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2014 Draft Prep: Terrance West is better value than Ben Tate

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Here's a poll for you to vote on in the comments section of this column: Which team has the worst offense in the NFL coming into this season? A) Oakland B) Jacksonville C) Cleveland D) St. Louis

Now that we know the Browns are without the suspended Josh Gordon for the season, they get my vote. The quarterback situation is a mess with Brian Hoyer being less terrible than rookie Johnny Manziel. The receiving corps is ugly with Miles Austin, Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins the top options. Jordan Cameron is a solid tight end, but he could get swallowed up by opposing defenses.

And then there are the running backs. Ben Tate and Terrance West should be the best skill players for the Browns, but which one should Fantasy owners target?

The easy answer is both because Cleveland should have success running the ball in Kyle Shanahan's system, and you can draft both on your team to see how it plays out. But if you had to choose one, I'd go with West because of his value.

The production should be similar for Tate and West this season, but based on Average Draft Position on CBSSports.com Tate (No. 63 overall) is being drafted four rounds ahead of West (112) in a 12-team league. And I'd rather have West in Round 10 than Tate in Round 6. West might drop even more based on his poor preseason.

We got a glimpse of what Tate could do as the starter for the Texans last season after Arian Foster (back) got hurt, and it wasn't great. He had seven games with at least 15 touches but finished with double digits in Fantasy points just twice.

He also has a lengthy injury history and has never played a full season in four years, and West just might be the better talent. He was a beast in college at Towson and the Browns recognized that when they drafted him in the third round.

While you can argue the talent he was facing at Towson isn't top notch, West still racked up huge stats with 413 carries for 2,509 yards and 41 touchdowns and 26 catches for 258 yards and a touchdown -- all in 2013. The 439 touches are concerning given how running backs do the following year with such a heavy workload, but West won't be a featured back like Marshawn Lynch -- unless Tate gets hurt.

If you're inclined to draft Tate, just make sure you handcuff him to West. Here's what happened to me in one recent draft.

I was doing a mock draft with users late Wednesday night. It was Round 5 and the power went out in my house prior to my pick at No. 57 overall. I went to my phone and the battery was nearly dead, so I ran outside to my car.

By the time I got settled, the auto-pick gave me Tate, which was fine under the circumstances. At that point I had DeMarco Murray, A.J. Green, Julius Thomas and Keenan Allen, so I needed another running back.

Now, normally I wouldn't draft Tate in that spot, but I knew what to do later. Based on how the draft fell, I went with West in Round 8. At least I'm covered should (when?) Tate gets hurt.

You don't want to have too many Browns on your Fantasy team this season, but Tate and West could be the best of the bunch. And based on where you have to draft each one and how they should perform, I'd rather have West in 2014.

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Player News
Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall not sure if he'll be ready for camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:47 pm ET) Redskins veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall hopes he has recovered enough from a torn Achilles tendon to be 100 percent for the starting of training camp. But he's making no guarantees.

"I know they're going to monitor me," he told 106.7 The Fan. "I know they are not going to just throw me out there and [have me] take all the reps with the [first team].

"I'm just going to get out there and see how the body feels ... I'm at the mercy of the trainers and coaching staff. They're going to kind of wean me back in slowly."

Hall, who lost all but three games last season to the injury, also missed OTAs and minicamp, but has recently begun ramping up his workouts.


Saints WR Nick Toon seeks to seize best opportunity of career
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) The path is clear for Saints wide receiver Nick Toon to earn more playing time than ever. But he realizes that he must get on that path and stay on it through superior performance.

The offseason losses of Kenny Stills, Jimmy Graham and Robert Meacham should result in more reps for Toon, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He has been buried on the depth chart, though he did catch a career-high 17 passes last year.

He believes that now is the time for him to step up and break out.

"Pressure is not something that I've every worried about or thought about," he told the New Orleans Advocate. "I just try to be consistent. Anything outside of that is out of my control, so do what you've got to do to put yourself in the best position for things to work out."

Toon has a shot at the third receiver role behind Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston.


Giants WR Victor Cruz believes he'll be back in action for camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:22 pm ET) Giants standout receiver Victor Cruz believes he can avoid starting the season on the PUP list despite continuing to deal with his recovery from a patellar tendon tear.

"The plan is to be ready for training camp and I feel good," he told SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Placing Cruz on the PUP list would give the Giants roster flexibility if he is not ready by training camp. If he lands on the regular-season PUP list, he would be forced to miss the first six games.

Cruz has experienced weakened production every year since his breakout season of 2011. But he was limited to just six games in 2014.


Report: Packers have no plan to release TE Andrew Quarless
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:28 am ET) The Packers have no intention of releasing tight end Andrew Quarless despite his arrest on July 4 for allegedly shooting off his gun in public, sources have told ESPN.

Quarless was charged with a misdemeanor after firing two shots into the air outside a parking garage in Miami Beach, per police reports. He was seen arguing with two women before the incident.


Report: Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul can forget long-term deal
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:25 am ET) The Giants will not take back their one-year franchise tag offer of $14.813 million to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in the wake of a fireworks accident that resulted in a hand injury and hospitalization, a source has told the New York Daily News.

But the source added that there is "no chance" the Giants will now work on a long-term contract for Pierre-Paul. 

Giants officials made the trek to South Florida on Tuesday to see how he is recovering, sources have told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Pierre-Paul is coming off his best season since 2011. He contributed to 77 tackles and racked up 12 1/2 sacks.


Eagles LB Brandon Graham could be on verge of breakout year
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:29 am ET) Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham feels the optimism of a guy coming off his best season.

"I'm feeling the best I've ever felt," he told the team website.

It's no wonder. He recorded career-highs in tackles (36), tackles for losses (13 1/2), assists (11) and sacks (5.5) in 2014. He earned significant playing time in a rotation at that position. And with Trent Cole off to Indianapolis, those reps could increase this year.

Graham has toiled feverishly to improve his game and adapt to a new defensive system. The result was a new four-year contract with the team.

"I understand the game and the league and what it takes to get it done here," he said. "I think I've grown up. I'm serious about being a great player. I want to be the best."


Giants pulling long-term contract offer to Jason Pierre-Paul
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) In the wake of a Fourth of July fireworks mishap, the Giants on Monday pulled their long-term contract offer to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who remains hospitalized in Miami, per NFL.com insider Ian Rapaport. 

The Giants had applied the franchise tag to Pierre-Paul this offseason, but the player has not yet signed it, technically leaving him not under contract with the team. The Giants move to yank the longer deal is a bit of gamesmanship, since according to Rapoport, Pierre-Paul was not going to sign the $60 million deal anyway. 


Bills sign veteran tackle Wayne Hunter
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) The Bills took another step to shore up their offensive line, signing veteran tackle Wayne Hunter to a one-year deal Monday, per the National Football Post. 

Hunter, who has not played in the NFL since 2012, did spend three years with the Jets under new Bills coach Rex Ryan from 2009-2011. 

Hunter's deal is reportedly worth $870,000.


RB Khiry Robinson could be odd man out in Saints backfield
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) Running back Khiry Robinson is a fan favorite with the Saints, but the third-year pro, who once was viewed as a breakout candidate for the team, may find his role squeezed by the presence of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, per ESPN.com. 

Robinson dealt with a broken arm last season, which limited him to 12 carries and 32 yards over the final 10 weeks of the year. The Saints then re-upped with Ingram and brought in Spiller to replace Pierre Thomas, meaning Robinson will have to fight hard in training camp to establish a role. 

"I just gotta keep working," Robinson said. "It's all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it's a good thing we've got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we've got another player right up there to do the same thing."


Report: Giants Jason Pierre-Paul hurt in fireworks accident
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/5/2015) Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul reportedly hurt his hand in a Fourth of July fireworks accident in Miami, according to the Daily News

The paper reports that the injury is not considered career-threatening, but that varying accounts of what happened have been reported. The Giants have not confirmed nor denied the incident. 

The Giants applied the franchise tag to Pierre-Paul this offseason, but the 26-year-old has not yet signed it as he seeks a long-term deal, meaning that he technically is not under contract. 

Pierre-Paul had 53 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks last year for New York. 


 
 
 
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