Three and out: Ford has deep sleeper value

Here’s our fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day …

Jacoby Ford has sleeper appeal: During an interview with NFL Network, Raiders coach Hue Jackson stated his desire to get Ford the ball more often this season. Ford wasn’t playing consistently until Week 7 during his rookie season, but he still scored seven total touchdowns, recorded two 100-yard receiving games and averaged a solid 18.8 yards per catch. If he can earn a starting spot heading into the 2011 campaign, Ford will be well worth a late-round look in fantasy drafts. He’ll be even more valuable in leagues that reward players for return yards and scores.

Jake Locker to start in Week 1?: One of the biggest question marks for the Titans heading into this season is what direction the team will take at quarterback. Or is it? According to star running back Chris Johnson, who was in attendance at a two-day minicamp held by players, rookie Jake Locker will be the starter from Day 1. That might be good for Locker, but it’s not going to do anything to help the fantasy value of Kenny Britt or any of the Titans wideouts. There’s a ton of uncertainty around the league right now due to the lockout, but fantasy owners should prefer to see the Titans add someone like Matt Hasselbeck or even Marc Bulger in an effort to help Locker make a smooth transition. But if Locker or Rusty Smith (gulp) opens the season under center, well, it’s going to hurt the fantasy value of several Titans players.

Smith has worked out with Panthers: Steve Smith’s future in Carolina is blurry at best, but Senior Writer Steve Wyche reports the veteran receiver has been in attendance at some of the team’s player-organized workouts. Previous reports, which Smith questioned, suggested that he had asked to be traded. Such a move would alter the fantasy value of several players, including Cam Newton, David Gettis, Brandon LaFell and Jeremy Shockey. Smith’s production has dwindled in recent years, but if he is traded, his draft stock would clearly see a boost. As it stands, he’s no more than a No. 3 or 4 fantasy option.

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