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The Lowdown: Justin Hunter, Baltimore Backfield and Kelvin Benjamin

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Justin Hunter:

Justin Hunter had himself a game on Friday, catching 4 balls for 111 yards and 2 TDs. Coach Ken Whisenhunt still believes Hunter has a lot of work to do, though.

“I think you’re seeing just a glimpse of what he can be, but because of what he did last night, let’s not make the mistake and think he’s, by any stretch, close to what he can be. There are a lot of things, from route depth to discipline on his releases, where even though he made some big plays last night, those have got to become more consistent. So he’s still got a lot of work to do,” Whisenhunt said, via ESPN.com.”

The Titans are still excited about Justin Hunter, though, and I don’t blame them.

“I’m excited for two things: No. 1 because he can make those big plays; and No. 2, because he seems to have the right mindset to work on those two things. Part of being a young player is you’ve got to be able to do that yourself. Right now, he has to be reminded at times to do that. Not from a negative standpoint, just because there is a lot going on.”

Hunter’s game certainly didn’t go unnoticed on Friday night, as his ADP jumped almost another round since then.

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As somebody who has been targeting Hunter since early in the year, sometimes I cringe when these guys explode with impressive preseason games because their ADP tends to rise dramatically. Brandin Cooks might be the best example of that so far. Davis Mattek has tagged Hunter as a mid-round WR that you NEED to be drafting and I am right there with him. Lets just hope his ADP stays in the mid-rounds.

Baltimore Backfield:

Saturday night, Bernard Pierce got the start over Ray Rice against the Cowboys. Rice injured his shoulder in the game, though it isn’t believed to be serious.

“It shouldn’t be anything too serious,” coach John Harbaugh said of Rice’s injury

Rice had a mere two carries, but accumulated 21 yards, after breaking one for 18 yards. Scott Smith wonders if Rice is the ultimate recency bias discount this year. Bernard Pierce was able to take his 7 carries for 55 yards. Some wonder if he could earn more of a starting role while Rice is out the first two games of the season.

I also think Lorenzo Taliaferro could be worth a stash in dynasty leagues. Taliaferro went as the number 29 pick in our post-draft, rookie mock draft. Max Mulitz also believes that Taliaferro could be the next Shanahan-system superstar. The Raven’s backfield is going to be one of the more difficult backfield codes to decipher.

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Pierce and Rice’s ADP have gradually moved closer together throughout the season. If I am drafting one of these backs this year, I think I’d still stick with Rice. However, I may just avoid this situation all together.

Kelvin Benjamin:

I typically try and show some self-restraint when it comes to drafting rookie receivers in redraft leagues. In dynasty, maybe not as much restraint… as I selected Benjamin in my dynasty start-up this year (if you care.) This year, I am a bit bullish on K-Benjy,mostly due to the strong write ups by my cohorts here at RotoViz. Articles by Matthew Freedman, Jon Moore and Scott Smith, have me smitten for this 6’5″ 243 pound WR from Florida State. I’ve also chosen Benjamin as one of my late round WRs to target in your drafts this year. With word that Carolina is prepping Benjamin as a No. 1, it’s hard not to like the opportunity he has, even though he is a raw prospect.

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People are catching on to the K-Benjy hype-train and I can’t say that I blame them. Benjamin landed in one of the most depleted WR corps in the league, now it’s up to him to capitalize. I’m all in on K-Benjy this year.

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