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Ravens re-sign Derek Cox


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:26 am ET) The Ravens re-signed cornerback Derek Cox after letting him go Saturday, reports the Baltimore Sun. He has 13 interceptions in five NFL seasons.

Browns add players to practice squad


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:21 am ET) The Browns signed quarterback Connor Shaw, linebackers Justin Staples and Keith Pough, offensive linemen Patrick Lewis and Karim Barton, tight end Emmanuel Ogbuehi and receiver Charles Johnson to their practice squad.

J.J. Watt gets six-year, $100 million extension


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:10 am ET) Texans defensive end J.J. Watt agreed to a six-year, $100 million extension, including nearly $52 million guaranteed. The deal makes Watt the NFL's highest-paid defensive player.

Watt has 36.5 sacks in three seasons.


Sammy Watkins risky in Week 1


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:25 am ET) The Bills haven't had a bonafide No. 1 receiver since the days of Jim Kelly to Andre Reed, but rookie Sammy Watkins has the talent to be their best wide receiver since the franchise's Super Bowl era. Sure, Eric Moulds, Lee Evans and Stevie Johnson were fine, but with the right quarterback, Watkins can be special.

Unfortunately, Watkins will be catching passes from second-year signal caller EJ Manuel. The team seems to have little confidence in Manuel being the answer at quarterback just one year after drafting him in the first round. Kyle Orton was pulled out of retirement and handed a pricy one-year deal, and one can easily picture the scenario where he's starting games for the team in November and December.

Will Manuel respond to the job-security threat with elevated play? His best shot is to feed his star rookie early and often. Bears cornerback Charles Tillman has made a career off shutting down No. 1 receivers, but he's not the same player at 33 as he was at 25. While he was a plus in coverage as recently as 2012, Tillman struggled on the field between injuries last year. If Watkins had a top-16 quarterback delivering the ball, I'd like him for a big game in Week 1. As it is, Fantasy owners would be best holding off on starting Watkins until the quarterback situation plays itself out for better or for worse.


Fred Jackson may have trouble finding running room in Week 1


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:04 am ET) Bills running back Fred Jackson will face a Bears team in Week 1 that did a terrible job at defending the run last season. However, his Week 1 success may not be as pre-ordained as that of running mate, C.J. Spiller.

Unlike Spiller, Jackson does much of his work without the benefit of big plays, grinding out his numbers by taking what the defense gives rather than providing a home-run threat on any down. While most of the members of the Bears back seven that was responsible for surrendering so many big plays has returned, the team has overhauled the defense line, signing three new defensive ends and drafting two rotational defensive tackles.

Two of those free-agent additions are Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, the two players that graded out as the best 4-3 defensive ends in run stop percentage last season, per Pro Football Focus. With those two players in tow and second-round draft pick Ego Ferguson taking up space in the middle, Jackson could have difficulty converting on short-yardage or goal-line situations.

It's also fair to wonder how many long scoring drives the Bills will be able to put together if Jackson and the offensive line can't stymie the line's potentially improved rush defense. EJ Manuel hasn't done enough at this point in his career to trust his ability to pick defenses apart with his arm. If the Bills have trouble finding the red zone, Jackson could wind up being a Week 1 Flex option Fantasy owners come to regret.


C.J. Spiller could ride big plays to productive Week 1


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Bills running back C.J. Spiller has feasted on big plays ever since emerging as a Fantasy weapon. In 2012, he was third in the league in breakaway percentage, a statistic tracked by Pro Football Focus that determines how much of a player's rushing yardage total is accrued on plays of at least 15 yards. Spiller topped the league in the category last season. Clearly, if he can find a seam, he has the ability to wrea havoc on a defense.

Spiller will be squaring off with the Bears on Sunday. Last season, the Bears turned in by far the worst run defense performance in the league. They surrendered 2,583 rushing yards and 5.3 yards per rush, both marks placing them last in the league. They overhauled the defensive line in the offseason as a result, drafting two rotational defensive tackles and signing three defensive ends.

But if those players can't keep Spiller bottled up at the line all game, he's a threat to break a long touchdown or two. While the Bears run defense was obviously porous as a unit, the back seven was particularly offensive, ranking last in Football Outsiders' second-level yardage and open-field yardage statistics. The Bears didn't do much to upgrade those two levels of the defense either, meaning plenty of broken tackles and long gains are there for the taking if Spiller can find a little daylight. He's a trustworthy RB2 in Week 1 and a must-use in any Flex conversations.


EJ Manuel will look to conquer road woes Sunday


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) Bills quarterback EJ Manuel endured what could at best be described as an uneven rookie season last year. Going 4-6 as a starter, Manuel particularly struggled on the road, where he turned in poor performances against the Jets, Browns, Steelers and Buccaneers before turning in a quality performance against the Jaguars in Week 14, his last game of the season.

Manuel opens this season on the road as well, heading to Soldier Field to take on the Bears Sunday. He'll be facing a new-look Chicago defensive line, rebuilt after the Bears defense struggled to generate a pass rush last season. Whether that pass rush can be effective could be the key to Manuel's success; the quarterback averaged 6.9 yards per attempt when under no pressure last season, but just 5.0 yards per attempt when faced with pressure.

Is there a good reason to start Manuel in Week 1? Not really. Every Fantasy team should be looking at a healthy roster heading into the beginning of the season, and there are anywhere from 14 to 20 QBs worth using over Manuel no matter the matchup. But a good performance in an unfavorable environment against a potentially improved pass rush would go a long way towards making the second-year player Fantasy relevant in 2014.


Patriots claim Don Jones off waivers


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Patriots have been awarded safety Don Jones on waivers from the Dolphins and waived offensive lineman Chris Barker in a corresponding move.

The Patriots will likely be looking for some extra insight on their Week 1 opponent after bringing the former Dolphin into the fold. The move leaves the Patriots with six safeties on the roster.


Jets release Ellis Lankster, re-sign A.J. Edds


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Jets released cornerback Ellis Lankster and re-signed inside linebacker A.J. Edds Monday.

Report: Chris Conte to start if medically cleared


by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Bears safety Chris Conte will be the team's starting free safety in Sunday's season opener against the Bills, provided he's medically cleared to play, ESPN reports.

Conte has been locked in a position battle with rookie Brock Vereen, and despite suffering a concussion during the team's third preseason game, he's done enough to be named the starter. It wouldn't be surprising to see Vereen overtake Conte in the starting lineup, with the latter grading out as a below-average starter, according to ProFootballFocus.com, who particularly struggles in run support.


Report: Raiders going with Derek Carr over Matt Schaub


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Raiders players have been told the team will start rookie Derek Carr over veteran Matt Schaub at quarterback, reports Fox Sports. Carr threw three touchdown passes in last Thursday's preseason finale while Schaub has battled elbow problems.

Oakland opens the season Sunday at the Jets.


Emmanuel Sanders a strong flex option Week 1


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Assuming Wes Welker returns from his concussion and plays Week 1, teammate Emmanuel Sanders still will be a strong flex option. Colts-Broncos is a guaranteed shootout -- the over/under is a whopping 55, highest on the board -- and Peyton Manning can support three productive Fantasy receivers with ease.

Plus, Manning has taken a liking to Sanders. When Sanders debuted in the third preseason game, the duo hooked up for 67- and 29-yard touchdowns in the first half.

"You just throw it as far as you can, and it's hard to outthrow that guy," Manning told the team's website.

Sanders finished with five catches for 128 yards on eight first-half targets, doing most of that before Welker got concussed. Sanders was not 100 percent for that game; he had just come back from a quad injury.

Now Sanders, who started building chemistry with Manning at informal Duke University workouts, "looks ready for the big stage," the website said.

"Peyton puts it on the money," Sanders said. "He takes pride in throwing the perfect football. He takes pride in being perfect all around, in general. He makes my job easy."

Manning is going to help Sanders reach a level he has not hit before, starting Sunday night.

Redskins complete practice squad


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Redskins filled out their 10-man practice squad by signing safety Akeem Davis and linebacker Chaz Sutton, reports the Washington Post.

Jets tweak roster


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Jets signed free agent cornerback Phillip Adams and claimed receiver Walt Powell off waivers from the Cardinals. New York also waived receiver Quincy Enunwa, who likely will be placed on the practice squad.

Tough matchup not a concern for Julius Thomas


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Broncos tight end Julius Thomas opens the season with a difficult matchup: Indianapolis allowed the fewest Fantasy points to tight ends (5.33 per game) last year.

It's not a concern for Thomas, one of three tight ends to catch a touchdown against the Colts in 2013. In Week 7 at Indy, Thomas caught five of six targets for 41 yards and the score.

That was one of 12 touchdowns Thomas scored in his breakout season. The 26-year-old showed he's not satisfied by taking a diligent offseason approach, according to the Denver Post.

"He's going to be a very special player," former Broncos tight end Joel Dreessen said. "It was fun to watch him grow up last season. In this offseason, he really impressed me with his attitude and work ethic and how hungry he was."

Thomas drew 17 red-zone targets last year. With Eric Decker's departure, the 6-5, 250-pound Thomas should see a few more this season. He's a top-3 play Sunday night.


Allen Hurns secures No. 3 spot


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Jaguars undrafted rookie Allen Hurns, who led the team with 14 preseason catches for 232 yards, enters the season as the No. 3 wideout, reports ESPN.com. Veteran Cecil Shorts and rookie Marqise Lee are the projected starters.

Hurns took advantage of extra reps due to injuries and "worked his way into the top three spots," the report said.


Cowboys make roster moves


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Cowboys waived defensive back Jemea Thomas and signed linebacker Korey Toomer.

Rams claim Case Keenum


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Rams claimed quarterback Case Keenum off waivers from the Texans, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter.


Demaryius Thomas needs better performance vs. Vontae Davis


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Broncos No. 1 receiver Demaryius Thomas dominated most cornerbacks last year. That was not the case with Vontae Davis.

The Colts' top corner held up well Week 7 against the 6-3, 229-pound Thomas. While Thomas caught four passes for 82 yards and a touchdown, his 31-yard score came one play after Davis exited briefly with an injury. Thomas ended up catching fewer than half his nine targets.

Davis graded out as Indy's top defensive player that night. In addition to making five tackles, he allowed three completions out of eight throws to his coverage area for 12 yards. Whatever damage Thomas did, he didn't do it against Davis. Thomas figures to see plenty of Davis (5-11, 207 pounds) when Denver hosts Indy in Week 1.

Thomas should get redemption Sunday night. He usually comes out with a bang -- he has five touchdown catches in four season openers -- and the Broncos will scheme to free him up. Consider him a top-5 play as usual, despite the tough individual matchup.

Seahawks activate Bruce Irvin


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Seahawks activated linebacker Bruce Irvin (hip) from the PUP list, and he'll practice Monday, reports the Seattle Times.

Ben Tate figures to play on all three downs


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Browns need Ben Tate to be a three-down running back, reports ESPN.com. And coach Mike Pettine is comfortable Tate can handle that big of a role.

Behind Tate, the Browns have three rookie running backs. Top rookie Terrance West struggled in the preseason.

"He's ahead of those guys, and I think he's been solid in protection," Pettine told the website. "I think he does a nice job catching the ball. I would think that he has the edge over those guys as far as third down. That's not saying they won't be there, but probably the guy you can trust the most right now is Ben."


Manti Te'o returns to practice


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Chargers inside linebacker Manti Te'o, who hurt his foot in the second preseason game, returned to practice Monday, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. He's on track to play next Monday against Arizona.

Report: Knowshon Moreno, not Lamar Miller, is lead back


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Miami Herald asserts "it is clear" Knowshon Moreno is the Dolphins' lead running back and that Lamar Miller is the No. 2 back. Miller had a chance to seize the job this preseason but averaged 3.4 yards per carry.

The team will have a package of plays for Miller and use him as a change of pace, the paper said.

"I've seen lots on the practice field that tells me where we're headed with Lamar and I feel very good about his ability to be productive," offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. "But if you're talking about the preseason games, his production needs to improve."


Allen Robinson says he'll 'definitely' play Week 1


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Jaguars rookie receiver Allen Robinson remained limited in practice Monday by a hamstring injury, but says he'll "definitely" play Sunday in Philadelphia, reports the Florida Times-Union. If Robinson plays, he's expected to have a situational role.

'Don't be shocked' if Josh Gordon sues NFL


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Pro Football Talk reports Browns receiver Josh Gordon will decide in the next day or two whether to sue the league over his one-year suspension. "Don't be shocked if he sues." Any lawsuit would include a request to block the suspension pending the outcome of the case, the report said.

Arbitrator Harold Henderson last week upheld the suspension, which stems from a repeat offense of the league's substance abuse policy.


 
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