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Waiver Wire: Time to be active in free agency

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Cowboys are expected to be without starting running back Felix Jones for at least Week 7 against St. Louis -- and possibly longer -- after he suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 6 at New England. That will open the door for DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice to have increased Fantasy value.

We like Murray better than Choice based on how each played against the Patriots, and based on what coach Jason Garrett said after the game. Murray had 10 carries for 32 yards and one catch for 7 yards, and Choice finished with five carries for 14 yards and three catches for 16 yards.

"I thought he finished runs well," Garrett said of Murray in his postgame news conference. "He made people miss a little bit. And again, we weren't running it great, but I thought he was making the most of some of the opportunities that he got."

Murray said in the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram that he is ready to assume a bigger role with Jones out.

"When I get an opportunity when I'm in there, I'm just going to try to make plays and continue to work hard," Murray said.

Murray, who is owned in 20 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com, has an opportunity to help Fantasy owners in Week 7 since the Rams have struggled in run defense. He could be considered a potential starting option this week as a substitute for Jones or as a bye-week replacement for another running back given Fred Jackson, Cedric Benson, Ahmad Bradshaw, LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and BenJarvus Green-Ellis are all off.

Choice (20 percent ownership) is also worth adding in deeper formats since he will share time with Murray but could work at the goal-line and in passing situations. He is worth stashing on your roster since he has been a good injury replacement for the Cowboys each of the past three seasons.

In case you haven't noticed ... We told you last week to add Tim Tebow, but he's still owned in just 74 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com. That should be 100 percent because even if you don't use Tebow he can still be trade bait. Keep in mind in three starts last year he had at least 24 Fantasy points, and he had 18 points in the half he played against San Diego in Week 5. You can either plan on using Tebow as your starter or trade him to an owner in need of a quarterback, and he should be able to bring back something of significance after he posts quality stats in Week 7 at Miami.

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

Matt Cassel, Chiefs
Owned: 59 percent of leagues
Week 6: Did not play.
Analysis: Cassel had his best game of the season in Week 5 at the Colts with 35 Fantasy points, and he has at least 17 Fantasy points in his past three games before the bye in Week 6. He faces Oakland in Week 7, and the Raiders have allowed multiple touchdown passes or 300 passing yards against every quarterback they have faced this season. Consider Cassel a great bye-week replacement in Week 7 based on his recent play and the matchup.

Carson Palmer, Raiders
Owned: 2 percent of leagues
Week 6: Did not play.
Analysis: Palmer heads to the Raiders after the Bengals finally traded him away. He will now start for Oakland, and he's worth adding in all leagues. Palmer should help Darrius Heyward-Bey, and hopefully he can also improve things for Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Louis Murphy and Kevin Boss. We would consider adding Palmer in all leagues, but he's still just a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback going forward in most formats. Oakland will remain a run-first team with Darren McFadden and Michael Bush, and Palmer will still need time to learn the offense. Tebow and Cassel project as better long-term Fantasy quarterbacks than Palmer from this point on.

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Colt McCoy, Browns
Owned: 64 percent of leagues
Week 6: Completed 21 of 45 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns and had four carries for 16 yards and a fumble at Oakland.
Analysis: McCoy has at least 18 Fantasy points in four of five starts this season and is quietly having a nice year despite an inconsistent receiving corps. He is unlikely to be among the Top 5 Fantasy quarterbacks each week, but he can be a good bye-week replacement, especially in Week 7 at home against Seattle. The Seahawks just allowed Eli Manning to pass for 420 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions in Week 5, and McCoy should be able to have another game with 18 Fantasy points in this matchup.

Andy Dalton, Bengals
Owned: 34 percent of leagues
Week 6: Completed 25 of 32 passes for 264 yards one touchdown vs. Indianapolis.
Analysis: We told you to add Dalton last week for his matchup against the Colts, and he had a decent game with 16 Fantasy points. But you might consider stashing Dalton since he should continue to get better as the year goes on, and he has some fantastic weapons with A.J. Green, Jermaine Gresham and now Jerome Simpson, who played well against the Colts. If Dalton continues to progress, he could be helpful toward the end of the season with matchups against St. Louis in Week 15 and Arizona in Week 16, which are the Fantasy playoffs in most leagues.

Sam Bradford, Rams
Owned: 66 percent of leagues
Week 6: Completed 28 of 44 passes for 321 yards and one interception at Green Bay.
Analysis: We're saying to add Bradford now with the Rams trading for Brandon Lloyd from Denver even though Bradford has a potential ankle injury. The addition of Lloyd should help Bradford since he was a great playmaker for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels last year with the Broncos. Bradford has struggled so far this season, but his schedule is about to get better with matchups against Dallas, Arizona twice and Seattle over the next six weeks. He is worth stashing on your bench with the expectation that his season is about to turn around following a poor start.

Avoid 'Em

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John Beck, Redskins
Owned: 2 percent of leagues
Week 6: Completed 8 of 15 passes for 117 yards and had two carries for 14 yards and a touchdown vs. Philadelphia.
Analysis: Beck will likely start for the Redskins in Week 7 at Carolina after Rex Grossman had four interceptions against the Eagles. Even though this will be a good matchup against the Panthers, Beck has minimal Fantasy value. He struggled as a starter for the Dolphins as a rookie in 2007 and couldn't beat out Grossman this year. That should tell you all you need to know about his upside.

Scout 'Em

Christian Ponder, Vikings
Owned: 3 percent of leagues
Week 6: Completed 9 of 17 passes for 99 yards at Chicago.
Analysis: Ponder came on for Donovan McNabb in a blowout loss against the Bears, and there's a chance he could start in Week 7 against Green Bay. If that happens then keep an eye on his performance, and he could be worth adding in deeper leagues. The Vikings passing game has struggled this season under McNabb, and maybe Ponder can inject some life, especially for Percy Harvin. But we need to see it first before telling you to add him.

Running back

Add 'Em

Montario Hardesty, Browns
Owned: 44 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had 11 carries for 35 yards and caught two passes for 18 yards at Oakland.
Analysis: Peyton Hillis is likely out for Week 7 with a hamstring injury, and Hardesty could start against Seattle. The last time Hardesty started in Week 3 against Miami with Hillis out with strep throat he had 14 carries for 67 yards and caught three passes for 19 yards. Hardesty would be facing a Seahawks defense that has allowed four running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points, and we would recommend Hardesty as a potential starter or flex option in this matchup. The situation with Hillis has become a mess based on his contract, and now he's hurt. Hardesty could have plenty of value going forward, and he's worth adding in all leagues.

Jackie Battle, Chiefs
Owned: 64 percent of leagues
Week 6: Did not play.
Analysis: If Battle is still out there then he is worth adding in all leagues based on his previous game against the Colts when he had 19 carries for 119 yards and two catches for 21 yards and his matchup against the Raiders in Week 7. Oakland has allowed six total touchdowns to opposing running backs and four have reached double digits in Fantasy points. You might not start Battle in all leagues against the Raiders, but he is definitely someone to have on your roster in case his performance against the Colts is a sign of things to come.

Donald Brown, Colts
Owned: 11 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had five carries for 35 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 16 yards at Cincinnati.
Analysis: Delone Carter is still the running back to own for the Colts with Joseph Addai (hamstring) out, but Brown is also worth adding in deeper leagues. He had better production against the Bengals than Carter (14 carries for 45 yards), and the Colts might give Brown increased touches. If you're stuck at running back in Week 7 in deeper leagues then add Brown with the hope he can be productive again if Addai remains out.

Avoid 'Em

Marion Barber, Bears
Owned: 30 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had 11 carries for 32 yards and a touchdown vs. Minnesota.
Analysis: Barber is only worth owning as a handcuff to Matt Forte, and the only reason he had 11 carries against the Vikings was because the game was out of hand. The Bears might start giving Barber more red-zone carries, and he does have two touchdowns in his past three games, but both of those came in blowout situations. Don't count on Barber doing much as long as Forte is healthy, and he's not worth owning in the majority of leagues.

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Scout 'Em

Maurice Morris, Lions
Owned: 5 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had five carries for 20 yards and caught one pass for 8 yards vs. San Francisco.
Analysis: Jahvid Best suffered a concussion against the 49ers, and he could be out for Week 7 against Atlanta. Morris would likely start if Best is out, but the Lions could also rely on Keiland Williams and Jerome Harrison. Morris would be the running back to add, but Williams could work in short-yardage situations, with Harrison also seeing time on running downs. We hope that Best is able to play against the Falcons, but plan on adding Morris if needed.

Dion Lewis, Eagles
Owned: 1 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had two carries for 10 yards at Washington.
Analysis: If you own LeSean McCoy then you might consider adding Lewis as the handcuff option since the Eagles might decide he is a better backup than Ronnie Brown. Lewis nearly scored a touchdown against the Redskins, and his touches might increase following the bye in Week 7 if Philadelphia wants to keep McCoy fresh. He is never going to be a factor in the majority of leagues unless McCoy gets hurt, but he is someone to keep on your radar, especially if you own McCoy now.

Wide receiver

Add 'Em

James Jones, Packers
Owned: 64 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had one catch for 35 yards and a touchdown vs. St. Louis.
Analysis: We told you to add him last week, and we'll tell you again after he scored his third touchdown in a row against the Rams. You'd like to see more targets and catches than just one, but it's clear that Aaron Rodgers will continue to rely on him as a trusted weapon. He faces Minnesota in Week 7, and last year he had seven catches for 158 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings in two games with double digits in Fantasy points in each outing.

Greg Little, Browns
Owned: 34 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had six catches for 72 yards at Oakland.
Analysis: We had Little as a sleeper in Week 6, and he played well against the Raiders with seven Fantasy points. He almost scored a touchdown except he must have tripped on some grass before finding the end zone. In any event, Little now has 12 catches for 127 yards in his past two games and should continue to improve with more playing time. The best part about his performance against Oakland was he had 12 targets.

Nate Burleson, Lions
Owned: 55 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown vs. San Francisco.
Analysis: We've been waiting for Burleson to do something of significance, and he finally scored his first touchdown of the year against the 49ers. San Francisco made a concerted effort to take Calvin Johnson away in the red zone, and Matthew Stafford can't continue to just rely on Brandon Pettigrew. Burleson had 10 targets against the 49ers, and if you dropped him before based on his sub-par performance, it might be time to add him again in case he's ready to start playing at a high level.

Avoid 'Em

Jacoby Jones, Texans
Owned: 31 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had four catches for 76 yards and a touchdown at Baltimore.
Analysis: Jones had a great performance against the Ravens, but it happened one week too late. If he had done that against the Raiders, when he had 11 targets but finished with one catch for 9 yards, Fantasy owners might have used him against Baltimore. But heading into Week 7, the Texans are expected to get Andre Johnson (hamstring) back against Tennessee. Once Johnson is back on the field then Jones will go back to a reserve role.

Scout 'Em

Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
Owned: 2 percent of leagues
Week 6: Did not play.
Analysis: With the Broncos trading Lloyd, Thomas will now assume the No. 2 receiver role behind Eric Decker, and he should be healthy coming off a bye. Even though Decker has the most upside of this receiving corps, Thomas has the chance to play a prominent role. You can also add Eddie Royal to this category, and Denver's passing game will now look completely different with Tebow at quarterback and Lloyd gone.

Greg Salas, Rams
Owned: 1 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had eight catches for 77 yards at Green Bay.
Analysis: The Rams' receiving corps got a complete overhaul with the addition of Lloyd and the release of Mike Sims-Walker. We know Lloyd will start, but we don't know who will be opposite him with Danario Alexander or Brandon Gibson. It appears like Salas should be the slot receiver, and he could help the Rams replace the injured Danny Amendola (elbow). Salas had 10 targets against the Packers and was a nice safety blanket for Bradford. If he remains in that role going forward he would be worth adding in leagues where receptions count.

Arrelious Benn, Bucs
Owned: 9 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had three catches for 83 yards and a touchdown vs. New Orleans.
Analysis: We'd like to see Benn more involved because adding a deep threat to this offense would be great for everyone. He had six targets in the game, so Josh Freeman was looking for him enough to make him a viable option in all leagues, but his best asset is making plays down the field. If Benn can do this on a more regular basis then he would be worth adding in all formats. The same goes for slot receiver Preston Parker, who needs to show more consistent play.

Naaman Roosevelt, Bills
Owned: 1 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had one catch for 60 yards and a touchdown at the Giants.
Analysis: The Bills like using their slot receiver, and Roosevelt slides into that role with Donald Jones (ankle) out, forcing David Nelson outside. Roosevelt only had one target against the Giants, but his role could increase if he continues to make plays. The Bills are off in Week 7, but if Jones remains out then keep an eye on Roosevelt and how many targets he gets going forward. If that increases then he could be someone to add in leagues where receptions count.

Tight end

Add 'Em

Fred Davis, Redskins
Owned: 60 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had six catches for 95 yards vs. Philadelphia.
Analysis: Davis played well against the Eagles, and he should be ready to play like a No. 1 Fantasy option again no matter who the quarterback is in Washington. Chris Cooley (hand) could be out for a while, which will take away any competition for playing time. And Davis was again featured in the offense against the Eagles with a season-high 11 targets. He faces the Panthers in Week 7, and Carolina has allowed just two tight ends to reach double digits in Fantasy points, but Davis would still be worth using as a starting option in the majority of leagues.

Avoid 'Em

Brent Celek, Eagles
Owned: 20 percent
Week 6: Had four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown at Washington.
Analysis: It was good to see Celek have his first big game of the season against the Redskins, but we need to see him do that on a consistent level before telling you to add him in the majority of leagues. He did have nine targets, but the Eagles have so many weapons that he could disappear again in their next game. Prior to Week 6, Celek combined for five Fantasy points in the first five games of the season.

Scout 'Em

Lance Kendricks, Rams
Owned: 10 percent of leagues
Week 6: Had four catches for 71 yards at Green Bay.
Analysis: Kendricks had his best game of the season against the Packers, and we hope he can build on this performance moving forward. He had six targets in the game, and he could be reliable now for the Rams with Lloyd coming from Denver and likely drawing plenty of coverage from opposing defenses. Kendricks has a good matchup in Week 7 at Dallas since the Cowboys have allowed four tight ends to reach at least seven Fantasy points. If Kendricks has another productive outing then he could be worth adding in all leagues.

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
Colts dump LaVon Brazill, sign Aaron Burks
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:03 pm ET) The Colts waived suspended wideout LaVon Brazill and signed receiver Aaron Burks, an undrafted free agent from Boise State. Brazill, 25, is suspended for at least a year for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Burks caught 18 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns for the Broncos last season, averaging 17.2 yards per catch.


Deadlines looming for Saints, Jimmy Graham
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:00 pm ET) The Saints have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to sign Jimmy Graham to a longterm deal. Now comes word, via Pro Football Talk, that Graham faces a Monday deadline, also at 4 p.m. ET, to appeal the arbitrator's ruling declaring him a tight end.

The website believes Graham will file the appeal hoping to get a better contract offer from the Saints. If no deal is reached and his appeal is denied, Graham will have to play the 2014 season under the $7 million franchise tag for tight ends, not the $12 million receiver tag he sought.


Andre Johnson's trade value a matter of disagreement
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(2:40 pm ET) Texans receiver Andre Johnson could garner anywhere from a 2nd-round pick to a 5th-rounder in a trade, according to a survey of four executives by the Sideline View's Lance Zierlein. The 33-year-old Johnson reportedly wants out of Houston.

The Houston Chronicle asserted earlier Friday that the Texans won't trade Johnson.


D'Brickashaw Ferguson needs bounceback year
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:54 pm ET) Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson did not look like himself last year, allowing eight sacks and 51 quarterback hurries, according to the New York Post. The paper expects Ferguson, 30, who has never missed a snap in the NFL, to bounce back.

Ferguson has the highest salary cap figure on the team at $11.7 million.


Jordy Nelson, not Randall Cobb, is Packers' No. 1 receiver
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1:18 pm ET) The Packers' official website considers Jordy Nelson the team's No. 1 receiver and Randall Cobb the No. 2 receiver. Nelson, who plays the "X" receiver spot, is the guy who "lines up on the line of scrimmage. He’s the guy who’s big enough and strong enough to get off the jam, and fast enough to defeat the jam and still get deep," the website said.

Cobb plays the flanker or the slot. "He’s a guy who plays off the line of scrimmage and is used in a lot of strategic ways," the report said.


Colts have more trust in Coby Fleener
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:39 am ET) Colts tight end coach Alfredo Roberts said Coby Fleener was a different player last season than he was as a rookie. Roberts noted Fleener excelled in the postseason with 11 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. 

"One is a trust factor," Roberts told the team's website. "He grew and he challenged himself to make plays and he showed up, especially in big games."

After catching 26 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie, Fleener hauled in 52 passes for 608 yards and four scores last season. Both he and tight end Dwayne Allen, now recovered from a hip injury, are expected to be used heavily in 2014.


Giants weighing Odell Beckham's use as returner
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:22 am ET) Giants coach Tom Coughlin said the Giants "can certainly feature" rookie receiver Odell Beckham in the return game. Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said Beckham is "explosive, he’s got legitimate speed and he runs, I think, pretty strong for his size. You put all of that together and it ends up being a good returner."

But according to the New York Post, it's risky to put a prized first-round pick "in the line of fire in the return game." Given there's a good chance Beckham is heavily involved in the offense as a receiver, the team might opt against giving him "a steady diet" as a returner, the paper said.


Will Witherspoon: Kenny Britt will 'blossom into a star'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:13 am ET) Former Rams linebacker Will Witherspoon believes the team will reap major rewards from the signing of receiver Kenny Britt "I think the addition of Kenny Britt will be a huge boost for the Rams offense," Witherspoon told SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I expect him to blossom into a star."

Britt, 25, is trying to resurrect his career after making just 11 catches last season with Tennessee.


Kai Forbath trying to stave off Zach Hocker
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) Redskins kicker Kai Forbath has made 35 of 40 field goals the past two years, but he's been weak on kickoffs, producing just 14 touchbacks last season. Washington drafted Zach Hocker in the seventh round to compete with Forbath.

According to the Washington Post, Forbath has spent the offseason trying to improve on kickoffs. "That, and continued accuracy on field goals is the key to his job security," the paper said.


Four-way battle to back up Gronk
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:32 am ET) Four players are vying to back up Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, whose surgically repaired knee might not be 100 percent when the season opens, reports the Boston Globe. The paper projects Michael Hoomanawanui to beat out D.J. Williams, Asa Watson and Justin Jones for the No. 2 job.

A five-year vet, Hoomanawanui is a 6-4, 260-pounder who "runs good routes over the middle but does not have the long speed to threaten a defense vertically down the seam," the paper said. He has caught 20 of 26 targets over the past two seasons, with one drop.


 
 
 
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