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2014 Draft Prep: ADP review, 3.0

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

Draft Averages | Rankings | Prep with our podcasts | Draft Index

We're entering the third week of preseason action and Fantasy drafts are ratcheting up. The Average Draft Position is starting to show an accurate description of how your leagues are looking compared to just mock drafts. It's great data to study.

Some of the risers based on two full weeks of preseason action are Jay Cutler, Fred Jackson, Kelvin Benjamin and Zach Ertz. Some of the fallers are Colin Kaepernick, Stevan Ridley, Jeremy Maclin and Eric Ebron.

After this weekend, we'll find out how Fantasy owners feel about Le'Veon Bell, who was starting to decline with the news of a shared backfield with LeGarrette Blount. His stock could fall further after being charged with marijuana possession and a DUI. Blount also was charged with marijuana possession. I'd still draft Bell toward the end of Round 2, but I'd love for him to slip into Round 3. And Blount is worth a late-round pick.

The ADP will continue to change after preseason games this weekend, so stay on top of this information to help you prepare for your Draft Day.

The first round looks like this …

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

The quarterbacks are on the rise as Manning moved ahead of Forte for the No. 4 overall spot and Rodgers has crept into Round 1, bumping Montee Ball out. I hope this is because of owners in two-quarterback leagues because there's no need to draft a quarterback that early in one-quarterback formats.

Ball has fallen because he's been out with the appendectomy, but he could play in the final preseason game. I like that he's falling because there's a better chance I can get him in Round 2.

If you take the quarterbacks out of the first round, Ball, Dez Bryant and Marshawn Lynch would move in. While I don't like Lynch at his ADP of No. 15 overall, I wouldn't mind Bryant at No. 12. He could easily challenge Johnson and Thomas for the No. 1 receiver spot this year.

Quarterback breakdown

Andrew Luck moving up: There are some Fantasy owners targeting Luck this season expecting a breakout campaign. Then there are others who shy away from Luck because he was uninspiring last year.

I think Luck will be great this season with the addition of Hakeem Nicks and return to health of Reggie Wayne and Dwayne Allen. Trent Richardson is struggling to run the ball in the preseason and the Colts have talked about opening up the passing game. It's about time.

He's the No. 6 quarterback off the board behind the aforementioned top three, Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady. I'd rather take Luck's upside than Brady and I think No. 6 is a great spot for him. The only other quarterback I like better than Luck is Matt Ryan, who could be a steal as the No. 8 quarterback behind Colin Kaepernick.

Jay Cutler on the rise: Cutler looks locked in this preseason with two solid performances in the first two games. He played well last year in his first season for coach Marc Trestman and if he can stay healthy for 16 games, he could have the best year of his career.

He is currently being drafted as the No. 12 quarterback and he's the perfect passer to wait for if you don't like drafting a quarterback early. One guy who is going ahead of him is Nick Foles at No. 58 overall compared to No. 83 for Cutler. I'd much rather have Cutler at that value.

Cam Newton on the rise: Newton didn't play great in his preseason debut against Kansas City, but it was good to see him on the field after offseason ankle surgery. He is still the No. 13 quarterback off the board behind Cutler at No. 84 overall.

I don't consider Newton a top-12 quarterback coming into the year, but I would definitely gamble on him as a high-end backup, especially if I draft an injury-prone starter like Cutler, Tony Romo or Robert Griffin III. Newton will have plenty of positive moments and this is a good spot to draft him based on his ADP.

Running back breakdown

Running backs on the decline: Of the top 30 running backs on the ADP list, there are 13 with a red arrow showing their value is on the decline. The biggest one is Ridley, who has dropped to No. 79 overall. This came after he fumbled in the second preseason game against the Eagles. I hope Ridley continues to fall because eventually he'll be a steal on Draft Day. The fumbles are a problem, but he'll still have stretches of dominance for a good running team like the Patriots.

Some of the other running backs falling include Ball, Arian Foster, C.J. Spiller, Ryan Mathews, Frank Gore, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Richardson and Ben Tate. The ones who make the most sense are Foster, Spiller and Richardson based on their poor play or lack of action this preseason.

Like Ridley, eventually those guys will fall to a spot where it's good value to draft them, so keep an eye on their ADP this weekend. I still think you'll get good production from Spiller in Round 4 and Richardson in Round 6 if that's where they end up. Foster in Round 2 is still a little risky.

Jackson Bill-ding momentum: While Spiller continues to struggle, Jackson is picking up speed on draft boards. He is up to No. 92 overall and rising.

The Bills plan to use Jackson at the goal line and in the passing game even though Spiller will remain the starter. Jackson could end up as a tremendous value pick, but the concern is he's 33 years old and might break down from the extra work.

Prior to last year, Jackson missed six games in each of the previous two seasons. If he falters, Spiller's value would likely improve.

Saints going in different directions: Mark Ingram's ADP is on the rise to No. 137 overall and Khiry Robinson is falling to No. 126 overall. Ingram could pass Robinson this weekend with another solid performance.

The Saints have Ingram as the starter and Pierre Thomas will work on passing downs. Robinson is the hybrid of both, but his stock is dropping because Ingram has looked good through two games, including a touchdown in both outings.

Thomas is still the best running back in New Orleans, but Ingram is looking like a strong second option. He's easily worth a late-round flier at this point and should be taken ahead of Robinson.

Wide receiver breakdown

Receivers on the rise: As the top 30 running backs are dropping in ADP, the top 30 receivers are on the rise. Of that group, 16 have a green arrow pointing up next to their name.

The ones showing the biggest increases include Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Golden Tate and T.Y. Hilton. It's interesting that veterans like Fitzgerald and White are gaining steam.

For Fitzgerald, he remains a solid threat for the Cardinals even with third-year receiver Michael Floyd pushing him for the No. 1 role. Fitzgerald is worth his ADP at No. 39 overall.

White will see more time in the slot this season with Tony Gonzalez retired and he should rebound after last year's injury-plagued campaign. He's a great value pick at No. 53 overall.

Young receivers moving up: Two young receivers on the rise are rookie Kelvin Benjamin and second-year sensation Justin Hunter. Benjamin's ADP is up to No. 117 overall while Hunter is at No. 135.

Benjamin scored a touchdown in his preseason debut against Buffalo and he almost connected on a big play from Newton against the Chiefs. He looks like the definitive No. 1 option for the Panthers and could be the best receiver of this loaded rookie class if he and Newton develop a quick rapport.

As for Hunter, he had a huge second preseason game against the Saints with four catches for 111 yards and two touchdowns. The result? Fantasy owners are buying in. He's gone from sleeper to breakout and we hope his ADP doesn't get overblown. He is currently at No. 135 overall.

New England's receivers: Julian Edelman is the Patriots' top receiver at No. 70 overall, but who comes after him on Draft Day? As of now, the second-best options are Danny Amendola at No. 137, Brandon LaFell at No. 158, Aaron Dobson at No. 159 and Kenbrell Thompkins going mostly undrafted.

Edelman's value is fair and we'll see who emerges from that next group. I'd gamble on Amendola next with Dobson as a nice sleeper if he can overcome his foot woes. Thompkins' value will rise if Dobson can't stay on the field. LaFell is someone to avoid.

Most likely, Edelman will be the only Patriots receiver drafted in the majority of leagues.

Tight end breakdown

Kyle Rudolph, Zach Ertz stars of preseason: Two tight ends playing well in the preseason so far are Rudolph and Ertz. Both have huge breakout potential.

Rudolph gets a boost this season with the addition of new offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who has done well with tight ends in his career going back to Dallas and Jay Novacek to as recently as last season with Jordan Cameron in Cleveland. Rudolph is being drafted at No. 94 overall and he's a great tight end to wait for on Draft Day.

Ertz showed flashes of his potential as a rookie last year, but his preseason performance this season suggests he could be a star. The Eagles need help at receiver with DeSean Jackson gone and injuries limiting Jeremy Maclin (hamstring) and Riley Cooper (ankle) to start the preseason. Ertz is another great buy at No. 100 overall.

Rob Gronkowski slipping: Gronkowski isn't expected to play this preseason coming off last year's torn ACL, so Fantasy owners are getting a little nervous, even though he's slated to play in Week 1. His ADP has dropped to No. 33 overall.

I would draft Gronkowski toward the end of Round 2 because when healthy he's a difference-maker. I know it seems like forever since he's been healthy, but if he's on track for the start of the season, don't be afraid to draft him. If he continues to fall with his ADP that only makes his value that much more appealing.

Eric Ebron fading: Ebron was being drafted as a No. 1 tight end when training camp started, but he's fallen to No. 13 with a pick at No. 127 overall. He might continue to drop if he doesn't do something dramatic in the final two preseason games.

I'm shying away from Ebron, preferring the tight ends being drafted after him in Antonio Gates, Heath Miller, Ladarius Green, Charles Clay, Delanie Walker and Dwayne Allen. All have a higher ceiling than Ebron this year in re-draft leagues.

Now, if we're talking dynasty or keeper leagues, I'd take Ebron for sure. He could be a star as early as 2015.

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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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