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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
Saints restructure contract for safety Jairus Byrd
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:03 am ET) The Saints have restructured the contract for safety Jairus Byrd, as they move closer to getting under the 2015 salary cap, Field Yates of ESPN reports.

New Orleans cleared $4.8 million of cap space by converting Byrd's $6 million roster bonus into a signing bonus. His cap number also dropped from $10.3 million to $5.5 million with the restructure.

Byrd, 28, signed a six-year, $54 million deal with the Saints in 2013, but has missed 17 games over the past two seasons. He announced Wednesday that he's officially cleared for the 2015 season, after having surgery last October to fix a torn meniscus in his knee.

>> Want more NFL offseason? >> Mock drafts | Free agency tracker


Darnell Dockett to 49ers for reported two-year, $7.5 million deal
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:57 am ET) Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett chose to stay in the NFC West, signing a two-year deal, worth $7.5 million with $2 million guaranteed with the 49ers, according to his agent Drew Rosenhaus on Thursday. According to Pro Football Talk, the Cardinals offered a max deal of $4 million in 2015 to Dockett, but San Francisco offered a base deal of $4 million with half guaranteed.

Dockett, 33, missed the 2014 season while recovering from a torn ACL. In the 10 previous seasons, all with the Cardinals, Dockett piled up 459 tackles, 40.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles and four interceptions.

>> Want more NFL offseason? >> Mock drafts | Free agency tracker


Former Falcons WR Harry Douglas to visit the Titans
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:48 am ET) Former Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas will visit the Titans on Thursday, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Douglas was released by Atlanta on Friday after playing for the Falcons since 2008. Tennessee assistant coach Mike Mularkey.

Douglas racked up 258 receptions, 3,130 yards and eight touchdowns during his stint with the Falcons. Last season, he turned 75 targets into 51 catches for 556 yards and two scores.

>> Want more NFL offseason? >> Mock drafts | Free agency tracker


Patriots decline Vince Wilfork's team option; DT will become free agent
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:06 am ET) Vince Wilfork, who won a championship once as a rookie and again in February, took to Twitter Thursday morning to announce that the Patriots will not pick up his two-year team option, which will make him a free agent when the league calendar opens on March 10. He was expected to count $8.9 million against the salary cap next season.

"One major injury -- lots of gas still left in the tank," Willfork said in a statement. "I will take my time to think things through..."

Wilfork posted 47 tackles and one interception in 2014. He has registered 516 combined tackles, 16 sacks, four forced fumbles, 12 fumble recoveries and three interceptions through 11 seasons with the Patriots.

>> Want more NFL offseason? >> Mock drafts | Free agency tracker


Report: Falcons OL Gabe Carimi will head to free agency
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Falcons offensive lineman Gabe Carimi will not be retained before free agency begins on March 10, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter. 

Carimi appeared in all 16 regular-season games and made seven starts for the Falcons in 2014. 


Report: Colts, Dolphins going after Ndamukong Suh in free agency
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) The Colts and Dolphins are expected to try their best to land soon-to-be free agent Ndamukong Suh when the new league year begins on March 10, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports. 

Suh will be the most sought-after free agent once the period begins. The report also states the Dolphins are currently in the lead, with the Lions and Colts close behind at this time. 

Teams can begin negotiating with agents during a legal tampering period that begins Saturday. 

In 2014, Suh recorded 53 total tackles and 8 1/2 sacks. 


Colts sign long snapper Matt Overton to four-year deal
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) The Colts announced they signed long snapper Matt Overton to a new contract

Overton tweeted on his personal account that he will be with the Colts for another four years. In three seasons with the Colts, Overton has appeared in 48 games and has made 22 special teams tackles. 

He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013. 


Police: Panthers' Cam Newton not person of interest in shooting
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Police stated Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is not a person of interest in a shooting at a Charlotte, N.C. nightclub, according to the Associated Press. 

Newton was photographed at Label nightclub on stage with rapper Young Jeezy last weekend before gunshots were fired into a crowd. Two people sustained non-life-threatening injuries as a result of the gunfire. 

In a video obtained by Charlotte's WSOC TV, Newton is spotted partying at the venue before he, along with the rest of the party's attendants, ducked when shots were fired


Adrian Peterson pleased with Vikings meeting, still has concerns
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/4/2015) Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was appreciative of the Vikings front office's visit on Wednesday, he said in a statement to ESPN's Josina Anderson

However, Peterson also alluded to some issues that needed to be hashed out between both parties. 

"I appreciate [general manager] Rick [Spielman] and Coach [Mike] Zimmer coming down to see me today," Peterson said. "We had a great dialogue and they were able to understand where I was coming from and concerns my family and I still have. We respect each other and hopefully the situation can pan out so that everyone involved is content."

Peterson was moved back to the Commissioner's Exempt list after U.S. District Judge David Doty ruled an NFL arbitrator should not have upheld a suspension that would last until April 15. The NFL has appealed this ruling.

With Peterson on the Commissioner's Exempt list, the Vikings are able to have communication with him. 

The Vikings have publicly expressed a desire to have Peterson back in 2015. Peterson has had reservations about wanting to return to Minnesota. 

Peterson only played in one game during the 2014 season. Following a child abuse allegation, Peterson pleaded no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault on his son. 


Report: 49ers shopping linebacker Michael Wilhoite
(3/4/2015) The 49ers are looking to trade linebacker Michael Wilhoite, according to The Sacramento Bee. The team is looking to obtain a sixth- or seventh-round pick in exchange for the former undrafted free agent, per a league source.

Wilhoite, 28, filled in when starters Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman were sidelined with injuries last season. He started all 16 games for the first time in his career in 2014. He tallied career-highs with 87 total tackles, six passes defensed and two interceptions.


 
 
 
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