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Eric Ebron NFL Draft
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Now that the NFL draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2014 NFL rookie tight end class.
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1. Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
Ebron is 6’4″ and 245 pounds with 4.6 speed making him a nightmare for defenses, particularly when they have to focus on Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush. Ebron caught 62 passes last year for 973 yards and three touchdowns. In 2012 he caught 40 passes for 625 yards and four scores. During his time at North Carolina Ebron averaged 16.1 yards per catch. Ebron will have to improve on his red zone prowess to really make noise, but he should be a solid fantasy option right away.
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2. Jace Amaro, New York Jets
Amaro caught 106 passes for 1,352 yards and seven touchdowns last year at Texas Tech. He is 6’5″ and 260 pounds with 4.72 speed. The Jets are thirsty for offensive firepower outside of Eric Decker, which could lead to plenty of targets for Amaro right out of the gate. There is a good chance that he leads all tight ends in receptions and/or yards.
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3. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seferian-Jenkins, at 6’6″ and 276 pounds, gives the Bucs another huge target. He has caught 146 passes over the past three seasons for 1,840 yards and 21 touchdowns. Between Seferian-Jenkins, Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans the Bucs have loaded up with tall weapons for Josh McCown. Seferian-Jenkins could lead all rookie tight ends in touchdown receptions.
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4. Troy Niklas, Arizona Cardinals
Niklas at 6’6″ and 270 pounds gives the Cardinals a huge option at tight end. He caught 32 passes last year at Notre Dame for 498 yards and five touchdowns. Defenses will be concerned with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd, which should allow Niklas to get good looks. He will be useful in the red zone.
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5. C.J. Fiedorowicz, Houston Texans
Fiedorowicz is 6’6″ and 262 pounds with 4.76 speed. He caught 75 passes over the past two seasons for 732 yards and seven touchdowns for Iowa. The Hawkeyes threw just 375 times compared to 557 rushing attempts. In a pass-heavy league Fiedorowicz could easily emerge as better pro player than he was at the collegiate level. Fiedorowicz should make his mark in the red zone.
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Sammy Watkins
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Now that the NFL draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2014 NFL rookie wide receiver class. It should come as no surprise given the evolution of the game, but this position has the deepest crop of fantasy newcomers.
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1.  Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills
Watkins gives Buffalo an explosive weapon the passing game. He’s 6’1″ and 205 pounds with 4.43 speed. Last year at Clemson he caught 101 passes for 1,464 yards and 12 touchdowns. With C.J. Spiller and Watkins on the field at the same time the Bills will have some firepower on offense.
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2. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Evans at 6’5′ pairs with the 6’5″ Vincent Jackson to give the Bucs a pair of huge wide receivers. That recipe worked well for Josh McCown last year in Chicago (Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery). Evans had 1,105 yards in 2012 and 1,394 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. Evans should be a nice red zone threat out of the gate.
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3. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles
Matthews may have been the seventh receiver to come off the board, but Jerry Rice’s cousin landed in a good spot with Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles. He will work the slot and use his 4.46 speed to get separation. Matthews caught 206 passes over the past two seasons for 2,800 yards and 15 touchdowns. There will be plenty of targets up for grabs following the departure of DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant.
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4. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints
Cooks gets a chance to catch passes from Drew Brees, which fuels the excitement. Marques Colston isn’t the same player he used to be. Cooks could step in and shine. He caught 128 passes for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns last year at Oregon State. He could see plenty of time in the slot and get some of the looks reserved for Darren Sproles the past few years.
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5. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants
Beckham Jr. was the 12 overall pick by the Giants as they looked to get Eli Manning more firepower after a down year. With 4.43 speed Beckham Jr. brings explosiveness to the table. He should be a nice complement to Victor Cruz. Beckham Jr. caught 59 passes last year for 1,152 yards and eight touchdowns.
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Bishop Sankey combine
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Now that the NFL draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2014 NFL rookie running back class.
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1. Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans
Sankey may not be the best running back in this class, but there is a path to starting job with Chris Johnson moving to the New York Jets. Sankey tore it up last year at Washington with 1,870 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground, which was a nice follow-up to his 1,439 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2012. Sankey also caught 61 passes over the past two years, making him a potential three-down back. He should have little problems beating out Shonn Greene.
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2. Andre Williams, New York Giants
Andre Williams was taken in the fourth round with the 113th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but lands in a good spot with the G-Men. Rashad Jennings ran well for the Oakland Raiders last year, but his 163 carries were a career-high. Williams ran for 2,177 yards and 18 touchdowns last year for Boston College. At 6’0″, 227 pounds he could easily handle goal line duties while sharing some of the load on the ground.
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3. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde is easily the top choice among running backs for dynasty leagues. Frank Gore just turned 31 on May 14th. The Niners nabbed Hyde in the second round to be his replacement. Hyde is a 6’0″, 235 pound battering ram. He ran for 1,521 yards last year and has 35 touchdowns in the past two seasons. Hyde will get some touches this year. If Gore gets banged up, he’ll immediately move up the ranks.
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4. Terrance West, Cleveland Browns
West should steal some carries from newly acquired Ben Tate as Tate has never had 200 carries in a season. He finished his career at Towson with 802 carries for 4,849 yards and 84 touchdowns. West is 5’11 and 223 pounds with 4.54 forty speed. He’s also a good dynasty option.
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5. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
Hill was the second running back selected. It’s a little curious because the Bengals took Giovani Bernard last year in the second round. Hill, at 6’1″ and 235 pounds will likely be the goal line back. He could also be used to close out games. Running backs have not gone in the first round the past two seasons. Committees are the new wave. If Hill can punch in several scores during the year he’ll have some fantasy weight.
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Johnny Manziel NFL Draft
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Now that the NFL draft is behind us it is time for fantasy football nuts to start breaking down the rookies. Here’s the LestersLegends’ look at the 2014 NFL rookie quarterback class.
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1. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bortles was not only the first quarterback taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he’s also the one most likely to play meaningful snaps in the 2014 NFL season. The third overall pick is 6’5″ and 232 pounds. He threw for 3,581 yards and 25 touchdowns at Central Florida. Bortles should be able to get a shot with Chad Henne holding down the starting job in Jacksonville. Not having Justin Blackmon at his disposal hurts, but the Jags did a nice job of adding Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson in the second round.
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2. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Despite the talk surrounding Johnny Football, don’t expect him to be Johnny Backup all year long. Brian Hoyer is the top man on the depth chart, but with 192 career pass attempts and a big game against a bad Minnesota Vikings defense shouldn’t give him a very firm grip on the job as he recovers from a knee injury. Manziel threw for 3,706 yards and 26 touchdowns to win the 2012 Heisman. He responded to offseason criticism with 4,114 yards and 37 touchdowns last year. Manziel ran for 1,410 yards and 21 touchdowns as a freshman and “just” 759 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground last year. At 6’0″ and 210 pounds that trend should continue against the bigger, faster NFL players. Like Bortles, Manziel will have to get by without a star player. In Manziel’s case it is Josh Gordon.
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3. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
Carr will get to learn behind the newly-acquired Matt Schaub, who has been pretty average the past few seasons despite having Andre Johnson to throw to. Neither Schaub nor Carr have good talent to work with in Oakland, but that could lead to an earlier look at Carr. He threw for 3,544 yards and 26 touchdowns as a sophomore, 4,104 yards and 37 touchdowns as a junior and 5,082 yards and 50 touchdowns as a senior. He has the pedigree. Hopefully he has more success than his big brother David.
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4.  Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Teddy will get to learn behind Matt Cassel, who will form a bridge to the Bridgewater era. Cassel will likely miss a couple of games during the year, which will give Bridgewater a chance to get his feet wet. If he runs with the job he will never look back. Over the past two seasons the 6’2″, 205 pound Bridgewater averaged 3,844 yards, 29 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He’ll have to add to his frame, but Bridgewater isn’t a running quarterback that you have to worry about getting put in harm’s way.
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5. Zach Mettenberger, Tennessee Titans
Zach Mettenberger rounds out the top five only because of Jake Locker’s injury history and a general lack of immediate impact players at the position in this year’s draft crop. Mettenberger is 6’5″ and 235 pounds, but lacks any sort of mobility. He also has character concerns. Mettenberger threw for 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns. If Locker goes down again, Mettenberger could see some action.
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Jadeveon Clowney Gamecocks
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In 2006 the Houston Texan shocked the world by selecting Mario Williams over the likes of Reggie Bush and Vince Young. Reggie Bush has had a nice career as did Williams. Vince Young was an amazing college quarterback, but his game just didn’t translate at the pro level.
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This year the Texans again have the first pick in the NFL Draft. They could choose quarterback Blake Bortles, offensive lineman Greg Robinson or the speedy Sammy Watkins. I think they would be best served going with defensive lineman in this draft by selecting Jadeveon Clowney out of South Carolina.
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Williams is 6’6″ and 292 pounds. Clowney is 6’5″ and 266 pounds. Clowney has impressive speed and athleticism. Williams has 76.5 sacks in eight season, including four double-digit sack seasons. Playing opposite of J.J. Watt could lead to even impressive numbers for Clowney.
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It would be different if a talent like Andrew Luck was available. Unfortunately for the Texans, Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater aren’t surefire prospects. This is a quarterback driven league. If you can’t have a top passer, go after the talent to try to slow the elite ones down. Having Watt and Clowney as bookends would be a great start.
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 | Posted by | Categories: NFL, NFL Draft | Tagged: Jadeveon Clowney, NFL, NFL Draft |

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.

Eddie Lacy jump
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When I looked at the top five 2013 running backs I ranked Montee Ball, Giovani Bernard, Eddie Lacy, Le’veon Bell and Johnathan Franklin as the top five. Bernard, Lacy and Bell delivered. Ball did not get enough opportunities to do his thing, but I still think good things will come. I totally missed the boat on Franklin. Zac Stacy came out of nowhere to shine. Here is how I rank them for keeper leagues.
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1. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers
Lacy led all rookies with 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 11 rushing touchdowns trailed only Marshawn Lynch and Jamaal Charles in total rushing scores. He added another 257 yards on the ground. There were some concerns entering the year about his weight. Clearly he put those to bed. Lacy is a nice fit in this offense and Aaron Rodgers will keep teams from loading the box. He’s a force going forward.
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2. Zac Stacy, St. Louis Rams
Stacy was the lead back in 12 games. In those dozen games he averaged 92.5 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns. He is a bowling ball that is hard to bring down. Expect big things to continue for Stacy.
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3. Le’veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
Le’veon Bell was limited to 13 games, but still managed to accumulate 1,259 total yards (96.8 ypg) and eight touchdowns. He’s a big back (6′ 1″, 244 pounds) with soft hands (45 receptions). He should continue to develop into a premier back in this league.
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4. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals
Bernard, unlike the top three backs played the full season, only he had to share the load with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Bernard still finished with 1,209 yards and eight touchdowns (75.6 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game). If the Law Firm is out of the picture in 2014, Bernard could slide up the scale. The top four backs are quality options.
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5. Montee Ball, Denver Broncos
Montee Ball had 704 total yards and four touchdowns. He averaged an impressive 4.7 yards per carry. If Knowshon Moreno doesn’t return, he too could shoot up this board.
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