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2014 Draft Prep: ADP review, 2.0

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Draft Averages | Rankings | Prep with our podcasts | Draft Index

Fantasy leagues are starting to draft for real now as we head into the second week of preseason action. And as those drafts take place, the Average Draft Position data will start to look a little different.

The preseason performances and continued training camp reports will sway owners based on who is looking good and who is struggling. For example, some guys on the rise include Matt Ryan, Andre Williams and Kenny Britt. Guys who are dropping include Arian Foster, Sammy Watkins and Eric Ebron.

What happens this weekend can change the fortunes for these players and many others, and we encourage you to pay attention to ADP when preparing for your drafts. How the Fantasy community views certain players can help you on Draft Day.

The first round

1. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs
2. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles
3. Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
4. Matt Forte, RB, Bears
5. Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos
6. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions
7. Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
8. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
9. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
10. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos
11. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
12. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys

The only change from last week to now was Foster falling from the No. 12 spot to No. 17. He finally returned to practice this week after being out with a hamstring injury, but his stock is on the decline after last year's back problem, his talk of retirement and his latest ailment.

We would still gamble on Foster in Round 2 if he doesn't suffer a setback with his hamstring or back, but it's a good sign owners aren't drafting him in Round 1. That price was too high given all his red flags.

Murray moving into Round 1 consideration is a good thing, and he's worth it. He had a breakout season last year with career highs in carries (217), rushing yards (1,121), rushing touchdowns (nine), receptions (53), receiving yards (350) and receiving touchdowns (one). He finished as the No. 7 Fantasy running back in standard leagues, and we're expecting another big year from him in 2014.

The addition of Scott Linehan calling plays should allow Murray to improve his receiving totals, and he has the talent to be an elite Fantasy option if he can stay healthy.

Quarterback breakdown

Tom Brady moving up: Fantasy owners are sometimes loyal to a fault, and we like to stick to what we know. It's comforting having a player on your team who has helped you to past success, and Brady fits the bill based on his history.

He has moved up to the No. 5 quarterback and is being drafted at No. 48 overall. That's way too high in standard leagues, although I can understand him going after Manning, Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.

I don't have Brady ranked that high, but it wouldn't surprise me if he finished in the Top 5, especially with a healthy Rob Gronkowski. If you're a Brady supporter and want him as your starter then definitely draft him ahead of Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck and Ryan, among others.

Matt Ryan moving up: Whether it's his appearance on Hard Knocks or our continued glowing endorsement, Ryan is starting to move up the quarterback ranks in ADP. It could just be Fantasy owners realizing he was too low before and has the chance for a big year.

Ryan moved up one spot to No. 8 ahead of Nick Foles, who had a dismal preseason opener against the Bears with two interceptions. Ryan, meanwhile, looked sharp against the Dolphins, and he's in line for a big season with a healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White.

Ryan is a quarterback I'm counting on for a Top 5 finish this year, and I would draft him ahead of Brady.

Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer gaining momentum: Two backup quarterbacks to target this season are Roethlisberger and Palmer. They both have the chance to finish as Top 12 options.

Roethlisberger was actually the No. 10 Fantasy quarterback last season, and he was dominant down the stretch with at least 20 Fantasy points in five of his final seven games. He should pick up where last season left off.

Palmer also closed last season on a high note with at least 20 Fantasy points in four of his final seven outings. He also should stay hot with a dominant receiving corps led by Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.

Both quarterbacks have seen a rise in ADP (Roethlisberger is up to No. 117 overall and Palmer is at No. 131). You should target these guys as high-end No. 2 quarterbacks with starting potential.

Running back breakdown

Bishop Sankey slipping: Even though Sankey was OK in the first preseason game with 13 carries for 37 yards and three catches for 38 yards and a touchdown against the Packers, Fantasy owners are nervous because the rookie was third on the depth chart behind Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster. Have no fear.

Sankey will still be the best running back for the Titans, and he's worth drafting toward the end of Round 3 or beginning of Round 4 in the majority of leagues. His ADP has dropped him into Round 4, which is great because the more he falls the better his value will be.

Still, we'd like to see the Titans use Sankey as the starter, but that move will come sooner rather than later.

Preseason stars on rise: Two running backs who have done well early in the preseason are Andre Williams from the Giants and Mark Ingram from the Saints. They are moving up in the eyes of owners.

Williams has two preseason games under his belt already with the Hall of Fame game, and he had seven carries for 48 yards and a touchdown against the Bills and then seven carries for 35 yards against the Steelers. He'll share playing time with Rashad Jennings, but Williams should be on your radar as a No. 3 running back in standard leagues. His ADP is now at No. 124 overall and rising.

Ingram will enter the season as the starter for the Saints, although that means little for that backfield with Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson. Still, Ingram started the preseason off right with eight carries for 83 yards and a touchdown against the Rams. His ADP is now at No. 140 overall, and we recommend drafting him with a late-round flier in standard formats.

Dolphins going in different directions: Knowshon Moreno was back at practice this week following offseason knee surgery, but he missed the first preseason game at Atlanta. With Moreno out, Lamar Miller has been gaining momentum, including a rise in his ADP to No. 92 overall. Moreno, meanwhile, is down to No. 101.

We would definitely draft Miller ahead of Moreno, but it will be interesting to see how Moreno does when he's back in game action. He could take away passing downs from Miller given his edge in pass protection.

But until we see Moreno shine and Miller falter then continue to draft Miller first, and he's a flex option on Draft Day. Moreno is only worth a late-round pick if you're drafting this weekend.

Wide receiver breakdown

Golden Tate's one catch a good one: Tate had just one catch for 14 yards in his preseason debut with the Lions against the Browns, but it was enough to sway Fantasy owners. His ADP is up to No. 76 and rising.

Should Tate continue to play well in the preseason, Fantasy owners will further buy into him as a breakout candidate. Playing for the Lions compared to the Seahawks will only enhance his Fantasy value, and he should have a big year in 2014.

He's currently being drafted behind DeSean Jackson (No. 63 overall), Emmanuel Sanders (No. 68) and Julian Edelman (No. 74), but I think Tate has a higher ceiling than those options.

Rookies going in different directions: Two high-profile rookie receivers in Watkins and Mike Evans are dropping in ADP. Watkins is down to No. 87 overall, and Evans is at No. 111.

The reason for the decline is Watkins has just three catches for 21 yards in two preseason games against the Giants and Panthers. And Evans had no catches in his preseason debut against the Jaguars. Now, both these receivers will definitely improve, but we'd like to see more from these guys in the preseason, since their offenses and quarterbacks are shaky at best.

Conversely, two rookie receivers on the rise include Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin. Cooks had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown against the Rams, and that was without Drew Brees (oblique). And Benjamin had one catch for 29 yards and a touchdown against Buffalo, and that was without Cam Newton (ankle).

Cooks is now at No. 97 overall in ADP, and Benjamin is at No. 127. They should both continue to rise if the early preseason performances are any indication of what's to come this year.

Is Kenny Britt back? Britt had no catches or targets in the preseason opener against the Saints, but his ADP is on the rise to No. 150 overall. The early reports have been that Britt looks like his old self prior to tearing his ACL in 2011.

The Rams need help at receiver this season, and a rejuvenated and healthy Britt could be the answer. We'd like to see something from him this preseason, but he's definitely worth drafting with a late-round flier in all leagues.

Tight end breakdown

Greg Olsen on the rise: Olsen had just two catches for 22 yards in the preseason opener against Buffalo, and that was without Newton playing. But his ADP is up to No. 85 overall, and he's the No. 8 tight end off the board.

We like Olsen as a No. 1 tight end, especially with the Panthers needing him more this season with a revamped receiving corps. I'd rather have Jordan Reed, who is going after Olsen in ADP at No. 86 overall, but Olsen is still a solid option in all formats.

Eric Ebron has disappointing debut: Ebron has been a disappointment so far through training camp and the preseason. He's struggled with drops in camp and had just one catch for 2 yards against the Browns on four targets.

As a result, Ebron's ADP is down to No. 117. We expect him to improve, especially as the season goes on, but he should be considered a No. 2 Fantasy tight end instead of a starting option.

Delanie Walker moving up: Walker didn't catch a pass in the preseason opener against the Packers, but his ADP is on the rise to No. 149 overall. He's had a good training camp, and the Titans are expecting a big season after he had 60 catches for 571 yards and six touchdowns last year.

Walker could easily be a Top 12 tight end in 2014. There are 11 tight ends worth drafting in all leagues with Graham, Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis, Jordan Cameron, Dennis Pitta, Olsen, Reed, Kyle Rudolph and Zach Ertz. But after that group there are a number of tight ends who could be a starting-caliber option.

Those tight ends include Walker, Ebron, Martellus Bennett, Ladarius Green, Heath Miller, Antonio Gates and Charles Clay. If you're into streaming tight ends, this could be a fun year with plenty of alternatives.

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Player News
Texans' O'Brien: WR DeAndre Hopkins can 'be one of the best'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Texans head coach Bill O'Brien is very encouraged by the performance of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last season, per ESPN. O'Brien went as far as to say that Hopkins can be one of the best.

"He had a really productive year," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "The thing that we really like about Hop and that we want him to continue to do is his work ethic. He’s a hungry player. He works every single day. He came into the spring a year ago and he was learning the offense and thinking out there, then all of a sudden you could see all the work he put in and learning, he just took off."

Due to the departure of wide receiver Andre Johnson, the progression of Hopkins will be under the microscope as he is now the focal point of the passing offense.

"We just want to see him continue and progress," O'Brien said. "We think he can be one of the best, we think he is one of the best. We have a lot of confidence in him and we’re looking forward to seeing him progress when the offseason program starts."

In two years with the Texans, Hopkins has reeled in 128 receptions for 2012 yards and eight touchdowns.


Giants won't rush WR Victor Cruz back to the field
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:12 am ET) Although Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is hopeful that wide receiver Victor Cruz will be ready by training camp, the team will not rush him back, reports ESPN.

"I shouldn't say this, because medically I really don't have a definite answer, but by training camp hopefully, even if it's just to bring him," Coughlin said. "We're not going to just throw him to the wind. He'll work his way through. But I hope that would be the target."

Cruz tore his patellar tendon in week six of the 2014 season, causing him to miss the rest of the year. Coughlin is hopeful that he'll return to be the player that he was before the injury.

"I think he'll be the player that he was, and hopefully better," Coughlin said of Cruz. "But as far as when, I would be careful of what I would say there. Hopefully it's the first game. But if it isn't, you know we've done that one before. We just went through it. But I'm hoping it would be."

The former undrafted free agent has tallied 264 receptions for 3,963 yards and 24 touchdowns.


Lions QB Matthew Stafford to take more chances through the air
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was in new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's system for the first time last season. The team plans on taking more chances down the field in Stafford's second season in the new offense, Lombardi said, according to the team's official website.

“In his second year (in the offense) he’s going to be that much more comfortable,” Lombardi said.

“We’ll be able to tailor the offense a little bit more to what he likes and what he’s good at. I thought he played smart football and sometimes to a fault. We’ll look for him to maybe take a few more chances this year with the football.”

Although Stafford didn't take many shots down the field, he did throw a career-low 12 interceptions in 2014. 

The former first overall draft pick has thrown for 21,714 yards with 131 touchdowns and 85 interceptions during his six-year career.


Colts OLB Robert Mathis plans to be ready for training camp
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis is not ready to run yet, he told Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL. Mathis added that he plans to be ready for the start of training camp.

“It’s not going as fast as I would like to, but we are getting well and we should be clicking in camp,” Mathis told Sirius.

Mathis was suspended for the first four games of last season due to violating the league's substance abuse policy. He then suffered a torn achilles, forcing him to miss all 16 games of the 2014 season.

During his 11-year career with the Colts, Mathis has collected 487 total tackles, 111.0 sacks, 15 passes defensed and 48 forced fumbles.


Lions TE Eric Ebron has been working out with Matthew Stafford
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said that tight end Eric Ebron has been working out with quarterback Matthew Stafford in Atlanta this offseason, reports the Detroit News. Lombardi also said that the plan is to have Ebron be the No. 3 weapon in the passing game this year.

Ebron, 21, finished his rookie season with 25 catches for 248 yards and one touchdown. 


Cowboys' Tony Romo: DeMarco Murray asked me to take a pay cut
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was really hoping to remain with the Cowboys this offseason. So much so, he asked quarterback Tony Romo to take a pay cut to remain with the team, Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, per the Dallas Morning News.

"DeMarco ended up asking me, 'Why don't you take a pay cut?' I said, 'I will. I would take a pay cut to go do this,'" Romo said. "I was like, 'They're going to restructure me.' That's the same thing in some ways, just for the salary cap purposes. He was like, 'OK, now we're back to being friends again.' I would take $5 million less if meant getting him back.

"He knew that. It was just funny how he was literally worried about that part of it for a week. I'm like, 'That's not the reason.' I'm like, 'Obviously I'll restructure. I would even take a pay cut.' He was like, 'OK, we can be friends again.' It's amazing what you think about in those moments."


Giants QB Eli Manning wants to take offense 'to another level'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Giants quarterback Eli Manning is entering the second year in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system. Manning is ready to take the next step now that he is familiar with the system, reports the NY Daily News.

““This year will be a much easier transition, knowing that we have been through so much of it already,” said Manning, who recently had been working out at Ole Miss with some of their receivers and alumni. “It’s definitely a different starting point. I feel good about it. I feel that I have a good understanding of it.

“But there is still room to grow and that is why I try to keep it as fresh in my mind as possible. Looking at old game-plan sheets and calling plays in my head – throwing routes with receivers trying to call out plays to myself, so you don’t let it slip away. It was new last year and it wasn’t something I have been doing for 10 years, so you want to keep it fresh and go through your reminders and all your checks. So when we come back I haven’t taken a step backwards and have to re-learn things. It is still all there. There will be new stuff and we will be taking it to another level.”

Manning has started all 16 games in each season since 2005, throwing for 39,755 yards with 259 touchdowns and 185 interceptions.


Saints TE Josh Hill wants to grow into new role
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) After trading trading Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks, tight end Josh Hill is ready to step into his new role with the Saints, according to the team's offical website.

“I think it might open a few opportunities for me as I continue to grow in my role and just do everything they ask me to do,” Hill said when asked about the trade of Graham to the Seahawks.

Hill recognized that Graham helped him transition from college to the professional level.

“It’s a big difference, especially coming from a smaller school and a smaller city," Hill said. "He was always there for me. We became pretty good friends over the past few years so it will definitely be different without him.”

Head coach Sean Payton believes that Hill is ready to step up.

“Josh Hill is a player that we value a lot," Payton said last week at the NFL annual meeting. "He’s not on anyone’s fantasy first three rounds, I promise you, but he’s a real good tight end. He’s versatile in the running game, in the pass receiving game, a special teams player.”

Hill, heading into his third year in the NFL, has recorded 20 receptions for 220 yards and six touchdowns. 


Cowboys QB Tony Romo excited about this offseason
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is excited about what the offseason holds for him, according to ESPN.

“This is the first offseason where I’ve been able to kind of get after it this early and be able to kind of improve in a lot of different areas that I think you aren’t able to until you get healthy enough to attack it,” Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday. “I’m just excited about that, really.”

Romo, 34, is encouraged by the fact that he is able to do a lot of different things during the offseason process while working out.

“Now I’m able to do that while actually doing functional strength training through different versions of squats,” Romo said. “I’m not putting anything on my back and doing stuff like that but you are doing a lot of single-leg stuff and different things that I started getting into during the season that helped a lot. Now it’s nice to be able to do that in the offseason.”

Romo has thrown for 33,270 yards with 242 touchdowns and 110 interceptions in his 12-year career. 


WR Dwayne Bowe looks to revitalize himself with Browns
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is looking to revitalize his career now that he has joined the Browns, reports ESPN. Bowe was cut by the Chiefs in the middle of March.

"I have a chance to revitalize myself," Bowe, 30, told ESPN.com via telephone Tuesday. "Just sit back and watch."

Browns general manager Ray Farmer has familiarity with Bowe from their time with the Chiefs. The two sat down and watched tape from the 2010 season when he racked up 15 touchdown receptions.

"Him knowing what I can do, seeing me in practice, making crazy plays, splitting the safeties, he knows I still can do that," Bowe said. "I couldn't showcase that last year. He was pulling up old plays, saying, 'We are going to use you just like that.' Moving around, going on motion, trying to hit the deep ball, trying to break plays."

The 30-year-old wideout appreciated his time with the Chiefs and he has no regrets.

"It's been up and down, but it's been fun," Bowe said. "I don't regret nothing. People can talk about the NFL and playing wide receiver -- I feel I still have a good four more years in me."

Over his eight-year career, he has totaled 532 receptions for 7,155 yards and 44 touchdowns.


 
 
 
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