Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Who's No. 1?
Adrian Peterson: Rich Gabrielson/Icon SMI

You'd be hard-pressed to find a fantasy football magazine or Web site that doesn't list Vikings running back Adrian Peterson as the consensus No. 1 pick for standard-scoring leagues. And to be honest, I would make a similar call when holding the top pick in fantasy drafts. However, I'd like to point out that just 12 months ago -- in publications like Fanball, Rotowire, Rotoworld, ESPN, Sporting News, etc. -- Chargers rusher LaDainian Tomlinson was the obvious No. 1 by a country mile, so much that many so-called experts would shame in you into thinking otherwise (don't look at me ... try blaming Steve Spurrier or his director of football operations). Of course, history would show us -- once again -- there are no sure things in the fantasy realm ... whether we're talking about LT's never-ending bout with turf toe last year or Tom Brady's season-ending injury suffered in Week 1.

My point to all of this? If you truly believe that Peterson isn't primed for the best season among the top-flight running backs, feel free to NOT take him in the top spot. If you have Michael Turner penciled in for 1,700 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns ... grab him at No. 1. If you think Rams back Steven Jackson is a lead-pipe cinch for 2,200 total yards, do the deed at No. 1. And if you think Chris Johnson will emerge as fantasyland's lead dog this year -- just seconds after LenDale White is hospitalized for being too thin ... by all means, pluck him ahead of everyone in the pool (or at least trade out of the top slot). The lesson here: In realistic terms, you'll have no shot at grabbing Turner, Johnson or S-Jax in Round 2 ... so, you might as well do what makes you happy in Round 1. Ride that gut instinct!

Birds Of A Feather ... Mock Together

I partook in a free-flowing, lightning-fast experts' mock draft through Mock Draft Central last week. The entire production -- featuring fantasy shamans like Scott Engel, Jason Pliml, Todd Farino, Jason McCoy, Scott Swanay, Sean Haugh, Louis Tranquilli, etc. -- even merited exciting taunt-by-taunt, pick-by-pick coverage on Blog Tralk Radio. Here are Rounds 1-6 of the standard-scoring league draft (15 rounds, 2 RBs/3 WRs, 1 Flex start):

Round 1
1. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
3. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
4. RB Matt Forte, Bears
5. RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
6. RB Frank Gore, 49ers
7. RB Chris Johnson, Titans
8. RB DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
9. WR Andre Johnson, Texans
10. RB Steve Slaton, Texans
11. RB Steven Jackson, Rams (my pick)
12. WR Randy Moss, Raiders

Round 2
13. QB Drew Brees, Saints
14. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (my pick)
15. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
16. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
17. RB Brandon Jacobs, Giants
18. WR Steve Smith, Panthers
19. WR Greg Jennings, Packers
20. RB Marion Barber, Cowboys
21. RB Clinton Portis, Redskins
22. WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
23. RB Brian Westbrook, Eagles
24. WR Roddy White, Falcons

Round 3
25. RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins
26. WR Marques Colston, Saints
27. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
28. WR Terrell Owens, Bills
29. WR Wes Welker, Patriots
30. RB Ryan Grant, Packers
31. QB Tom Brady, Patriots
32. WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos
33. RB Pierre Thomas, Saints
34. RB Thomas Jones, Jets
35. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders (my pick)
36. RB Marshawn Lynch, Bills

Round 4
37. RB Joseph Addai, Colts
38. RB Kevin Smith, Lions (my pick)
39. WR Braylon Edwards, Browns
40. WR Vincent Jackson, Chargers
41. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks
42. RB Larry Johnson, Chiefs
43. WR Roy Williams, Cowboys
44. QB Peyton Manning, Colts
45. WR Chad Ochocinco, Bengals
46. RB Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
47. RB Derrick Ward, Buccaneers
48. WR Anthony Gonzalez, Colts

Round 5
49. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
50. WR Santana Moss, Redskins
51. RB Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
52. WR Eddie Royal, Broncos
53. TE Jason Witten, Cowboys
54. RB Cedric Benson, Bengals
55. RB Donald Brown, Colts
56. WR Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers
57. RB Reggie Bush, Saints
58. RB Willie Parker, Steelers
59. QB Kurt Warner, Cardinals (my pick)
60. TE Antonio Gates, Chargers

Round 6
61. WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles
62. WR Lee Evans, Bills (my pick)
63. WR Lance Moore, Saints
64. TE Dallas Clark, Colts
65. QB Tony Romo, Cowboys
66. WR Santonio Holmes, Steelers
67. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
68. RB Chris Wells, Cardinals
69. TE Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
70. WR Donnie Avery, Rams
71. WR Bernard Berrian, Vikings
72. RB LenDale White, Titans

Value Village

Here are some Revelations-style highlights from the above draft:

What I Loved In Round 1: Not to toot my own horn, but getting Steven Jackson at 11th overall was an absolute heist -- regardless if we're talking standard-scoring or Points Per Reception leagues. Yes, he hasn't sniffed 2,000 total yards since his amazing 2006 campaign (2,334 yards, 16 TDs); yes, he's been somewhat of an injury risk in the last two seasons; and yes, there's no defending the ineptitude of his club, the Rams. But The Man still averaged 119 total yards and .75 TDs per game last year ... and with a full spring/summer of uninterrupted training, he again seems like a comfortable lock for 1,700 total yards. Let's see the Nos. 8, 9 or 10 picks match that production.

What I Loved In Round 2: Talk about amazing value. Marion Barber (20th overall), Clinton Portis (21st) and Brian Westbrook (23rd) all deserve better fantasy fates than almost Round 3. On the contrarian side, the pessimist will focus on Felix Jones potentially cutting into Barber's red-zone touches, Portis running out of gas last year (something the Redskins don't want to repeat) and that Westbrook -- who had ankle surgery in the spring -- is primed to fall off the proverbial cliff of production. But the optimist in me says this NFC East trio has plenty of juice left in the tank. And even if Felix lands a more prominent role in the Dallas offense, does it really matter? The Cowboys, like it or not, are a run-first, run-second outfit now ... built on strong rushers and questionable pass-catchers (just like the Raiders).

What I Liked In Round 3: This one is fairly obvious. If Tom Brady comes anywhere close to matching his 50-TD, 4,806-yard campaign of 2007, this will be a steal for the ages. On a smaller-but-related scale, I applaud owner Jason McCoy for taking a major leap of faith with Wes Welker -- ahead of Brandon Marshall and Braylon Edwards -- who should be a lead-pipe cinch for 90-plus catches this season.

What I Jealously Loathed In Round 4: As much I love Kevin Smith's potential for 1,400 total yards/11 touchdowns, I should've grabbed Petyon Manning here. There's really no excuse for the healthy Hall of Famer-to-be falling to the 44th overall pick ... and there's certainly no excuse for him escaping my grasp.

What I Hope Works Out in Round 4: Contrary to public opinion, Larry Johnson is NOT yet 30 years old (his birthday's in November). He is NOT on his last legs as a stud NFL rusher. And he is NOT another Shaun Alexander (circa 2007) waiting to happen. With that said, I just couldn't pull the trigger on him at 38. Plain and simple, I'm a wuss.

Take The Good With The Bad

Here are some positive/negative nuggets involving Michael Turner's candidacy as the No. 1 pick:

Pros:
1. Turner has had 604 carries in five seasons -- just three more than Peterson in two seasons
2. Between the 20s, Turner has zero competition in non-3rd-and-long situations
3. Turner began and ended last season with a 200-yard rushing performance (Detroit, St. Louis)
4. Turner had more touches inside opponents' 8-yard line than any RB or WR last season (thanks, Talented Mr. Roto)

Cons:
1. History is littered with RBs who've suffered burnout the year AFTER totaling 370-plus carries
2. Matt Ryan will likely bump his passes from 434 to 480 in Year 2 (Turner had 6 catches in '08)
3. Falcons coaches are on record that Turner will not come close to 370-plus carries in '09
4. New acquisition and surefire Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez is certain to take away from Turner's red-zone touches

The Power Of ADP

You have to love the people at Fantasy Football Calculator. The FFC is already hard at work, trying to make mathematical sense of this year's top fantasy football prospects. In fact, this site represents the perfect one-stop shopping for mock drafts and the Average Draft Position tool (ADP) -- perhaps the best learning aid for NOT reaching during the August/September drafts. Speaking of ADP, here's a list of running backs likely earmarked for Rounds 1-6 (12-team leagues), if a draft were held today:

Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- Round 1, Pick 1
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- Round 1, Pick 3
Michael Turner, Falcons -- Round 1, Pick 3 (dead heat)
Matt Forte, Bears -- Round 1, Pick 4
Steven Jackson, Rams -- Round 1, Pick 6
LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers -- Round 1, Pick 7
Chris Johnson, Titans -- Round 1, Pick 8
Steve Slaton, Texans -- Round 1, Picks 11
DeAngelo Williams, Panthers -- Round 1, Pick 11 (dead heat)
Frank Gore, 49ers -- Round 2, Pick 2
Brian Westbrook, Eagles -- Round 2, Pick 5
Brandon Jacobs, Giants -- Round 2, Pick 5 (dead heat)
Clinton Portis, Redskins -- Round 2, Pick 8
Marion Barber, Cowboys -- Round 2, Pick 12
Ronnie Brown, Dolphins -- Round 3, Pick 4
Pierre Thomas, Saints -- Round 3, Pick 7
Ryan Grant, Packers -- Round 3, Pick 9
Kevin Smith, Lions -- Round 3, Pick 11
Marshawn Lynch, Bills -- Round 4, Pick 6
Reggie Bush, Saints -- Round 4, Picks 6 (dead heat)
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos -- Round 4, Pick 10
Darren McFadden, Raiders -- Round 4, Pick 11
Derrick Ward, Buccaneers -- Round 5, Pick 1
Joseph Addai, Colts -- Round 5, Pick 4
Thomas Jones, Jets -- Round 5, Pick 7
Larry Johnson, Chiefs -- Round 5, Pick 8
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers -- Round 5, Pick 11
Willie Parker, Steelers -- Round 6, Pick 1
Chris Wells, Cardinals -- Round 6, Pick 3
Felix Jones, Cowboys -- Round 6, Pick 10

Take The Good With The Bad, Part II

Here are more nuggets involving Matt Forte's candidacy as the No. 1 overall pick:

Pros:
1. Between the 20s and in the red zone, Forte has zero competition at RB
2. Forte (63 catches in '08) is a virtual lock for 65 catches and 400 touches in '09
3. A solid choice for No. 1 in PPR leagues, Forte is likely the NFL's most versatile back
4. Forte may be just scratching the surface, talent-wise, and could be a 2,000-total-yard candidate for another 5-7 years

Cons:
1. The Bears may open up the passing game with QB Jay Cutler on board
2. Forte gets knocked for his lack of pure game-breaking speed, a la Chris Johnson/Darren McFadden

Tweet Happens

The dynamic p.r. eggheads at Sports Illustrated have booked (or will be booking) an army of fantasy writers on radio stations across the country to promote our fantasy football magazine; and as luck would have it, I've already gotten my fair share of radio run in the last week (WFNZ in Charlotte, N.C. and WCCO in Minneapolis, to name a few) ... which leads me to the following: Come Tuesday afternoon, I will own a Twitter account, freeing me up to update fantasy honks on future radio/TV interviews or simply offer my two cents on fantasy-related issues. On the flip side ... here are some preseason Tweets you most likely won't see come August:

Hall of Fame Game -- Aug. 9: "LenDale White needs to stop eating rice cakes and beef up again for goal-line carries."

Week 1 -- Arizona @ Pittsburgh: "I like Matt Leinart as a sneaky-good pick in Round 14. He's lighting the Steelers up!"

Week 2 -- Kansas City @ Minnesota: "Can you believe Larry Johnson and Adrian Peterson have logged 60 combined carries tonight???!!!!"

Week 3 -- Indianapolis @ Detroit: "What's the NFL record for TD passes in one preseason game? Matthew Stafford could break 30 TDs this year."

Week 4 -- Oakland @ Seattle: "Why didn't I grab Nate Burleson in Round 7? It's not like he's going to break his leg every year!'

We Interrupt Fantasy Clicks ...

... To announce the arrival of Sports Illustrated's fantasy football spectacular, available online and at magazine racks nationwide. This 168-page tome is chock-full of rankings, columns (two from yours truly), features, draft-day advice, in-season strategies, booms, busts and an experts' mock draft, enlisting an army of SI's award-winning fantasy and NFL writers (including Peter King). Last but not least, it boasts perhaps the coolest cover of any fantasy magazine you'll ever see!

Am I overselling it a little bit? Perhaps. But the early feedback I've gotten from my fantasy brethren suggests SI's first major foray into fantasy football will be an absolute triumph -- and that it could become an all-time best seller within the genre. (UPDATE: My well-placed moles have informed me that SI's fantasy mag is indeed the top seller to date ... sweeeeeet!)

Choose Your Quarterback
Matt Hasselbeck: Kellen Micah/Icon SMI

At first blush, Matt Cassel seems like the stronger fantasy play over Matt Hasselbeck this season. After all, he led the Patriots to an 11-5 record in '08 and posted two games of 400 yards passing (a single-season feat shared by only a handful of QBs, including Dan Marino and Phil Simms), while Hasselbeck (who turns 34 on Sept. 25) spent most of last year on the injured list ... and all of springtime justifying his health (just in case Seattle had planned to draft Mark Sanchez at No. 4 overall). And yet, when you do a week-to-week fantasy breakdown of which QB gets the preferred starting nod, you might be surprised by the findings:

Week 1 -- Hasselbeck (vs. St. Louis) over Cassel (@ Baltimore)
Week 2 -- Hasselbeck (@ San Francisco) over Cassel (vs. Oakland) -- virtual toss up
Week 3 -- Hasselbeck (vs. Chicago) over Cassel (@ Philadelphia)
Week 4 -- Cassel (vs. N.Y. Giants) over Hasselbeck (@ Indianapolis)
Week 5 -- Hasselbeck (vs. Jacksonville) over Cassel (vs. Dallas) -- toss up
Week 6 -- Hasselbeck (vs. Arizona) over Cassel (@ Washington)
Week 7 -- Cassel (vs. San Diego) over Hasselbeck (BYE)
Week 8 -- Hasselbeck (@ Dallas) over Cassel (BYE)
Week 9 -- Hasselbeck (vs. Detroit) over Cassel (@ Jacksonville)
Week 10 -- Hasselbeck (@ Arizona) over Cassel (@ Oakland) -- toss up
Week 11 -- Hasselbeck (@ Minnesota) over Cassel (vs. Pittsburgh)
Week 12 -- Hasselbeck (@ St. Louis) over Cassel (@ San Diego)
Week 13 -- Cassel (vs. Denver) over Hasselbeck (vs. San Francisco)
Week 14 -- Cassel (vs. Buffalo) over Hasselbeck (@ Houston)
Week 15 -- Hasselbeck (vs. Tampa Bay) over Cassel (vs. Cleveland) -- toss up
Week 16 -- Hasselbeck (@ Green Bay) over Cassel (@ Cincinnati)
Week 17 -- Cassel (@ Denver) over Hasselbeck (vs. Tennessee)

Verdict: I'm not shocked that Hasselbeck won this battle. After all, he plays in the NFC West, where every team has a better-than-average shot at scoring 30 -- and allowing 35 -- on any given Sunday. But who could've predicted a 12-5 rout in Hasselbeck's favor, although we're basically splitting hairs for Weeks 2, 5, 10 and 13. But get this: Cassel is the better fantasy play for two crucial Sundays -- Week 13 against the Broncos and Week 14 against the Bills. In other words, he could be a playoff difference-maker.

Rule Of Thumb: 'Holdout' Running Backs

For Friday's NFL Clicks, I will attempt to deliver the truth (as I see it) about rookie holdouts and their fantasy potential after missing sizable chunks of training camp. But for now, let's focus on veteran running backs staying away from camp -- either as a means of getting a bigger paycheck or simply skipping out of stomatch-churning two-a-days in August (and believe me, this happens a lot):

Jets rusher Thomas Jones is under contract for one or two more years. He has rushed for 4,976 yards in the last four seasons. He is the reigning AFC rushing champion. And, oh yeah, he turns 31 on Aug. 19. All these factors lead one to believe that maybe, just maybe Jones will renew his quest to hold out for more cash this summer -- since his days of getting one last long-term payday (replete with an up-front signing bonus) are quickly coming to a close. Should fantasy owners -- and Jets fans -- be worried about the prospect of a TJ holdout?

My general rule: If a veteran performer with a sound track record is ready for training camp on day one, he always gets the benefit of the doubt. If he's back practicing with his team before Week 2 of the preseason, then he shouldn't drop more than 5-10 slots in standard drafts. But if the running back misses the entire "two-a-days" portion of training camp, then all fantasy bets are off (and yes, I'm looking squarely at you Larry Johnson, circa 2007).

Tiers Of A Clown -- Quarterbacks

Quarterbacks are the make-or-break assets of fantasy football -- especially if you reached way, way too early on one -- but they're not all created equal. To wit, the QB tier system for fantasy drafts, some of which begin in about six weeks:

Tier 1 (4,350 total yards and/or 34 TDs)
Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner

Tier 2 (4,000 total yards and/or 30 TDs)
Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb

Tier 3 (3,600 total yards and/or 27 TDs)
Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Matt Schaub, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Cassel, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Brett Favre (should he come out of retirement -- wink, wink)

Tier 4 (3,050 yards and/or 22 TDs)
Jason Campbell, Trent Edwards, JaMarcus Russell, Joe Flacco, David Garrard, Chad Pennington, Kyle Orton, Jake Delhomme, Shaun Hill, Marc Bulger

Tier 5 (2,700 yards and 17 TDs)
Daunte Culpepper, Mark Sanchez, Brady Quinn, Sage Rosenfels, Kerry Collins

Tier 6 (Does it really matter how they perform?)
Matthew Stafford, Tarvaris Jackson, Josh Freeman, Luke McCown, Derek Anderson, Tyler Thigpen, Byron Leftwich, Kellen Clemens, Vince Young, Pat White, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dan Orlovsky, Matt Leinart, Kyle Boller, Seneca Wallace, Rex Grossman

Take The Good With The Bad, Part III

Our last candidate for the No. 1 spot (at least today) ... Maurice Jones-Drew:

Pros:
1. Jones-Drew has virtually no competition at RB (with all apologies to Chauncey Washington)
2. MJD has averaged an impressive 4.8 yards per carry over the last three seasons
3. Jones-Drew nets 49 catches per year, but could easily pull down 70 catches this season
4. With Jacksonville's rebuilt O-line, MJD is a lock to repeat his 14 total TDs in '08 -- if not three scores higher

Cons:
1. The Jags only face four porous run defenses -- St. Louis, Kansas City, San Fran, Cleveland
2. Jones-Drew has never amassed 200 or more carries in a season
3. The Jags may be trailing early in a lot of games -- thus de-emphasizing the running game
4. Jones-Drew hasn't rushed for 1,000 yards at any point in his NFL career

It's All About The Slot: #12

Having the final pick of Round 1 and the first choice of Round 2 in fantasy drafts certainly has its perks: Longer bathroom breaks, more uninterrupted beer chugs, more frequent stares at the exhibition games on TV, less worries about "reaching" for players and more time to mock the other owners for taking a kicker or defense midway through the draft. But there are also some pratfalls associated with having back-to-back picks -- especially if you didn't do your homework leading up to The Big Day.

Well, hath no fear or ambivalence ... because here's a great strategy for nailing your mixed-league draft when possessing the No. 12 pick (and No. 13 on the flip side ... and so on and so forth):

Round 1, Pick 12: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: RB Brian Westbrook, Eagles ... 2nd option: RB Frank Gore, 49ers

Round 2, Pick 13 overall: Motive -- Best RB or WR available (a tad too early for QBs)
1st option: WR Andre Johnson, Texans ... 2nd option: WR Calvin Johnson, Lions

Round 3, Pick 36 overall: Motive -- Best RB available (ONLY QBs: Brees, Manning, Brady)
1st option: RB Darren McFadden, Raiders ... 2nd option: RB Marshawn Lynch, Bills

Round 4, Pick 37 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB available
1st option: WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos ... 2nd option: WR Braylon Edwards, Browns

Round 5, Pick 60 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR available (there's still too much TE depth)
1st option: RB Willie Parker, Steelers ... 2nd option: RB Cedric Benson, Bengals

Round 6, Pick 61 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB/TE available
1st option: QB Donovan McNabb, Eagles ... 2nd option: QB Tony Romo, Cowboys

Round 7, Pick 84 overall: Motive -- Best QB/WR/RB/TE available
1st option: TE Owen Daniels, Texans ... 2nd option: WR Jerricho Cotchery, Jets

Round 8, Pick 85 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/TE/QB available
1st option: RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles ... 2nd option: WR Jerricho Cotchery, Jets (again)

Round 9, Pick 108 overall: Motive -- Best TE/RB/WR/QB (perfect spot to grab TE1 or QB2)
1st option: TE Owen Daniels, Texans ... 2nd option: RB Darren Sproles, Chargers

Round 10, Pick 109 overall: Motive -- Best QB/RB/WR available
1st option: WR/RB Percy Harvin, Vikings ... 2nd option: RB Chester Taylor, Vikings

Round 11, Pick 132: Motive -- Best RB/WR/TE available (still not time for a kicker or D/ST)
1st option: RB Donald Brown, Colts ... 2nd option: WR Chris Henry, Bengals

Round 12, Pick 133: Motive -- Best WR/TE/RB/QB available
1st option: WR Sidney Rice, Vikings ... 2nd option: WR Earl Bennett, Bears

Round 13, Pick 156: Motive -- Best QB/RB/WR/TE available
1st option: QB Jason Campbell, Redskins ... 2nd option: WR Nate Washington, Titans

Round 14, Pick 157: Motive -- Best TE/RB/WR available (you have permission to draft a kicker)
1st option: WR Nate Washington, Titans ... 2nd option: PK Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots

Round 15, Pick 180: Motive -- Best kicker or defense
1st option: PK Rob Bironas, Titans ... 2nd option: D/ST San Diego Chargers

Round 16, Pick 181: Motive -- Best defense or kicker
1st option: D/ST San Diego Chargers ... 2nd option: D/ST Minnesota Vikings

Clip & Save

I realize it's way too early, but here's a little preview of the likely studs (factoring in opponent and weather) for Week 15, traditionally the second fantasy-playoff week. So, this should help you a little on draft day:

QBs: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb, Matt Schaub, Kerry Collins, JaMarcus Russell, Philip Rivers, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Delhomme
RBs: Maurice Jones-Drew, Marion Barber, Reggie Bush, Marshawn Lynch, Beanie Wells, Larry Johnson, Michael Turner, Thomas Jones, Steven Jackson, Brian Westbrook, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Darren Sproles, Adrian Peterson, Clinton Portis
WRs: Reggie Wayne, Marques Colston, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Chris Chambers, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith, Sidney Rice

... And So Goes The Great Bennett Experiment

I wanted to end today's Clicks with a juicy Breaking News bulletin: A mere two days after signing with the Ravens, veteran wideout Drew Bennett has officially retired from the NFL. Now, at face value, Bennett hanging it up is hardly stop-the-presses material -- especially since he hasn't had fantasy relevance since 2004 (80 catches, 1,247 yards, 11 TDs with Tennessee). But did you happen to notice how Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome had gone out of his way Friday to praise the once-forgotten-about Bennett, as if he would have little difficulty in filling the receiving shoes of the recently "retired" Derrick Mason? As if Mason didn't have enough leverage to get a reworked contract -- one that undoubtedly includes a hefty raise -- to bolster a Ravens receiving corps of luminaries like Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Yamon Figurs, Marcus Smith and Justin Harper ... then he must be grinning from ear-to-ear at the prospect of Baltimore conducting yet another open audition at receiver this week.

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