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A popular pre-NFL Draft sleeper was Cincinnati wide receiver Jerome Simpson after he finished the 2010 season off with a bang. Simpson caught six passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns in Week 16 against the Chargers before finishing with 12 catches for 123 yards and a score against the Ravens.
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With Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens not likely to return, Simpson seemed like a lock to take over number one receiver duties. While he still may hold onto the number one role, and almost assuredly a starting WR gig, the selection of A.J. Green with the fourth overall pick certainly cramps Simpson’s style.
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Fortunately for Simpson, there should be enough receptions to go around to make both receivers solid fantasy options.  Ocho and T.O. combined for 264 targets last year, leaving plenty of room to accommodate Green’s looks and Simpson’s increase from 25 targets. With rookie Andy Dalton the likely starter, tight end Jermaine Gresham should see an increase in targets as well.
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Andre Caldwell is likely the odd-man-out as he will likely lose the starting job. With Jordan Shipley locked in at the slot position, Caldwell could be limited to four-receiver sets.
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With Green on board, Simpson likely goes from a player that would be overdrafted to a potential value pick.


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There was only one running back selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Former Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram was selected by the Saints with the 28th pick in the draft. This is a good spot for Ingram. He won’t have to worry about being driven into the ground from overuse, which is the perfect recipe for a running back with knee concerns.
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For starters the Saints are a pass-first team. They aren’t your prototypical grind it out offense. The Saints rely first and foremost on Drew Brees’ arm. Sure, they need a running game to balance the attack, but the Saints are probably the last team that is going to overuse a running back.
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Besides, they have Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory to share running back duties. Even Reggie Bush feels his days with the Saints are likely over. Three good running backs and only one football. This is a great problem for the Saints to have, but it’s not ideal for fantasy owners. Ingram’s value is seriously diminished in redraft leagues because he will be a part of a committee. He takes a lesser hit in dynasty leagues, but still a hit nonetheless.
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There were three wide receiver taken in the first round. As expected A.J. Green was the first off the board. He should easily step into the starting role opposite of  Jerome Simpson, which should make people hit the brakes on proclaiming Simpson as a big-time sleeper in this year’s fantasy drafts.
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Now we just need to find out who is going to throw the ball in Cincinnati. Carson Palmer and Mike Brown are engaged in a high stakes game of chicken. If they can settle their differences, both Green and Simpson will be solid fantasy options. If they have to settle for Carson’s brother Jordan, their values take a hit.
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Julio Jones found a good home. He gets to catch passes from Matt Ryan in a high-powered Falcons offense that also features Roddy White, Michael Turner, and Tony Gonzalez. Washington and St. Louis were likely destinations for Jones, which would have made him the primary receiver. With Atlanta he is able to play opposite of Roddy White and ease into the league. He won’t see as many targets as he would as the number one receiver, but he also won’t draw the number one cornerback either. Though Green has more question marks at quarterback, I still rate him one and Jones two in both redraft and dynasty leagues.
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Jonathan Baldwin finds himself in a similar scenario as Jones. He gets to play opposite of Dwayne Bowe in Kansas City’s up-and-coming offense. They’ll miss Charlie Weis, but with Bowe, Jamaal Charles, Matt Cassel, and now Baldwin, the Chiefs should have no problem putting points on the board.
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Baldwin is a player to take in the later rounds of your fantasy drafts. He’s going to take some time to develop, but is a solid add for dynasty leagues. He’s nearly 6’5″ with good speed and leaping ability.
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This has the makings of a good rookie wide receiver class. Knowing that receivers have a longer shelf life than running backs, I would take Green and Jones before Ingram in keeper leagues.
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Also check out:


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The Panthers were 2-14 last year. Their 196 points scored last year was the lowest in the league by a mile. They scored 75 fewer points than an inept Cleveland Browns offense. That’s nearly five fewer points per game than the league’s second worst scoring offense. Their 143.1 passing yards per game was nearly 40 fewer than an Arizona team that is desperate for a quarterback change. Clearly the Panthers need better play out of their quarterback. The question is will it be Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, or Jimmy Clausen?
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So how bad was Jimmy last year? He completed 52.5 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and nine interceptions. He had a 58.4 passer rating. In his defense he had just one legitimate target (Steve Smith) in the passing game, and he actually had fewer fantasy points in non-PPR leagues than David Gettis. Smith will turn 32 in May and is on the downside of his career. An intriguing option would be to select Georgia WR A.J. Green with the number one pick. He is the top receiver prospect since Calvin Johnson and the Panthers could take a quarterback in the third round to compete with Clausen.
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The Panthers struggled on the defensive side of the football as well. They ranked 26th with 25.5 points allowed per game. Carolina allowed the tenth most rushing yards per game (123.8). Alabama defensive tackle Marcell Dareus won’t help you score points on offense, but he would certainly beef up their defense. If he commanded double teams, it would open things up for everybody else. The Panthers could also consider Patrick Peterson, but cornerbacks traditionally have not gone that high in the draft.
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Without a second round pick it seems unlikely that the Panthers go in any direction other than quarterback. It will most likely come down to a decision between Blaine Gabbert and Cam Newton. Sorry Jimmy. Gabbert is a safer choice while Newton has more  upside. Not only does Newton have incredible athleticism, but he has the ability to put butts in the seats and increase merchandise sales. If the lockout continues, that revenue stream would be desirable.
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If I were pulling the trigger on the Panthers’ first pick I would go with A.J. Green. I’d bring  back Matt Moore once the lockout is over and have an open competition at quarterback. If you struggle again this year, perhaps you land Andrew Luck next year.
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What would you do if you were calling the shots for the Panthers?


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Boser’s Tweetbeat –
Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
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Clearing the Cobwebs
Austin Collie’s sagging ADP has sparked an impassioned debate throughout the fantasy community. Collie’s currently being drafted as the 20th wide receiver in early mocks, despite being one of the most productive per-game receivers in the league last season. Through six games, he was on pace for a tremendous 144 targets, and a 118CA/1,343YD/16TD bottom line. Obviously, such calculations must be taken with a grain of salt. But 20th? We’re clearly witnessing the power of the concussion risk factor. After those first six games, Collie only set foot on the field three more times in 2010. He was forced from each of those contests prematurely with concussions. Brain injuries. Three times in a seven-week span, Collie lay prone on the field as we held our breaths in horror. And so goes the dispute: Technically, one receiver is just as likely to take a big hit as the next. Conversely, the effects of said hit on a player with past concussions, as opposed to a player with a clean slate, may be very different. What complicates matters even further is that no two concussions are the same, and that we have no clue how many concussions have gone unreported over the last handful of years. Hence, formulating an accurate study for concussion recurrence rates is impossible. Ultimately, what we’re left with is a guy being drafted as a low-end WR2 who produced high-end WR1 numbers when healthy in 2010. Come draft day, how much weight should we be putting on past concussions? Is Austin Collie really more likely to suffer a concussion next season than someone like, say, Reggie Wayne? Right or wrong, our current ADP information suggests severe apprehension in drafting Collie. Personally, I haven’t had the cojones to pull the trigger on Collie in any of the five mocks (@TheDraftmaster) I’ve participated in.
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Smitten with Witten
Last season, Jason Witten had his most productive fantasy campaign since 2007. This offseason his bandwagon is brimming, as the common opinion seems to be that he can only get better when Tony Romo returns. Pump the breaks, folks. Somewhere near the end of Romo’s 2007 breakout season, the quarterback inexplicably began to ignore Witten near the endzone. Dating back to Week 15 of 2007, the road roommates have played 37.25 games together (Romo lasted one quarter of Week 6 last season before breaking his clavicle). In those 37.25 games, Witten’s scored just seven times, resulting in a disgusting touchdown rate (touchdowns/reception) of 3.5%. Enter Jon Kitna. The steam we’re experiencing with Witten was not generated until the 38-year old backup took over. In those next 10.75 games, Witten’s seven touchdowns equaled his total form the previous 37.25 with Romo. As a result, Witten’s touchdown rate spiked from 3.5% under Romo to 10% under Kitna. And while Witten’s looks (targets/game) and YPC didn’t experience much change, his catch rate (catches/target) shot up from 69% to 78%. Witten clearly flourished with Kitna under center, but Dez Bryant’s season-ending injury may have played an even bigger role. Witten scored five times in the Cowboys’ final four games without Bryant. Perhaps you’re beginning to see why I’m leery of Witten’s 2011 prospects. Bryant will be back, pass-catching back Felix Jones’ role is set to increase, and recent history suggests Witten is the latest in a long line of blondish southerners that Tony Romo has lost interest in.
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Future Phenoms
With the fantasy baseball hot stove heating up, and the NFL labor negotiations extending extended extensions, fantasy football speculation has been a bit thin in recent weeks. Amidst the seamheads and suits, however, the NFL Combine and individual pro days have provided dynasty league enthusiasts with plenty of conjecture. Dynasty guru Bryan Fontaine (@Bryan_Fontaine) of Pro Football Focus recently pegged his top five dynasty rookies for 2011. Of course, a lot will depend on where these kids land. With that said, here are Fontaine’s five favorite dynasty draft prospects to keep a close eye on come April 28th (in no particular order): Georgia WR A.J. Green, Alabama WR Julio Jones, Alabama RB Mark Ingram, Illinois RB Mikel LeShoure, and Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams.
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Ryan Boser has contributed writing and analysis for FantasyVictory.com, KFAN AM 1130′s Fantasy Football Weekly program, and numerous other fantasy football outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.


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Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green has declared for the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft. The 6’4″, 212 pound receiver leaves after a 57 catch, 848 yard, nine touchdown junior season despite missing the first four games with a suspension. In three years with the Bulldogs, he caught 166 passes for 2619 yards, and 23 touchdowns.
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He will almost assuredly be the first receiver off the board, likely in the first five picks, and could even be the first overall pick thanks to Andrew Luck’s decision to return to school.
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He should be very much on the minds of dynasty owners, and should be taken in non-keeper leagues as well. His value will be determined by where he lands.

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL, NFL Draft | Tagged: A.J. Green, Fantasy Football, NFL, NFL Draft |

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