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2014 Draft Prep: 12-team standard draft

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

12-team PPR draft | 10-team draft | 12-team auction | Draft Averages

There are times in a draft when a player falls in your lap and it's a no-brainer decision to select him. You might not like that player, but value is value so why not gamble?

It happened in this 12-team standard mock draft to a few owners. It's likely going to happen to you as well, so be prepared.

For me, it happened in Round 3. I started my team with Eddie Lacy at No. 5 overall and then Brandon Marshall in Round 2 at No. 20. In Round 3, I was prepared to take Rob Gronkowski or Julius Thomas, Antonio Brown or Randall Cobb or Drew Brees, who were all still on the board when Round 2 ended.

Instead, Arian Foster continued to fall. While I consider Foster a bust candidate this season, and he has plenty of issues with last year's back injury, his retirement talk and his recent hamstring woes, it was an easy selection at No. 29 overall. By comparison, his Average Draft Position on CBSSports.com is No. 21.

Now, clearly Foster is on the decline, and he's not worth drafting in Round 1. But if he plays 10-plus games at anything close to his level prior to the back injury, then this pick is larceny. And I made sure to handcuff him with Jonathan Grimes in Round 11.

Some other owners had similar situations with players they couldn't pass up. Adam Aizer took Drew Brees one spot in front of me in Round 3 at No. 28 overall. We realize quarterbacks fall in our mock drafts, so this was an easy decision, even though he didn't plan on a quarterback in that spot when the draft started. (Aizer made sure to boast about his pick on our podcast saying he's going to win because "I have Drew Brees!").

Dave Richard didn't love the available players in Round 6, but he's a Vernon Davis fan. So he drafted Davis at No. 63 overall, which is 14 spots better than his ADP at No. 49.

Dave also had the reverse scenario happen to him a couple of times when players he was hoping to get went off the board before he picked. In Round 2, it was Giovani Bernard one spot in front of him at No. 14, and he ended up with Julio Jones. In Round 3, he wanted Toby Gerhart, Andre Ellington or Matthew Stafford at No. 34. All three went right before him and he settled for Ryan Mathews.

You have to be prepared. No matter what plan you have for your draft, things will happen to alter your strategy, and in some cases that could lead to a very good roster. Just ask Aizer.

As always, we ask you to share your thoughts on this draft. Take advantage of our Fantasy Football Twitter feed and post your comments there, or share your thoughts on our Fantasy Football Facebook page.

In this league, all touchdowns are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST and a FLEX (RB/WR/TE). There will also be six reserve spots for a 15-round draft.

Our draft order is as follows:

1. Peter Madden, Editorial Director, Fantasy Sports
2. Will Brinson, Senior NFL Writer
3. Jeff Tobin, Associate Managing Editor
4. Adam Aizer, Podcast/Video Host
5. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
6. Joe Polito, Social Media Coordinator
7. Chris Towers, Fantasy Writer
8. Larry Hartstein, Fantasy Writer
9. Al Melchior, Data Analyst
10. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
11. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
12. Eric Johnston, Senior Designer, Fantasy Sports

Round by Round
Round 1
Pick Team Player
1 Madden Jamaal Charles, RB, KC
2 Brinson LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI
3 Tobin Matt Forte, RB, CHI
4 Aizer Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
5 Eisenberg Eddie Lacy, RB, GB
6 Polito Calvin Johnson, WR, DET
7 Towers Jimmy Graham, TE, NO
8 Hartstein Montee Ball, RB, DEN
9 Melchior DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL
10 Richard Alfred Morris, RB, WAS
11 White Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
12 Johnston Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
Round 2
Pick Team Player
13 Johnston Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
14 White Giovani Bernard, RB, CIN
15 Richard Julio Jones, WR, ATL
16 Melchior Le'Veon Bell, RB, PIT
17 Hartstein A.J. Green, WR, CIN
18 Towers Peyton Manning, QB, DEN
19 Polito Zac Stacy, RB, STL
20 Eisenberg Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI
21 Aizer Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
22 Tobin Doug Martin, RB, TB
23 Brinson Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI
24 Madden Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
Round 3
Pick Team Player
25 Madden Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
26 Brinson Randall Cobb, WR, GB
27 Tobin Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
28 Aizer Drew Brees, QB, NO
29 Eisenberg Arian Foster, RB, HOU
30 Polito Julius Thomas, TE, DEN
31 Towers Toby Gerhart, RB, JAC
32 Hartstein Andre Ellington, RB, ARI
33 Melchior Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
34 Richard Ryan Mathews, RB, SD
35 White Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
36 Johnston Bishop Sankey, RB, TEN
Round 4
Pick Team Player
37 Johnston Joique Bell, RB, DET
38 White Vincent Jackson, WR, TB
39 Richard Michael Crabtree, WR, SF
40 Melchior Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS
41 Hartstein Keenan Allen, WR, SD
42 Towers C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF
43 Polito Reggie Bush, RB, DET
44 Eisenberg Shane Vereen, RB, NE
45 Aizer Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
46 Tobin Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, MIN
47 Brinson Michael Floyd, WR, ARI
48 Madden Roddy White, WR, ATL
Round 5
Pick Team Player
49 Madden Golden Tate, WR, DET
50 Brinson Frank Gore, RB, SF
51 Tobin Rashad Jennings, RB, NYG
52 Aizer Stevan Ridley, RB, NE
53 Eisenberg Wes Welker, WR, DEN
54 Polito Ray Rice, RB, BAL
55 Towers Victor Cruz, WR, NYG
56 Hartstein Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN
57 Melchior DeSean Jackson, WR, WAS
58 Richard Ben Tate, RB, CLE
59 White Matt Ryan, QB, ATL
60 Johnston Percy Harvin, WR, SEA
Round 6
Pick Team Player
61 Johnston Chris Johnson, RB, NYJ
62 White Julian Edelman, WR, NE
63 Richard Vernon Davis, TE, SF
64 Melchior Torrey Smith, WR, BAL
65 Hartstein Andrew Luck, QB, IND
66 Towers Mike Wallace, WR, MIA
67 Polito Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI
68 Eisenberg Trent Richardson, RB, IND
69 Aizer Lamar Miller, RB, MIA
70 Tobin Terrance Williams, WR, DAL
71 Brinson Kendall Wright, WR, TEN
72 Madden Pierre Thomas, RB, NO
Round 7
Pick Team Player
73 Madden Terrance West, RB, CLE
74 Brinson Bernard Pierce, RB, BAL
75 Tobin Andre Williams, RB, NYG
76 Aizer Marques Colston, WR, NO
77 Eisenberg T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND
78 Polito Colin Kaepernick, QB, SF
79 Towers Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, OAK
80 Hartstein Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN
81 Melchior Dennis Pitta, TE, BAL
82 Richard Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
83 White Steven Jackson, RB, ATL
84 Johnston Nick Foles, QB, PHI
Round 8
Pick Team Player
85 Johnston Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL
86 White Tony Romo, QB, DAL
87 Richard Tom Brady, QB, NE
88 Melchior Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF
89 Hartstein Carlos Hyde, RB, SF
90 Towers Eric Decker, WR, NYJ
91 Polito Brandin Cooks, WR, NO
92 Eisenberg Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS
93 Aizer Jason Witten, TE, DAL
94 Tobin Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN
95 Brinson Jordan Cameron, TE, CLE
96 Madden Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR
Round 9
Pick Team Player
97 Madden Knile Davis, RB, KC
98 Brinson Mark Ingram, RB, NO
99 Tobin Jay Cutler, QB, CHI
100 Aizer James White, RB, NE
101 Eisenberg Zach Ertz, TE, PHI
102 Polito Mike Evans, WR, TB
103 Towers Rueben Randle, WR, NYG
104 Hartstein Jordan Reed, TE, WAS
105 Melchior Khiry Robinson, RB, NO
106 Richard Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
107 White Justin Hunter, WR, TEN
108 Johnston Heath Miller, TE, PIT
Round 10
Pick Team Player
109 Johnston Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC
110 White Knowshon Moreno, RB, MIA
111 Richard Josh Gordon, WR, CLE
112 Melchior Seahawks DST
113 Hartstein Jarrett Boykin, WR, GB
114 Towers DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR
115 Polito Darren Sproles, RB, PHI
116 Eisenberg Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN
117 Aizer Kenny Stills, WR, NO
118 Tobin Christine Michael, RB, SEA
119 Brinson Cam Newton, QB, CAR
120 Madden Danny Amendola, WR, NE
Round 11
Pick Team Player
121 Madden Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
122 Brinson Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
123 Tobin Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA
124 Aizer LeGarrette Blount, RB, PIT
125 Eisenberg Jonathan Grimes, RB, HOU
126 Polito Greg Olsen, TE, CAR
127 Towers Darren McFadden, RB, OAK
128 Hartstein Ladarius Green, TE, SD
129 Melchior Anquan Boldin, WR, SF
130 Richard Danny Woodhead, RB, SD
131 White Hakeem Nicks, WR, IND
132 Johnston Cardinals DST
Round 12
Pick Team Player
133 Johnston Chris Ivory, RB, NYJ
134 White Robert Turbin, RB, SEA
135 Richard Dexter McCluster, RB, TEN
136 Melchior Lance Dunbar, RB, DAL
137 Hartstein Marqise Lee, WR, JAC
138 Towers Shonn Greene, RB, TEN
139 Polito Panthers DST
140 Eisenberg Rams DST
141 Aizer James Starks, RB, GB
142 Tobin Stepfan Taylor, RB, ARI
143 Brinson Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, IND
144 Madden Tavon Austin, WR, STL
Round 13
Pick Team Player
145 Madden Mike Tolbert, RB, CAR
146 Brinson Patriots DST
147 Tobin 49ers DST
148 Aizer Eric Ebron, TE, DET
149 Eisenberg Riley Cooper, WR, PHI
150 Polito Tre Mason, RB, STL
151 Towers Rod Streater, WR, OAK
152 Hartstein Markus Wheaton, WR, PIT
153 Melchior Carson Palmer, QB, ARI
154 Richard Bobby Rainey, RB, TB
155 White Antonio Gates, TE, SD
156 Johnston Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
Round 14
Pick Team Player
157 Johnston Bryce Brown, RB, BUF
158 White Steelers DST
159 Richard Broncos DST
160 Melchior Cecil Shorts, WR, JAC
161 Hartstein Bengals DST
162 Towers Chiefs DST
163 Polito DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU
164 Eisenberg Kenny Britt, WR, STL
165 Aizer Buccaneers DST
166 Tobin Philip Rivers, QB, SD
167 Brinson Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI
168 Madden Ravens DST
Round 15
Pick Team Player
169 Madden Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
170 Brinson Phil Dawson, K, SF
171 Tobin Matt Prater, K, DEN
172 Aizer Steven Hauschka, K, SEA
173 Eisenberg Justin Tucker, K, BAL
174 Polito Dan Bailey, K, DAL
175 Towers Mason Crosby, K, GB
176 Hartstein Adam Vinatieri, K, IND
177 Melchior Matt Bryant, K, ATL
178 Richard Shayne Graham, K, NO
179 White Robbie Gould, K, CHI
180 Johnston Nick Novak, K, SD
 
Team by Team
Adam Aizer
Rd.Pk Player
1.4 Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
2.9 Jordy Nelson, WR, GB
3.4 Drew Brees, QB, NO
4.9 Andre Johnson, WR, HOU
5.4 Stevan Ridley, RB, NE
6.9 Lamar Miller, RB, MIA
7.4 Marques Colston, WR, NO
8.9 Jason Witten, TE, DAL
9.4 James White, RB, NE
10.9 Kenny Stills, WR, NO
11.4 LeGarrette Blount, RB, PIT
12.9 James Starks, RB, GB
13.4 Eric Ebron, TE, DET
14.9 Buccaneers DST
15.4 Steven Hauschka, K, SEA
Will Brinson
Rd.Pk Player
1.2 LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI
2.11 Alshon Jeffery, WR, CHI
3.2 Randall Cobb, WR, GB
4.11 Michael Floyd, WR, ARI
5.2 Frank Gore, RB, SF
6.11 Kendall Wright, WR, TEN
7.2 Bernard Pierce, RB, BAL
8.11 Jordan Cameron, TE, CLE
9.2 Mark Ingram, RB, NO
10.11 Cam Newton, QB, CAR
11.2 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
12.11 Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, IND
13.2 Patriots DST
14.11 Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI
15.2 Phil Dawson, K, SF
Jamey Eisenberg
Rd.Pk Player
1.5 Eddie Lacy, RB, GB
2.8 Brandon Marshall, WR, CHI
3.5 Arian Foster, RB, HOU
4.8 Shane Vereen, RB, NE
5.5 Wes Welker, WR, DEN
6.8 Trent Richardson, RB, IND
7.5 T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND
8.8 Robert Griffin III, QB, WAS
9.5 Zach Ertz, TE, PHI
10.8 Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN
11.5 Jonathan Grimes, RB, HOU
12.8 Rams DST
13.5 Riley Cooper, WR, PHI
14.8 Kenny Britt, WR, STL
15.5 Justin Tucker, K, BAL
Larry Hartstein
Rd.Pk Player
1.8 Montee Ball, RB, DEN
2.5 A.J. Green, WR, CIN
3.8 Andre Ellington, RB, ARI
4.5 Keenan Allen, WR, SD
5.8 Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN
6.5 Andrew Luck, QB, IND
7.8 Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN
8.5 Carlos Hyde, RB, SF
9.8 Jordan Reed, TE, WAS
10.5 Jarrett Boykin, WR, GB
11.8 Ladarius Green, TE, SD
12.5 Marqise Lee, WR, JAC
13.8 Markus Wheaton, WR, PIT
14.5 Bengals DST
15.8 Adam Vinatieri, K, IND
Eric Johnston
Rd.Pk Player
1.12 Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
2.1 Dez Bryant, WR, DAL
3.12 Bishop Sankey, RB, TEN
4.1 Joique Bell, RB, DET
5.12 Percy Harvin, WR, SEA
6.1 Chris Johnson, RB, NYJ
7.12 Nick Foles, QB, PHI
8.1 Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL
9.12 Heath Miller, TE, PIT
10.1 Dwayne Bowe, WR, KC
11.12 Cardinals DST
12.1 Chris Ivory, RB, NYJ
13.12 Andy Dalton, QB, CIN
14.1 Bryce Brown, RB, BUF
15.12 Nick Novak, K, SD
Peter Madden
Rd.Pk Player
1.1 Jamaal Charles, RB, KC
2.12 Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB
3.1 Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
4.12 Roddy White, WR, ATL
5.1 Golden Tate, WR, DET
6.12 Pierre Thomas, RB, NO
7.1 Terrance West, RB, CLE
8.12 Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR
9.1 Knile Davis, RB, KC
10.12 Danny Amendola, WR, NE
11.1 Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR
12.12 Tavon Austin, WR, STL
13.1 Mike Tolbert, RB, CAR
14.12 Ravens DST
15.1 Stephen Gostkowski, K, NE
Al Melchior
Rd.Pk Player
1.9 DeMarco Murray, RB, DAL
2.4 Le'Veon Bell, RB, PIT
3.9 Matthew Stafford, QB, DET
4.4 Pierre Garcon, WR, WAS
5.9 DeSean Jackson, WR, WAS
6.4 Torrey Smith, WR, BAL
7.9 Dennis Pitta, TE, BAL
8.4 Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF
9.9 Khiry Robinson, RB, NO
10.4 Seahawks DST
11.9 Anquan Boldin, WR, SF
12.4 Lance Dunbar, RB, DAL
13.9 Carson Palmer, QB, ARI
14.4 Cecil Shorts, WR, JAC
15.9 Matt Bryant, K, ATL
Joe Polito
Rd.Pk Player
1.6 Calvin Johnson, WR, DET
2.7 Zac Stacy, RB, STL
3.6 Julius Thomas, TE, DEN
4.7 Reggie Bush, RB, DET
5.6 Ray Rice, RB, BAL
6.7 Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI
7.6 Colin Kaepernick, QB, SF
8.7 Brandin Cooks, WR, NO
9.6 Mike Evans, WR, TB
10.7 Darren Sproles, RB, PHI
11.6 Greg Olsen, TE, CAR
12.7 Panthers DST
13.6 Tre Mason, RB, STL
14.7 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU
15.6 Dan Bailey, K, DAL
Dave Richard
Rd.Pk Player
1.10 Alfred Morris, RB, WAS
2.3 Julio Jones, WR, ATL
3.10 Ryan Mathews, RB, SD
4.3 Michael Crabtree, WR, SF
5.10 Ben Tate, RB, CLE
6.3 Vernon Davis, TE, SF
7.10 Fred Jackson, RB, BUF
8.3 Tom Brady, QB, NE
9.10 Reggie Wayne, WR, IND
10.3 Josh Gordon, WR, CLE
11.10 Danny Woodhead, RB, SD
12.3 Dexter McCluster, RB, TEN
13.10 Bobby Rainey, RB, TB
14.3 Broncos DST
15.10 Shayne Graham, K, NO
Jeff Tobin
Rd.Pk Player
1.3 Matt Forte, RB, CHI
2.10 Doug Martin, RB, TB
3.3 Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
4.10 Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, MIN
5.3 Rashad Jennings, RB, NYG
6.10 Terrance Williams, WR, DAL
7.3 Andre Williams, RB, NYG
8.10 Kyle Rudolph, TE, MIN
9.3 Jay Cutler, QB, CHI
10.10 Christine Michael, RB, SEA
11.3 Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA
12.10 Stepfan Taylor, RB, ARI
13.3 49ers DST
14.10 Philip Rivers, QB, SD
15.3 Matt Prater, K, DEN
Chris Towers
Rd.Pk Player
1.7 Jimmy Graham, TE, NO
2.6 Peyton Manning, QB, DEN
3.7 Toby Gerhart, RB, JAC
4.6 C.J. Spiller, RB, BUF
5.7 Victor Cruz, WR, NYG
6.6 Mike Wallace, WR, MIA
7.7 Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, OAK
8.6 Eric Decker, WR, NYJ
9.7 Rueben Randle, WR, NYG
10.6 DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR
11.7 Darren McFadden, RB, OAK
12.6 Shonn Greene, RB, TEN
13.7 Rod Streater, WR, OAK
14.6 Chiefs DST
15.7 Mason Crosby, K, GB
Scott White
Rd.Pk Player
1.11 Marshawn Lynch, RB, SEA
2.2 Giovani Bernard, RB, CIN
3.11 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
4.2 Vincent Jackson, WR, TB
5.11 Matt Ryan, QB, ATL
6.2 Julian Edelman, WR, NE
7.11 Steven Jackson, RB, ATL
8.2 Tony Romo, QB, DAL
9.11 Justin Hunter, WR, TEN
10.2 Knowshon Moreno, RB, MIA
11.11 Hakeem Nicks, WR, IND
12.2 Robert Turbin, RB, SEA
13.11 Antonio Gates, TE, SD
14.2 Steelers DST
15.11 Robbie Gould, K, CHI

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Player News
Ben Roethlisberger deserves to start
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) It goes without saying that Ben Roethlisberger's six-touchdown, 522-yard performance Week 8 against Indianapolis was a once-in-a-blue-moon thing, and I stand by my earlier assessment that he's too inconsistent to start in standard 12-team leagues. But that's more for those weeks when every quarterback is available. With six teams on bye, that's certainly not the case in Week 9.

For those owners accustomed to starting Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler, Roethlisberger may be the best choice. His matchup against Baltimore isn't great. The Ravens rank a suspect 22nd against the pass, giving up 256.0 yards per game, but having allowed just seven touchdowns through the air, they've surrendered the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Regardless of the matchup, though, Roethlisberger has a better chance than most of the quarterbacks who might be available of putting up the numbers you're accustomed to.

I'd prefer Carson Palmer, Nick Foles and Cam Newton to him, to name just a few fringy types, but Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Ricahrd both have Roethlisberger in their top 10 for this week.


Brandon LaFell not the only Patriots WR to consider
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) It's time to give Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell a shot in Fantasy -- as in not just owning him, but starting him. If his 11 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown Week 8 against the Bears weren't enough to convince you, his matchup Week 9 against Denver should be.

It's not that the Broncos are so bad against the pass. They rank in the middle of the pack, allowing 242.9 yards per game. It's just that the Patriots' only hope against them is to beat Peyton Manning at his own game. Their passing attack -- at least the version they've shown in the last four weeks -- is good enough to beat anybody when they're motivated to use it.

LaFell appears to have leapfrogged Julian Edelman in the pecking order, but frankly, Edelman might not be such a bad play either. Tom Brady is going to need every weapon at his disposal to outscore Manning and company. Edelman is more of a desperation play than LaFell, I think, advisable only if you're short on startable wide receivers, but Dave Richard likes him enough with this matchup to rank him 24th at the position.


Shane Vereen a better choice than Jonas Gray
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) By giving the previously unknown Jonas Gray 17 carries for 86 yards Week 8 against Chicago, the Patriots revealed that they'll stick with a two-man backfield even with preferred rusher Stevan Ridley out for the year with a torn ACL and MCL.

But Week 9 against Denver might be a better matchup for preferred receiver Shane Vereen, who also thrived in Week 7 against the Jets. The Broncos, like the Jets, have done a good job stopping the run this season. They rank No. 1, in fact, allowing 72.4 yards per game.

Plus, the Patriots will most likely have to throw more than usual just to keep up with the league's highest-scoring team. These days, a team's only real choice against Peyton Manning is to beat him at his own game.

So most likely, Gray will spend much of Week 9 on the sidelines while Vereen spends much of it in the backfield. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Vereen among their top 20 running backs for this week.


Vincent Jackson not such a great play
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) On a day when the Buccaneers couldn't get anything going offensively Week 8 against Minnesota, wide receiver Vincent Jackson was barely involved, catching one pass for 13 yards. He was targeted five times, but for a player who misses a lot of the balls thrown his way, both because of his role in the passing game and his issues with drops, that's a pretty low number. He averaged 10.0 targets in his first six games.

Even worse for Jackson, quarterback Mike Glennon has developed a nice rapport with both Mike Evans and Louis Murphy, and the Buccaneers passing attack isn't prolific enough to sustain three wide receivers. Is it more likely to sustain him than those other two? Yeah, probably. But it'll likely cut into his production regardless.

And it could cut into his production in a big way Week 9 at Cleveland. The Browns don't rank especially high against the pass, but they don't give up many touchdowns through the air, allowing the fourth-lowest quarterback rating of any team this season. Cornerback Joe Haden, who has played better in recent weeks after a slow start, is a big reason for that, and he'll likely go up against Jackson on Sunday.

Neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard rank Jackson among their top 30 wide receivers -- and that's in a week with six teams on bye.


Time to the roll the dice on Denard Robinson?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Sitting Denard Robinson the week after his breakout 127-yard effort against the Browns was understandable. It was an outlier performance achieved with an especially favorable matchup, and there was some big talk about Toby Gerhart still playing a big role. But now, after back-to-back 100-yard games, taking a conservative approach with Robinson just seems kind of silly.

Especially since his matchup Week 9 at Cincinnati is, at least on paper, a favorable one. The Bengals rank 29th against the run, allowing 140.7 yards per game, and have given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to running backs. And as tough as the Jaguars defense has played in recent weeks, you don't have to worry so much about the Bengals running away with the game, compelling the Jaguars to throw every down.

Calling Robinson a must-start is taking it a bit far. Some people have enviable depth at the position. But in Week 9, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank Robinson among their top 24 running backs, with Dave slotting him as high as 15th.


Is starting Andy Dalton a good idea?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank the Bengals' Andy Dalton among their top 12 quarterbacks for Week 9, presumably because he's facing the Jaguars. But how did that work out for Ryan Tannehill in Week 8, Brian Hoyer in Week 7 or, yep, even Ben Roethlisberger in Week 5?

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of the whole "start Player X against the Jaguars because they're bad" argument. Because they're not. At least not anymore -- not on defense, anyway. The Jaguars have allowed an average of 16.5 points in their last four games, and if not for the Dolphins' two defensive touchdowns in Week 8, it'd be 13.0

True, star wide receiver A.J. Green is looking likely to return from a three-game absence for a toe injury, which would certainly improve Dalton's chances. But again, quality quarterbacks -- namely, Tannehill and Roethlisberger -- have had their full arsenals when they faced the Jaguars, and they still underwhelmed against them. I'm not sure this is Dalton's week.

Now, with so many high-profile quarterbacks (such as Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler) on bye this week, you may want it to be Dalton's week, but I'd give Carson Palmer, Nick Foles, Cam Newton or Tannehill a shot before I turned to him.


Greg Olsen deserves your trust
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Panthers coach Ron Rivera mentioned Monday that the reason tight end Greg Olsen had only one catch for 16 yards in Week 8 is because the Seahawks rotated their coverage toward him, particularly in the red zone. You can understand why they'd do that after Olsen averaged 70.4 yards with four touchdowns in his first four games.

Unfortunately, since the Seahawks limited the Panthers to just nine points in that game, they've invited other teams to emulate them, and while the Saints, Olsen's Week 9 opponent, certainly aren't the Seahawks defensively, they've done good job of containing tight ends this season, giving up the second-fewest Fantasy points per game to them. And that's even though they rank 31st against the pass.

But just because you can make a reasonable case to sit one this year's most productive and reliable tight ends doesn't mean you should follow through with it. Week 8 was just the second time in eight games that Olsen's production didn't justify a starting spot -- a terrific ratio for any player, regardless of position -- and the Saints haven't really faced a team with a top-flight tight end until now.

If quarterback Cam Newton has big numbers in this game -- and the data suggest he should -- Olsen will, too. Keep him active.


Who knows with the Saints wide receivers?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) On the road against the Panthers in Week 9, chances are one of the Saints top two wide receivers, be it Marques Colston or Brandin Cooks, will have a big game. The Panthers are tied for the fourth-most passing touchdowns allowed and have given up the fifth-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

So which one? Particularly with Kenny Stills getting involved the last couple weeks, it's become a real crapshoot. Cooks tends to be more of a volume receiver in his good games, but Colston showed with six catches for 111 yards in Week 7 that he can still make an impact as well.

Of course, star tight end Jimmy Graham was basically just a decoy in that game. When his shoulder had recovered enough for him to catch a few passes himself in Week 8, Colston's numbers shrank again. Cooks, meanwhile, had six catches for 94 yards and a touchdown and has generally had an easier time coexisting with Graham.

I'd feel OK about starting Cooks in this one, particularly in points-per-reception leagues. Yeah, he's basically a 50-50 proposition, but that's more than I can say for Colston, particularly with Graham back in the mix. Colston still matters in Fantasy, but mostly in leagues with 14 teams or more.


Kelvin Benjamin could come up big
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) With the Panthers expected to pass a lot in Week 9 against a Saints team that ranks second in total offense and fifth in scoring offense, wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin figures to be one of the prime beneficiaries. After all, he's emerged as quarterback Cam Newton's preferred downfield target as a rookie and, at 6-feet-5, is a big target in the red zone as well.

After a strong start to the season, his yardage has been hit or miss lately, but generally speaking, when Newton is on, so is Benjamin. And all signs point to a big game for Newton. Not only is that the only way he keeps the Panthers in the game, but the Saints rank 31st against the pass, giving up 289.3 yards per game. They've also allowed the second-most Fantasy points per game to wide receivers.

Considering he's scored a touchdown in five of eight games this season, you're probably starting Benjamin regardless of any matchup data. But you can do so with confidence this week. Both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank him among their top 10 wide receivers.


Good chance Cam Newton bounces back
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10/29/2014) Granted, Cam Newton hasn't been the most predictable quarterback from week to week, and because his production is largely a function of how often and how effectively he runs the ball, that doesn't figure to change. But after a disappointing showing against the Seahawks in Week 8, he should be in for an easier time Week 9 against the Saints.

After all, the Saints' explosive offense combined with their suspect defense predisposes them to shootouts. Of course, the last time I predicted a shootout for the Panthers Week 7 at Green Bay, it didn't go so well for Newton either, but that matchup wasn't as favorable as this one. The Saints rank 31st against the pass, allowing 289.3 yards per game, and have given up the eighth-most Fantasy points per game to quarterbacks.

In a week when high-profile quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler are all on bye, I would think someone in a 12-team league would want to start Newton, even if that someone isn't you.


 
 
 
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