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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
Bears' Trestman will talk to Jimmy Clausen before naming starter
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:43 am ET) Bears coach Marc Trestman said Monday morning on WBBM Newsradio 780 that he'll talk to Jimmy Clausen before naming a starter for Sunday's season finale against Minnesota, CBS Chicago reports.

Clausen earned his first start since his rookie year with the Panthers in 2010. He compiled 181 yards while completing 22 of 39 passes. He added two touchdowns and one interception in a 20-14 defeat to Detroit.

"We'll talk about it today," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "I thought he had a good performance. He needed some help. He didn't get it -- had a few drops along the way, had a couple missed assignments up front in the running game, where we could've had a little bit more yardage. But I thought he handled himself (well), for two practices and having not played (much) for four years. It was certainly a good performance."

Chicago is currently a 6 1/2-point underdog at Minnesota.


Eagles coach Chip Kelly: Mark Sanchez is our quarterback Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:32 am ET) Eagles coach Chip Kelly said on Sportsradio 94WIP in Philadelphia that he'll start Mark Sanchez against the Giants in Week 17, per Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

Sanchez has been picked off 10 times since taking over as the starter in Week 9. He threw a costly interception at the end of Saturday's 27-24 defeat to Washington that ruined Philadelphia's postseason hopes. The Eagles won't rush Nick Foles back from a collarbone injury now that Philadelphia was officially eliminated following Dallas' win over Indianapolis on Sunday.

"Mark's our quarterback, and I thought Mark played a really good game [Saturday]," Kelly said. "He goes 37 of 50, he was 36 of 49 before that last pass.

"I'm sure he wants that pass back, everybody wants that pass back, but I think Mark played a good game and we'll continue to go with Mark."

Philadelphia is a 4-point favorite at N.Y. Giants.


Report: Cardinals won't release WR Fitzgerald
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:21 am ET) Cardinals Pro Bowl wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald will not be cut, as some expect due to the team's salary cap issues, a source has told Pro Football Talk.

Fitzgerald has a cap number of $23.6 million for 2015. He could be traded or have his deal restructured. He could also decide to negotiate an extension.

Few non-quarterbacks have cap numbers anywhere near $20 million. Committing that much to a fading Fitzgerald, who hasn't totaled more than 34 yards receiving in his last four games, could prove disastrous. But the Cardinals are apparently willing to take that chance.

Fitzgerald has also been victimized this year and in recent seasons by inconsistent quarterback play.


Lions RB Joique Bell was benched for 'violation of team rules'
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:12 am ET) Lions coach Jim Caldwell told reporters that running back Joique Bell was suspended for the first quarter of Sunday's 20-14 victory over Chicago for what he deemed "violation of team rules," reports ESPN.

Bell took a backseat to Reggie Bush early on before emerging late in the second half. After logging only three carries in the first half, Bell finished the game with 74 yards on 13 attempts and a 17-yard score midway through the fourth quarter that gave Detroit the lead to stay. 

Detroit is a 7 1/2-point underdog at Green Bay in Week 17. The Lions have a 22-game losing streak at Lambeau Field, an NFL record for most consecutive road losses against a single opponent. The winner will clinch the NFC North title.


Bears K Robbie Gould shuts down for season finale
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(11:03 am ET) Bears kicker Robbie Gould told WSCR 670 AM radio in Chicago he'll sit out the final game of the season because of a nagging right quadriceps injury, reports the Chicago Tribune. Gould converted 9 of 12 field goal attempts, adding 28 extra points. Jay Feely will take over as the starter for the fourth consecutive game.

Report: NFL will review Dominic Raiola's ankle stomp
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:51 am ET) The NFL will review Lions center Dominic Raiola's action during the third quarter of Detroit's 20-14 victory over Chicago, according to ESPN.

After walking away from a pile, Raiola was caught on camera stepping on Chicago defensive lineman Ego Ferguson's ankle. Following the game, he told reporters his actions were "not intentional."

"It was totally unintentional," Raiola said. "I remember I was stumbling out. I didn't see the end of it. I apologized at the end of the game, told him it was unintentional and we shook hands and that was it."

Raiola got slapped with a $10,000 fine for cut block in the final minute of a Week 12 loss to New England and could be in line for a heftier fine this time around. The league will likely make an announcement before Detroit's Week 17 showdown at Green Bay.


Browns' Johnny Manziel: 'I want to be the guy' next season
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(10:03 am ET) Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel could be in danger of missing Sunday's season finale against Baltimore, reports Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

Manziel completed 3 of 8 passes for 32 yards before exiting the second quarter of Sunday's 17-13 loss to the Panthers with a hamstring injury. Following the game, Manziel began making a case for the starting job next season during the postgame press conference.

"I want to be the guy," Manziel said. "That's what I want to do and that's what I want to be for this organization, so for me, if anything, this has motivated me more to head into this offseason."

Manziel has only led his team to two scoring drives out of 15 tries this season. Coach Mike Pettine will likely reveal the severity of his injury on Monday. If Manziel is unable to play, Brian Hoyer will get the start against the Ravens.

Cleveland is currently a 7-point underdog at Baltimore.


Falcons S William Moore slated for MRI on injured shoulder
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:44 am ET) Falcons safety William Moore will undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of his injured shoulder, reports ESPN. Moore separated his shoulder in Week 4 and appear to have aggravated the injury after playing 41 snaps against New Orleans on Sunday.

At this point his status remains uncertain for the regular-season finale against Carolina. Atlanta is currently a 3 1/2-point home favorite against Carolina, according to Vegas Insider. The winner will advance to the postseason.


Report: Quad injury won't keep Falcons' Steven Jackson out Week 17
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(9:21 am ET) The quad injury Falcons running back Steven Jackson suffered in Sunday's 30-14 victory over the Saints in Week 16 is not believed to be serious, reports Vaughn McClure of ESPN.

Jackson left the game in the second quarter and was ruled out early in the third. He finished with four carries for 9 yards and one catch for 14 yards. Although coach Mike Smith didn't share many details on Jackson's injury, McClure reports that the veteran back will return to the starting lineup come Week 17 against Carolina.

Atlanta is currently a 3 1/2-point home favorite against Carolina, according to Vegas Insider. The winner will advance to the postseason.


QB struggles begin to impact Cardinals DST
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(2:13 am ET) The Cardinals DST scored just one Fantasy point in standard CBSSports.com leagues Week 16 against Seattle, interrupting a stretch of 10 games in which it averaged 15.1, and the Cardinals' offensive woes may have had something to do with it.

Specifically, they've been unable to find a decent quarterback since losing Carson Palmer to injury in Week 10. Backup Drew Stanton at least mounted some kind of threat, but with him sidelined by a sprained knee in Week 16, the Cardinals had to turn to third-stringer Ryan Lindley. He turned the ball over twice without once leading his team into the end zone, completing less than half of his passes in the process.

The quick trips back to the sideline gave the Seahawks more chances to pile up points and yards, and they did, finishing with 35 and 596. Only one other time have the Cardinals allowed more than 30 points in a game, and the 596 yards were a season high. Worse yet, they were lacking in big plays, recording one sack with no takeaways.

Fortunately, the Cardinals will take on a struggling 49ers offense in Week 17, so even if Lindley is back under center, the DST at least has a chance of a respectable performance. Still, if you've been relying on it all season, you might want to make sure there isn't an appealing matchups play on the waiver wire.


 
 
 
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