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Four Quarters: Life after Charles

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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Since I don't want to incur the cost of sending a sympathy card to the millions of Jamaal Charles owners around the world, I will let my Four Quarters column act as my medium to deliver my deepest condolences to those people who suffered the Fantasy Football kiss of death -- losing your first-round pick.

I've been there, and I'm still there. I own Charles, who suffered a torn ACL on Sunday, in a 12-team standard league, and I'm fortunate enough to have Cedric Benson and Darren Sproles on my roster as potential replacements. But Fantasy Football is still one of those sports where it's very tough to lose a first-round pick to injury or have a first-round bust because the chances of finding a equal replacement on waivers is unlikely.

Arian Foster was a steal off waivers in 2010, and we can only hope another Foster appears this season since losing Charles is going to sting.

The obvious move for Charles owners is to put a waiver claim in for Chiefs running backs Thomas Jones or Dexter McCluster. Although, the only caveat in CBSSports.com leagues is that McCluster is WR-eligible only, so keep that in mind. But I still would consider adding McCluster because if he does emerge as the Chiefs' top back, then you could end up with being able to start a running back at wide receiver, and that could definitely end up paying dividends down the road.

As for other options to consider, look at Danny Woodhead (owned 79 percent of leagues), Michael Bush (79 percent), C.J. Spiller (74 percent), Ronnie Brown (55 percent), Ricky Williams (53 percent), Deji Karim (43 percent), DeMarco Murray (36 percent), Delone Carter (32 percent), Roy Helu (31 percent), Isaac Redman (26 percent) and Javon Ringer (26 percent).

I know the uphill battle you face to stay in contention in your Fantasy leagues, but what's done is done. It's time to move on.

First Quarter -- Surprise of the Week

Raiders rookie receiver Denarius Moore stepped into the starting lineup Week 2 against the Bills because of injuries to Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy and Darius Heyward-Bey. Moore stepped up with 146 yards and one touchdown -- a 50-yarder -- on five catches. He also had a 25-yard rush. The rookie definitely earned his way into more playing time, but keep in mind he might lose targets once the Raiders start to get healthy again at receiver ... Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton shook off a Week 1 wrist injury to pass for 332 yards and two scores against Denver ... 35-year-old Matt Hasselbeck had the 22nd 300-yard passing game of his career against Baltimore and now has 621 passing yards through two games ... Dolphins rookie running back Daniel Thomas showed Sunday in his NFL debut why he is a legit rookie-of-the-year candidate by rushing for 107 yards. Be nervous Reggie Bush owners ... Willis McGahee proved he still has enough left in the tank to be a featured back, rushing for 101 yards on 28 carries with Knowshon Moreno out due to injury ... Wide receiver Eric Decker came to the Broncos' rescue in Week 2 with Brandon Lloyd inactive and Eddie Royal getting hurt, totaling 113 yards and two scores on five catches.

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Second Quarter -- Duds of the Week

Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel is already showing he misses the play calling of Charlie Weis, who is now in the college ranks. Cassel was awful in Week 1 and showed no improvement in Week 2, tossing three interceptions against Detroit ... Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has been another two-week headache for Fantasy owners. His 11-yard output in Week 2 makes the 94 percent of Lynch owners wonder when are they ever going to start this guy? ... Bears wide receiver Devin Hester caught just one of his nine targets in a loss against the Saints and Colts wide receiver Austin Collie caught three of 10 targets against the Browns. It was even worse for Jets receiver Plaxico Burress, who didn't record a catch on two targets ... Packers wide receiver James Jones voiced his displeasure during the week about his role on offense after a one-catch opener. Well, I can't wait to see what he says after a one-catch Week 2 ... Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams gained 13 yards on five carries and is averaging 2.5 yards per carry through two games.

Third Quarter -- Injury Report

The other big injury of the week was Eagles quarterback Michael Vick sustaining a concussion. You have to figure his status for Week 3 is going to be a big topic this week ... Texans running back Arian Foster made his 2011 debut Sunday against Miami, but it lasted just one half as his hamstring injury flared up again ... Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo didn't start the second half Sunday because of a fractured rib, but he eventually returned to lead Dallas to an overtime win. Unfortunately, it wasn't all good news for Dallas. Wide receiver Miles Austin had a big game against San Francisco, but he aggravated a nagging hamstring injury while running back Felix Jones suffered a shoulder injury that could keep him out moving forward. Tight end Jason Witten sustained bruised ribs, but he played through the injury and will be OK ... Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez bowed out Sunday against the Chargers with a knee injury and was seen limping badly leaving the locker room ... Malcom Floyd's hot start against the Patriots was sidelined because of a groin injury ... Broncos wide receiver Eddie Royal also sustained a groin injury Week 2 ... 49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards exited Sunday with a knee injury.

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Fourth Quarter -- Early Look Ahead

Houston and New Orleans will do battle at 1 p.m. on Sunday, a game that's going to feature two high-powered offenses. There could be a lot of Fantasy points racked up in that game ... The Bills dropped 41 points on the Chiefs in Week 1 and the Lions dropped 48 points on the Chiefs in Week 2. San Diego awaits K.C. in Week 3, so make sure to get your Chargers players active ... The first Bears/Packers game will take place in Week 3. It's worth pointing out that all three games last season -- including the NFC Championship -- were low-scoring, tightly-contested games. Chicago won the first meeting, 20-17, while Green Bay took the last two, 10-3 and 21-14.

Overtime -- Q and A

Even though Titus Young is the third receiver in Detroit, does he warrant a watch or pick up this week? -- Kevin J. (via @CBSFantasyFB)

MH: I wouldn't add Young at this time. Most of his yards (89) came on two big catches, so if he doesn't catch the deep ball, then his numbers won't be impressive.

Does Kenny Britt have a chance to be a top 5 Fantasy wide receiver? -- Alec Hurd (via @CBSFantasyFB)

MH: Without a doubt. I covered the Titans game on Sunday and Tennessee has a great game plan to get Britt into open spaces to make plays. He also finally has a quarterback in Matt Hasselbeck that can get him the ball on a consistent basis. His confidence should be sky high after demolishing a vaunted Ravens defense.

Is Tim Hightower in danger of losing his starting job to Roy Helu? --Rob Mapstone (via @CBSFantasyFB)

MH: I wouldn't say in the immediate future Hightower has anything to worry about. Hightower has done well since arriving in the preseason, but coach Mike Shanahan does like Helu a lot and probably will continue to develop him as a nice fallback option in case anything happens to Hightower.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow us on Facebook. You can also follow Michael via Twitter @CBSHurc

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Player News
No reason to trust in Eric Ebron yet
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:31 pm ET) Lions rookie tight end Eric Ebron scored his first career touchdown Week 4 at the Jets, which is nice and all, but frankly, given the circumstances surrounding the performance (star wide receiver Calvin Johnson hobbled by a sprained ankle, fellow tight end Joseph Fauria in a walking boot, etc.), I would have hoped for more.

He caught only three passes for 34 yards, and his four targets weren't even a season high. The Rams' Jared Cook has had more catches and targets in all three of the games he's played this season, and you don't see anybody rushing to add him.

The Lions host the Bills in Week 5, who rank 25th against the pass, allowing 266.3 yards per game, but I wouldn't consider Ebron any sort of sleeper yet, at least not in standard 12-team leagues.


Golden Tate's value tied to Calvin Johnson
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(6:19 pm ET) As Chris Towers so deftly noted Sunday, Golden Tate's breakthrough performance in which he caught eight passes for 116 yards Week 4 at the Jets may have had something to do with Calvin Johnson playing only 57 percent of the Lions' snaps because of a sprained ankle. So presumably, Tate owners would like to know how Johnson is doing now.

Well, he missed practice Wednesday but recently told The Detroit News his ankle is "definitely better" than it was last week. He missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday leading up to that game.

I'm thinking the Lions would rather give Johnson a chance to get healthy than run him out there as a decoy every week, so if he's active again Week 5 against Buffalo, I wouldn't be particularly optimistic about Tate's chances.

Then again, the floor is pretty low for Tate. In four games, he has yet to go for less than 51 yards. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard rank him in the 20-30 range at wide receiver, which would make him an advisable starter in 12-team leagues. That sounds about right.


Matt Schaub rejoins Raiders Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(6:06 pm ET) Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub has rejoined the club Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

Schaub was away for a couple days while dealing with a non-injury situation. He rejoined the club Wednesday, and could play Week 6 if Derek Carr is unable to go. 


Rivera: So far, so good for Panthers RB Chris Ogbonnaya
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6:00 pm ET) Panthers just-signed running back Chris Ogbonnaya impressed Ron Rivera on Wednesday. The team hopes the former Cleveland back can bolster what has been an injury-plagued backfield.

"Chris had a good day," Rivera told the team website. "He's a smart young man. He's been in a very similar system. There is a lot of overlap with the terminology. He seemed to assimilate very nicely to it."

Ogbonnaya has racked up 660 rushing yards and 714 receiving yards in 46 games in the NFL, mostly with the Browns.


Joique Bell not a great start either way
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:53 pm ET) Though Joique Bell missed practice Wednesday after leaving early in Week 4 with a concussion, the Lions aren't ruling him out for Week 5 against Buffalo. But even if he plays, you probably wouldn't want to start him in Fantasy.

The Bills rank third against the run, allowing 71.5 yards per game and just 2.9 per carry. They limited the Texans' Arian Foster to 6 yards on eight carries in Week 4 and have allowed the sixth-fewest Fantasy points to running backs this season.

Those yards per carry may have been skewed by the Chargers' Donald Brown's 62 yards on 31 carries in Week 3. It's pretty clear by now he's just a bad running back. But it's not like Bell has been a world-beater himself. Splitting carries with Reggie Bush, he has only once run for even 40 yards in a game this season and is averaging 3.2 yards per carry.

Especially coming back from a concussion, he's just a desperation play this week.


Cowboys WR Dez Bryant finally practices in full Wednesday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:49 pm ET) Cowboys stud wide receiver Dez Bryant practiced in full Wednesday for the first time since injuring his right shoulder on Sept. 14 against Tennessee.

Bryant has participated in every game, but has been limited in each of the last six practices. His status, however, has not affected his performance in games. Bryant has caught nine passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns since sustaining the injury.


FFT Blog: Looking at the most-dropped list
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(5:47 pm ET) At the Fantasy Football Today blog, we took a look at the most-dropped players in CBSSports.com leagues.

The five most-dropped players are Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and tight end Niles Paul, Chargers running back Donald Brown, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams and Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey

You probably won't regret dropping Williams or Paul given their injuries, and Cousins' next few matchups will probably bring out more bad habits. However, if Brown is available in your league (as he is in 19 percent of leagues), you might want to snatch him. He has a tough matchup in Week 5, but we think he can run all over the Raiders in Week 6. 


Derek Carr believes he'll play against Chargers
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(5:42 pm ET) Raiders quarterback Derek Carr believes he can play against the Chargers Week 6, according to the Bay Area News Group.

Carr injured his ankle against the Dolphins Week 4. The Raiders are on a bye Week 5, so Carr will have an extra week to get healthy. 


Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson not on Wednesday IR
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:40 pm ET) A wrist ailment that has been plaguing Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson apparently did not prevent him from practicing Wednesday. He was not listed on the team's injury report.

Jackson has yet to break loose in any game this season. He is averaging just three catches for 33 yards in four games, though he has scored two touchdowns.


Reggie Bush either a good or bad start
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(5:39 pm ET) Believe it or not, the Bills have been stellar against the run this season, allowing just 71.5 yards per game, third-fewest in the league, and 2.9 yards per carry. And because they have yet to allow a touchdown on the ground, they've given up the sixth-fewest Fantasy points per game to running backs this season.

Which makes Week 5 an especially tricky one for Reggie Bush owners. The Lions are hosting the Bills, and Bush, with his shared role with Joique Bell, has certainly failed to deliver with more favorable matchups this year. But Bell is recovering from a concussion and may not play at all Sunday. Considering Bush got the lion's share of the workload after Bell went down in Week 4, he may be looking at a feature role.

Would the matchup negate the increased workload? In Bush's case, I'd say know. He's still one of the best at catching the ball out of the backfield, which should make up for any struggles he'd have running the ball.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. If Bell is able to play, the two will likely split carries as usual, and with this matchup, that's not an appealing prospect. Keep an eye on the situation.


 
 
 
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