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2014 Draft Prep: ADP review, 4.0

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

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

Fantasy drafts are wrapping up this weekend and into the first few days of next week as we rapidly approach the start of the regular season. It's been interesting to see how the Average Draft Position has changed over the past month.

We started with Arian Foster as a first-round pick and Doug Martin fading, but those two running backs are now going in different directions. Foster is being drafted in Round 3, and Martin has moved back into Round 2.

Nick Foles and Colin Kaepernick were being drafted ahead of Andrew Luck and Matt Ryan, but thankfully Fantasy owners have corrected that mistake. I still like Tony Romo better than both, but we'll let the season play out to see if I'm right.

Emmanuel Sanders is on a rocket ship up the ADP ranks to the fifth round with Wes Welker suffering another concussion, and Welker is free-falling from Round 5 to likely Round 7 after Labor Day. He could end up as a tremendous value pick if he's able to play 10-plus games, which would impact those owners who reached for Sanders.

Eric Ebron was considered a Top 12 tight end when training camp started, but he's been passed by the old faithful of Martellus Bennett, Heath Miller and Antonio Gates. Of that group, Miller is my favorite one, and he's a steal in Round 11.

We'll get to other examples at each position below, and for those of you drafting between now and Thursday when Week 1 kicks off, use the ADP as a guide for your leagues. You can also check back on the ADP after this weekend to see if any of your players have moved up or down since 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. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos
9. Jimmy Graham, TE, Saints
10. Drew Brees, QB, Saints
11. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
12. DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys

The one difference from last week has been Thomas moving ahead of Graham to No. 8. I don't quite understand that. While Thomas should be awesome, he's in a tier with other receivers of his caliber in Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, A.J. Green and Brandon Marshall. Graham, if Rob Gronkowski (knee) doesn't return at 100 percent, could be the biggest difference maker at any position.

I also don't understand the quarterbacks going so early in Round 1. I hope to hear from Manning owners if he doesn't finish as the top quarterback and how they would feel drafting him at No. 4 overall. Just remember, the last time he set the passing touchdown record with 49 in 2004 he suffered a 21-touchdown decline the following season. Regression is inevitable.

If you remove the quarterbacks from Round 1, the next three players in would be Montee Ball, Dez Bryant and Giovani Bernard. I'm totally on board with Ball and Bryant in Round 1, and I actually would go with Julio Jones at No. 12 overall. Bernard is still a standout talent, but he should be drafted toward the middle of Round 2, especially with rookie Jeremy Hill having a strong preseason.

Quarterback breakdown

Nick Foles, overrated: I like Foles as a Top 12 quarterback, but I don't expect him to finish in the Top 10. His ADP is No. 58 overall, and he's being drafted as the No. 8 quarterback ahead of guys like Kaepernick, Romo and Jay Cutler, which is a mistake.

Foles will definitely have his moments this season, but a tougher schedule along with DeSean Jackson being gone make him too risky at that ADP. Someone else can him there, and I'll draft Cutler at No. 82 and get similar production.

Tony Romo, underrated: You know the drill by now. Romo has a terrible defense, a pass-happy play-caller in Scott Linehan and a great receiving corps. He should be in line for an amazing season, and his ADP is No. 70 overall. He's being drafted as the No. 10 quarterback.

Not only do I like Romo better than Foles, but I would also take him ahead of Tom Brady and Kaepernick. I love letting Romo land in my lap in Round 6 or later.

Russell Wilson on the rise: I wish I could find a way to rank Wilson in my Top 12, but he's No. 14 just because I like a few guys better. But he's had a solid preseason, and he's been the No. 9 Fantasy quarterback each of the past two seasons.

If you can pair Wilson with another quarterback in his tier like Robert Griffin III, Foles, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Cam Newton or Philip Rivers then you should be in great shape. Wilson has been consistent at home and indoors, so use him in those spots.

Robert Griffin III on the decline: Kaepernick and Griffin have battled for having the worst preseason among the Top 12 quarterbacks, but Kaepernick still remains a Top 10 option. Griffin, meanwhile, has dropped to No. 93 overall as the No. 13 quarterback. Even Newton is ahead of him with all his woes.

I like that Griffin has fallen to this spot because it means I can draft him at a bargain. I'm still expecting a rebound year with his knee at 100 percent and the addition of coach Jay Gruden and Jackson.

Running back breakdown

Marshawn Lynch, overrated: I'm glad Lynch has fallen to Round 2 at No. 17 overall, and I would draft him toward the end of the second round. But I don't like who Lynch is being drafted ahead of based on his expected decline this season.

He's currently going ahead of Martin, Le'Veon Bell, Alfred Morris, Arian Foster and Zac Stacy. I would rather have Martin, Morris and Stacy based on what could happen to Lynch coming off a 400-touch campaign.

Joique Bell, underrated: Bell is being drafted at No. 53 overall, which is Round 5 in a 12-team league. He's going 13 spots after Reggie Bush, and I'd rather have Bell in a standard league.

Bush is still the better option in PPR formats, but Bell could be the workhorse running back for the Lions this year. He's a Top 20 Fantasy option coming into the season at his position. I also like him better than C.J. Spiller, Bishop Sankey and Ryan Matthews, who all have a higher ADP.

Knowshon Moreno on the rise: All it took was Moreno getting on the field to raise his ADP to No. 100 overall. He's now just four spots behind Lamar Miller, and it's a tossup who will be the better Miami running back this year.

Miller is the safer option based on Moreno having knee surgery this offseason, but Moreno has an edge in pass protection, which could keep him on the field. I'll still take Miller on Draft Day, but Moreno has closed the gap after playing in the third preseason game against the Cowboys.

Bishop Sankey on the decline: Sankey was expected to be the No. 1 rookie running back, but he's played behind Shonn Greene all preseason and has rarely worked with the starters in Tennessee. Sankey should still have his moments this season, but his ADP has dropped to No. 50 overall.

Look for Sankey to fall farther than Round 5, and I consider him a great value pick in Round 6 or later. Consider him this year's Stacy as a rookie who might not play much in the first few weeks but could shine once Greene struggles or gets hurt.

Wide receiver breakdown

Larry Fitzgerald, overrated: Fitzgerald had a solid season in 2013 with 82 catches for 954 yards and 10 touchdowns, but he finished as just the No. 16 receiver in standard leagues. But his ADP is No. 38 overall, and he's the No. 11 receiver off the board.

I'm OK with Fitzgerald as my No. 2 receiver, but I'd rather have Keenan Allen, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson and Cordarrelle Patterson, who are all going after Fitzgerald. There's more upside with those other guys compared to Fitzgerald, who could lose targets to the emerging Michael Floyd.

Eric Decker, underrated: I had Decker listed as a bust in March when I expected Fantasy owners to draft him as a must-start receiver. But his ADP is No. 98 overall, which suggests everyone is aware the move from the Broncos to the Jets will hamper his production.

That said, he won't be this bad. Geno Smith has played OK this preseason, and Decker will be the No. 1 target in the passing attack for a team likely trailing in a lot of games. He's a better flier in Round 9 then guys going ahead of him like T.Y. Hilton, Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace and Brandin Cooks.

Marques Colston on the rise: Colston is also being drafted ahead of Decker, but I'm fine with that. When healthy, Colston could be solid, and his ADP is No. 79 overall.

He's an excellent No. 3 receiver with the chance to be a Top 20 option if he can play 16 games at 100 percent, which is a stretch. Still, with Darren Sproles and Lance Moore gone, Brees will rely on Graham and Colston even more, especially if Kenny Stills (quad) is out and Cooks struggles as a rookie.

Sammy Watkins on the decline: Injured ribs and bad quarterback play have caused Fantasy owners to run away from Watkins. His ADP is No. 99 overall.

Once he gets healthy, Watkins could have some productive games, but EJ Manuel is going to have to dramatically improve for Watkins to be considered a Fantasy starter. I'd only want him as a No. 4 receiver to stash for later in the year in re-draft leagues.

Tight end breakdown

Vernon Davis, overrated: Davis has remained the No. 4 tight end on ADP throughout the preseason, and his ADP is No. 53 overall. I don't want Davis in Round 5, and I might even pass on him in Round 6.

If his touchdowns decline this season he could finish closer to the No. 10 Fantasy tight end then No. 2 like he did last year. I'd rather pass on Davis for Dennis Pitta or Jason Witten, or I could get similar value from the group of Jordan Reed, Kyle Rudolph and Zach Ertz, who are being drafted in Round 8.

Dennis Pitta, underrated: Pitta is the No. 7 tight end off the board, and I expect him to have a tremendous year. He's my favorite tight end this season in Gary Kubiak's offense.

When Kubiak was the coach of the Texans, he featured his tight ends, and Pitta is the apple of Joe Flacco's eye. I consider him a Top 5 tight end in 2014, and I love his ADP at No. 76 overall.

Heath Miller on the rise: I'm glad Fantasy owners are buying into Miller, and he has moved up to No. 122 overall. He's the No. 13 tight end being drafted, and I think he has Top 10 potential.

In 2012, Miller was a Top 5 tight end before suffering a torn ACL, and he should return to playing at a high level with the Steelers having to replace Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery.

Greg Olsen on the decline: Olsen has fallen behind Reed, but he remains ahead of Rudolph and Ertz heading into this weekend. I expect that to change.

The Panthers have looked out of sorts in the preseason, and Fantasy owners are settling for Olsen instead of targeting him. I get it, but Olsen can fall to a spot where he becomes good value, with his ADP at No. 89 overall. If he slips from Round 8 to Round 9 he could end up being a great pick as one of the last Top-10 caliber tight ends this year.

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Player News
Titans sign CB Brandon Harris to one-year deal
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12:09 pm ET) The Titans have signed cornerback Brandon Harris to a one-year contract on Friday, per the team's official website. Harris played 11 games in 2014, his first season with the Titans. He finished with 11 combined tackles and three pass deflections last season.

Redskins' Thompson, Redd to compete for third-down back role
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:24 am ET) Redskins coach Jay Gruden said this week at the NFL owners' meetings running back Chris Thompson will get the first chance to secure third-down responsibilities, according to The Washington Post. Silas Redd will also get consideration for the role of third-down back.

“Chris [Thompson] came in last year at the end and did some things, and we’re hoping that he can come back and stay healthy in the offseason and give us a little jolt back there,” Gruden said. “And Silas Redd will get every chance to do some things also.”

Although, the Redskins could look to bring in some competition before training camp begins.

“I also think that at the running back position in the draft, there’s a ton of them,” Gruden said. “It’s a very deep running back draft in my opinion, and we’re excited to add another piece at some point, hopefully. We have seven picks. Hopefully one of them will be a running back, or a free agent to compete. There are some good free agents that haven’t been signed yet. But, giving Chris an opportunity, Silas, Alfred (Morris), that’s where it starts. And we’ll add some more later on for competition.”


Falcons could bring in Matt Schaub to vie for backup QB role
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:10 am ET) Falcons coach Dan Quinn is not ruling out bringing back former Atlanta quarterback Matt Schaub to compete for the backup role behind starter Matt Ryan, per ESPN.

"Schaub is certainly somebody that we could [add]," Quinn said. "As we get through it, we'll let you know if we go down that road."

The 34-year-old Schaub was released by the Raiders in mid-March. T.J. Yates and Sean Renfree are the other quarterbacks on the Falcons' roster.


Panthers' Rivera expecting Stephen Hill to contribute in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:45 am ET) Panthers coach Ron Rivera believes wide receiver Stephen Hill is ready to make an impact in 2015 after spending the 2014 season on the practice squad, per ESPN.

“Very much so," Rivera said Wednesday during the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix. “He’s a guy we feel has an opportunity. We’re very excited about [seeing] Stephen during OTAs and minicamp.

“With his size (6-4, 215) and speed and his ability to get vertical, if he can assimilate to what we do -- and I think he will; he seems to be a very smart man -- he might be a guy that has an opportunity to contribute for us."

Rivera felt Hill's year on the practice squad was beneficial after the 2012 second-round pick failed to live up to expectations during his tenure with the Jets. 

“I thought it was a good opportunity to take a step back and take a break," Rivera said. “The thing I liked about Stephen was how he contributed to our football team’s success. He came in. He had been a second-round pick. He had no assumptions, no entitlement.

“He ran all the scout teams for us. He ran them hard. Gave us great looks, which is what makes us excited 'cause you watch a guy perform who could very easily dog it, and he didn’t. And you saw him grow. You saw him make catches. You saw him get comfortable in his own skin again."


Terence Newman reunites with Mike Zimmer in Minnesota
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:16 am ET) The Vikings announced Friday they signed cornerback Terence Newman, who played for coach Mike Zimmer in Dallas and Cincinnati.

“That’s the biggest thing. He can still play. He came in the league later. I think he was 25 when he came in,” Zimmer said, per the team's official website. “He struggled a little bit in Dallas and then played great in Cincinnati. Last year, he didn’t play quite as good, so seemingly with me, we get things fixed a little bit. I really respect him, and I think he really respects me.”

Although terms of the deal were not officially released, NFL.com reported earlier this week the veteran cornerback's deal is a one-year, $2.5 million contract.


Gruden: Redskins 'keeping a close eye' on Santana Moss
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:55 am ET) With wide receiver Santana Moss still looking to continue his NFL career, Washington coach Jay Gruden said there is a chance the Redskins might re-sign the veteran receiver, who had just 10 catches in 2014.

"We're keeping a close eye on Santana," Gruden said at the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix, per ESPN. "You know, that's something that we know where Santana is and he knows where we are, and something may work out down the road.

"I could always play with Santana. Santana's a great person. He's great in the locker room for us. He knows all the positions. I know he's going to be in great shape, and I would not hesitate one bit to call him."


Jaguars' Thomas won't try to measure up to Broncos' numbers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:11 am ET) New Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas told SI.com he has already begun working with quarterback Blake Bortles.

"It’s exciting, that first time you get to work out with your new quarterback," he said. "We’ve got a couple thousand more reps to go, but I’m really looking forward to that chemistry and growing with that entire offense."

The expectations will be elevated for Thomas, who is coming off two great seasons with the Broncos. However, Thomas isn't out to prove he can have the same production without Peyton Manning throwing him passes.

"I think I’ve got to be a little bit cautious on trying to prove so much," he said. "I think I’ve just got to go out there and work my hardest, and do everything I can to win every route, and see what happens. I don’t want to set a goal of 'I gotta have these numbers.' I’m just going to work my hardest every day, do everything I can to become a better player, and do everything I can to help out my team and this offense."

Thomas is also confident he will be able to coexist on offense with veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis, who has been with the team since 2006.

"I don’t think we’ll have any problem playing together," he said. "I was actually talking to him this weekend. I ran into him; we both live in L.A. He’s a really good guy. I’ve met him a couple times before. We both have the same marketing company, so we know the same people, and people that I respect speak very highly of him. I think we complement each other very well. There are going to be things that he can teach me, and I can learn from him."


Former Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin: I still believe in Chip Kelly
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8:59 am ET) Former Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin apparently has no ill-will toward Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly. Although the Eagles could not match the Chiefs' five-year, $55 million contract offer, which Maclin signed in mid-March, Maclin is still a fan of Kelly, who has overhauled the Eagles' roster this offseason.

"I still believe in Chip," Maclin said, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I think Chip's going to do great things here. I have the utmost respect for him. Unfortunately, we couldn't get something worked out. But at the end of the day I'm very excited about playing for Kansas City and playing for Big Red."

As well as Maclin not being brought back, the Eagles traded LeSean McCoy and quarterback Nick Foles. They also released defensive end Trent Cole and offensive lineman Todd Herremans.

Maclin missed the 2013 season -- Kelly's first in the NFL -- due to a torn ACL. However, he returned in 2014 to post career highs in targets (143), catches (85) and receiving yards (1,318), while tying a career high with 10 touchdowns.


Lions' Caldwell: Don't expect Stafford's numbers to change much
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8:36 am ET) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is just one of five quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards. However, since he accomplished the feat in 2011, his passing yards have declined each season.

Stafford passed for 4,257 yards and attempted 602 passes in 2014 -- his first year under coach Jim Caldwell. While at the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix this week, Caldwell said it's probably safe not to expect Stafford's numbers to change much in 2015.

"Here's the thing I want to make certain you guys understand, and see what I see just in terms of my vision," Caldwell said, per MLive.com. "When I tell you we're not going to throw the ball anymore than we threw it, that's a fact. We're probably not going to throw it (more).

"If we do throw it more, that means we're struggling, we're not winning, we're not a very good football team. OK? Plain and simple. Maybe that ball's got to be distributed a little bit differently, but I don't anticipate those numbers changing, overall, a significant amount."


Nick Foles' acquisition won't change Rams' plans to draft QB
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8:26 am ET) Rams coach Jeff Fisher said the team is still looking to draft a quarterback this year, despite the acquisition of quarterback Nick Foles, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“It’s our intention to draft one,” Fisher said. “The Nick (Foles) trade has no bearing over what we do in the draft.”

The Rams have the 10th pick in the first round. It's unlikely Jamies Winston or Marcus Mariota fall that far, so unless St. Louis trades up, then they are likely looking to draft from the second-tier of quarterbacks, which includes Bryce Petty, Brett Hundley, Sean Mannion and Garrett Grayson.

“There’s some outstanding players once you get beyond (Winston and Mariota),” Fisher said. “We’re just starting the process. My understanding based on our first-wave draft meetings is that there’s some young quarterbacks that can play.”

Petty, who played at Baylor, said in a radio interview earlier in March he intends to visit with the Rams before the draft.

“Good combine,” Fisher said. “Got a very strong arm. Good athlete. You don’t see him do things that we’re gonna ask him to do, so I think you have to see him actually work out, private workout, things like that.”


 
 
 
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