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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
Bills awarded waiver claim for QB Matt Simms
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:28 pm ET) The quarterback situation in Buffalo has gotten a little more complicated on Friday. The Bills were awarded their waiver claim on QB Matt Simms, who was released by the Jets on Thursday, according to the team's official website. 

Simms has played just four games and has completed 19 of 39 passes for 195 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in his career.


Falcons waive LB Prince Shembo due to animal cruelty charges
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5:55 pm ET) The Falcons have decided to waive linebacker Prince Shembo on Friday after he was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per nfl.com.

"We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo," the team said in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo."

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Rams RB Trey Watts suspended four games
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(4:08 pm ET) Rams running back Trey Watts has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, according to profootballtalk.com.

Watts, who made the team in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, played in 14 games last season and rushed for 30 yards on seven carries.

Watts is eligible to return for Week 5 against the Packers.


Falcons LB Prince Shembo charged with cruelty to animals
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(3:57 pm ET) Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo is being accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's dog and has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police said Denicia Williams, Shembo's ex-girlfriend, reported on April 19 that Shembo had killed her Yorkie.

Williams took the dog to Shembo's residence and left them unattended at some point. When she returned, the dog was unresponsive.

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Seahawks' Kam Chancellor: 'This is the strongest offseason I've had'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(2:56 pm ET) Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor feels good. He should, he's finally healthy.

Chancellor, who has become accustomed to rehabbing nagging injuries during the offseason, is practicing with the team during organized team activities for the first time in a while, per The News Tribune.

“I feel great. Back to football form. Feel fast. Feel strong. I just feel good out there," Chancellor said. "I think this is the strongest offseason I’ve had since I’ve been in the league. I’ve been actually able to train in the offseason instead of having surgeries.”

Chancellor recorded 78 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 14 games last season.


Cardinals RB coach: David Johnson 'reminds me a lot of Matt Forte'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(2:44 pm ET) Cardinals rookie runningback David Johnson received a huge compliment from his position coach, per nfl.com.

Running backs coach Stump Mitchell said the third-round pick reminds him of a Pro Bowl running back.

"He reminds me a lot of Matt Forte," Mitchell said. "You can put him outside and use him as a receiver and he's a good runner."

Mitchell sees the comparison between the two when it comes to Johnson's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, something Forte has excelled at throughout his career.

"He has excellent hands and he's a bigger target to throw the ball to," Mitchell said. "He's going to be a big piece of the puzzle before this season is said and done."

Johnson rushed for 1,553 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at Northern Iowa last year.


Patriots Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler absent at OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:30 pm ET) Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler was noticeably absent from organized team activities on Friday, per nesn.com. It's unclear why Butler was not at practice.

Butler recorded 15 tackles in 11 games last season, but most noticeably came up with a game-clinching interception in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX.


Cowboys excited and cautious with return of LB Sean Lee
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:22 pm ET) Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee tore his ACL during organized team activities last year. This year, he has been limited to individual drills during non-padded parctices, per The Dallas Morning News.

Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus said the team is happy to have Lee back but that they will pace him along slowly.

"He's a ball of energy and excitement and that represents who we are," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's moving well. We're just being smart as we get him ready to go. But he's got a lot of good quality work in."


Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin getting work in as a punt returner
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:59 pm ET) Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was the Chiefs' prized free-agent pickup this offseason, which makes it that much more intriguing that he lined up to return punts during practice on Thursday, per ESPN.com.

Maclin, who signed a five-year, $55 million deal with the Chiefs, was a premier punt returner in college and played the role sparingly -- with little success -- with the Eagles.

Coach Andy Reid said the team is preparing Maclin just in case he's needed to return punts or kicks because of injuries.

We just want to make sure he is ready,’’ Reid said. “You have limited numbers that you can dress on game day, so you don’t know what rotation you are going to have there with the receivers and returners. So it gives you an opportunity to keep him fresh. We don’t work him every day like the other guys. It’s kind of an every other day deal, so just to make sure that he’s okay and can still do that, but he’s not going to be the primary guy doing it right now.”


Eagles CB Byron Maxwell guarantees trip to Super Bowl 50
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:40 pm ET) Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell knows what it takes to make a Super Bowl run, he's appeared in two straight as a key member of the vaunted Seahawks defense.

Now, Maxwell is confident the Eagles will make a run to the big game and he will make his third consecutive appearance, per NFL.com.

"Because I've been there before," Maxwell said. "Knowing what it's like if we go that far. Because we're gonna go that far this year, meaning the playoffs and the Super Bowl. We're gonna go that far. Hopefully that experience I already had, I can help them."

The Eagles haven't made a Super Bowl since their 24-21 loss to the Patriots in 2004, but Maxwell didn't backtrack with his comments.

"You can take that as a guarantee," he said. "That's just me believing in my team and the product we're going to put out there on the field. I really do believe that. I have no choice but to think that way."

Maxwell, who signed a six-year, $60 million deal with the Eagles this offseason, recorded 39 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games last season.


 
 
 
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