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Ben Hogan gets you ready for (fantasy) football season

By Ben Hogan
Producer, The Eric Hasseltine Show

The NFL season is right around the corner, right around two weeks away until the Seattle
Seahawks and Green Bay Packers kick off for real in the season opener. What that means is
millions and millions of people around the country, even the world, are getting ready to draft his/
her fantasy football team.

Below are top rankings for all of the basic positions in fantasy football; some leagues use
individual defensive players (IDP), but for the most part a roster consists of a QB, 2 RBs, 2 or 3
WRs, a TE, a K, and a team defense.

Quarterbacks
1. Peyton Manning - DEN // 11. Tom Brady - NE
2. Drew Brees - NO // 12. Robert Griffin III - WAS
3. Aaron Rodgers - GB // 13. Russell Wilson - SEA
4. Matthew Stafford - DET // 14. Matt Ryan - ATL
5. Andrew Luck - IND // 15. Andy Dalton - CIN
6. Cam Newton - CAR // 16. Ben Roethlisberger - PIT
7. Colin Kaepernick - SF // 17. Philip Rivers - SD
8. Jay Cutler - CHI // 18. Carson Palmer - ARI
9. Nick Foles - PHI // 19. Eli Manning - NYG
10. Tony Romo - DAL // 20. Ryan Tannehill - MIA
Sleepers: Johnny Manziel - CLE; Jake Locker - TEN; Josh McCown - TB

Quick Take: The top three (Manning, Brees, and Rodgers) are the cream of the crop and
should be taken in the first two rounds; after that Stafford through Brady could end being a top
five QB by the end of the season. Don't reach for a QB, there are plenty of decent options.


Running Backs
1. Jamaal Charles - KC // 13. Doug Martin - TB
2. LeSean McCoy - PHI // 14. Andre Ellington - ARI3. Matt Forte - CHI 15. CJ Spiller - BUF
4. Adrian Peterson - MIN // 16. Reggie Bush - DET
5. Eddie Lacy - GB // 17. Le'Veon Bell - PIT
6. DeMarco Murray - DAL // 18. Toby Gerhart - JAX
7. Marshawn Lynch - SEA // 19. Ray Rice - BAL
8. Zac Stacy - STL // 20. Frank Gore - SF
9. Montee Ball - DEN // 21. Ryan Mathews - SD
10. Alfred Morris - WAS // 22. Shane Vereen - NE
11. Arian Foster - HOU // 23. Trent Richardson - IND
12. Giovani Bernard - CIN // 24. Shonn Greene - TEN
Sleepers: Devonta Freeman - ATL; Lamar Miller - MIA; Christine Michael - SEA

Quick Take: Charles, McCoy, Forte, and Peterson should be the first four picks in any draft,
after that I can understand taking Megatron, Manning, or Graham. Lacy through Ball are decent
options to have as a RB1, after that the pool seems flooded with guys you have to bank on their
upside or hope they bounce back. Pick 2 RBs in the first four rounds, at least by then, or you
will be stuck with slim pickings.


Wide Receivers
1. Calvin Johnson - DET // 13. Andre Johnson - HOU
2. Dez Bryant - DAL // 14. Larry Fitzgerald - ARI
3. AJ Green - CIN // 15. Pierre Garcon - WAS
4. Demaryius Thomas - DEN // 16. Keenan Allen - SD
5. Brandon Marshall - CHI // 17. Roddy White - ATL
6. Julio Jones - ATL // 18. Cordarrelle Patterson - MIN
7. Jordy Nelson - GB // 19. Victor Cruz - NYG
8. Antonio Brown - PIT // 20. Michael Floyd - ARI
9. Michael Crabtree - SF // 21. Torrey Smith - BAL
10. Randall Cobb - GB // 22. Emmanuel Sanders - DEN
11. Alshon Jeffrey - CHI // 23. Percy Harvin - SEA
12. Vincent Jackson - TB // 24. Wes Welker - DEN
Sleepers: Brandin Cooks - NO; Justin Hunter - TEN; Rueben Randle - NYG

Quick Take: Wide Receiver is the deepest position in Fantasy Football, but Calvin Johnson is
head and shoulders above the rest. AJ Green, Demaryius Thomas, and Dez Bryant are worth
taking in the second round though, but if you are hoping to nab Brandon Marshall or Julio Jones
in the third round neither may be there.


Tight Ends
1. Jimmy Graham - NO // 7. Jordan Cameron - CLE
2. Rob Gronkowski - NE // 8. Greg Olsen - CAR
3. Julius Thomas - DEN // 9. Zach Ertz - PHI
4. Jason Witten - DAL // 10. Kyle Rudolph - MIN
5. Dennis Pitta - BAL // 11. Martellus Bennett - CHI
6. Vernon Davis - SF // 12. Jordan Reed - WAS
Sleepers: Ladarius Green - SD; Delanie Walker - TEN; Eric Ebron - DET

Quick Take: There is no need to talk about the top two, as they speak for themselves, but you
may notice that Vernon Davis is probably a little lower than expected. If you look when Crabtree
returned last year Davis' targets dropped and Crabtree is healthy to start the season so that
could hurt Vernon Davis. Chances are after the first three are taken, there may be a couple of
rounds without a TE taken and then there will a run on them; make sure you can nab a Top Ten.


Defenses
1. Seattle // 7. Kansas City
2. Carolina // 8. Arizona
3. San Francisco // 9. Cincinnati
4. New England // 10. Pittsburgh
5. St. Louis // 11. Houston
6. Denver // 12. New Orleans
Sleepers: Buffalo; Tampa Bay; Green BayQuick Take: Seattle is the best defense in the league and should be the first taken in the draft.

Most defenses should not be taken outside of the last three rounds, but understandable if you
think you may get stuck with one that could be hit or miss and you reach outside that to take
one.


Kickers
1. Stephen Gostkowski - NE // 7. Blair Walsh - MIN
2. Matt Prater - DEN // 8. Mason Crosby - GB
3. Justin Tucker - BAL // 9. Nick Novak - SD
4. Phil Dawson - SF // 10. Robbie Gould - CHI
5. Steven Hauschka - SEA // 11. Shayne Graham - NO
6. Dan Bailey - DAL // 12. Adam Vinatieri - IND

Quick Take: Do not take a Kicker before the final round, there is a reason I did not list sleepers
at this position because there are none.


Final Take: Do not go into a draft with one strategy, as one pick by someone else could change
your whole strategy. Also, drafts are usually won in the first two round as well as the final three,
besides kicker as they determine your anchors and your depth. Good luck and enjoy yourself.
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Draft Night from FedExForum

9:51 p.m. -- The first round just ended, with the San Antonio Spurs selecting UCLA forward/guard Kyle Anderson with the 30th pick. (Of course.) 

There are still tons of potential Grizz targets available, though. Clemson swingman K.J. McDaniels, Tennessee big man Jarnell Stokes, Wichita State forward Cleanthony Early, and Michigan wing Glenn Robinson III. With the logjam on the perimeter now with the pick of Jordan Adams, the Grizzlies need to find a way to get into the second. Too many players that can help this team are still out there.

8:57 p.m. -- The Grizzlies selected Jordan Adams of UCLA. The media room went silent, until an incredulous, "I can't believe this!" broke it up.

More later, as Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger prepares to meet with the media and, apparently, explain the pick.



I'm live from FedExForum, where we're all huddled into the media room in the bowels of the arena watching the draft on tube televisions.

I'll update the blog throughout the night when news develops (or whenever I feel like it). 

Here's the scene, currently, just after the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick.

The Grizzlies are scheduled to pick 22nd overall, which will obviously be a while. But keep checking back anyway.

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The 92.9 Line: Launch

The announcement of my hire as 92.9 FM ESPN’s columnist earlier this month understandably and predictably drew skepticism. 

A columnist at a radio station? Nobody does that, right?

Well, not exactly. There are a few stations in our company that provide written content — WEEI in Boston and WGR in Buffalo, for example — but the point is well-taken: Radio stations rarely set aside resources for someone to cover the news in written form.

But that’s what we’ve done here.

This is a unique market with a real appetite for sports coverage. So, starting today, we’re launching what we’re calling “The 92.9 Line,” a one-stop shop for all Memphis sports nuggets, news, and everything in between.

The way we see it, we break enough news on our station as it is; why not capture it and give it more shelf-life on our website?

Starting today, the website won’t just be a repository for old podcasts. We’ll cover everything from Memphis Grizzlies to Tigers to SEC, as best we can, with real-time, up-to-the-minute updates. 

You’ll see opinions from our talent, like Chris Vernon, Eric Hasseltine, and Gary Parrish. We’re also ramping up our video efforts in addition to our written coverage — all of which you’ll be able to find daily at 929espn.com

Bookmark us, if you haven’t by now (and you should’ve, by now). Our aim for the site is to deliver the same information in the same entertaining and creative way as we do on the air. We hope you’ll give us a shot.

- John Martin

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