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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
Sean Weatherspoon pumped about Falcons' additions
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:50 am ET) Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon recorded 211 tackles and seven sacks in 2011-12 before getting 38 stops and no sacks in an injury-plagued 2013 season. Weatherspoon, 26, told ESPN.com that the team's offseason moves, especially the signing of nose tackle Paul Soliai, will make his job a lot easier.

"Bringing in somebody of that caliber, I've seen him over the years and the way he's been playing,'' Weatherspoon said of Soliai. "He's a big guy and real big for run-stopping. He'll whip up on the center, and that's the apex of the offense. So I think that's something that can be great.

"We signed all our defensive tackles back from last year [Jonathan Babineaux, Corey Peters, Peria Jerry]. Bringing those three guys back along with [Soliai] and bringing a big guy on the outside in [defensive end] Tyson Jackson ... they made some moves, man. It's definitely saying that we're active and we want to turn things around."


Mike Wallace: New offense is 'my style'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:27 am ET) Dolphins receiver Mike Wallace, a disappointment last season after signing a $60 million contract, said the team's new offensive scheme fits his strengths, reports the Miami Herald.

“My style: Big-play offense,” Wallace said, referring to first-year coordinator Bill Lazor’s system. “I see Ryan [Tannehill is] excited about it. He’s called me about eight, nine times.

“I just want to make some plays for my team,” Wallace continued. “Go out and make some plays for my team and have a much better year than last year. We can't have the kind of year we had last year. We need to be on the same page.”

Wallace caught a career-high 73 passes last season, but set career lows in yards per catch (12.7) and touchdowns (5).


Champ Bailey has shot at starting job
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:16 am ET) New Saints cornerback Champ Bailey will compete for the starting spot opposite Keenan Lewis, reports ESPN.com. Bailey, 35, will battle youngsters Corey White, Patrick Robinson and others.

A 12-time Pro Bowler, Bailey said he's "not trying to prove anything to anybody but myself and my teammates. That's all I've got to do.”

A foot injury limited Bailey to five games with the Broncos last year.


Seahawks, Richard Sherman closing in on deal
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:08 am ET) The Seahawks and Richard Sherman have "made considerable progress" on a longterm deal that would make Sherman the league's highest-paid cornerback, reports CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. The sides hope to complete the agreement by the draft.

Sherman, 26, is entering the final year of his contract.


Eli Manning ready for new offense
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:06 am ET) Giant quarterback Eli Manning said the offense will definitely look different in 2014 with new offensive coordinato Ben McAdoo, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. McAdoo comes to the Giants from Green Bay.

"I think it will be similar to what they did in Green Bay," Manning said Tuesday while sporting a walking boot fresh off ankle surgery. "That's where Ben came from, so I think it will be pretty similar to that offense. ... I've never been in a West Coast offense, so I don't know if it's exactly a West Coast or a form of it, or anything at all like it. I think it has some tendencies to it, the protections and stuff, but every offense has it's own little dial and uniqueness that makes it work."


Rolando McClain back on reserve-retired list
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:00 am ET) The Ravens made it official, placing middle linebacker Rolando McClain on the reserve-retired list again, reports the Baltimore Sun.

McClain announced his retirement Monday. It's the second time in the past year that McClain has retired and that the Ravens have designated him on the reserve-retired list.

That means the Ravens retain his rights should he change his mind.


Doug Baldwin has yet to sign tender
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:57 am ET) Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin is working out with his teammates during voluntary sessions even though he is not under contract, reports the Seattle Times.

Baldwin has yet to sign the second-round contract tender he was handed by the team in March, which would pay him $2.1 million in 2014 and then make him an unrestricted free agent after the season. Baldwin is currently a restricted free agent.

He said he signed a clearance waiver to attend the current workouts. His goal is to remain with the Seahawks "for a long time," and that he hopes to work out something soon. However, he said he has had no real talks with the team yet about an extension beyond 2014.


Philbin likes Knowshon Moreno's versatility
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 am ET) Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said Tuesday he likes new running back Knowshon Moreno's "versatility and multiple skill set," reports the Miami Herald.

Moreno signed with the Dolphins this offseason as a free agent from Denver. He is coming off a career season with 241 carries for 1,038 yards and 10 touchdowns and 60 catches for 548 yards and three touchdowns.


Chris Houston sidelined at Lions workouts
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:46 am ET) Lions cornerback Chris Houston was sidelined during the team's offseason workouts because of a toe injury that kept him off the field toward the end of last season. 

"He is injured, there's no question about that," Caldwell said according to MLive.com. "Obviously his (lack of) participation is simply because of the fact he cannot do his job at this point."


Arthur Brown coming back stronger
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:36 am ET) Ravens linebacker Arthur Brown is following through on a goal of putting on more muscle this offseason. Brown has added six pounds from working out on his own. 

"He's around 233 [pounds] I believe right now, so he's a little heavier than he was last year," strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki told the official team website. "He's done well from the time he was gone until now, so the sky is the limit for him. He's done his part, we've just got to continue on from there."

Brown is expected to start at the weakside linebacker spot for the Ravens this year. 


 
 
 
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