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Mostly NFL Notes: Arian Foster is one reason to want an early pick

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The undisputed No. 1 pick (USP)

As most do, I view Arian Foster as the clear cut No. 1 fantasy player this year. I'd probably take LeSean McCoy over Ray Rice, but it's tough to quibble with either next. Calvin Johnson, a true freak who's easily in a tier of his own at WR, will likely go soon thereafter, but then it becomes murkier, especially for someone like myself who likes to wait on quarterbacks. I'm actually buying Ryan Mathews and would draft him aggressively, same with Trent Richardson. I also expect Chris Johnson to bounce back, but after that (and that last trio certainly comes with question marks), I want no part of having to choose in a draft. Like I said, I don't like taking QBs early, and I don't see much difference between the next dozen or so wide receivers after Megatron. And when you get into the next tier of backs, it becomes seriously questionable, especially when we are talking late first/early second round picks. While there's no LaDainian Tomlinson in his prime standout, I definitely want an early pick in drafts this year.

This lady gets bit by a dog on live TV.

I don't know how to describe this video, other than it has a twist ending.

Highway scare prank on wife.

To further illustrate the importance of getting an early pick in 2012 drafts, consider that from 2001-2006, the top-10 leaders in rushing attempts averaged 335.2 carries. Since then, they have averaged 302.1, which is a significant difference, highlighted by last year, when the number dropped down all the way to 284.8. While this trend likely devalues the RB position as a whole, it increases the value of the few remaining workhorses quite a bit. Securing one early is compounded by the fact most people's WR ranks will look quite different from #2-15ish, and every second round RB option is likely either coming off a serious injury or is old with a bunch of mileage and a candidate to break down soon, so late second/early third round picks should be just fine. As such, also feel free to bid heavily on Foster, McCoy and Rice (and Calvin) if you prefer auctions.

Near death experiences: This recently released footage at Seaworld from 2006 is pretty extreme...This transit van driver is easy on his brakes but a bit tough on his bumper…This guy catches a 7-year-old girl falling from a three-story building.

While many cheatsheets look different when it comes to the No. 2 fantasy wide receiver, I might personally place Julio Jones there. During the 10 games last season he played in which he didn't miss or leave early with an injury (he played in Week 12 but was returning from a hamstring strain and was targeted just once), Jones totaled 51 catches for 934 yards and eight touchdowns — a full season's pace that would equal 82/1,494/13. Of course, we can't just pretend those injuries didn't happen, and it's possible it's a sign he'll battle health problems moving forward, but that's some serious production from a rookie. It's not ideal having a teammate in Roddy White who led all of football in targets last season, including inside the red zone, but the Falcons attempted the fourth most pass attempts in the NFL. Moreover, Michael Turner is wearing down, and new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter at least says he plans on utilizing the no-huddle offense more. The Falcons play in a dome and will likely be in at least four shootouts against the Saints and Panthers, and Jones got an impressive 10.1 YPT as a rookie. Maybe his TD production is unsustainable considering he got just one target inside the 10-yard line last year, or conversely, his scoring potential could be viewed as through the roof since he's so explosive (six catches for 40-plus yards), and at 6-3, 220, seemingly an ideal red-zone target who should see increased looks. It's not that I'd bet on Jones finishing as fantasy's No. 2 WR at year's end, but I'd take a straight up wager on him versus any wideout not named Calvin Johnson.

Animal Antics: This is what snake venom does to human blood…Are we really supposed to believe the New East River Monster is just a pig?…Dog helps carry lazy (or is it unwilling?) cat into house.

Carson Palmer threw an ugly 16 interceptions in just 10 games last year, but he was sitting on his couch until a trade brought him to Oakland in Week 7. Over his nine starts, he averaged 293.0 passing yards, which would've ranked as sixth best in the NFL during a historic passing year. Palmer got an impressive 8.6 YPA during those starts — only Aaron Rodgers produced a higher mark among all quarterbacks last year. Palmer's arm strength is finally back, and he's still just 32 years old, which isn't a worry for the QB position. However, there's some legitimate concern with Hue Jackson getting fired and a change in offensive philosophy, as new OC Greg Knapp is typically run-heavy and may even ask Palmer to be mobile (the newly implemented zone-blocking scheme is also a poor fit for Darren McFadden, as Oakland's regime continues to try to fit square pegs in round holes even with Al Davis gone). Still, with Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford, Palmer has plenty of weapons at his disposal in an AFC West division that will likely feature a lot of shootouts. Don't be surprised if Palmer finishes as a top-10 fantasy QB.

I tweeted that the most unrealistic part of the new "Batman"  is Hines Ward returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, but even as someone who's not into comic book movies, I enjoyed it quite a bit. And regarding that football scene, I guarantee Ben Roethlisberger shook off what happened.

Pretty crazy that the man with the world's stretchiest skin is named Gary Stretch.

Best job application ever?

Evan Royster's only two starts last year were the final two games of the season, but he took full advantage, totaling 312 yards on just 46 touches. Albeit in limited work, he ended his rookie season with an impressive 5.9 YPC mark and proved plenty capable as a receiver. If he qualified, his 3.4 YPC after contact would have actually ranked as the third highest mark in all of football (behind only Fred Jackson and Darren Sproles). While all that's encouraging, targeting Royster this year is less about the player himself and more about the situation he presents. Tim Hightower currently looks like Washington's starter. As insane as that seems, it's also an indictment on the exciting Roy Helu, who the coaching staff seems to question his durability. Hightower is coming off a serious knee injury and put simply, isn't any good (3.9 YPC in his career). Helu, whom I like quite a bit and acknowledge has the upside of a top-10 fantasy back, will likely go far earlier in drafts, so in a situation with so much uncertainty that involves Mike Shanahan, take the back who will be the cheapest in fantasy leagues and also might just very well be the most capable of carrying a full workload. With Robert Griffin taking over at QB and upgrades at wide receiver, there's a ton of upside. Of course, another committee with unpredictable usage remains the most likely outcome.

Canterbury Park has dominated recent news. First with this race announced by Paul Allen on helium.

Followed by this ostrich race that has to be seen to be believed. "What a controversial running!" Truly hilarious.

Long (must) read: Fascinating story about someone who's sorry about killing his parents nearly 20 years ago. Is that enough for him to be released from prison?

Aaron Hernandez has to deal with possibly the best tight end in football along with Wes Welker and newcomer Brandon Lloyd as teammates competing for looks. But if you prorated his targets last season over 16 games (he missed two contests with an injury), Hernandez actually would have finished with 129 — second only to Jimmy Graham and ahead of Rob Gronkowski among tight ends. It's also worth noting Hernandez played most of last year with a bulky knee brace that hampered him, and he's still just 22 years old. He's not nearly the run blocker Gronkowski is, but that often leads to him lining up out wide like a receiver, which is good news for fantasy owners. Despite playing two fewer games, Hernandez surprisingly saw 10 more targets inside the 10 (17 vs. 7) than Gronkowski and six more inside the five (8 vs. 2). This helps partially explain why Gronk was so much better in YPT (10.7 vs. 8.1) and reveals the possibility of a huge change in TD production moving forward. Moreover, Hernandez led all tight ends in football last year with 23 broken tackles, while Gronkowski finished second — with a distant 13. Even disregarding Gronk coming off a serious injury and his Hollywood offseason, there's a strong chance Hernandez has the better season in 2012. Considering their difference in ADP (26 vs. 67), target Hernandez.

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