Reggie Wayne 'looks amazing' in return from ACL tear
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
Colts receiver Reggie Wayne "looks amazing" in practice, certainly not like someone coming back from a torn ACL, according to ESPN. Wayne, 35, was on pace for an 1,150-yard season before suffering the injury Week 7.
The Bengals want to find different ways to get the ball to running back Giovani Bernard, reports ESPN.com.
"I don't know if it's the workload that's going to get more, it's more the type of plays that we're going to run with him in the game," running backs coach Kyle Caskey told the website. "We're going to expand his portfolio of plays and find different ways to get the ball in his hands in space. You get the ball in Gio's hands in space, he's dangerous."
Cincy could line up Bernard as an outside or slot receiver -- anything to get him in space.
"You don't necessarily have to hand it off and say, 'Hey, Gio got 260 touches last year out of the backfield.' Maybe he gets 260 to 300 touches but he gets them some other way," Caskey said. "Maybe he gets 200 out of the backfield but he catches 100 passes or however it is. We'll find a way to get the ball to him."
Bengals rookie running back Jeremy Hill continues to work with the second team, ahead of veteran BenJarvus Green-Ellis, reports ESPN.com. While he remains popular among teammates and coaches, Green-Ellis doesn't appear close to supplanting Hill or starter Giovani Bernard, the report said.
Rex Burkhead or Cedric Peerman could threaten Green-Ellis' roster spot.
Raiders receiver Rod Streater left practice Sunday with a head injury, coach Dennis Allen said according to the Contra Costa Times. There's no word on the severity or a timetable for his return. Streater led Oakland with 60 catches for 888 yards last season, adding four touchdowns, tied for second-best on the team.
You won't see much of Adrian Peterson in the preseason
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Monday that running back Adrian Peterson won't get many preseason carries. The veteran has a long-standing track record of success that Zimmer is obviously familiar with. "I don't need to see him," Zimmer said according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said cornerback Captain Munnerlyn could rejoin the team as early as Wednesday according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Munnerlyn had been dealing with a hamstring pull.
Zimmer: Cordarrelle Patterson will do individual stuff
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Monday that receiver Cordarrelle Patterson will do some individual stuff at the team's night practice. He didn't participate in the team's morning walkthrough according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Patterson is dealing with a foot injury that's kept him sidelined but coaches insist he won't be out long.
Dynasty owners who nabbed 49ers rookie running back Carlos Hyde have to be feeling good. Not that anyone wants to benefit from injuries, but Hyde went from a prized dynasty league property to a hot redraft commodity in a matter of days.
First, Marcus Lattimore opened training camp on the PUP list. It's a major red flag after he was able to participate in minicamp last month.
Then on Friday, No. 2 back Kendall Hunter tore his ACL. On Sunday, new No. 2 LaMichael James dislocated his elbow. He'll be out at least a month, putting his status for the opener in jeopardy.
With Anthony Dixon now in Buffalo, the only backs behind 31-year-old Frank Gore are Hyde and 2012 undrafted free agent Jewel Hampton. The 49ers genuinely like Hampton, but there's a huge talent gap between him and Hyde.
CBSSports.com's ADP shows Hyde is currently going in the 13th round. That's three rounds too low.
The 49ers drafted Hyde -- who averaged 7.3 yards per carry last year at Ohio State -- in the second round. They've been consistently impressed with him ever since, saying the violent 230-pound runner can excel as a receiver and as a pass protector too. GM Trent Baalke said Hyde already is "flashing" in camp.
Gore averaged 3.65 yards per carry over his last 10 games. He's not going to get 276 carries again, probably more like 200-220. And remember, Hunter, Dixon and James combined for 118 carries last year in San Fran's run-heavy attack. Hunter and Dixon won't be around this year, and James was out of favor even before his injury.
As things stand, Hyde is looking at eight carries and 10 touches per game. If Gore breaks down all bets are off and we are talking about a top-20 back.
Gore is currently going at the top of the fifth round. Hyde should be drafted no later than the 10th, and not just as a Gore handcuff.
This week's mock draft with users Friday was a 12-team standard league, and I had the No. 2 overall pick. I'm planning to do a 12-team mock draft to pick from every spot from now until the middle of August, so hopefully many of you will get a chance to draft with me.
As always, you can find the information on Twitter @jameyeisenberg. And feel free to comment on the draft and my selections below.
This was a 14-round mock draft with a lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST and FLEX (RB/WR/TE) with five bench spots.
Round 1:Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles (me), LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Eddie Lacy, Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Jimmy Graham, Montee Ball, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Julio Jones
My pick: I like Charles at No. 1 overall, so I was happy to see him fall. I was going running back here no matter what, so this was an easy selection. I was surprised to see so many receivers go in the first round, but you can't argue with Johnson, Thomas, Bryant and Jones outside of wide receiver being a deep position, so maybe you could have waited until Round 2 to grab some of those guys.
Round 2:A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall, Rob Gronkowski, Arian Foster, Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell, Peyton Manning, Giovani Bernard, Jordy Nelson, Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris (me), Zac Stacy
My pick: I usually expect a Top 6 receiver to fall here, but clearly the early run pushed a lot of running back talent down. It's hard to expect Foster, Bell, Bernard and Morris to all be second-round picks, but I'll take Morris here since he should post quality stats in Washington's offense. He's a Top 15 running back in all standard formats.
Round 3:Toby Gerhart, Alshon Jeffery (me), Drew Brees, Doug Martin, Randall Cobb, Andre Ellington, Aaron Rodgers, Pierre Garcon, Larry Fitzgerald, C.J. Spiller, Victor Cruz, Julius Thomas
My pick: If Jeffery was gone I would have considered a few options in another running back like Martin, another receiver like Cobb or even pulling the trigger on Rodgers. But Jeffery was an easy choice since he has Top 5 potential playing in Marc Trestman's offense.
Round 4:Bishop Sankey, Vincent Jackson, Reggie Bush, Michael Crabtree, Shane Vereen, Ryan Mathews, Frank Gore, Ray Rice, Andre Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Keenan Allen (me), Roddy White
My pick: The two players I was targeting as the round was underway were Allen and Patterson because I wanted a quality No. 2 receiver in this spot. I would have taken Vereen if he came back to me, but he was obviously gone. I also realized there were two running backs on the board I wanted in Round 5 in Stevan Ridley and Joique Bell, so I gambled and grabbed Allen.
Round 5:Wes Welker, Stevan Ridley (me), Michael Floyd, Matthew Stafford, Percy Harvin, Joique Bell, Torrey Smith, Steven Jackson, Trent Richardson, Emmanuel Sanders, Chris Johnson, Pierre Thomas
My pick: Not many Fantasy owners want Ridley, but in Round 5 I'll gamble that he returns to form. Clearly he has to stop fumbling, but he ran well down the stretch last year after he was demoted behind LeGarrette Blount and has Top 12 potential as we saw in 2012. He's a solid flex option in standard leagues, and he was the No. 1 running back on the board.
Round 6:Golden Tate, Rashad Jennings, DeSean Jackson, Vernon Davis, Tom Brady, Ben Tate, Jason Witten, Matt Ryan, Jeremy Maclin, Julian Edelman, Kendall Wright (me), Jordan Cameron
My pick: Wright is a strong breakout candidate in his third season, and he should be a potential Top 24 receiver in 2014 if he can find the end zone just a few more times than he did in 2013. I like coming out of Round 6 with three quality running backs and receivers and feel like I did that here with Charles, Morris, Ridley, Jeffery, Allen and Wright.
Round 7:Nick Foles, Dennis Pitta (me), Terrance West, Jordan Reed, T.Y. Hilton, Mike Wallace, Seahawks, Marques Colston, Colin Kaepernick, Andrew Luck, Terrance Williams, Tony Romo
My pick: I was considering Kaepernick here, but there was a lot of depth at quarterback on the board, so I decided to wait. I went with a top breakout candidate at tight end in Pitta, who has Top 5 potential this season in Gary Kubiak's offense.
Round 8:Khiry Robinson, Eric Decker, Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Jackson, Darren McFadden, Greg Olsen, DeAngelo Williams, Devonta Freeman, Danny Woodhead, Kyle Rudolph, Christine Michael (me), Reggie Wayne
My pick: I've been down on Lynch since the Super Bowl because of his workload from 2013, and this holdout only solidifies my belief he'll be a letdown this year. If Lynch struggles, Michael will get an extended look, and I'll gladly take him as my No. 4 running back. I also considered Bernard Pierce here now that we know Ray Rice is suspended for the first two games of the season.
Round 9:Kenny Stills, Robert Griffin III (me), Jeremy Hill, Lamar Miller, Zach Ertz, Knowshon Moreno, Sammy Watkins, Brandin Cooks, Mike Evans, Bernard Pierce, Charles Clay, Rueben Randle
My pick: The reason I waited on quarterback was because Griffin and Jay Cutler were still available, and I knew the owner at the No. 1 spot already had Foles. So I went with Michael in Round 8 knowing that Griffin was mine. I'm excited for him this season now that he appears to be back at 100 percent.
Round 10:Tavon Austin, Cam Newton, Dwayne Bowe, Riley Cooper, Darren Sproles, Eric Ebron, Heath Miller, Ladarius Green, Stepfan Taylor, Doug Baldwin, Tre Mason (me), Roy Helu
My pick: Mason gives me plenty of depth at running back and a good lottery ticket in case Stacy gets hurt. We don't expect Stacy to lose his job barring something unforeseen, but Mason's value would skyrocket if Stacy were out.
Round 11:Ahmad Bradshaw, Jarrett Boykin (me), Chris Ivory, Martellus Bennett, Hakeem Nicks, Marvin Jones, Jay Cutler, Antonio Gates, Andre Brown, Philip Rivers, David Wilson, LeGarrette Blount
My pick: Boykin should do well as the No. 3 receiver for the Packers behind Nelson and Cobb. The Packers don't have a threat at tight end, and Boykin should see plenty of targets in a great passing attack. I like him as my No. 4 receiver in any format.
Round 12:Kelvin Benjamin, DeAndre Hopkins, 49ers, Justin Hunter, Ben Roethlisberger, Delanie Walker, Rod Streater, Jordan Matthews, Anquan Boldin, Rams, Knile Davis (me), Dwayne Allen
My pick: I was looking at the Rams in this round and then getting Davis later, but it didn't work out for me. I'll take Davis whenever possible if I draft Charles to cover myself in the event of injury.
Round 13:Broncos, Panthers (me), Cecil Shorts, Cardinals, Patriots, Chiefs, Brian Hartline, Bengals, Buccaneers, Carlos Hyde, Steelers, Bears
Round 14:Stephen Gostkowski, Matt Prater, Phil Dawson, Steven Hauschka, Justin Tucker, Matt Bryant, Mason Crosby, Shayne Graham, Adam Vinatieri, Dan Bailey, Nick Novak (me), Robbie Gould
Marshawn Lynch was once considered a rock-solid, sure-fire first-round Fantasy draft pick. Heck, that's what he was last year!
Boy, have things changed. Lynch is coming off of a 400-touch season that included a Super Bowl run, a double whammy of red flags that indicate he could falter. And now he's reportedly decided to hold out.
If he somehow turns 30 and adds 500 carries to his resume before the season starts he'll have hit the grand slam of running back breakdown warning signs.
Even as it stands, Lynch is a dangerous proposition for Fantasy. The longer he decides to hold out, the even more dangerous he'll be. As I mentioned in a blog I wrote about Jamaal Charles' holdout (which lasted a few hours), players who miss a large chunk of training camp and/or the preseason tend to get off to a slow start and open themselves up to having a bad season. Lynch is already coming off a year where he was overworked and has racked up 1,002 carries over the Seahawks' last three seasons. Now he's going to chill out and not show up?!
I might give Lynch the benefit of the doubt and figure that even if he were on-time for camp that the Seahawks wouldn't let him practice every day at full throttle. And I'd bet a foofy coffee drink that he wouldn't play in three of the four Seahawks preseason games anyway. And I'd bet another foofy coffee drink that when he did play in the one preseason game the team would want him in, it would be for a series or two tops. But I'd still want him to be with the team and get adjusted to football again for a couple of weeks instead of, say, showing up the week before their kickoff game vs. the Packers and saying "let's play."
So the date I'd want to see Lynch with the team is Aug. 16, a generously late deadline given how I would have wanted to see Charles back with the Chiefs nearly a week earlier. If he reports by the 16th he'd have plenty of time to gear up for a few reps against the Raiders in the Seahawks' last preseason game and he'd have nearly three weeks to get into good enough shape to take on the Packers on opening night. If I don't see Lynch by then, I'm not just sinking him in my rankings, I'm dropping him down far enough to where I won't draft him.
And I'll aim for his backup, Christine Michael, instead.
If he reports before the 16th then I'll still consider him with a late-first/early-second draft choice but I'll be forced to spend an eighth round pick on Michael. Fantasy owners can't take chances with Lynch no matter what.
There was some major (Ray Rice) and minor (Trent Richardson) running back news Thursday as training camp starts to unfold for several teams.
Here are some quick takes on a few situations with our favorite position.
Ray Rice: He was suspended for the first two games of the season as a result of a domestic dispute with his then fiancee (now wife) in April. As a result he will miss the Bengals in Week 1 and the Steelers in Week 2, giving Bernard Pierce the chance to start. I'd draft Rice in Round 5 since he could return as the featured back when the suspension ends, but I'm excited about Pierce with a pick in Round 8 or later. He gets a two-game audition to prove he can make this a tandem, and his value might be better than Rice on Draft Day.
Trent Richardson: He revealed that he played last season with a chipped collarbone and separated AC joint, which resulted in offseason surgery. He is healthy now, and coach Chuck Pagano said he looks more comfortable on the field. Pagano said he wants a "bell cow," and clearly Richardson is that guy. I'll take him in Round 4 without hesitation since he still has Top 15 potential.
Chris Ivory: He (shockingly) has a hamstring issue already, which is causing him to miss practice time. That will only allow Chris Johnson to solidify his role as the featured back. Not that Ivory has the chance to start over Johnson, but he could make this a tandem if Johnson struggles. But he needs to be on the field, and his injury history will again discourage Fantasy owners. I'd only take Ivory with a late-round pick, and the longer he's out the better that is for Johnson, who shouldn't be drafted before Round 5.
Terrance West: He was originally placed on the non-football injury list, but he was cleared for the start of training camp. The Browns have said West will battle Ben Tate for the starting job, and I like West's value in Round 8 better than Tate in Round 5. We'll see who ends up starting, but West has the higher upside coming into the season as of now.
Jonathan Stewart: Stop me if you've heard this before, but Stewart is hurt. He's expected to miss at least a week with a pulled hamstring, but don't be surprised if he's out longer. I was hoping Stewart would make it through training camp healthy and challenge DeAngelo Williams for the starting job, but Stewart can't stay on the field to make any sort of impact.
The Lions led the league with a whopping 58 drops last year. That's partly why Stafford ranked 30th in completion percentage (58.5).
Every Stafford owner remembers the Fantasy playoffs. In Week 15 against the Ravens, Calvin Johnson dropped two routine throws. On the first, a 3rd-and-15 in the first quarter, Johnson was wide open over the middle and had one defender between him and the end zone. Johnson ended up with six catches for 98 yards -- just missing the 100-yard bonus -- and no scores.
Johnson played with a mangled finger last year; he got it fixed and reportedly looks like his old self. Golden Tate's arrival is just as significant. He has some of the best hands in the NFL.
In four seasons in Seattle, Tate dropped six throws while being targeted 279 times, per Pro Football Focus.
Instead of throwing to Kris Durham (10 drops last year) and Nate Burleson (four drops on 51 targets), Stafford will be targeting the sure-handed Tate and a healthy Megatron (10 drops last year).
Butterfingers tight end Brandon Pettigrew (four drops) returns; rookie Eric Ebron also has inconsistent hands. And Stafford needs to get in better sync with his running backs. Reggie Bush had 10 drops on 76 targets last year, while Joique Bell dropped six of 64. Bush simply can't be that bad again.
Stafford eclipsed 20 Fantasy points 10 times last year despite his receivers' problems. With Tate in the fold and a little more help from his returning weapons, Stafford's arrow is pointing way up. Senior Fantasy Writer Dave Richard says Stafford should return to the monster numbers he posted in 2011 and deliver "elite" production as a Round 4 pick.
Stafford finished seventh among quarterbacks last season, 11th in 2012 and fourth in 2011 with 412 Fantasy points. Richard and Jamey Eisenberg rank Stafford fourth this year.
The news of Jamaal Charles holding out is troubling because I fully support him as the No. 1 overall player in all leagues. He's the top running back coming into the season, but the longer he's out the worse it will be.
Prior to the holdout, some Fantasy owners were concerned about Charles losing three offensive linemen from last year with Branden Albert, Geoff Schwartz and Jon Asamoah leaving as free agents. But coach Andy Reid has a strong track record with running backs, and Charles is an elite talent who can do it all as a running back and receiver out of the backfield.
He was the No. 1 running back last year with 259 carries for 1,289 yards and 12 touchdowns and 70 catches for 693 yards and seven touchdowns. The rushing touchdowns, catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns were all career highs.
Reid, going back to his days with the Eagles, now has coached a running back to seven 1,000-yard rushing seasons, eight 1,500-total yard seasons, 10 seasons with at least 50 catches and six seasons with at least 10 total touchdowns. Charles, hopefully, will make those numbers rise in 2014.
But the longer Charles is out during training camp, the less likely it is he'll stay at No. 1 in my rankings. I'd have no hesitation moving LeSean McCoy up to the top spot.
McCoy was a step behind Charles last year as the No. 2 Fantasy running back when he led the NFL in rushing with 314 carries for 1,607 yards and nine touchdowns and 52 catches for 539 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the NFL in carries, and he should again be around 300-plus carries in Chip Kelly's offense.
Sure, McCoy will lose catches with the addition of Darren Sproles, but McCoy still has has at least 52 catches in three of the past four years, with 500-plus receiving yards in two of those campaigns. He's a candidate for 2,000 total yards, and he's No. 2 behind Charles right now coming into the season.
Some Fantasy owners might argue Matt Forte or Adrian Peterson should be No. 1 if Charles is out, but it's only McCoy for me. Now, if Charles is a holdout and McCoy were to get injured ... let's just hope all is well with the top two picks.
Holdouts and Fantasy Football go together like sweet-smelling roses and monster trucks -- they don't.
Jamaal Charles is reportedly planning to hold out of training camp until he lands a contract in line with what his numbers have been. While it's certainly understandable that Charles wants to be paid more than guys he's outperformed like Reggie Bush and Ray Rice, it's frustrating that he didn't make his intentions known long before camp. Had he, the Chiefs might have offered him a new deal to his liking and we wouldn't be in this mess.
Here's why it's a problem: Though I don't have the exact research to back this up right now, the majority of players who hold out of training camp tend to struggle in the ensuing season. Guys like Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson, Vincent Jackson and even Larry Johnson with the Chiefs held out of camp (and much of the season in Jackson's case) and then returned only to produce weaker-than-expected stats. Emmitt Smith is pretty much the only player who held out and then played to expectations.
Bottom line: Players need their time to get ready for the season, and when they don't have it they'll be unprepared and it could lead to injury or shoddy play. That's the concern with Charles at this point.
So how much time does Charles realistically need to get his body and mind aligned and in game mode? Only he could tell you, but we'd guess he'd need a month before Week 1. That would mean him reporting by Aug. 7, the day of the team's first preseason game against the Bengals. If he's not back by a few days after that game -- call it Aug. 10 -- we'll start to get nervous about his chances to repeat as an elite Fantasy running back.
In the interim, anyone who takes Charles with a top pick has to make room on the roster for his backup, Knile Davis. If Charles takes his holdout seriously, this speedster has a real chance to be a difference maker in Fantasy. Davis suddenly shapes up as a Round 10 option rather than the 12th-round price tag I gave him in my recent running back tiers & strategies story.
In the Rashad Jennings debate that's raged throughout the spring and summer -- is he a low-end RB2 or a flex? -- I came down squarely on the RB2 side. Back in March I laid out six reasons to get excited about Jennings and his new situation.
This week's David Wilson news changes things. It was never a certainty Giants doctors would clear him for full contact, not after Wilson underwent neck fusion surgery. There was a real chance Wilson would never play again.
Now Wilson is starting training camp with no restrictions whatsoever. Coaches will ease him back in, but he won't wear special equipment or be limited medically.
The New York Daily News doesn't envision Wilson grabbing the lead back role he was ticketed for last year until fumbling it away. "Still, if Wilson can regain the coaching staff's confidence, he could be dangerous in new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system, which should include plenty of swing passes and screens to running backs," the paper said.
That's a problem for Jennings' value. He was looking at 50-plus receptions if Wilson didn't get cleared.
Jennings did not drop any of the 36 catchable passes thrown his way last year and is excellent in pass protection. But the Giants would be foolish not to use Wilson on swing passes and screens. He's clocked a sub-4.3 forty and is far more explosive than Jennings.
Rookie Andre Williams (5-11, 230) is a pounder who won't figure in the passing game, but he could siphon goal-line carries away from Jennings. Williams lined up in the goal-line package on the first day of practice, another bad sign for Jennings.
It seems hard to believe now, but Wilson was getting drafted in Round 2 last year, as the 14th running back off the board. He's that talented.
Before the Wilson news, Jennings was going 27th among RBs in CBSSports.com leagues. He was going significantly higher elsewhere, as an RB2 from 19th to 24th on four other sites. Dave Richard ranks Jennings 27th and Jamey Eisenberg has him 30th.
It's no longer possible to make a strong case for Jennings as an RB2.
Currently ranked in the 50s, Wilson worked with the second team Tuesday as camp opened. He'll move into RB4 territory soon.
The term "mailbag" is old and overused on the interwebs. "Press conference" sounds cooler. So here's today's short-but-sweet Q&A with people who have recently emailed me.
From David G.: In a 12 team, 0.5 ppr, one keeper where I'm keeping Gronk in the 6th. Would you prefer to start your team with the first four picks of Arian Foster, DeMarco Murray and then two quality receivers ranked anywhere from 10 to 20th, or would you prefer to start your team with Dez Bryant and Julio Jones, then come back with two RBs like Ryan Mathews, Shane Vereen, Bishop Sankey or Toby Gerhart pick 2?
From Dave in Florida: Great strategy question. Every owner needs to think about how they want to start their drafts, so maybe this will help out. I never like to pre-determine my first four picks because I like being able to adjust on the fly to how the draft shakes out. But in a 12-team league I know I don't want to be caught without at least one great running back and one great receiver. So I might pencil in going RB-WR with my first two picks but would be open to going with two backs if one I really liked got to me in Round 2.
If you MUST go RB-RB or WR-WR with your first two picks and then pick at the other position with your next two picks, I'd feel more comfortable taking the running backs first.
From Rowan P.:Would you rather pick 10th or 14th in a 14-team standard scoring league?
From Dave in Florida: The answer might vary from year to year but you're locked into a stud difference-maker at 10th overall. Any of the top seven running backs plus Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Jimmy Graham and if the mood strikes you Peyton Manning all will be available. They could all be gone by 14th overall. The other cool benefits is that you'd presumably have the 19th overall pick which could be used on a back before that position gets thin. You can also have the advantage of seeing what the needs are of the owners picking in the 11 through 14 slots and adjust your draft queue accordingly.
From Drew in Gainesville: Dave, I am a 20 year old student going into my junior year of college at the University of Florida. I have been playing fantasy sports for the past 10 years, in particular having a strong passion for Fantasy Football. I was just wondering how you got into the Fantasy Sports business and if you have any tips for a college student like me?
From Dave in Florida: Drew, I'm a lucky guy. I was hired by CBSSports.com (then-called SportsLine USA) in 2000 to cover pro wrestling for a site called WrestleLine. Yes, really. The short version is that I worked my way up from there to this spot which I've held since 2005. It's hard to break in but the best plan is to hop on Twitter and start giving advice there while also blogging and providing rankings on said blog. The good news is that you can do this while holding down another job so you don't starve to death. Get yourself a degree from UF in something involving another passion of yours and then do that while writing/talking/tweeting about Fantasy.
We recently published our latest 12-team standard mock draft, and I had the second overall pick. Somehow, I was able to land LeSean McCoy, Julio Jones and A.J. Green with my first three picks, which is like stealing.
Now, that's not likely to happen in most drafts, but don't be surprised when a stud player lands in your lap when you least expect it. Here's how I ended up with Green at No. 26 overall (his Average Draft Position is No. 20 on CBSSports.com).
There was nothing shocking about the first round outside of maybe Peyton Manning not going in the Top 12 overall picks. Our Top 12 (Jamaal Charles, McCoy, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Eddie Lacy, Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham, Montee Ball, Arian Foster, Le'Veon Bell, Giovani Bernard and DeMarco Murray) is comparable to the ADP right now (Charles, McCoy, Peterson, Forte, Manning, Johnson, Lacy, Graham, Ball, Demaryius Thomas, Foster and Drew Brees).
It's Round 2 where things got a little wacky. The players taken ahead of Green who should have gone later based on ADP were Jones, Andre Ellington, Bishop Sankey, Brandon Marshall, Zac Stacy and Doug Martin. I'm fine with Jones and Marshall (I took Jones) because with those upper echelon receivers it's a personal choice, and I like Jones better.
I'm also OK with Martin and Stacy ahead of Green. While I wouldn't do it, there's an obvious need to get potential stud running backs, and Martin and Stacy could easily be Top 12 at their position.
The players who 100 percent shouldn't have been drafted ahead of Green are Ellington and Sankey. Larry Hartstein drafted Ellington at No. 20 overall, and Al Melchior took Sankey at No. 25. Ellington's ADP is No. 26, and Sankey is at No. 30.
Melchior took Marshall, and he could have locked down Charles, Marshall and Green with his first three picks. He couldn't have gotten Sankey in Round 4, but clearly Green is the better choice as we discuss this today.
Hartstein, however, could have gambled that Ellington made it back to him in Round 3 at No. 29 overall. Here's how his team started: Lacy, Ellington, Jordy Nelson. Here's how his team could have looked: Lacy, Green, C.J. Spiller or Ryan Mathews.
I love Ellington this season, as does Hartstein, and he could definitely be a Top 12 running back in all formats. But I would never draft him ahead of Green.
I'm happy how it worked out with Green landing on my roster, but I doubt I'll ever have a trio like this again of McCoy, Jones and Green with my first three picks.