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2014 Draft Prep: Toby Gerhart will grind his way to success

Senior Fantasy Writer
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If you're a Toby Gerhart fan, the start of training camp and preseason action has been positive. So what if Gerhart missed practice time with a strained hip flexor. It's OK that he was sluggish in his first preseason action against the Bears.

Those negatives will only help lower his Fantasy value. And that's a good thing.

Gerhart is getting the first starting opportunity of his career with the Jaguars after spending the past four seasons playing behind Adrian Peterson in Minnesota. And we expect Gerhart to shine. The prediction here is Gerhart will grind his way to Fantasy success.

After the second week of preseason action, Gerhart's Average Draft Position was No. 41 overall, which is Round 4 in a 12-team league. He was the No. 18 running back off the board. We only hope he slips a little further because he's someone to covet on Draft Day.

Look, we have no idea how Gerhart is going to do in this role. We only have a small sample size of his work when he's had double digits in carries, which is nine times going back to his rookie year in 2010. He's done well with that workload, producing double digits in Fantasy points in six of those outings, so there's a start.

Coach Gus Bradley has said Gerhart is looking at 15-18 touches a game, but we're expecting a heavier workload. It's difficult to imagine Jordan Todman, Storm Johnson or Denard Robinson taking Gerhart off the field for significant stretches.

He showed he could be a capable receiver in limited action behind Peterson, averaging 19 catches a year with the Vikings, including three seasons of at least 20 grabs prior to 2013. And he should prove to be a tough rusher between the tackles.

My colleague, Larry Hartstein, wrote a blog in May comparing Gerhart's situation to Michael Turner when he left San Diego and LaDainian Tomlinson's shadow to be the starter in Atlanta in 2008. There are a lot of similarities.

Turner spent four seasons behind Tomlinson, who was the premier rusher of his era, just like Gerhart and Peterson. Both averaged fewer than 70 carries a season as backups. Both averaged more than 4.7 yards per carry in that role.

Jacksonville general manager Dave Caldwell worked in Atlanta's front office when the team signed Turner to be their workhorse. We expect he envisions Gerhart having a similar impact, especially leaning on him to cover up for what should be an inconsistent passing game led by either Chad Henne or rookie Blake Bortles.

You should keep in mind that Bradley is a Pete Carroll disciple and the Seahawks were second in rushing attempts in 2013 and first in 2012 with more than 31 carries a game on average each year. Marshawn Lynch has had more than 300 carries each of the past two seasons.

Last year, the Jaguars leaned on Maurice Jones-Drew for 234 carries, which was No. 14 in attempts, and he finished as the No. 20 Fantasy running back in standard leagues. He also had 43 catches. Gerhart should get more work and he'll finish with more production.

You're going to like Gerhart if you're looking for a No. 2 running back with upside in Round 4, and he should post consistent production. He's not going to post dominant stats like Jamaal Charles or LeSean McCoy, but his body of work will look good by the end of the season.

If the Jaguars do what's expected and lean on Gerhart, he'll finish as a top-20 Fantasy running back, with the chance to creep into the top 15. And the later he goes on Draft Day, the better off you'll be.

So prior to your draft, tell your league mates Gerhart is struggling. That he was hurt in training camp. That he won't get the job done as the starter.

Then, when he lands on your team, boast that you got a difference-maker. Gerhart is set up for a big year as the new lead running back for the Jaguars.

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Player News
Report: Saints' Mark Ingram could earn '18 to 22' touches Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) In an interview on CBS Sports Radio Saturday, Saints sideline reporter Kristian Garic indicated that injuries to running backs Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson could potentially mean "18 to 22" touches for Mark Ingram Sunday night against the Packers, per CBS Senior Fantasy Writer Dave Richard.

The Packers rank 31st against the run, allowing 147.9 yards per game on the ground this season. Ingram has rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries, averaging 4.7 yards per attempt.


Report: Saints Jimmy Graham primed for bigger role Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) In an interview on CBS Sports Radio Saturday, Saints sideline reporter Kristian Garic indicated that tight end Jimmy Graham will have a "little bit more of a bigger role" Sunday night against the Packers, per CBS Senior Fantasy Writer Dave Richard.

Because of a nagging shoulder injury, Graham was limited to only 41 percent of the team's snaps in Week 7 at Detroit and was held without a grab. He was a limited participant in practice all week and was labeled questionable for Week 8.

Graham has 34 catches for 376 yards and three touchdowns this season.


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(10/25/2014) The NFL Players Association is formally reviewing the handling of Chargers safety Jahleel Addae's concussion, according to CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora on Saturday.

Addae kept playing despite taking a couple brutal shots to the neck and head area, and even came up wobbling in one instance, in Week 8 against the Broncos. The team initially called his injury a stinger on Thursday and he wasn't diagnosed with a concussion until Friday.


Saints promote Edwin Baker from practice squad
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(10/25/2014) With Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson sidelined for Week 8 against Green Bay, the Saints have signed running back Edwin Baker from the practice Saturday, according to the NFL Network. Baker has yet to play a game this season. He will likely serve as the team's third option at running back, behind Mark Ingram and Travaris Cadet.

Chiefs re-sign Jerel Worthy to practice squad
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) Just a few days after being waived from the practice squad, the Chiefs have added defensive lineman Jerel Worthy back to the practice squad on Saturday, per ESPN. Worthy, who suffered a torn ACL in 2012 and spent most of the 2013 season on the PUP list, has yet to take a snap this season.

Saints part ways with Tom Crabtree Saturday
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(10/25/2014) The Saints waived tight end Tom Crabtree Saturday, just a day before Sunday's matchup against his former team, the Packers, ESPN reports. Crabtree has yet to appear in a game this season.

Raiders place LaMarr Woodley, Usama Young on IR
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Raiders placed defensive end LaMarr Woodley (bicep) and safety Usama Young (knee) on the season-ending injured reserve list Saturday.

Woodley suffered a torn bicep muscle in Week 7 against the Cardinals. Young tore his ACL and MCL in the same game.


Raiders activate D.J. Hayden, sign Denico Autry
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Raiders activated cornerback D.J. Hayden from the PUP list Saturday and added defensive end Denico Autry to the active roster from the practice squad.

Hayden missed the first seven weeks of the season while recovering from a foot injury, but he's ready to roll for Sunday's Week 8 matchup with the Browns. Autry was signed to the team's practice squad on Sept. 1.


Rams place Brandon McGee on IR, sign Jamea Thomas
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Rams placed cornerback Brandon McGee (foot) on injured reserve Saturday. He hasn't played since Week 2 and will miss the remainder of the season with the injury.

The team promoted defensive back Jemea Thomas from the practice squad to fill the open roster spot. He has yet to play in a regular-season game this season.


Seahawks send Derrick Coleman to IR, sign Phil Bates
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10/25/2014) The Seahawks have placed Derrick Coleman (foot) on injured reserve, ending his season. He fractured his foot during pregame warmups in Week 7.

To replace Coleman on the active roster, the team signed wide receiver Phil Bates off the practice squad.


 
 
 
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