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Four Quarters: Tim not so tiny anymore

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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It's time for Superman to dust off his Tim Tebow pajamas because the boy wonder is back.

Needing a lift for his stagnant passing game, Broncos coach John Fox replaced starter Kyle Orton with Tebow in the second half of Week 5 against the Chargers. And the former Heisman-winning quarterback almost led Denver to a comeback win as his final pass of the game fell incomplete in the end zone in an encouraging 29-24 loss.

I say encouraging because Tebow has a legitimate shot at starting in Week 7 at Miami after Denver comes out of its bye in Week 6. I really thought Fox inserting Tebow into the game Sunday was his attempt to quiet the rowdy Denver faithful who have been calling for Tebow's ascension for weeks. At first, Fox appeared smart for keeping Tebow on the bench as the lefty gunslinger struggled to complete a pass on his first two drives, which ended in three-and-outs. But Tebow's confidence grew into the fourth quarter as he led Denver to touchdowns on two consecutive drives late in the game.

Tebow finished with 18 standard Fantasy points in a half of play, which was more than Andy Dalton, Tom Brady and Ryan Fitzpatrick had in four quarters. Where does that put Tebow on the Fantasy spectrum? Well, he certainly makes for an intriguing Fantasy add off waivers because he can run the ball effectively, much like fellow scramblers Michael Vick and Cam Newton.

However, Tebow's struggles are still going to come through the air since he isn't as polished a passer as Vick or Newton. That's been a major reason for Denver's hesitance in handing him the starting job. He completed just 50 percent of his passes as a rookie in 2010 and was at 40 percent (4 for 10) on Sunday.

Tebow might not be able to part the Red Sea or solve the country's economic crisis, but he might just end up silencing the critics and get his chance to quarterback an NFL team.

First Quarter -- Surprises of the Week

Ben Roethlisberger threw five touchdowns on a sprained foot against a Titans pass defense that had more interceptions (five) than passing touchdowns allowed (four) through four weeks ... Matt Cassel became the first quarterback to have multiple passing touchdowns against the Colts this season ... Alex Smith has put together back-to-back productive Fantasy weeks and hasn't thrown an interception in three games ... BenJarvus Green-Ellis stated his case as the Patriots' top back amid all the Stevan Ridley hype ... Willis McGahee produced his third 100-yard game this season against a team (San Diego) allowing just 11.5 Fantasy points per week to running backs, which was tied for third lowest in the NFL ... No one saw Chiefs running back Jackie Battle producing his first 100-yard rushing performance in Week 5, but now he is on everyone's Fantasy radar ... Jonathan Dwyer led the Steelers in rushing (107 yards), and that was even before Isaac Redman had cramping issues. But most of his yards came on a 76-yard carry. He won't be as popular of a Fantasy addition, especially with the chance Rashard Mendenhall returns to the lineup Week 6 ... Jed Collins scored for a second straight game. Apparently having Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles down near the goal line wasn't enough for the Saints offense ... Who would have thought by Week 6 that Victor Cruz would have nearly as many Fantasy points (54) as teammate Hakeem Nicks (59), who was drafted by many as a No. 1 Fantasy receiver? ... James Jones, Steve Breaston, Jason Hill, Doug Baldwin, Malcom Floyd and Darrius Heyward-Bey ranked among the top 10 Fantasy scoring receivers in Week 5. Also, Damian Williams, Jason Avant and Ben Obomanu netted 10-plus Fantasy points ... Houston's Joel Dreessen was the top Fantasy scoring tight end (17 points) for Week 5, even with Vernon Davis recording two touchdowns.

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Second Quarter -- Duds of the Week

Kevin Kolb struggled to dissect a Vikings secondary that came into the week ranked 28th in pass defense and missing cornerback Antoine Winfield ... Eric Decker could be a huge Fantasy casualty if the Broncos do make a change at quarterback since he was quickly becoming one of Orton's favorite targets. The results were ugly in Week 5 for Decker, who posted two catches for minus-4 yards ... Raiders wide receiver Denarius Moore couldn't haul in one of his six targets against Houston ... Tampa's Mike Williams' days as a high-end Fantasy wide receiver are fading after another week without a touchdown and being held under seven Fantasy points for a fourth straight game ... Dexter McCluster is not developing into the impact Fantasy option owners were looking for after Jamaal Charles' season-ending injury ... Percy Harvin totaled two Fantasy points against a Cardinals defense that came into the game allowing receivers to average 27 Fantasy points per week, which was tied for fourth highest in the NFL ... Vincent Jackson was in a similar situation as he totaled three Fantasy points against a defense that was yielding 30.5 Fantasy points per week to receivers, which was tied for highest in the NFL ... Saints receiver Lance Moore couldn't parlay a favorable history against the Panthers into a productive Week 5 ... Scott Chandler played like Scott Chandler for a second straight week and is starting to lose all the Fantasy appeal he accumulated through the first three weeks ... Dallas Clark couldn't take advantage of a team allowing 10.5 Fantasy points per week to tight ends, registering just one catch for 7 yards against Kansas City ... October hasn't been kind to Jets tight end Dustin Keller, who has three catches for 19 yards in two games this month after opening the year with 16 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns in three September games.

Third Quarter -- Injury Report

Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson sustained a pectoral injury against the Giants. The Seahawks are on a bye Week 6, but pec injuries can end seasons, so Charlie Whitehurst might be up for Seattle in Week 7 ... Bucs running back LeGarrette Blount didn't finish Sunday's blowout loss to the 49ers because of a knee injury ... Chargers running back Mike Tolbert sustained a concussion against the Broncos ... Chris Johnson's disappointing season continued Sunday as he couldn't finish the game against Pittsburgh because of hamstring tightness ... Steelers running back Isaac Redman made his first career start Sunday against the Titans, but ended up as a disappointing bye-week replacement and left the game in the fourth quarter due to cramping ... Joseph Addai sustained another injury, this time to his hamstring ... Hines Ward finished the game Sunday, but it was revealed afterward he sustained a chest injury ... Falcons rookie Julio Jones disappointed many Fantasy owners in Week 5 and then pulled up lame with a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter against the Packers ... 49ers receiver Josh Morgan and Bills receiver Donald Jones sustained ankle injuries that could keep them out several weeks ... Steelers tight end Heath Miller scored a touchdown and suffered a shoulder injury in Week 5 ... Texans tight end James Casey could be done for the year after sustaining a torn pectoral muscle against Oakland.

Fourth Quarter -- Early Look Ahead

Arizona, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, Seattle and Tennessee are all on byes in Week 6 ... San Francisco at Detroit is a surprising battle of teams that haven't been contenders for some time. It will also feature one team thriving on offense -- Detroit -- and the other team winning thanks to defense -- San Francisco ... Buffalo at N.Y. Giants will feature two teams that can move the ball, but that also have suspect defenses ... Philadelphia at Washington, New Orleans at Tampa Bay and Minnesota at Chicago should be good divisional battles ... Dallas will be fresh coming off their bye and travel to New England for what could be an offensive showdown. Quarterback Tony Romo has gotten time to rest his ailing ribs and should get back one of his favorite targets in Miles Austin, who has been hampered by a hamstring injury.

Overtime -- Q & A

In a league where you can start a second quarterback as a flex, who would you take for the rest of season: Alex Smith or Rex Grossman? My other quarterback is Tony Romo. --texasbruin67 (Twitter)

MH: I'm going with Smith. 49ers coach John Harbaugh seems to be an excellent mentor of quarterbacks because he has turned Smith into a respectable signal caller. Smith seems to be grasping the West Coast offense and has thrown only one interception in 126 pass attempts. Grossman probably has the potential to have bigger performances, but Smith will be the more steady option.

I have a trade offer to consider: Ryan Fitzpatrick for Ryan Mathews. Who will have the better second half? --Will Fagan (Twitter)

MH: My only hesitation with Mathews is his propensity for injury. Mathews has been fragile dating back to his days at Fresno State and watching him play Sunday there was a few times that he could have knocked himself out of competition for several weeks. However, if he stays healthy, then you have yourself a high-end Fantasy running back. That's enough to keep me on Mathews' side in this trade. Fitzpatrick is already slowing down this season and showing the same inconsistencies he had a year ago.

I have Antonio Brown in a points-per-reception league. Should I keep him or drop him for any of these options: Titus Young, Doug Baldwin, Steve Breaston, Darrius Heyward-Bey or Malcom Floyd? --Kevin Thompson (Facebook)

MH: I can't believe I'm going to say this, but DHB finally seems to be coming around in Oakland and I would certainly consider dumping Brown to pick him up. I'm a little more hesitant to recommend Breaston just because I want to wait to see what kind of impact rookie Jon Baldwin has on the Chiefs' passing game once he is active. I have similar reservations about Baldwin once Mike Williams returns and also because of the uncertainty right now at quarterback for Seattle.

Would you make this trade: I get Roddy White, Ahmad Bradshaw and James Starks in return for Matt Forte? -- Jake Nuckolls (Facebook)

MH: I'm a huge Forte fan, but I would consider this trade because I think you are getting two players in White and Bradshaw that have yet to hit their stride. The presence of Julio Jones has made White a little less valuable than in previous years, but he is still a top 20 Fantasy scoring receiver and could have some huge games in store if Jones has to sit idle because of his hamstring injury. Also, coach Tom Coughlin said Sunday the Giants need to get back to being a power-run team, so hopefully that will mean a boost in production for Bradshaw. Starks is the throw-in piece in this trade, but he is merely running back depth. With that said, this is not an overwhelming trade, meaning I'm as likely to stay put with Forte than make the trade. Perhaps if the third piece was a little more intriguing then it's a done deal. But you only make this trade if you have the same beliefs that I have in White and Bradshaw.

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
Gavin Escobar a threat to Jason Witten?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(1:13 am ET) Cowboys rookie tight end Gavin Escobar, who entered the day with just four catches all season, wasn't highly targeted Week 7 against the Giants, but he made the three targets he did get count, scoring two touchdowns, including one on an impressive 26-yard grab between two defenders in the third quarter.

In all, he had three catches for 65 yards -- numbers that would be easier to overlook if not for the two touchdowns and the fact that fellow tight end Jason Witten, to this point a mainstay in Fantasy, had only two catches for 27 yards. And it's not like he and quarterback Tony Romo were just failing to connect. Witten was targeted only twice the whole game.

Witten's production hasn't been up to his usual standards this season -- in seven games, he's averaging 3.3 catches for 38.0 yards -- but just based on their history together, you figured Romo would have a need for him sooner or later. Now with the emergence of Escobar, it's no longer so clear.

Escobar himself isn't worth adding except in deep leagues of 16 teams or more that don't have enough tight ends to go around. In those formats, he's the new Timothy Wright. But in leagues of 12 teams or fewer, Witten may be on the outs. He deserves a couple more weeks given his history, but keep an eye out for the next big thing at the position.


Larry Donnell here to stay?
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:55 am ET) After catching just one pass in his previous two games combined, Giants tight end Larry Donnell got back on track Week 7 at Dallas, catching seven passes for a season-high 90 yards.

Considering it was the Giants' first game without star wide receiver Victor Cruz, Donnell was expected to play a bigger role in the passing game, but a resurgence of this magnitude should remind us all how he came to be owned in 83 percent of Fantasy leagues in the first place. Over the first four weeks, he averaged 6.3 catches for 59 yards, scoring four touchdowns.

One potential pitfall for Donnell is that he lost two fumbles in Week 7, giving him three fumbles lost for the season, but with so few tight ends capable of his kind of production in a given week, the Giants would have to suggest his playing time is in jeopardy for me to pass on Donnell in Fantasy.

His production fell when rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham entered the mix in Week 4. Now that Cruz is out of the mix, Donnell's production figures to rise again.


Odell Beckham shows he's worth adding
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:42 am ET) Only three games into his career, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham has emerged as one of quarterback Eli Manning's favorite red-zone targets, which is especially good news with another one of his favorite red-zone targets, Victor Cruz, lost for the season with a knee injury.

Beckham didn't have a lot of chances Week 7 at Dallas, but he made the most of the ones he got, scoring on catches of 9 and 5 yards. In all, he had four catches for 34 yards. His six targets were third-most on the team, behind wide receiver Rueben Randle's nine and tight end Larry Donnell's seven.

The six targets were a season high for Beckham. He has yet to catch more than four passes for more than 44 yards, but because he keeps getting looks in the end zone, he's worth adding in Fantasy even if it's just to stash him on your bench until you're ready to put your trust in him.


An encouraging performance for Eli Manning
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:34 am ET) Playing his first game without star wide receiver Victor Cruz, who's out for the season with a torn patella tendon, Giants quarterback Eli Manning still managed to bounce back from arguably his worst game of the season with one of his best Week 7 at Dallas, completing 21 of 33 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns.

It was his fifth game in six with multiple touchdown passes and his second with at least three. And he did it against a defense that had generally kept quarterbacks out of the end zone, recording nearly as many interceptions (seven) as it had allowed touchdown passes (eight) prior to Week 7.

Though two of his touchdown passes went to rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, who wasn't even available to him the first four weeks, Manning did a nice job of spreading the ball around. None of the touchdowns went to his two leading receivers, Larry Donnell and Rueben Randle.

Judging by this performance, Manning knows how to make use of the weapons the Giants have and doesn't need Cruz to remain successful in Fantasy. His bad games can be really bad, but his good games have been frequent enough for you to give him another shot when he returns from a bye Week 9 against Indianapolis.


Andre Holmes comes back down to earth
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:26 am ET) Raiders wide receiver Andre Holmes, who blew up for 121 yards and two touchdowns Week 6 against San Diego, took a long time to get going Week 7 against Arizona, catching his first pass about midway through the fourth quarter. Not surprisingly, he finished with just three catches for 34 yards. 

It's not like he was invisible before then. He nearly had a great catch on a long pass along the sidelines in the second quarter, but it was ruled incomplete. He did have only two targets apart from his three receptions, though.

Clearly, it was a disappointing showing, but it's not like quarterback Derek Carr forgot about him. Only James Jones and Darren McFadden had more targets, tying for the team lead with eight. Holmes spent much of the game covered by Patrick Peterson, who remains one of the better cornerbacks in the NFL. Holmes still has incredible play-making ability and will have better days.

But this performance shows why you can't trust him on an every-week basis yet. His matchup Week 8 against Cleveland is another tricky one because of cornerback Joe Haden, who has struggled at times this season but limited the Jaguars' Cecil Shorts to three catches for 12 yards in Week 7. You might want to leave Holmes on your bench for this one.


49ers' Phil Dawson makes 1-of-2 field-goal attempts in Week 7
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:22 am ET) 49ers knicker Phil Dawson made only one of his two field-goal attempts in Week 7, adding two extra points in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos.

Dawson couldn't deliver from 51 yards out in the first quarter, pushing the attempt wide left, but was true from 22 yards out in the second quarter. He's 13 of 16 on field-goal attempts this season but had been 10-for-10 in his previous three games coming into Week 7. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


49ers TE Vernon Davis catches two passes in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) 49ers tight end Vernon Davis caught just two of his five targets for 21 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Davis was coming off an ugly Week 6 performance in which he dropped two passes, and he didn't fare much better in the team's blowout loss against the Broncos. He has 14 receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns heading into the team's Week 8 bye. The 49ers will face the Rams after the week off.


49ers WR Michael Crabtree held to 27 yards in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:16 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree caught four of his seven targets for just 27 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

While the 49ers averaged 11.1 yards per reception as a team Sunday, top options Crabtree (6.8 YPC) and Anquan Boldin (7.1 YPC) could find no room to work, leading to disappointing performances despite the offense dialing up 46 passes in the loss. Crabtree hasn't topped 50 yards in any of his last four games, and he owns 32 receptions, 322 yards and three touchdowns in seven games this year. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


Anquan Boldin catches seven passes in 49ers' Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:13 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin caught seven of his 10 targets for 50 yards in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Boldin had at least one bad drop in the game and was unable to find much room to work downfield. He came into the week average 12.4 yards per reception but managed just 7.1 YPC against the Broncos. Boldin has collected 39 receptions for 447 yards and one touchdown in seven games. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


49ers WR Steve Johnson scores touchdown in Week 7 loss
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:10 am ET) 49ers wide receiver Steve Johnson caught five passes for a team-high 79 yards and one touchdown in his team's 42-17 loss to the Broncos in Week 7.

Johnson hauled in a four-yard score in the back of the end zone with only 11 seconds left in the first half to send the 49ers into halftime with a 21-10 deficit. The Broncos took over from there, scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter. Johnson has reached the end zone in three of his last four games, and he's up to 25 receptions, 315 yards and three scores on the season. The 49ers have a bye in Week 8 before facing the Rams the following week.


 
 
 
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