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Marshall, Johnson headline the one and only PPR spectacular

For the sake of tradition, we present the ultimate guide for Points Per Reception leagues. Every section -- minus the salute to Tommy Kramer/Ahmad Rashad -- has one singular focus: To help you dominate your PPR drafts, which should occur after Week 3 of the preseason. But in case you've already scheduled a draft, here's the good word on PPR stars such as Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush, Percy Harvin, Dexter McCluster and the otherSteve Smith, to name a few.

1. Always Be Thinking Receiver Obviously, you'll need quarterbacks, running backs, defenses/special teams to complement receivers and tight ends on PPR rosters. But no matter the round, you should always be pondering the next WR move, or at least factoring in how each draft pick adds value to the PPR format. Do my running backs have the capacity for four or more catches a game?Do I want to start a wide receiver in the RB/WR flex position?Will my QB regularly complete 21 or more passes every week?Should I move heaven and earth to "handcuff" my quarterback (Chad Henne) to a receiver who apparently catches 100 balls in his sleep (Brandon Marshall)?

2. Bush & 'Strategery' ... Together AgainDo you remember my draft-day strategy for standard-scoring leagues, advising owners to go RB-WR-RB-RB in the first four rounds? Well, the opposite holds true in PPRs (at least for those without a top-4 pick). Bottom line: You can never have enough receivers averaging eight-plus targets per game; and when it's time to draft a running back, always go with the guy who's a lock for at least 35 receptions. As far as names go, prioritize Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White, Anquan Boldin and both Steve Smiths at wideout, and Bush, Joseph Addai and Tim Hightower at tailback. Each player's PPR value is markedly better than standard-scoring leagues -- especially for leagues that award extra points for kick- or punt-return touchdowns.

3. Respect The Rice-Harvin-McCluster TroikaAs you'll clearly see in this James Michener-esque column (read: way too long), I'm an absolute slappy for targets in the PPR realm. "Targets" are simply the number of times a receiver, running back or tight end is thrown to. You know who sees a ton of targets? Ray Rice. So much that you'll wonder if it's actually fair for this 2,000-yard threat to collect 24-27 touches in Baltimore's rock-steady offense.

Also, Percy Harvin and Dexter McCluster think and act like running backs, but are classified as receivers in fantasyland. That should move any PPR owner to tears upon landing 'em for pennies on the dollar. Obviously, Harvin's migraine headaches could wreak havoc on any given Sunday, but that highly publicized illness could also work in your favor. Before the migraines, Harvin was a Round 5 PPR pick; in the post-hospitalization realm, Round 7 or 8. As for McCluster, the question isn't, "What will Chiefs offensive coordinator Charlie Weis do for Dexter's game as a rookie?" It should be, What won't Charlie Weis do for McCluster, likely to be one of the league's best in-space runners?

4. Laugh In The Face Of S-Jax DangerIf you can help it, please don't let Steven Jackson slide out of Round 1. Yes, his receptions have totaled 38, 40 and 51 in the past three seasons -- a far cry from his 90 in 2006; yes, he's stuck in the NFL's least progressive passing offense (the Rams); and yes, he had back surgery in the offseason (no back procedure can ever be construed as "minor"). But, when healthy, Jackson (1,738 total yards, 4 TDs in '09) is still a top-10 talent and one of the toughest plowhorses to tackle.

5. Quarterbacks Can WaitThis cannot be stated enough: In 10- or 12-team leagues, there should never be any to-die-for incentive to splurge for a quarterback early on -- unless Drew Brees,Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers freefalls into Round 3. Once that trio comes off the board, resume your time-tested strategy of letting QBs fall into Rounds 6-9.

Here are the first four rounds of my real PPR draft from the weekend. I drew the 9th slot for this 12-team league, but invariably traded my Rounds 1 and 7 picks (9/88 overall) for my friend's Rounds 2 and 4 choices (19/43 overall), eventually helping me grab eight players in the first 67 slots:

Round 1 1. Chris Johnson, Titans 2. Adrian Peterson, Vikings 3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars 4. Ray Rice, Ravens 5. Frank Gore, 49ers 6. Andre Johnson, Texans 7. Michael Turner, Falcons 8. Ryan Mathews, Chargers 9. Reggie Wayne, Colts (traded this pick before the draft)10. Aaron Rodgers, Packers 11. Steven Jackson, Rams 12. Randy Moss, Patriots

Round 213. Miles Austin, Cowboys 14. Drew Brees, Saints 15. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals 16. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (my pick -- and the one I coveted all along) 17. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers 18. Calvin Johnson, Lions 19. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins (my 100-catch draftee -- via trade) 20. Peyton Manning, Colts 21. Roddy White, Falcons 22. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers 23. LeSean McCoy, Eagles 24. Greg Jennings, Packers

Round 325. Shonn Greene, Jets 26. Ryan Grant, Packers 27. Pierre Thomas, Saints 28. DeSean Jackson, Eagles 29. Beanie Wells, Cardinals 30. Marques Colston, Saints 31. Cedric Benson, Bengals (how did this man-child fall so far?) 32. Anquan Boldin, Ravens 33. Sidney Rice, Vikings (my pick) 34. Dallas Clark, Colts 35. Steve Smith, Panthers 36. Antonio Gates, Chargers

Round 4 37. Wes Welker, Patriots (off my personal draft board -- until Round 8)38. Steve Smith, Giants (this 100-catch dynamo was made for PPRs)39. Matt Schaub, Texans 40. Tom Brady, Patriots 41. Michael Crabtree, 49ers 42. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers 43. Joseph Addai, Colts 44. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals 45. Vernon Davis, 49ers 46. Tony Romo, Cowboys 47. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos 48. Jason Witten, Cowboys (my pick, via trade, and a lead-pipe cinch for 88 catches/1,000 yards)

Here's the full roster for my squad, Count Chocula's Henchmen: Round 2 -- RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs Round 2 -- WR Brandon Marshall, Dolphins Round 3 -- WR Sidney Rice, Vikings Round 4 -- TE Jason Witten, Cowboys Round 5 -- RB Matt Forte, Bears Round 5 -- WR Hines Ward, Steelers (10th in WR targets last year) Round 6 -- RB C.J. Spiller, Bills (had to take the plunge -- he'll be amazing)Round 6 -- QB Jay Cutler, Bears (this pick at 67 was my last until 105) Round 9 -- WR Devin Aromashodu, Bears Round 10 -- RB Darren McFadden, Raiders Round 11 -- QB Chad Henne, Dolphins (clinching the B-Marsh handcuff)Round 12 -- WR Devin Thomas, Redskins (man-crush, part I) Round 13 -- WR Dexter McCluster, Chiefs (man-crush, part II)Round 14 -- D/ST Dallas CowboysRound 15 -- PK Dan Carpenter, Dolphins Round 16 -- RB Anthony Dixon, 49ers (tallied 20 carries/1 TD against the Vikings)

A receiver is only as good as his quarterback and the number of opportunities he gets to make a catch. Here are the 28 receivers to accrue 100 or more targets last season: 1. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 171 Targets2. Roddy White, Falcons -- 1653. Wes Welker, Patriots -- 1624. Steve Smith, Giants -- 157 5. Brandon Marshall, Broncos (now Dolphins) -- 154 6. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 153 7. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 149 8. Santonio Holmes, Steelers (now Jets) -- 1399. Randy Moss, Patriots -- 138 10. Hines Ward, Steelers -- 136 11. Calvin Johnson, Lions -- 13612. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks -- 13413. Derrick Mason, Ravens -- 134 14. Steve Smith, Panthers -- 129 15. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (now Ravens) -- 128 16. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- 128 17. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 12418. Sidney Rice, Vikings -- 121 19. Santana Moss, Redskins -- 120 20. DeSean Jackson, Eagles -- 118 21. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 118 22. Davone Bess, Dolphins -- 113 23. Donald Driver, Packers -- 112 24. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars -- 111 25. Terrell Owens, Bills (now Bengals) -- 10926. Marques Colston, Saints -- 10627. Vincent Jackson, Chargers -- 106 28. Nate Burleson, Seahawks (now Lions) -- 103

Last year in this space, I boldly predicted Sidney Rice -- coming off a 15-catch debacle in 2008 -- would amass 1,150 receiving yards and seven TDs with Sage Rosenfels as his starting quarterback. Of course, that was before Brett Favre officially entered the Purple picture and helped Rice pull down 83 catches for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns.

On the heels of a breakout campaign, Rice has obviously graduated from eminently replaceable asset to highly coveted receiver in fantasyland. But his ascension will likely have a vaccuum effect with fantasy owners, as we try to find a new stud out of the rubble of receivers with 30 or fewer catches last season. And in my tireless search for the next Sidney Rice -- an 1,100-yard receiver from Round 10 or lower (standard drafts) -- I've established this criteria:

1. Each WR (save Laurent Robinson) has a veteran QB tossing him the ball. 2. Each WR has the measurables (size, speed, hands) to be a future No. 1 in real-world circles. 3. Each receiver has little or no competition within their respective teams, fueling a potential breakout.

This year's hunch pick: Devin Thomas. He isWashington's second-round pick from 2008 and a fellow Michigan State alum. Yes, Thomas only had one great game last year (7 catches, 100 yards, 2 TDs vs. New Orleans); and yes, he probably won't have Donovan McNabb's complete trust early in the season, ceding red-zone targets to Santana Moss, Chris Cooley and Fred Davis. But IF the Redskins harbor any hopes of being competitive in the NFC East and contending for a wild card slot, Thomas must become the passing game's most viable between-the-20s option. He's a physical dynamo who just needs time to channel his inner-DeSean Jackson.

This Year's Top 10 WRs With 30 or Fewer Catches In '091. Devin Thomas, Redskins 2. Devin Aromashodu, Bears (12 catches/196 yards/3 TDs in Weeks 16/17) 3. Legedu Naanee, Chargers (should benefit from V-Jax's holdout saga)4. Laurent Robinson, Rams (IF ONLY St. Louis had a good QB) 5. Early Doucet, Cardinals (will likely garner the most catches from this list) 6. Justin Gage, Titans7. Chaz Schilens, Raiders8. Malcolm Kelly, Redskins (showed promise with 109-yard effort in Week 17)9. Brandon Tate, Patriots (my favorite super-sleeper among the no-names) 10. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (surely Al Davis knew something we didn't on Draft Day 2009, right? Hmmm ... maybe not.)

Understandably, fantasy owners only care about receptions, yards and TDs when it comes to wide receivers and tight ends. But I'd like to incorporate another crucial stat into Clicks -- one that directly affects the three primary categories: First downs earned off receptions. Here are the top-25 active wideouts and tight ends who expertly moved the chains in 2009:

1. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 73 first downs 2. Wes Welker, Patriots -- 71 first downs 3. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 69 4. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 69 5. Santonio Holmes, Steelers (now Jets) -- 63 6. Randy Moss, Patriots -- 62 7. Antonio Gates, Chargers -- 61 8. Steve Smith, Giants -- 61 9. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 59 10. Dallas Clark, Colts -- 59 11. Sidney Rice, Vikings -- 58 12. Vincent Jackson, Chagers -- 58 13. Brandon Marshall, Broncos (now Dolphins) -- 56 14. Hines Ward, Steelers -- 56 15. Derrick Mason, Ravens -- 55 16. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- 55 17. Marques Colston, Saints -- 54 18. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons -- 54 19. Roddy White, Falcons -- 54 20. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks -- 52 21. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals (now Ravens) -- 49 22. Donald Driver, Packers -- 49 23. Davone Bess, Dolphins -- 48 24. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 48 25. Jason Witten, Cowboys -- 48

Sports Illustrated and SI.com should always be your primary source for voluminous information leading up to fantasy drafts. If you're in the mood to participate in a LIVE mock draft on the Web -- while learning NOT to reach for Bernard Berrian before Round 12 -- here are the best destinations for real-time mocking:

Mock Draft CentralAntSports.comCBS SportsESPN Mock Draft LobbyFantasy Football Calculator

The gurus at CBSSports.com have established this season's top-25 leaders in receiving yards -- at least with receivers: 1. Andre Johnson, Texans -- 1,532 yards 2. Reggie Wayne, Colts -- 1,380 yards 3. Roddy White, Falcons -- 1,357 4. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals -- 1,3075. Calvin Johnson, Lions -- 1,270 6. Greg Jennings, Packers -- 1,254 7. Miles Austin, Cowboys -- 1,251 8. Marques Colston, Saints -- 1,235 9. Randy Moss, Patriots -- 1,234 10. Steve Smith, Panthers -- 1,216 11. Sidney Rice, Vikings -- 1,209 12. DeSean Jackson, Eagles -- 1,201 13. Brandon Marshall, Dolphins -- 1,187 14. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals -- 1,137 15. Steve Smith, Giants -- 1,124 16. Wes Welker, Patriots -- 1,107 17. Chad Ochocinco, Bengals -- 1,066 18. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs -- 1,029 19. Hines Ward, Steelers -- 948 20. Donald Driver, Packers -- 944 21. Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars -- 893 22. Santana Moss, Redskins -- 893 23. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks -- 890 24. Hakeem Nicks, Giants -- 876 25. Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- 875

Behold a winning strategy for PPR drafts when holding the No. 3 pick (12-teamer):

Round 1, Pick 3: Motive -- Best overall playerRB Ray Rice, Ravens ... 2nd option: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

Round 2, Pick 22 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR availableRB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs ... 2nd option: WR Sidney Rice, Vikings

Round 3, Pick 27: Motive -- Best WR availableWR Sidney Rice, Vikings ... 2nd option: WR Anquan Boldin, Ravens

Round 4, Pick 46 overall: Motive -- Best WR/RB//QB availableWR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs ... 2nd option: WR Hines Ward, Steelers

Round 5, Pick 51: Motive -- Best RB/WR or Witten-like tigh endsTE Jason Witten, Cowboys ... 2nd option: RB Reggie Bush, Saints

Round 6, Pick 70 overall: Motive -- Best WR/RB/QB availableWR Vincent Jackson, Chargers ... 2nd option: WR Percy Harvin, Vikings

Round 7, Pick 75 overall: Motive -- Best QB/WR/RB availableQB Kevin Kolb, Eagles ... 2nd option: RB Justin Forsett, Seahawks

Round 8, Pick 94 overall: Motive -- Best WR/QB/TE availableWR Devin Aromashodu, Bears ... 2nd option: WR Santonio Holmes, Jets

Round 9, Pick 99 overall: Motive -- Best RB (maybe even a workhorse)RB Donald Brown, Colts ... 2nd option: RB Clinton Portis, Redskins

Round 10, Pick 118: Motive -- Best QB/WR or elite defenseQB Matthew Stafford, Lions ... 2nd option: D/ST New York Jets

Round 11, Pick 123: Motive -- Best WR/TE availableWR Devin Thomas, Redskins ... 2nd option: WR Donnie Avery, Rams

Round 12, Pick 142: Motive -- Best WR/TE or kickerPK Rob Bironas, Titans ... 2nd option: WR Austin Collie, Colts

Round 13, Pick 147: Motive -- Best rookie secret weaponWR Dexter McCluster, Chiefs ... 2nd option: D/ST New York Giants

Round 14, Pick 166: Motive -- Best defense availableD/ST Cincinnati Bengals ... 2nd option: D/ST San Diego Chargers

Round 15, Pick 171: Motive -- Young wideout with greatest upsideWR Arrelious Benn, Bucs... 2nd option: WR Golden Tate, Seahawks

Round 16, Pick 190: Motive -- Best WR2 from a passing teamWR Early Doucet, Cardinals ... WR Laurent Robinson, Rams

... My speculative PPR picks for the 14th round (166 overall) were none other than Jamaal Charles and Sidney Rice -- my Rounds 2 and 3 picks from above. How cool is that? Hmmm,I guess Arrelious Benn and Dexter McCluster will be predraft studs this time next year.

These tight ends attracted at least 50 targets in 2009: 1. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons -- 135 targets 2. Dallas Clark, Colts -- 132 targets 3. Vernon Davis, 49ers -- 129 4. Kellen Winslow Jr., Buccaneers -- 127 5. Jason Witten, Cowboys -- 124 (only 30 incompletions last year -- wow!)6. Antonio Gates, Chargers -- 114 7. Brent Celek, Eagles -- 112 8. Greg Olsen, Bears -- 108 9. Zach Miller, Raiders -- 100 10. Heath Miller, Steelers -- 98 11. John Carlson, Seahawks -- 83 12. Dustin Keller, Jets -- 82 13. Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings -- 79 14. Fred Davis, Redskins -- 76 15. Todd Heap, Ravens -- 75 16. Jermichael Finley, Packers -- 71 17. Bo Scaife, Titans -- 70 18. Kevin Boss, Giants -- 69 19. Jeremy Shockey, Saints -- 67 20. Randy McMichael, Rams (now Chargers) -- 62 21. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars -- 59 22. Owen Daniels, Texans -- 58 (in only eight games) 23. Donald Lee, Packers -- 55 24. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions -- 55 25. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins -- 54 26. Will Heller, Lions -- 50 27. Tony Scheffler, Broncos (now Lions) -- 50

The experts at Fantasy Football Toolbox are off and running with unique takes on ...1. Running backs 29 or older2. Positional fantasy studs3. The most overused running backs4. Fail-safe picks5. Best bye-week running backs6. Prime comeback candidates (author, Rob Warner) 7. IDP rankings -- starring the mullet-free Jared Allen

Here are CBSSports.com's receptions projections for the bumper crop of hands-friendly backs: Reggie Bush, Saints -- 65 catches Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- 47 Chris Johnson, Titans -- 44 Ray Rice, Ravens -- 43 LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- 43 Steven Jackson, Rams -- 41 Tim Hightower, Cardinals -- 41 Frank Gore, 49ers -- 40 Joseph Addai, Colts -- 40 Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- 39 Steve Slaton, Texans -- 39 Matt Forte, Bears -- 38 Darren Sproles, Chargers -- 37 Jamaal Charles, Chiefs -- 35 Knowshon Moreno, Broncos -- 34 C.J. Spiller, Bills -- 34 Darren McFadden, Raiders -- 34 Jahvid Best, Lions -- 33 Chester Taylor, Bears -- 33 Ryan Mathews, Chargers -- 32 Kevin Faulk, Patriots -- 32 Pierre Thomas, Saints -- 31 Justin Forsett, Seahawks -- 30 Jerome Harrison, Browns -- 30

At the risk of penalizing Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner too much for being wallflowers in the passing game, here are my PPR rankings for tailbacks:1. Chris Johnson, Titans 2. Ray Rice, Ravens 3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars 4. Frank Gore, 49ers 5. Adrian Peterson, Vikings 6. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs 7. Steven Jackson, Rams 8. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers 9. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers 10. Pierre Thomas, Saints 11. Cedric Benson, Bengals 12. Michael Turner, Falcons 13. Matt Forte, Bears 14. LeSean McCoy, Eagles 15. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos 16. C.J. Spiller, Bills 17. Reggie Bush, Saints 18. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants 19. Ryan Grant, Packers 20. Ryan Mathews, Chargers 21. Beanie Wells, Cardinals 22. Joseph Addai, Colts 23. Jahvid Best, Lions 24. Felix Jones, Cowboys 25. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers 26. Shonn Greene, Jets 27. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins 28. Fred Jackson, Bills 29. Darren McFadden, Raiders 30. Steve Slaton, Texans 31. Jerome Harrison, Browns 32. Marion Barber, Cowboys 33. Justin Forsett, Seahawks 34. Donald Brown, Colts 35. Ricky Williams, Dolphins 36. Tim Hightower, Cardinals 37. Clinton Portis, Redskins 38. Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers 39. Darren Sproles, Chargers 40. Michael Bush, Raiders

These versatile backs drew at least 50 targets in 2009: 1. Ray Rice, Ravens -- 101 targets 2. Tim Hightower, Cardinals -- 80 targets 3. Frank Gore, 49ers -- 75 4. Steven Jackson, Rams -- 74 5. Matt Forte, Bears -- 72 6. Chris Johnson, Titans -- 71 7. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars -- 71 8. Reggie Bush, Saints -- 68 9. Joseph Addai, Colts -- 63 10. Fred Jackson, Bills -- 60 11. Chester Taylor, Vikings (now Bears) -- 59 12. Justin Forsett, Seahawks -- 59 13. Adrian Peterson, Vikings -- 57 14. Darren Sproles, Chargers -- 57 15. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs -- 56 16. Kevin Smith, Lions -- 56 17. LeSean McCoy, Eagles -- 55 18. Steve Slaton, Texans -- 55 19. Kevin Faulk, Patriots -- 53 20. Ricky Williams, Dolphins -- 53 21. Jerome Harrison, Browns -- 50

... The greatest two-play sequence in NFL history, a memory that inexplicably gets minimal love with NFL Films and has been erased from the minds of the video-montage experts at ESPN. (By now, you've undoubtedly clicked on Browns @ Vikings, circa 1980, and have already stopped reading.) Tell me: When was the last time an NFL club clinched a division crown on a Hail Mary pass at the gun with a long-yardage flea-flicker on the preceding play? The answer: never.

One last thing: Am I wrong to hail longtime NBC announcer Charlie Jones asone of the most impactful sportscasters of our time? How fitting the late, great Jones called the most surreal NFL ending that no one remembers.

Jay Clemons can be found on Twitter, day and night, answering your fantasy questions. You can also read his award-winning Revelations every Sunday/Monday during the NFL season.

Looking for past editions of the Clicks? Check out everything you may have missed.

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