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2014 Draft Prep: The WR landscape

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: FanDuel.com is hosting a one-week long $100,000 Fantasy Football contest for just Week 1. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1 p.m. ET. Enter now

Overviews: QBs | RBs | TEs | Draft Averages | Rankings | Draft Index

The NFL wants passing games to flourish. The new emphasis on illegal contact between receivers and pass defenders this season should allow for eye-popping numbers.

And we like that as Fantasy owners.

If defensive backs will be forced to avoid touching receivers, we could see even more emphasis on teams throwing the ball. We know it's a passing league, but this could become a new extreme.

In the past three seasons, there have been at least 16 quarterbacks to attempt more than 500 passes a year, which is the most over a three-year span dating back to 2004. And last year we had 23 receivers gain at least 1,000 yards and 10 score at least 10 touchdowns. The last time that happened was 2004.

Fantasy owners know featured running backs are becoming scarce, but standout receivers are starting to increase. It's the reason we say you can wait on receiver and still build an amazing Fantasy roster with potential studs at those spots. Just look at last year.

Of the receivers who finished in the Top 24 of standard formats -- which qualifies as a starter in a 12-team league -- 15 were drafted in Round 5 or later based on Average Draft Position. While the studs like Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant and Brandon Marshall are safe -- they were drafted in the first two rounds and finished as five of the top six receivers -- your team isn't in trouble if you miss on one of those guys.

Now, the question becomes how do you find the gems with late-round picks? It's easy to say receivers will emerge, but we all want the next Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery and not just Marvin Jones and Riley Cooper.

Here are 70 receivers you can either target or avoid on Draft Day based on their ADP on CBSSpots.com. Drafting one of the Top 12 guys is easy, but we're going to show you the late-round targets that should lead to Fantasy success.

Top 12

1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
2. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
3. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
4. A.J. Green, Bengals
5. Julio Jones, Falcons
6. Brandon Marshall, Bears
7. Jordy Nelson, Packers
8. Antonio Brown, Steelers
9. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
10. Randall Cobb, Packers
11. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals
12. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers

Range: Rounds 1-4 (Picks 6-43)
Guys I want: All of them
Guys I tend to avoid: None
The closest guys to receivers I would avoid would be Fitzgerald and Jackson, but getting one of those options in Round 3 or 4 as your No. 2 receiver is still great, depending on the start of your draft. The other 10 receivers should be locked in for monster years, barring injury. ... Johnson isn't in a tier by himself any more because he actually finished third in Fantasy points last season behind Thomas and Gordon. But his consistency (he's been a Top 5 receiver each of the past four years), coupled with his overall greatness, keeps him at the top spot. ... I go back and forth between Thomas and Bryant for the second spot, but Thomas gets an edge with the Broncos having to replace Eric Decker's 137 targets. While that will be spread amongst the other receivers in Denver, Thomas should still dominate. As for Bryant, he's going to be awesome in a contract year with the Cowboys having no defense and being forced to throw a lot. ... Green, Jones and Marshall are all names you can throw into a hat, and whoever you end up with would be fine. Green could take a slight hit with the Bengals planning to be more run-based, but he's still a Top 5 receiver. And don't worry about Marshall losing targets to Jeffery since Jay Cutler appears to favor Marshall more based on target distribution. ... Jones was on pace for 208 Fantasy points in a standard league before he suffered a broken foot in Week 5, which would have tied him with Green for the No. 4 receiver spot. He's capable of replicating that kind of year, so draft accordingly. ... Nelson should be viewed as one of the elite receivers, in case there was any doubt. If you project his stats with a healthy Aaron Rodgers -- who missed seven games with a broken clavicle -- he would have been the No. 1 receiver with 240 Fantasy points. ... Brown didn't take off until the second half of the season when he had double digits in Fantasy points in seven of his final nine games. With the Steelers keeping their up-tempo offense to start this season, Brown should pick up where last season ended, especially with Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery gone. ... Jeffery and Cobb might be second fiddle on their respective teams, but they are still stars in their own right. Jeffery is entering his third season, and we hope he pushes Marshall for the top spot in this passing game. It's not likely to happen, but the gap is closing between the two guys. For Cobb, he never got a chance to try for the 100 catches the Packers promised last year because of a broken leg in Week 6, but he had 10-plus targets in his first three games, seven plus catches in his first two games and at least 108 yards and a touchdown in those outings. The potential is there, and Cobb is a low-end No. 1 receiver worth drafting in Round 3. ... Fitzgerald might be clinging to the No. 1 role for the Cardinals over Michael Floyd, but whether he's No. 1 or 2 on the depth chart, he'll be a vital cog in a heavy passing attack. ... Jackson won't cede the top spot to Mike Evans, at least not yet, and we hope the addition of Josh McCown can help Jackson thrive. He has at least 72 catches, 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns in consecutive years for the Buccaneers.

13-24

13. Michael Crabtree, 49ers
14. Andre Johnson, Texans
15. Keenan Allen, Chargers
16. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
17. Wes Welker, Broncos
18. Victor Cruz, Giants
19. Roddy White, Falcons
20. Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings
21. Michael Floyd, Cardinals
22. DeSean Jackson, Redskins
23. Percy Harvin, Seahawks
24. Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos

Range: Rounds 4-7 (Picks 44-73)
Guys I want: Crabtree, Allen, Garcon, Welker, Cruz, White, Patterson, Floyd, Harvin and Sanders
Guys I tend to avoid: Johnson and Jackson
In the seven starts Crabtree made with Colin Kaepernick in 2012, he had 41 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. If you project that over 16 games, Crabtree would have finished with 94 catches for 1,360 yards and 11 touchdowns. We hope those stats are similar this year, which is why he's worth drafting in Round 4. ... Allen didn't really become part of the offense until Week 4, but he took off from there. If you project his stats over 16 games from that point on, he would have been No. 12 in Fantasy points. He's a safe No. 2 receiver in Round 4. ... Garcon led all receivers in catches (113) and targets (184) last year, but he'll regress with the addition of DeSean Jackson and return to health of Jordan Reed. But he'll be involved enough to remain a solid No. 2 receiver in standard leagues and a borderline No. 1 in PPR. ... This is likely Welker's last season in Denver. He's in a contract year, and the Broncos brought in Sanders and rookie Cody Latimer, which shows their plans for the future. That said, Welker will still play a prominent role for the Broncos and remains a No. 2 receiver worth drafting in Round 4 or 5. ... Cruz has the chance for a big season in Ben McAdoo's offense, but the Giants have looked sluggish in the preseason. We're not giving up yet, and Cruz could still be a great option in all formats. He's still the best receiver in New York. ... White, Patterson, Floyd and Harvin are four of my favorite receivers this year. White should bounce back in a big way now that he's healthy. ... Patterson showed off his dynamic playmaking to close last season with a four-game scoring streak, and we're expecting a nice boost in his production. He's a No. 2 receiver worth targeting in Round 5. ... Floyd could be a huge breakout star entering his third season. There's talk he could surpass Fitzgerald as the No. 1 receiver, but either way he's someone to target no later than Round 5. ... Harvin is an injury risk since he's played in just 10 games the past two years, but when he's healthy he shines. And right now he's ready to go entering the season. ... Sanders will be the No. 3 receiver for the Broncos and No. 4 target when you factor in Julius Thomas. His upside is limited when everyone is healthy, but he's still a Top 25 receiver based on his potential. ... I hope Johnson has a big year because he deserves it, but I'm skeptical with Ryan Fitzpatrick as his starter. He's also battled a hamstring injury in training camp, and I'm worried about his production in Round 4. ... Jackson should regress with the Redskins. He'll have some big games as a boom or bust receiver, but he's more of a No. 3 receiver than a No. 2 option.

25-36

25. Julian Edelman, Patriots
26. Golden Tate, Lions
27. Torrey Smith, Ravens
28. T.Y. Hilton, Colts
29. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
30. Mike Wallace, Dolphins
31. Marques Colston, Saints
32. Sammy Watkins, Bills
33. Kendall Wright, Titans
34. Terrance Williams, Cowboys
35. Brandin Cooks, Saints
36. Reggie Wayne, Colts

Range: Rounds 7-9 (Picks 76-100)
Guys I want: Edelman, Tate, Smith, Hilton, Maclin, Wallace, Colston, Wright, Williams and Cooks
Guys I tend to avoid: Watkins and Wayne
Edelman won't replicate his stats from last year, when he set career highs in catches (105), yards (1,056) and touchdowns (six), as long as Rob Gronkowski (knee) is healthy. But if Gronkowski is out, Edelman could be a star. Still, with Gronkowski, we consider Edelman a No. 3 receiver in standard leagues and No. 2 option in PPR. ... Tate has the chance to thrive with the Lions. He'll be in single coverage opposite Calvin Johnson, and the Lions will give him many more opportunities to make plays than he had with the Seahawks. I'm all in as early as Round 5, so I love getting him in Round 7. ... Maclin is battling a hamstring problem heading into the third week of the preseason, but when healthy he has Top 20 potential as the new No. 1 receiver in Chip Kelly's offense. He's well worth a pick in Round 7 or 8. ... Smith has been a Top 24 receiver in standard leagues each of the past three years. He's more of a No. 3 Fantasy option than a must-start receiver, but he's a great value pick in this spot. ... Hilton and Wayne will jockey for the No. 1 receiver spot in Indianapolis, but we like Hilton better entering his third year. Wayne is coming off a torn ACL and will likely lose some playing time and targets to Hakeem Nicks. Hilton's upside makes him a great No. 3 receiver with starting potential, and Wayne is only worth a pick in Round 9 at best. ... Wallace could have a breakout season playing for offensive coordinator Bill Lazor. The Dolphins will move Wallace around, and he should bounce back from last year's disappointing performance. ... Fantasy owners are skeptical of Colston based on his injury concerns, Kenny Stills taking on a bigger role and the addition of rookie Brandin Cooks. He's a safe pick in this range, and we hope he can hold up for 16 games based on his previous foot woes. ... Speaking of Cooks, the Saints are going to use him to help replace Darren Sproles and Lance Moore. We can't wait to see Cooks on the field with Drew Brees after Brees was out the first two preseason games with an oblique injury. ... Wright is another potential third-year breakout. If he can raise his touchdown total from the two he had last year to at least five, that would elevate him to Top 24 status after he had 94 catches for 1,079 yards in 2013. ... Williams has the chance to be this year's Jeffery or Floyd as a sophomore standout. He'll get plenty of single coverage opposite Bryant, and he's a steal at this point in the draft. I love the Cowboys offense this year. ... Watkins is the best receiver of this class, but he ended up in difficult situation with EJ Manuel throwing him passes. I'm OK with Watkins as a No. 4 receiver, but anything higher than that is something I'd avoid.

37-48

37. Eric Decker, Jets
38. Mike Evans, Buccaneers
39. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
40. Riley Cooper, Eagles
41. Rueben Randle, Giants
42. Tavon Austin, Rams
43. Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers
44. Hakeem Nicks, Colts
45. Anquan Boldin, 49ers
46. Josh Gordon, Browns
47. Danny Amendola, Patriots
48. DeAndre Hopkins, Texans

Range: Rounds 10-12 (Picks 111-135)
Guys I want: Randle and Benjamin
Guys I tend to avoid: Decker, Evans, Bowe, Cooper, Austin, Nicks, Boldin, Amendola and Hopkins
Wait and see: Gordon
We added an extra category for Gordon, who could make a Fantasy team awesome if you drafted him here prior to the ruling on his suspension. If he's able to play eight games or more, he's a huge difference maker. But if your draft has yet to happen, you'll have to gauge when to take him to see if he plays or not. ... Randle is entering his third season, and this is his time to shine. With Nicks gone, he will start opposite Cruz, and we hope the Giants passing game will help him have a breakout campaign. ... Benjamin is going to be the No. 1 receiver for the Panthers. He's looked good in the preseason, and Cam Newton needs him to have a big year. ... Decker going to the Jets is a significant downgrade, and he's been dealing with a quad injury in training camp. He's not going to be the same player without Peyton Manning. ... Evans could have a big season, and I wouldn't be surprised if he challenged Benjamin for the touchdown lead among rookie receivers. But if he doesn't score, the rest of his production could be minimal. I'd only draft him fourth among rookie receivers behind Cooks, Watkins and Benjamin. ... I actually like Bowe this year, and I'll wait until his ADP drops even further. The Chiefs are going to be in much more competitive games compared to last year, and Alex Smith will need Bowe. You won't see more downfield passes because that's not Smith's strength, but Bowe should build off last year's disappointing campaign. He can't get any worse, even with the one-game suspension. ... Cooper and Boldin were Top 24 receivers last year, but they should regress this season. Cooper has a lot of competition for targets with Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles and LeSean McCoy. I'm not expecting Cooper to finish in the Top 30, and he's also dealing with an ankle injury in training camp. ... Boldin also has challengers for targets with Crabtree back and the addition of Steve Johnson. He's just a late-round flier at best. ... Austin and Hopkins were rookie disappointments last year, and I'm not expecting much as sophomores. Hopkins has more upside, but like Andre Johnson, the quarterback situation in Houston is troubling. ... Austin is being outplayed by Kenny Britt in training camp. That should tell you all you need to know about his Fantasy value. ... Amendola can't stay healthy, and the Patriots have plenty of options at receiver with Edelman, Aaron Dobson, Brandon LaFell and Kenbrell Thompkins. Amendola should only be considered in PPR formats. ... Nicks is going to have to prove he's healthy for 16 games and that he deserves targets over Hilton and Wayne. We're skeptical he'll make enough of an impact to consider starting in the majority of leagues.

49-60

49. Justin Hunter, Titans
50. Kenny Stills, Saints
51. Cecil Shorts, Jaguars
52. Marvin Jones, Bengals
53. Brian Hartline, Dolphins
54. Jarrett Boykin, Packers
55. Steve Smith, Ravens
56. Jordan Matthews, Eagles
57. Markus Wheaton, Steelers
58. Harry Douglas, Falcons
59. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
60. Odell Beckham, Giants

Range: Rounds 12-13 (Picks 137-151)
Guys I want: Hunter, Stills, Boykin, Matthews and Wheaton
Guys I tend to avoid: Shorts, Jones, Hartline, Smith, Douglas, Baldwin and Beckham
Hunter was a sleeper I mentioned in March, and we saw a huge preseason outing in the second game against Green Bay. Hunter has Top 30 potential, if not higher, if Jake Locker can stay healthy for 16 games. I like Hunter a lot. ... I like Stills to improve in his second season as a starter opposite Colston. He'll have to show he's more than just a deep threat, but we like his opportunity playing with Brees, especially with a pick in this spot. ... Boykin is the No. 3 receiver for the Packers behind Nelson and Cobb. He played well in 2013 when Cobb was out with 49 catches for 681 yards and three touchdowns, and he did most of that when Rodgers was hurt. With James Jones and Jermichael Finley gone, Boykin could see plenty of playing time with an elite quarterback. ... I like Matthews, but there are a lot of mouths to feed with the Eagles. Still, with Maclin and Cooper battling injuries and a need for production with Jackson gone, he's worth the risk in this spot. ... Wheaton has potential, but his rookie year was marred by injury and inconsistent play. But like Matthews, the Steelers have a need at receiver with Sanders and Cotchery now gone. ... Shorts can't stay healthy and will battle rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson for targets. He's not bad value here, especially in PPR leagues, but his injury history, poor quarterback outlook and competition for targets makes him relatively unattractive in most formats. ... I like Hartline here in PPR leagues since he has two years in a row with 70 catches and 1,000 yards. If his touchdown total increased (he had a career-high four in 2013) then he would emerge as a must-start PPR option. ... Jones is out until at least Week 5 with a broken foot. He's worth a late-round flier with the hope he can play at a high level for the final 11 games, but we're passing with the injury. ... Smith will be a good possession receiver for the Ravens, but his best days are clearly behind him. There's little upside here outside of deep PPR formats. ... Beckham is dealing with a hamstring injury, and he'll be third for the Giants at best behind Cruz and Randle, which lowers his upside. ... I'm OK with Baldwin as a late-round flier, but the Seahawks won't give him enough targets to make him a starting-caliber option. Still, if something were to happen to Harvin, then Baldwin's value would rise. ... Douglas was great last season with Jones out and White battling injuries, as he finished with 85 catches for 1,067 yards and two touchdowns. But with Jones active, Douglas averaged just three catches for 44 yards and no scores. He'll be closer to that than a 1,000-yard receiver.

Best of the rest ...

61. Greg Jennings, Vikings
62. Kenny Britt, Rams
63. James Jones, Raiders
64. Marqise Lee, Jaguars
65. Aaron Dobson, Patriots
66. Brandon LaFell, Patriots
67. Rod Streater, Raiders
68. Miles Austin, Browns
69. Andrew Hawkins, Browns
70. Jerricho Cotchery, Panthers
71. Robert Woods, Bills
No ADP. Andre Holmes, Raiders

Range: Rounds 12-13 (Picks 151-164)
Guys I want: Britt, Lee, Dobson, Streater and Holmes
Guys I tend to avoid: Jennings, Jones, LaFell, Austin, Hawkins, Cotchery and Woods
There aren't a lot of starting options in this group, but there are some intriguing receivers. We added Holmes to the last spot because he has plenty of upside with the Raiders. I still like Streater as the best Oakland receiver entering his third year, but we'll see how it plays out. James Jones, unfortunately, has fallen out of favor for Fantasy owners despite his history with the Packers. Losing Rodgers clearly hurts. ... Britt is being hyped as the No. 1 receiver for the Rams after being reunited with Jeff Fisher. He's definitely worth the risk with a pick in this round if he can get back to his 2011 pre-ACL form. ... Lee could easily lead the Jaguars in receptions, especially if Shorts continues to battle injuries. Lee could be this year's Allen as an injury-plagued college receiver who falls in the draft but surprises us as a Fantasy option. ... Dobson has been dealing with a foot injury, and he's missed the first two preseason games. But he could end up being the best outside receiver for the Patriots ahead of Thompkins and LaFell. ... Jennings could surprise you as the most-targeted receiver for the Vikings ahead of Patterson and Kyle Rudolph, but there's little upside there in Minnesota. ... Hawkins and Austin will compete for the No. 1 receiver for the Browns if Gordon is out. Move along, nothing to see here. Hawkins might be interesting in PPR leagues, but add him off waivers. ... Cotchery scored 10 touchdowns with the Steelers last year, but he'll see a steep decline with the Panthers. ... Woods enters the season as the No. 3 receiver for the Bills behind Watkins and Mike Williams. He could emerge as a solid option, but I'd rather take him off waivers after seeing how Manuel does.

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Player News
Cowboys' Garrett: DL Nick Hayden an 'important signing'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made it a point of emphasis to mention to reporters at the NFL Meetings that re-signing defensive lineman Nick Hayden was important, reports the Dallas Morning News.

“Well, we’re always trying to get better and we have to get better,’’ Garrett said. “We have to bring some impact players into our defense. But Nick has been such a good player for us as a leader of that defensive line and he’s a really productive player. There’s a lot of the dirty work but he’s one of those guys who makes a lot of hits on the ball, is around the football a lot and simply makes a lot of plays.

"That was an important signing for us.’’

Hayden has started all 16 games with the Cowboys for two consecutive seasons. Over his seven-year career, he has 135 total tackles, two sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.


Giants' Coughlin: WR Victor Cruz looks 'really good'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is encouraged that wide receiver Victor Cruz can return to form, according to the NY Daily News. Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon that forced him to miss 10 games last season.

“I think he will be back to the player that he was and hopefully better. Victor looks really good, he’s starting to run, I was in the field house watching him rehab, he’s coming along well.” … As for when Cruz will be back at practice, full-time, Coughlin added, “I don’t know. I shouldn’t say this, because medically I really do not have a definite answer, but by training camp, hopefully. He will work his way through.”

Through his five years in the NFL, Cruz has 264 receptions for 3,963 yards and 24 touchdowns.


Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower to miss at least six months
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower is going to miss between six and seven months, according to the Boston Globe.

Hightower had surgery this February to repair a torn right labrum. The team is concerned that he might not be able to be ready for the start of the reguar season. He played through the injury for a good portion of the 2014 season prior to surgery.

The 25-year-old started all 12 games he played, collecting 89 total tackles, six sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.


Packers to use pistol formation more often this season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) After implementing the pistol formation into the offense to help take stress off of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' leg in 2014, the Packers are considering to use it more often this season, according to the Journal Sentinel.

"I like the pistol," head coach Mike McCarthy said during a break at the NFL owners meetings this week. "I think there's a lot of value regardless of the injury to Aaron. I know he likes it. There's a place for it year-round in your offense."

Although McCarthy has no intention of turning Rodgers into an option quarterback, the system provides unpredictability for opposing offenses.

"I would say this is about the third year it's been part of our pace and installation," McCarthy said. "Really, when we moved to it exclusively there at the end of the year it really wasn't a change for us.

"I liked it from a self-scout standpoint. It gives you another self-scout variable when you're in the gun, but you also have the tailback behind you. (There are a) lot of benefits to it."


Report: Vikings sign CB Terence Newman
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) The Vikings have signed cornerback Terence Newman to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with $750,000 in guarantees on Thursday, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. 

Newman spent the last three seasons with the Bengals after playing nine years for the Cowboys. The 36-year-old has had at least one interception in each year of his 13-year career. The cornerback has recorded 741 total tackles, two sacks, 147 passes defensed, 37 interceptions, and eight forced fumbles. 


Kubiak wants Peyton Manning comfortable with playbook
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak wants to make sure that all of his players are comfortable with the new offensive playbook, including quarterback Peyton Manning, reports ESPN.

“I think you prepare to help him call that game throughout the course of the week," Kubiak said. “A lot of people put emphasis on him calling plays at the line, but you’ve also prepared to do that throughout the course of the week, so you, as a coach, 'Here’s what I think is best in that situation.' In a lot of ways you’re still working together. You’re just going about it a different way."

“You never want to put a player in a position where he’s doing something he’s uncomfortable with," Kubiak said. “One of things about having a veteran, especially like Peyton, he’s going to let you know, 'This is what I do best and this is what I feel comfortable with.' That’s what you need to go do as a coach. You might tweak things here or there that you think may help, but you’re never going to take him out of his comfort zone and what he feels like he does best.”

Manning, 39, recently took a pay cut of $4 million to help clear salary cap space for the team.


LB Brandon Magee still committed to playing in NFL
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) After being released by the Buccaneers, linebacker Brandon Magee is going to participate in spring training with the Boston Red Sox. That being said, he is still committed to playing in the NFL, according to Pro Football Talk. 

Magee's agent, Blake Baratz, emailed Pro Football Talk regarding his client's desire to resume his NFL career.

“There have been rumors circulating that Brandon Magee, who was recently released by Tampa Bay, has given up football with the intention of playing professional baseball. This could not be further from the truth,” Baratz wrote. “While he does attend spring training for a few weeks up until the beginning of the NFL off-season program, he is 100% fully committed to playing in the NFL.”

Magee, 24, has seen action in 17 games the last two seasons, nine of which were in 2014 with the Buccaneers. He has registered 10 total tackles in his career.


Bill O'Brien: 'Sky's the limit' for WR DeAndre Hopkins
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) With Andre Johnson now in Indy, DeAndre Hopkins enters the 2015 season as the Texans' undisputed No. 1 receiver.

“He had a really good year last year and the sky’s the limit with Hop (Hopkins)," coach Bill O'Brien told NFL Network. "He’s an excellent young player who works extremely hard and we’re looking forward to putting together our whole receiving corps and he should be the leader of that.”

Hopkins led Houston with 1,210 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns last year. He has 128 catches for 2,012 yards and eight scores in his two NFL seasons.


Giants RB Shane Vereen will be more than third-down back
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Giants running back Shane Vereen is being viewed as much more than just a third-down running back, according to nj.com.

The team is excited about his ability to catch passes out of the backfield, but he'll be relied on to do more than that.

"I see him in that regard as a pass receiver coming out of the backfield, a pass protector, a guy who runs the ball in the three-wide offense in the run game, if you will, which is very prevalent today in our sport," coach Tom Coughlin said at the NFL Annual Meetings this week. "So I see him in that regard."

Last season the Giants did not have one receiving touchdown by a running back. Vereen, formerly of the Patriots, had three receiving touchdowns out of the backfield last year.

"Well, you know what [Vereen] can do. Quite frankly, it's something from an attack standpoint we've had some success with, but not to the extent that he has," Coughlin said. "When you look at Vereen, a lot of the [Tom] Brady hookup with Vereen was the ball was almost automatically going to him. First down, if it was zone coverage, they were dropping the ball down and he would scoot. So we know that. Will we open it up to more parts of it?"

The 26-year-old has 907 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on the ground, adding 107 receptions for 1,023 yards and seven touchdowns through the air in four years. 


Chiefs confident they'll reach deal with Justin Houston
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt told the Kansas City Star he's confident the team will sign standout outside linebacker Justin Houston to a long-term deal. The Chiefs put a $13.1 million nonexclusive franchise tag on Houston, which he has yet to sign.

“He knows, and his agent knows, how much we want him back,” Hunt said. “We just all have to be patient, and eventually, we’re going to get him signed to a long-term deal.”

Houston has 48.5 sacks in his four-year career. 

“I’ve been very consistent in saying that we not only value Justin as a football player, that we not only value Justin as a person and leader, and we want him to be a Chief for life,” Hunt said.


 
 
 
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