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Week 6 Fantasy Faceoffs

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Editor's note: Each week Dave Richard, Jamey Eisenberg and Nathan Zegura will tackle lineup dilemmas that you might be facing. These subjects are derived from discrepancies in Dave's and Jamey's weekly rankings .

Who's the better Week 6 replacement quarterback: Alex Smith or Joe Flacco?
Dave Richard We saw first hand in the 49ers game last week the advantage a team has over an opponent that enters a game coming off a Monday night appearance; the Niners spanked the Bucs and play the Lions, in Detroit, this week. Detroit's pass defense continues to be its weak link, and Smith has been good this year. His accuracy is crushing his career bests and he has thrown at least two touchdowns in three of his last four games. He's also getting better protection from his offensive line and is doing a nice job working with his tight ends and running backs -- a big plus since his receiving corps is thin. Attacking the Lions' safeties and linebackers with quick passes to his tight ends will go a long way in Week 6 -- Smith should record his third straight game with at least 20 Fantasy points.
Jamey Eisenberg I like teams coming off their bye because two weeks to prepare for an opponent is usually a good thing. Flacco has been studying the Texans defense since he last played in Week 4, and he should be ready to go. In his past two games coming off a bye, Flacco has passed for 441 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He has faced Houston twice in his career, including last season, and has 420 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in those matchups. The Texans just lost standout linebacker Mario Williams (pectoral), and Houston has allowed multiple touchdown passes in two of the past three games against Drew Brees and Jason Campbell. Smith, meanwhile, is facing a Lions defense that has more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns allowed (six). The only quarterback to play well against Detroit is Tony Romo, and Smith is down to Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn Jr. as his starting receivers. This is an easy call, and Flacco is your guy.
Nathan Zegura Joe Flacco is not a Top 12 quarterback for me this week, but I do prefer him to Alex Smith of the red hot San Francisco 49ers if you are hurting at the position this week. Flacco is coming off of his bye week and has a decent matchup against a Texans team that just lost Mario Williams for the year and has allowed multiple passing touchdowns in two of the last three weeks. While neither matchup is ideal -- the Lions are the fifth toughest defense against quarterbacks at 12 points per week and the Texans are eighth at 15.4 -- I would give a slight edge to Flacco given his supporting cast. Smith just lost Josh Morgan and will have to rely on tight ends Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker in addition to banged up Michael Crabtree. Flacco has a much more complete supporting cast at his disposal with Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Ray Rice and Ed Dickson. Flacco played very well coming off of his bye week last year with 266 yards and two scores and I expect another solid game against the depleted Texans.
Start or sit Jahvid Best vs. San Francisco?
Dave Richard Jahvid Best isn't rushing for 163 yards again, and he won't get to 100 rush yards either. The 49ers run defense will make sure of that. So why do I like Best anyway? Because he can still be effective out of the backfield, and the Lions will need him with the 49ers pass rush forcing Matthew Stafford to make quick decisions. This could easily be another game where Best totals close to 100 yards, and Fantasy owners will take their points any way they can get them. Also, for whatever it's worth, Best's top games this year have come at home, not on the road. The Niners will be a tough challenge for him, but in a week where Fantasy owners will be without Beanie Wells, Chris Johnson, Willis McGahee, Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert, you're going to need some really good running backs to bench Best, who has No. 2 Fantasy rusher potential.
I'd start him over: Mark Ingram (at TB), DeAngelo Williams (at ATL), Felix Jones (at NE)
Jamey Eisenberg Best is one of my favorite players this season, and I predicted him to have a breakout campaign. But I would consider sitting Best this week because he will be facing a tough opponent. The 49ers have allowed the fewest Fantasy points to opposing running backs and along with Denver, they have yet to allow a running back to score on the ground. LeSean McCoy is the only running back to score against San Francisco, and that was on a shovel pass. The 49ers have held Marshawn Lynch, Felix Jones, Cedric Benson and LeGarrette Blount to six Fantasy points or less, and Best is in for a letdown following his career game against Chicago on Monday night. Prior to that game, Best struggled against Minnesota (eight Fantasy points) and Dallas (six points), and he should be around six points again. The majority of his production will come as a receiver, but his rushing totals should be minimal.
I'd rather start: Mark Ingram (at TB), Ryan Torain (vs. PHI), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. DAL)
Nathan Zegura If you are in a point-per-reception league I am starting Jahvid Best even though he is taking on an excellent San Francisco 49ers defense. Best is averaging over four catches per game on the season and the Niners are giving up over four catches per game to opposing running backs, so in a PPR league I think Best still gets you double digit points without a touchdown. In a non-PPR league however, I would sit Best provided that you have a better option. The 49ers have now gone 27 straight games without allowing a 100 yard rusher, the longest streak in the NFL, and they are stifling opposing running backs from a Fantasy perspective. No team is allowing fewer points to opposing running backs than San Francisco, who are giving up just 7.8 points per game. They are second at 56 rushing yards allowed, eighth at 27 receiving yards allowed and have not allowed a single rushing touchdown so unless he breaks a long run, Best is going to struggle.
I'd rather start: Cedric Benson vs. IND, Earnest Graham vs. NO (if Blount is out), Ryan Torain (vs. PHI)
Which notable Fantasy quarterback would you cut for Tim Tebow?
Dave Richard I don't think I'm telling anyone anything when I say I'd cut Josh Freeman or Mark Sanchez for Tim Tebow. Those guys are meandering backup options who have begun to wear out their welcomes. Tebow represents a fresh change with potential to be a huge stat producer. But that said, any "big name" quarterback like Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Fitzpatrick or Eli Manning simply isn't worth the risk. Let's keep something in mind here: If Tim Tebow is a "safe" candidate for 20 Fantasy points through his rushing endeavors then Ryan, Schaub, Roethlisberger, Fitzpatrick and Manning are equally safe through their passing abilities. This is not me telling you that Tebow is going to stink or that Tebow isn't worth adding, because I think he'll be solid and is absolutely worth adding. But giving up a proven quarterback commodity, a guy you can start under most circumstances, isn't worth it.
Jamey Eisenberg You have to love the way Ryan Fitzpatrick has played so far this season, but if last year was an indication, a lull is coming, especially when the weather turns cold in Buffalo. From Halloween to the end of the year in 2010, a span of nine games, Fitzpatrick had 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions with only four games over 250 passing yards. He had just two games with multiple touchdown passes, and he doesn't have the upside of Tebow. As we saw last year with three starts, Tebow can be a consistent Fantasy quarterback since he had three games with at least 24 Fantasy points. It would be difficult to give up on Fitzpatrick now after his early-season production, but just as you added him then when his value was on the rise, you should do the same now with Tebow. For the rest of the season, Tebow will be the better Fantasy quarterback.
Nathan Zegura Tim Tebow is not the "prettiest" quarterback you have ever seen, but the guy produces Fantasy points. In any game in which he has had more than 10 combined pass and rush attempts, Tebow has produced at least 17 Fantasy points. In his three starts last year, Tebow produced at least 24 Fantasy points every time out and actually helped a lot of people, including yours truly, win Fantasy titles. Running quarterbacks score points and Tebow averaged 66 yards rushing and one touchdown per game last year. That's 12 points right there or the direct equivalent of 300 yards passing. Think about that for a second. He does not have to complete over 50 percent of his passes or look like a traditional quarterback for our purposes, he needs to score Fantasy points and he does that with his legs week in and week out. Tebow is the top waiver option this week and I would take him as my second quarterback over just about anybody out there including "The Genius" Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even if you are loaded at quarterback, grab him and use the kid or one of your other quarterbacks as trade bait. Instead of who I would take Tebow over, here is who I would not cut to get Tebow at the quarterback spot: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Cam Newton, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Michael Vick and Tony Romo. Matt Ryan, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Schaub are close, and I would rather have Tebow in tandem with them, but if you have one of the elite eight quarterbacks already, I think Tebow has more upside than anyone else at the position as your second quarterback, especially if you are in a four-point passing touchdown league.
Which player would you sell high on and trade?
Dave Richard If you own Cam Newton, you've probably enjoyed the numbers he's given you through five weeks (well, except Week 3). And if you own Cam Newton, you probably drafted him with a late-round pick or claimed him off waivers. Now's a great time to turn that steal of yours into a Fantasy stud someone took with an early choice. Newton will fetch an elite player in trade, if not two. If your team has more than three losses, you might want to consider pawning Newton for a good quarterback and a very good starter. Example: Philip Rivers and Dwayne Bowe. I wouldn't trade Newton if your backup was unproven and/or unproductive, and I would have traded Newton already if he was on your bench because you have Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady on your roster. If you're somewhere in-between, and if you're not winning Fantasy games, make a move to salvage your season and turn him into players that can help you.
Jamey Eisenberg If the season ended today, Victor Cruz would be the No. 11 receiver in standard leagues after catching 19 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns. There's no way he's going to keep up this pace barring a significant injury to Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham, and Manningham is definitely someone to buy low. Last year, Manningham closed the season with 16 catches for 346 yards and four touchdowns in the final three games, and at some point that receiver is going to emerge again. When that happens, Cruz will take a back seat, and you should definitely trade him now while his value is at its peak. You can't rely on him to get fluky touchdowns like he had against the Eagles when no one tackled him or against the Seahawks when he scored off a deflection. We all know Eli Manning also tends to struggle as the year goes on, so sell Cruz now while you can still get something significant in return.
Nathan Zegura Calvin Johnson has a legitimate shot to rewrite the record books after catching nine touchdowns in his first five games of 2011. While I do think it is entirely possible that he keeps up this pace because he is clearly the most physically gifted and dominant receiver to perhaps ever play the game, selling high on Calvin is not a bad idea if the price is right. In my weekday chats here on CBSSports.com and on my SiriusXM radio show, I have heard trade offers such as Darren McFadden and Miles Austin, Arian Foster and Greg Jennings, LeSean McCoy and Roddy White in two-for-one offers for Megatron. If you can get a top Fantasy running back and an elite wide receiver like those deals above I would sell high on Calvin and take them. I have also seen people get offers from those owners who drafted say Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton such as Rodgers and Hakeem Nicks for Calvin, which would be a steal if you needed a quarterback. I do not know that there is anyone out there I would take one for one for Calvin right now, but if you can get two elite players like in the aforementioned actual trade scenarios, I would pull the trigger and sell high.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard , Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and Nathan at @NathanZeguraTFC .

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Player News
Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


Mark Sanchez: Eagles said Tim Tebow was just a camp arm
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


Cowboys' Greg Hardy called 'woman beater' by teammate
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy got into an altercation with teammate Davon Coleman during a voluntary offseason workout, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports

Hardy reportedly questioned Coleman's work ethic during a conditioning drill, which led Coleman to call Hardy a "woman beater."

Hardy was accused of domestic abuse and was found guilty by a North Carolina judge. On the subsequent appeal, prosecutors dropped charges against Hardy and the case was never presented in front of a jury. 

Hardy has been suspended by the NFL for 10 games due to what transpired in that case. According to FOX Sports, the confrontation between Hardy and Coleman remained verbal


 
 
 
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