN Washington. "Now it's just a matter of getting stronger and getting into shape."

Kerrigan added that he's been running and now only needs to regain strength to insure his place at training camp.


 
 
 
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