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Waiver Wire: Finding Fantasy life after Charles

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Fantasy owners have dealt with several major injuries so far in the early part of the season, including Peyton Manning (neck), Arian Foster (hamstring) and Marques Colston (collarbone). But no injury is as severe as what happened to Jamaal Charles in Week 2.

The Chiefs standout running back, who was a Top 5 overall pick in the majority of leagues on Draft Day, suffered a torn left ACL at Detroit and was placed on injured reserve. There is no way to directly replace his production in Kansas City or for Fantasy owners, but at least two players will try.

Thomas Jones will likely get the majority of carries, and he should be added in all formats. He is owned in 48 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com, and hopefully he can turn back the clock. At 33, Jones has looked sluggish this season with a combined 14 carries for 43 yards in two games against the Bills and Lions. He also struggled last season with 896 rushing yards and six touchdowns on just 3.7-yards per carry, but you would gladly take that kind of production now if you owned Charles.

While Jones will likely get the majority of carries, the player who should benefit the most in Kansas City is Dexter McCluster. He most closely resembles Charles in size and speed, but he can only be added in the majority of leagues on CBSSports.com as a wide receiver because that's the position he was assigned this year by the Chiefs.

McCluster (13 percent ownership) has 12 carries for 93 yards and nine catches for 23 yards through two games with two fumbles. He is the player to target for all Fantasy owners this week because his production should skyrocket. It's not often you can slot a player with running back-type skills into a wide receiver position in Fantasy lineups, and he can also be a solid flex option.

McCluster might not score many touchdowns -- that's where Jones should still have value -- but he could see plenty of work since the Chiefs will likely be trailing in most of their games. So far this year, Kansas City has been outscored 89-10 through two games.

We might also see the Chiefs give increased work to fullback Le'Ron McClain, who has a solid history carrying the ball from his days in Baltimore, and reserve running back Jackie Battle. But until those two do anything of significance they are not worth adding in most formats. Both are not owned on CBSSports.com leagues heading into Week 3.

In case you haven't noticed ... Dustin Keller is having a solid start to the season. While Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Fred Davis are getting plenty of attention from Fantasy owners -- and rightfully so -- Keller is right there in terms of production through two games. He has 28 Fantasy points in two weeks, which is tied with Hernandez and trails only Gronkowski by six points. Keller is owned in 72 percent of leagues, but he should be considered a starter in all formats with the way his season has started.

Each Tuesday we will highlight players who might be available in your league and whether you should consider picking them up off waivers based on their recent performances. The players chosen are based on the percentage of ownership in CBSSports.com leagues.

Quarterback

Add 'Em

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Rex Grossman, Redskins
Owned: 42 percent of leagues
Week 2: Completed 25 of 43 passes for 291 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions vs. Arizona.
Analysis: Grossman continues to prove that coach Mike Shanahan knew what he was doing by not drafting or signing a big-name quarterback this offseason. Grossman has been solid since taking over the starting job at the end of last year. In five starts, Grossman has four games with at least 290 passing yards and multiple touchdowns. He faces Dallas this year, and last year at the Cowboys, Grossman had 322 passing yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He should continue to play well again this week and should be added in all formats.

Avoid 'Em

Jason Campbell, Raiders
Owned: 19 percent of leagues
Week 2: Completed 23 of 33 passes for 323 yards, two touchdowns and one interception and had a rushing touchdown at Buffalo.
Analysis: Campbell played great against the Bills, especially considering he was without Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Kevin Boss due to injuries. Campbell also has five total touchdowns on the season so far. But he is not someone to consider for Fantasy owners, especially heading into Week 3 against the Jets. The Raiders are a running team, and they will lean on Darren McFadden and Michael Bush and don't want Campbell having to win games for them.

Scout 'Em

Matt Hasselbeck, Titans
Owned: 34 percent of leagues
Week 2: Completed 30 of 42 passes for 358 yards, one touchdown and one interception vs. Baltimore.
Analysis: Hasselbeck has played well through the first two weeks of the season and should be on your radar as a bye-week replacement. He's doing exactly what he has to do, which is get the ball to Kenny Britt, who is becoming a Fantasy star. The Titans will become more run-oriented as Chris Johnson starts to get going -- Hasselbeck has 76 passing attempts in two games -- but this team looks well-balanced to start the year with Hasselbeck leading the way.

Andy Dalton, Bengals
Owned: 11 percent of leagues
Week 2: Completed 27 of 41 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns at Denver.
Analysis: Dalton was impressive against the Broncos after a difficult debut in Week 1 at Cleveland. But I want to see what he does this week in a favorable matchup in his first NFL home game against the 49ers. If he plays well this week then Dalton could be worth adding as a potential bye-week replacement. But for now just monitor how he does before going out to add him in the majority of leagues.

Running back

Add 'Em

Tashard Choice, Cowboys
Owned: 25 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had 5 carries for 5 yards and two catches for 24 yards at San Francisco.
Analysis: We'll put DeMarco Murray (36 percent ownership) in this category also since there's a chance Felix Jones (shoulder) could miss Week 3 against Washington. The Cowboys would likely rotate Choice and Murray, who had six carries for 21 yards and one catch for 4 yards against the 49ers, if Jones is out, but we give Choice the slight nod based on his experience.

Avoid 'Em

Keiland Williams, Lions
Owned: 1 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had nine carries for 25 yards and a touchdown vs. Kansas City.
Analysis: Fantasy owners were excited about Williams when he signed with the Lions because the team said he would replace the injured Mikel Leshoure (Achilles' tendon). That might eventually happen, but for now Jahvid Best is rolling, and Williams is just playing in garbage time behind other reserves like Maurice Morris and Jerome Harrison. His touchdown against the Chiefs came in the fourth quarter, and Williams has minimal Fantasy value heading into Week 3.

Scout 'Em

Roy Helu, Redskins
Owned: 31 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had 10 carries for 74 yards and three catches for 38 yards vs. Arizona.
Analysis: Tim Hightower remains the starter and the running back to own for the Redskins, but Helu showed in Week 2 that he deserves playing time. He's worth adding in deep leagues now in case he makes this a 50-50 split sooner rather than later, but owners in standard leagues should just monitor this situation. If you are a Hightower owner you also might consider adding Helu now as a handcuff.

Isaac Redman, Steelers
Owned: 26 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had 10 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown vs. Seattle.
Analysis: Redman was used in tandem with Rashard Mendenhall during the game against the Seahawks, and his 20-yard touchdown run came in the second quarter. Redman is worth keeping an eye on in all leagues in case Mendenhall gets hurt, and he could be a sleeper in deeper formats in Week 3 at the Colts. He could have the chance to score again this week.

Wide receiver

Add 'Em

Nate Washington, Titans
Owned: 22 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had seven catches for 99 yards vs. Baltimore.
Analysis: Washington is off to a solid start this season with 13 catches for 166 yards, and he has more value in point per reception leagues than standard formats now based on his production. Fantasy owners in standard leagues should also consider Washington since he's shown a solid rapport with Hasselbeck already, and hopefully he can play at a consistent level like this for the rest of the year.

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Jerome Simpson, Bengals
Owned: 20 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had four catches for 136 yards at Denver.
Analysis: Simpson played against the Broncos the way he played to close last season when he had 18 catches for 227 yards and three touchdowns in his final two games. He had nine targets against Denver, and hopefully that continues. Hopefully he can remain a consistent target with A.J. Green also on the field, and it helps Simpson that Jordan Shipley (knee) is now out for the season.

Eric Decker, Broncos
Owned: 11 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had 5 catches for 113 yards and two touchdowns vs. Cincinnati.
Analysis: Decker stepped up with Brandon Lloyd out and Eddie Royal hurt in Week 2, and it's not known if Lloyd will return in Week 3. Either way, Decker is worth adding since the Broncos need playmakers in their passing game. He now has eight catches for 166 yards in two games, and Kyle Orton should continue to rely on him going forward.

Brandon LaFell, Panthers
Owned: 3 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had four catches for 49 yards and a touchdown vs. Green Bay.
Analysis: The Panthers need someone to step up opposite Steve Smith, and it appears like LaFell is ready for the job. He now has eight catches for 119 yards in two games, and with the way Cam Newton is playing to start his career, you want all of his targets on your team. He is worth adding in all 14-team leagues, and in 12-team formats, he could also be worth putting on your roster.

David Nelson, Bills
Owned: 3 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had 10 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown vs. Oakland.
Analysis: We've been a fan of Nelson since last year when he closed the season with three touchdowns in three games in December, and he's started out this season strong. He has become the second-best receiver behind Steve Johnson, and he now has 14 catches for 149 yards through two games. The best thing about his performance against the Raiders was he had 13 targets. Any receiver getting 13 targets is usually going to be successful.

Avoid 'Em

Preston Parker, Buccaneers
Owned: 0 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had six catches for 98 yards at Minnesota.
Analysis: Parker played well with Sammie Stroughter out, but he doesn't have much long-term value. Even if he supplants Stroughter as the No. 3 receiver for the Bucs behind Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, we don't see Parker getting six catches or even seven targets on a weekly basis. Williams struggled against the Vikings, and that's not expected to happen often.

Dane Sanzenbacher, Bears
Owned: 0 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had three catches for 33 yards and a touchdown at New Orleans.
Analysis: Sanzenbacher had seven targets against the Saints, but this receiving corps will be interchangeable most weeks. We'll see if Earl Bennett and Roy Williams can play in Week 3 against Green Bay, and their status will determine how much playing time Sanzenbacher will get. But Fantasy owners in most leagues should ignore him until he sees more consistent playing time.

Scout 'Em

Denarius Moore, Raiders
Owned: 7 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had five catches for 146 yards and a touchdown at Buffalo.
Analysis: Moore had a solid training camp and a fantastic performance in Week 2 with the Raiders dealing with several injuries to their receiving corp. But we want to see Moore play at a consistent level before adding him in all leagues. He also has a tough matchup in Week 3 against the Jets, and he should struggle going against Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie.

Danario Alexander, Rams
Owned: 2 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had three catches for 122 yards and a touchdown at the Giants.
Analysis: Alexander was inactive for Week 1, but he stepped up in Week 2 and could help the Rams replace the injured Danny Amendola (elbow). Alexander had seven targets against the Giants and showed his long-ball ability with a 68-yard grab. We saw this from Alexander as a rookie in 2010, but injuries kept him from being a consistent threat. If he can stay healthy and continue to be involved like he was Monday night then he would be worth adding in all leagues.

Jesse Holley, Cowboys
Owned: 0 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had three catches for 96 yards at San Francisco.
Analysis: The Cowboys are expected to be without Miles Austin for possibly two weeks because of a hamstring injury, and Dez Bryant could still be out after missing Week 2 with a quad injury. If Bryant is back in Week 3 against Washington as expected that would make Kevin Ogletree the starter and Holley the third option. We would recommend adding Ogletree (1 percent ownership) over Holley, but Holley was the better of the two against the 49ers. Still, both guys would see a bump in value if Bryant doesn't return with Austin out.

Tight end

Add 'Em

Fred Davis, Redskins
Owned: 25 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had six catches for 86 yards and a touchdown vs. Arizona.
Analysis: Davis showed that his Week 1 performance against the Giants was no fluke with his performance against the Cardinals. He now has 11 catches for 191 yards in two games and has clearly pushed Chris Cooley into a secondary role. We're not sure if Davis' production will continue all year, but while he's playing at this level he's worth adding in all leagues.

Avoid 'Em

Jeff King, Cardinals
Owned: Not owned
Week 2: Had two catches for 36 yards and a touchdown at Washington.
Analysis: A Cardinals fan emailed me last week when I had King in this spot that he was surprised I had to mention him. Well, here he is again since he has a touchdown for the second week in a row. Again, don't go out and pick up King until this becomes a habit. Granted, two weeks in a row with a touchdown isn't something to completely overlook, but it's doubtful King will keep this up.

Scout 'Em

Evan Moore, Cleveland
Owned: 7 percent of leagues
Week 2: Had one catches for 16 yards and a touchdown at Indianapolis.
Analysis: Moore only had one catch and one target against the Colts, but he now has two touchdowns in two games and a great matchup in Week 3 against the Dolphins. Keep in mind Miami has allowed three touchdowns to tight ends through two games against New England and Houston. If Moore keeps this up he will be worth adding in all leagues, but he's a great sleeper for this coming week.

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

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Player News
Lions TE Eric Ebron has been working out with Matthew Stafford
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(8:10 pm ET) Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said that tight end Eric Ebron has been working out with quarterback Matthew Stafford in Atlanta this offseason, reports the Detroit News. Lombardi also said that the plan is to have Ebron be the No. 3 weapon in the passing game this year.

Ebron, 21, finished his rookie season with 25 catches for 248 yards and one touchdown. 


Cowboys' Tony Romo: DeMarco Murray asked me to take a pay cut
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(7:44 pm ET) Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was really hoping to remain with the Cowboys this offseason. So much so, he asked quarterback Tony Romo to take a pay cut to remain with the team, Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, per the Dallas Morning News.

"DeMarco ended up asking me, 'Why don't you take a pay cut?' I said, 'I will. I would take a pay cut to go do this,'" Romo said. "I was like, 'They're going to restructure me.' That's the same thing in some ways, just for the salary cap purposes. He was like, 'OK, now we're back to being friends again.' I would take $5 million less if meant getting him back.

"He knew that. It was just funny how he was literally worried about that part of it for a week. I'm like, 'That's not the reason.' I'm like, 'Obviously I'll restructure. I would even take a pay cut.' He was like, 'OK, we can be friends again.' It's amazing what you think about in those moments."


Giants QB Eli Manning wants to take offense 'to another level'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:42 pm ET) Giants quarterback Eli Manning is entering the second year in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system. Manning is ready to take the next step now that he is familiar with the system, reports the NY Daily News.

““This year will be a much easier transition, knowing that we have been through so much of it already,” said Manning, who recently had been working out at Ole Miss with some of their receivers and alumni. “It’s definitely a different starting point. I feel good about it. I feel that I have a good understanding of it.

“But there is still room to grow and that is why I try to keep it as fresh in my mind as possible. Looking at old game-plan sheets and calling plays in my head – throwing routes with receivers trying to call out plays to myself, so you don’t let it slip away. It was new last year and it wasn’t something I have been doing for 10 years, so you want to keep it fresh and go through your reminders and all your checks. So when we come back I haven’t taken a step backwards and have to re-learn things. It is still all there. There will be new stuff and we will be taking it to another level.”

Manning has started all 16 games in each season since 2005, throwing for 39,755 yards with 259 touchdowns and 185 interceptions.


Saints TE Josh Hill wants to grow into new role
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:30 pm ET) After trading trading Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks, tight end Josh Hill is ready to step into his new role with the Saints, according to the team's offical website.

“I think it might open a few opportunities for me as I continue to grow in my role and just do everything they ask me to do,” Hill said when asked about the trade of Graham to the Seahawks.

Hill recognized that Graham helped him transition from college to the professional level.

“It’s a big difference, especially coming from a smaller school and a smaller city," Hill said. "He was always there for me. We became pretty good friends over the past few years so it will definitely be different without him.”

Head coach Sean Payton believes that Hill is ready to step up.

“Josh Hill is a player that we value a lot," Payton said last week at the NFL annual meeting. "He’s not on anyone’s fantasy first three rounds, I promise you, but he’s a real good tight end. He’s versatile in the running game, in the pass receiving game, a special teams player.”

Hill, heading into his third year in the NFL, has recorded 20 receptions for 220 yards and six touchdowns. 


Cowboys QB Tony Romo excited about this offseason
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(7:00 pm ET) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is excited about what the offseason holds for him, according to ESPN.

“This is the first offseason where I’ve been able to kind of get after it this early and be able to kind of improve in a lot of different areas that I think you aren’t able to until you get healthy enough to attack it,” Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday. “I’m just excited about that, really.”

Romo, 34, is encouraged by the fact that he is able to do a lot of different things during the offseason process while working out.

“Now I’m able to do that while actually doing functional strength training through different versions of squats,” Romo said. “I’m not putting anything on my back and doing stuff like that but you are doing a lot of single-leg stuff and different things that I started getting into during the season that helped a lot. Now it’s nice to be able to do that in the offseason.”

Romo has thrown for 33,270 yards with 242 touchdowns and 110 interceptions in his 12-year career. 


WR Dwayne Bowe looks to revitalize himself with Browns
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:28 pm ET) Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is looking to revitalize his career now that he has joined the Browns, reports ESPN. Bowe was cut by the Chiefs in the middle of March.

"I have a chance to revitalize myself," Bowe, 30, told ESPN.com via telephone Tuesday. "Just sit back and watch."

Browns general manager Ray Farmer has familiarity with Bowe from their time with the Chiefs. The two sat down and watched tape from the 2010 season when he racked up 15 touchdown receptions.

"Him knowing what I can do, seeing me in practice, making crazy plays, splitting the safeties, he knows I still can do that," Bowe said. "I couldn't showcase that last year. He was pulling up old plays, saying, 'We are going to use you just like that.' Moving around, going on motion, trying to hit the deep ball, trying to break plays."

The 30-year-old wideout appreciated his time with the Chiefs and he has no regrets.

"It's been up and down, but it's been fun," Bowe said. "I don't regret nothing. People can talk about the NFL and playing wide receiver -- I feel I still have a good four more years in me."

Over his eight-year career, he has totaled 532 receptions for 7,155 yards and 44 touchdowns.


Report: Texans interested in DT Antonio Smith
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(6:04 pm ET) The Texans are interested in signing defensive tackle Antonio Smith, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. The team is in discussions about bringing back Smith.

Smith, who played for the Texans for five seasons, was released by the Raiders on Tuesday. The 33-year-old has started at least 15 games in each of the last six seasons. Over his 10-year career, he has racked up 302 total tackles, 44.5 sacks, eight passes defensed and 11 forced fumbles.


Report: Chargers sign G Michael Huey, waive Baca, Alecxih
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:23 pm ET) The Chargers have signed guard Michael Huey of the Arena Football League, according to the UT San Diego. The team also waived offensive lineman Jeff Baca and defensive lineman Chas Alecxih.

Huey is a three-time All-AFL member, playing for the Arizona Rattlers. He spent three weeks with the Chargers during the 2011 preseason. The Rattlers won the league championship in each year that Huey was there.

Baca, 25, was brought in as insurance as an interior offensive lineman last season after the Chargers went through five starting centers.

Alecxih, twice a member of the team's practice squad, did not see any regular season action in 2014. 

 


Report: RB Jacquizz Rodgers signs with Bears
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(5:03 pm ET) After visiting wth the Bears on Tuesday, running back Jacquizz Rodgers has signed a one-year contract with the team, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

Rodgers, formerly with the Falcons for four seasons, has totaled 1,116 yards rushing, 1,104 yards receiving and 10 total totuchdowns in his career. 


Texans WR Cecil Shorts excited about role in offense
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(4:44 pm ET) Wide receiver Cecil Shorts is looking forward to a new start with the Texans, reports the team's official website.

“I’m just excited to get there and try and catch a lot of balls and help this team win,” Shorts III said in an interview with Texans Radio on Tuesday. “To pair up with (WR) D-Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) who had a great season last year and some other guys that played well as well. I’m just happy to get there and get things going.” 

After spending his first four seasons with the Jaguars, Shorts is excited about the Texans' offense and the direction the team is headed in going into 2015.

“It feels good,” Shorts III said of joining the Texans. “This organization is definitely a franchise that’s very consistent with winning the last some-odd years. I think it was a great year last year being Bill O’Brien’s first year coming in going 9-7 and right in the playoff hunt and they’re just a franchise going in the right direction.”

The 27-year-old has racked up 176 receptions for 2,343 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career.


 
 
 
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