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Chris Johnson, in some ways, was a victim of his own success. He set the world on fire with 2,006 rushing yards in 2009. He added 503 receiving yards and 16 total touchdowns. While he never came close to those numbers again, he has averaged 1,454 total yards the past three seasons. His scoring dipped to 6.7 touchdowns per season during that stretch, but the Tennessee Titans were a mess as a whole. Can he succeed with the New York Jets?
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Since averaging 4.9 yards per carry as a rookie and 5.6 ypc during the season that coined the nickname CJ2K, he has averaged 4.3, 4.0, 4.5 and 3.9 ypc and dozens of not-so-flattering variations of his moniker. Still, 1,454 total yards and 6.7 touchdowns is nothing to sneeze at.
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Last year Tennessee averaged 4.1 ypc and 118.4 rushing yards per game as a team compared to 4.4 and 134.9 by the Jets. In 2012 the Jets averaged 118.5 yards compared to 105.4 from the Jets. In 2012 it was 105.8 for the Jets and 89.9 for the Titans. Clearly Rex Ryan believes in running the football.
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Johnson will have a little stiffer competition for carries this year. He shared the load last year with Shonn Greene, who managed to gain 3.8 ypc on 77 carries. In New York he’ll share the load with Chris Ivory. Ivory averaged 4.6 ypc on 182 carries. If Bilal Powell, who averaged 4.0 ypc on 176 carries is also in the mix, there isn’t enough for Johnson to continue his past success.
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Johnson will be a low-end RB2 at best. Ivory moves to RB3 status. This is a move that should help the Jets, but hurt fantasy owners.
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Also check out:

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DeSean Jackson pro bowl
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There have been a number of roster moves that will have impacts across the fantasy football landscape. Here’s a look at the wide receivers on the move and their impact. Click here for a breakdown on QBs and RBs.
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Kenny Britt, WR, St. Louis Rams: Britt has the frame to get the job done, but has been dealing with a number of injuries. He’s never reached 800 receiving yards so proceed with caution.
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Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets: Decker got paid, but life after Peyton is going to be much more difficult. He also doesn’t have Demaryius Thomas to take the pressure away. His prospects took a hit, but he’ll remain a WR2-3.
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DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins:  DeSean moves within the division. He’ll be the second option behind Pierre Garcon. His numbers are going to take a hit. He should remain a WR2-3 as well.
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James Jones, WR, Oakland Raiders: Jones may have fewer quality options to compete with in Oakland, but going from Aaron Rodgers to Matt Schaub is a monumental step back. I’d pencil him in as a WR3-4 with upside.
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Hakeem Nicks, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Nicks is an interesting option. He’s a player to watch in the preseason for signs of explosiveness. He has a lot of upside if he can reclaim it.
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Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos: Sanders had 740 yards and six touchdowns with the Steelers last year. He stands to improve catching passes from Peyton Manning. He’ll be on my radar for sure.
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Steve Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens:  Smith will move into a different role with his new team as Torrey Smith will stretch the field. He should surpass last year’s numbers, but his ceiling is probably 2012′s 1,174 yards.
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Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions: I think the move to Detroit will do more for the Lions than producing a bona fide fantasy star. He gives them a legitimate weapon opposite of Calvin Johnson. Tate should get an upgrade from his Seattle days, but he’s probably a WR3 at best.
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Brandon Myers, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Myers has topped 500 yards with four touchdowns in each of the past two seasons. He’s share looks with Tim Wright. There’s not a lot to see here.
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Vick
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There have been a number of roster moves that will have impacts across the fantasy football landscape. Here’s a look at the QBs and RBs on the move and their impact. Click here for a breakdown of the WRs and TEs.
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Josh McCown, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneeers:  McCown will likely win the starting gig over Mike Glennon. He should form a nice rapport with Vincent Jackson. At best he’s a QB2 though.
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Matt Schaub, QB, Oakland Raiders: Schaub couldn’t get it done with Andre Johnson. I’m not sure what he can do in Oakland. He’s not a player I would add even as a QB2.
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Michael Vick, QB, New York Jets:  Vick should beat out Geno Smith for the starting role, but will probably spend some time on the sidelines nursing an injury. Eric Decker gives him a solid target, but the talent pool is pretty shallow thereafter. Vick has QB1 upside, but he hasn’t been a real fantasy force since 2010.
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LeGarrette Blount, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers:  Blount moves to a backup role in Pittsburgh behind Le’Veon Bell. The biggest change in Blount’s signing should be Stevan Ridley’s return to prominence in New England.
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Donald Brown, RB, San Diego Chargers: Brown will only have use if Ryan Mathews gets injured. He won’t even have third down appeal with Danny Woodhead holding down that role.
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Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Gerhart gets a chance to carry the load for Jacksonville. He has a lot of upside, but he’s risky given this is his first real chance to start.
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Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants:  Jennings will get a chance to carry the mail for the G-Men. He should be a solid yardage league and PPR league back. If he can handle goal line duties, he could easily be a starting caliber fantasy option.
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Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Oakland Raiders: Mojo will compete with Darren McFadden for touches. That would be great for Oakland if this were 2010. As it stands, neither offer a lot of fantasy value.
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Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins: Moreno runs hard and picks up the blitz extremely well. He won’t have the starting job outright. Plus, leaving Denver is a blow to his outlook. He’s mainly a depth choice.
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Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland Browns:  Tate has some promise, but he has never had 200 carries in a given season making him a risky option. He’s a dual threat that caught 34 passes last year. If he can stay healthy, he’ll be a solid option.
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C.J. Spiller snow
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By Matt Southall, @mattsouthall2
2014 Offseason Fantasy Football: News, Updates…
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There are things in life that just don’t pan-out the way you and everyone else thought they would. Every individual set of circumstances is unique and has an infinite amount of variables that are tough for anyone to accurately predict. This is especially true in today’s NFL, and coinciding is the game we call fantasy football.
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One most recent example of this type of situation is the Buffalo Bills of 2013. The question marks of uncertainty surrounded rookie QB E.J. Manuel and the young WRs the Bills selected in 2013, but the expectations regarding the Bills’ running game was a given to most fantasy owners. The bulk of the touches and the title of offensive workhorse were supposed to be awarded to C.J. Spiller, and the older, and “fading,” Fred Jackson would get the leftovers. Sometimes things just don’t happen the way everyone thought they would.
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Spiller was entering his fourth year in the league since being drafted ninth overall, and Jackson was a 32 year-old back who had only played in 10 games in each of the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Spiller’s touches dwarfed Jacksons in 2012, 207 to 115, and Spiller’s outstanding six yards-per-carry average and 1,703 total yards vaulted him into the upper echelon of RB rankings for many fantasy owners. It was finally Spiller’s year to get the workload that could make him a dominant force in all formats, and his ADP reflected those expectations in fantasy drafts. Bills OC Nathaniel Hackett made waves in early Aug. 2013 when asked about Spiller’s role. “We’re going to give him the ball until he throws up,” Hackett said. “So he’s either got to tap out or throw up on the field. Let’s just put it that way.”
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Straight from the horse’s mouth, put in plain and graphic detail. The pieces were all in place and Spiller was set to capitalize on his new OC’s belief in his abilities to be their main guy. How could this not be Spiller’s year? Fast forward to present day and fantasy owners who drafted Spiller (likely in the first round) will tell you things did not happen the way they were expecting.
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The Bills’ distribution of carries was virtually a 50/50 split between Spiller and Jackson through 16 games. Spiller ran the ball 201 times compared to Jackson’s 207, and neither RB rushed more than 23 times in any 2013 contest. While Spiller finished with 927 yards rushing to Jackson’s 896, Fred scored nine touchdowns on the ground to C.J.’s two. Jackson also surprised many Bills’ fans by catching 47 balls out of the backfield compared to Spiller’s 33. These post-season stats are far from the preseason numbers that fantasy owners anticipated. So what caused the Bills to abandon their grand scheme to get Spiller the rock as much as possible? Let’s take a look at the stats through Buffalo’s first four games:
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Spiller- Rushing: 66 carries, 230 yards, zero TDs, 3.48 yards-per-carry. Receiving: nine receptions, 29 yards, 3.2 yards-per-catch.
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Jackson- Rushing: 48 carries, 256 yards, two TDs, 5.3 yards-per-carry. Receiving: 13 receptions, 113 yards, 8.7 yards-per-catch.
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The Bills coaching staff gifted Spiller the opportunity through the season’s first quarter, and Jackson simply outperformed his younger counterpart despite receiving fewer touches and earned his share of playing time. So much to Spiller’s fantasy investor’s dismay, the two backs shared the Bills carries the rest of the season.
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As the 2014 season begins to take shape, the Bills RB situation is surrounded by questions that weren’t there this time last year. Will Spiller be named the starter again entering the season? Will Jackson be given the same volume of carries that he received last year? Who will end the season with the most touches?
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Common sense and history will tell us that the first RB to seize the opportunity will be given the majority of the touches. Coaches will put the players on the field that give them the best chance to win. The Bills are no different.
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Jackson proved he had something left in the tank in his seventh season, and Spiller has his youth, supreme talent, and the potential to be a game-changing player. The possibility of the two RBs splitting carries in 2014 is present, and one would be foolish to think otherwise. Jackson is entering the final year of his contract, and there is no reason for the Bills not to give him the ball if he can play as well as he did in 2013.
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Those who draft Spiller in 2014 with RB1 expectations will be disappointed for the second year in a row. Jackson will take away valuable third-down touches and those oh-so-crucial goal-line carries from Spiller again this year, which severely diminishes his overall value. Spiller certainly won’t be touted as highly as he was in 2013, but there will be drafts where he is taken in the second or third rounds. If things remain the way they are looking at this point, Spiller shouldn’t be taken until the fourth or fifth round in redraft leagues depending on the format. Don’t get sucked in to the trap of what 2014 “could be” for Spiller.
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Matt Southall is a contributor to many prestigious sites dedicated to the wonderful game of fantasy football. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+.
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Cordarrelle Patterson
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By Matt Southall, @mattsouthall2
2014 Offseason Fantasy Football: News, Updates…
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Turnovers are a coach’s worst enemy on game day. Whether it’s a fumble at the goal line just before halftime or a late interception that seals their team’s fate, any coach you ask will say their team could probably turn the ball over less often. Although turnover within an NFL organization is a completely different sort of turnover.
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This kind of turnover, similar to the “oops” type, has a benefactor and a victim. One coach loses his position he worked countless hours to attain, and another coach accomplishes his dream job of calling plays for a NFL team. It happens every year. It never fails. The life span of an NFL head coach is brief on average, and subsequently his right-hand man generally falls under the axe as well.
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There will be 13 new offensive coordinators for NFL teams in 2014, and that means 13 new offensive philosophies, which can impact the fantasy game a great deal. See Phillip Rivers’ 2012 season versus his 2013 campaign after the arrival of (now HC for the Tennessee Titans) Ken Whisenhunt for a recent and quality example.
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Let’s take a look at the top five new play callers for NFL teams, and how they may shake up the fantasy landscape.
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Houston Texans: After an extensive college coaching career Bill O’Brien spent four years under New England Patriots HC Bill Belichick where he coached an array of offensive positions before being promoted to OC. His only year as play caller for the Patriots was in 2011; New England lost to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLVI. Not many coaches would have accepted the job at Penn State after the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but O’Brien did and the Nittany Lions went 15-9 in his two years at State College.
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O’Brien will take on the task of HC and OC for the Texans after cleaning house back in early Jan. when he fired 16 assistant coaches. He is the only HC of the seven newly anointed who chose to take on both tasks. There are still several unanswered questions regarding the Texans’ QB situation that will likely be answered by the direction in which Houston decides to go in the upcoming draft, which they’ll have the number one overall selection. Regardless of where the Texans get their signal caller, be it the draft or through free agency, O’Brien will go with the guy that fits his system and the players he is inheriting.
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The move to get O’Brien bodes well for Houston’s fantasy studs, who will benefit from the new system a great deal. Andre Johnson should still be drafted in the top 12 at his position after his resurgence back into fantasy relevance — see touchdowns — in 2013. Second year WR DeAndre Hopkins will continue to improve, as he did throughout his rookie season, and will undoubtedly receive more targets in a new, more modern NFL scheme. Arian Foster’s fantasy stock took a hit after a disappointing 2013 season, but the departure of backup RB Ben Tate to free agency certainly doesn’t hurt the amount of carries Foster will likely be gifted.
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Tennessee Titans: Titans owner Bud Adams stole Ken Whisenhunt from the awaiting Detroit Lions, who were a favorite to land the man who helped turn Philip Rivers’ career around, by offering him $1 million more than the Lions were willing to give up. Whisenhunt brought 35-year-old (now former) San Diego Chargers TE coach Jason Michael along with upon accepting the position. The Chargers went from 31st in total offense to fifth overall from 2012-13. This is the first OC job for Michael who was been an assistant in the NFL since 2005.
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Tennessee has some question marks on offense that have yet to be addressed, the most prominent being who will take handoffs after recent rumors surfaced indicating the Titans will likely move on from RB Chris Johnson, via trade or an outright release. QB Jake Locker has shown signs of improvement since being drafted eighth overall in 2011, but his injuries have limited him to just 23 games in three seasons. Locker shouldn’t be given up on just yet by Tennessee or fantasy owners. He has the ability to make an impact every Sunday he suits up, and the introduction of Whisenhunt and Michael could make an abrupt change for the better. Titans WRs Kendall Wright and Nate Washington showed some flash in the second half of the season. A combination of a healthy Locker and a new offensive mindset could put Tennessee back on the fantasy map.
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Minnesota Vikings: Norv Turner’s illustrious coaching career speaks for itself, but his recent struggles as HC in Washington and San Diego come to mind first to most of today’s fan base. Fortunately newly appointed HC Mike Zimmer is a defensive guru who has granted total control of the offense to Turner. Turner’s teams have had a top 10 scoring offense 10 times in his 23 years as HC or OC.
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The biggest question mark for the Vikings is their QB quandary, and Turner has already commented about adding a young QB in the offseason, likely via May’s NFL draft. Turner also mentioned the Vikings’ predetermination to get the ball into the hands of Adrian Peterson more – much more – out of the backfield. Cordarrelle Patterson became a prominent threat in the rushing and receiving game for the Vikings in the fourth quarter of the season, and scored three rushing touchdowns on only 12 attempts in 2013. Turner certainly had a hand in Antonio Gates’ reign of fantasy TE supremacy in his time in San Diego, and Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph could be used in similar fashion. A young QB tends to rely on TEs more than seasoned QBs, especially in the red zone where fantasy owners’ hopes and dreams are won and lost.
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Zimmer and Turner certainly have their work cut out for them, but the weapons they have inherited certainly have the potential to make an impact for owners on Sunday. Don’t sleep on the Vikings in 2014.
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Click here to see the final two Impactful New Offensive Coordinators.
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Sammy Watkins Clemson
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By Jared Smola, Draft Sharks
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The NFL spotlight has shifted to the incoming rookie class.  And most of the top prospects will be in Indianapolis for the upcoming Scouting Combine.
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The Combine gives NFL teams and fantasy owners an opportunity to get an up-close look at the rookies.  Like, really close.
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Often referred to as the Underwear Olympics, the Combine’s actual value is debatable.  How these prospects perform on the field is much more important than their results in the 40-yard dash or bench press.
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Still, it’s helpful to know just how big, strong and fast these guys really are (or aren’t) – especially at the skill positions we care about in fantasy football.
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Here are 10 players fantasy owners should be keeping a close eye on at the Combine.
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Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
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He’s the only QB on this list … because he might not stick as a QB at the next level.  (Don’t put much stock into QB performances at the Combine.  They’re throwing without a pass rush to receivers they’ve never worked with.)
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Thomas arrived at Va. Tech as a raw project.  And he hasn’t shown much growth over the past 3 seasons, with his completion percentage vacillating from 59.8 to 51.3 to 56.5.
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Perhaps Thomas will resuscitate his QB stock by displaying refined mechanics at the Combine.  ESPN’s Mel Kiper still believes a team will gamble on Thomas as a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round.
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What’s equally likely, though, is that Thomas’ Combine performance has teams thinking about a position change.  The 6’5, 254-pounder is a freak athlete.  He rushed for 1,337 yards and 24 TDs over his final 3 college seasons, and some scouts believe he’ll record a sub-4.6 40 time.  That type of speed could turn Thomas from a disappointing QB to an intriguing TE.
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Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State
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Hyde heads to Indianapolis as the favorite to be the 1st RB off the board.  He enjoyed a breakout senior season, ripping off 1,521 yards and 15 TDs on 208 carries — a sizzling 7.3-yard average.
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Scouts love Hyde’s sturdy 6’0, 235-pound frame, tackle-breaking ability and balance.  The concerns are with his speed, quickness and agility.  Those traits will be under close examination at the Combine.  Keep an eye on Hyde’s times in the 40-yard dash, 3-cone drill and shuttle run.
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Hyde’s performance in those drills will help determine whether he’s a potential feature back or more of an early-down pounder.
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De’Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon
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Thomas figures to light up the 40-yard dash and the other speed and agility tests.  He should show well in pass-catching drills, too.  That doesn’t figure to impact his draft stock much, though, because we know this is an explosive player.  He averaged a gaudy 7.8 yards per carry and 11.5 yards per catch in 3 college seasons.
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Thomas’ stock will rise or fall based on his measurements and strength.  Oregon lists him at 5’9 and 169 pounds.  That might be generous.  If Thomas comes in much lighter, it’ll be tough for teams to justify spending more than a late-round pick on him.  Teams will also be keeping a close eye on Thomas’ performance on the bench.
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Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
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Watkins is almost unanimously regarded as the top WR in the 2014 draft class.  He’s also the early favorite to be the 1st rookie off the board in dynasty drafts.  Fantasy owners should be glued to this guy’s workout.
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Watkins is expected to take part in all the drills at the Combine.  The 40-yard dash will be the main event.  Watkins’ agent claims he’ll be pushing for the Combine record, which stands at 4.24.  Even something in the 4.3s would propel his draft stock.
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It’ll also be interesting to see just how big Watkins is.  Clemson lists him at 6’1, 205 pounds.  If that’s confirmed in Indianapolis, teams will have no problem making him a top 10 pick.  But Watkins’ profile will take a hit if he measures in much shorter or lighter.
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Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
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We know that Evans is big and physical.  But is he just a #2 possession receiver, or can he develop into a dominant #1?
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Evans can start to answer that question at the Combine, where he’ll reportedly take part in all drills.  Scouts will keep a close eye on his 40 time.  Something in the 4.4s would have Evans pushing Sammy Watkins for top WR honors.  Low 4.5s would be just fine for the 6’5, 225-pound Evans.  If he slips into the 4.6s, though, we could see a Keenan Allen-like slide into the middle rounds.
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Click here to see the remaining five players to watch at the NFL Combine.

Jamaal Charles running
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By Matt Southall, @mattsouthall2
2014 Offseason Fantasy Football: News, Updates…
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With the 2013 regular season in the rearview mirror, it’s never too early to peek through the curtain at 2014′s fantasy landscape. This is my (slightly) early look at who might go in the first round of your 2014 Fantasy Football draft.
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For this article I used standard, non-ppr scoring format when considering player rankings , projections, and draft spots.
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1. Jamaal Charles, RB- No matter the format of your league, Charles should be the first guy selected in every 2014 fantasy draft. In his first year in Andy Reid’s offense, the former Longhorn racked up 1,287 yards on the ground in 259 attempts. That is a staggering 4.97 yards per carry, good for sixth among running backs with at least 100 carries. He also caught 70 passes (5th among RBs) for 693 yards (1st among RBs) from quarterback Alex Smith. I can easily see a similar, or dare I say better, 2014 season. There is no question that Jamaal Charles should be the first overall selection.
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2. Adrian Peterson, RB- AD, AP, or purple people-eater, call him whatever you like. He needs no introduction. It pains me to not have him in the top spot, but when I look at the numbers he simply cannot keep up with Charles in the receiving category. That being said he is still one of the best in the game, and will continue to get one of the heaviest workloads at the position. We also have to take into consideration that the Vikings may be looking to move on from the trio of quarterbacks used this year, and instability at that position generally bodes well for stud running backs.
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3. LeSean McCoy, RB- The Eagles running back absolutely shredded defenses in 2013 in Chip Kelley’s new, fast-paced system for a league-leading 1607 yards on the ground, and 539 yards through the air. Oh and those 1607 yards came on 314 carries, good for 5.1 yards-per-carry (4th among RBs with at least 100 carries). McCoy was so productive that talented back-up Bryce Brown was only allotted 75 carries for the season, or roughly four touches per contest. The 2014 outlook could not be any more tasty for McCoy who will almost certainly be given the same opportunities to shine in this offense that was programmed for someone with his capabilities.
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4. Calvin Johnson, WR- The one-and-only Megatron pieced together another impressive season in 2013, catching 84 balls for 1,492 yards despite sitting out weeks five and 17. The lack of a potent number two threat also bodes well for Johnson’s potential target total. There is no doubting his frame, speed, and leaping ability, and the likelihood of him holding most of the individual records at his position are not only possible, but probable. So long as Stafford remains under center in the Motor City, Megatron will reign supreme among the NFL’s pass-catchers.
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5. Peyton Manning, QB- He is arguably obviously the best to ever play the position, and he continues to amaze even the most vehement skeptics. Do I even have to list his record-breaking numbers from 2013? The Sheriff tossed 55 passes for touchdowns to go along with his 5,477 yards. To forecast another record-breaking 2014 campaign would be silly, but is it really? The data suggests that his third year in Denver, with the same weapons at his disposal, could be even better than his historic 2013 season. Despite the Broncos’ abysmal performance in the Super Bowl. Yes, really.
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6. Marshawn Lynch, RB- The workhorse of the run-dependent Seattle Seahawks proven his worth again in 2013, Beast Mode trudged for 1,257 yards on the ground, 316 yards receiving, and found the endzone 14 times. Pete Carrol’s Seahawks were the NFL’s most run-dependent team in 2013, rushing over 52 percent of their plays. Compare that to the most pass-dependent team in the NFL, the Atlanta Falcons, which ran the ball on only 31 percent of their offensive snaps. Beast-Mode is entering his eighth year in the pros, but at only 28 years old he should have his best seasons directly in front of him.
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7. Josh Gordon, WR- Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Gordon did shock the hell of out everyone this year by sky-rocketing to the top of the wide receiver rankings after missing the Browns’ first two games due to suspension, but he did it in a fashion in which no expected him to do so. In his second year out of Baylor, Gordon led the league in receiving with 1,646 yards and scored nine touchdowns on 87 grabs. You simply cannot overlook his weeks 11 and 12, in which he turned 24 catches into 498 yards and three touchdowns. No receiver had ever had back-to-back 200 yards receiving yard games, but Gordon did. The thing that we must keep in consideration while looking back at Gordon’s 2013 season is the fact that he managed to do all of this with a rotation of quarterbacks that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Interesting Josh Gordon fact; only one of his 14 career touchdowns has come from inside the 20 yard line. Oh and he also has a pretty sweet ride. This kid is a stud, if he somehow falls into the second, or for-all-that-is-sweet-and-holy third, round, do not hesitate to pull the trigger on this very talented up-and-comer.
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8. Jimmy Graham, TE- “He ain’t no tight end,” is how my best, although not exactly eloquent, buddy describes the Saints’ all-pro tight end. Graham put together the best season of his already lustrous career by amassing 1,215 yards to go along with his 16 touchdowns. It’s a widely known fact that every player deals with injury at some point in the season, and Graham was no different. Graham tweaked his foot in the week five game versus Chicago, and while his number don’t indicate any deviation from his norm, the tape shows otherwise. So if we take into account that he wasn’t at 100 percent and he still put up career-best type numbers, why wouldn’t you take him in the first round? He outscored the likes of (just to name a few): Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, Eddie Lacy, Adrian Peterson, and A.J. Green. Get the point? Graham was targeted 18 more times than DeSean Jackson. He was targeted more times than Demaryius Thomas!
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Click here to see the rest of the first round and Matt’s analysis.
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