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Into the deep for Week 7

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.

Quarterback

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Curtis Painter (at NO): Painter isn't going to inspire much confidence in Fantasy owners because, mainly, he's not Peyton Manning, which is understandable. But Painter has done a nice job since replacing Kerry Collins. In three games as a starter, Painter has five touchdowns and one interception and two outings with at least 21 Fantasy points. This week, he's facing the Saints, who have allowed multiple touchdowns to four quarterbacks, and Painter will likely be throwing most of the game with the Colts chasing points. With Tom Brady, Michael Vick, Eli Manning and Ryan Fitzpatrick on a bye, Painter could end up as a quality replacement in deeper formats. (Started in 8 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Matt Moore (vs. DEN): You don't want to use Moore in the majority of leagues. He has no touchdowns and three interceptions in the limited time he has played since Chad Henne (shoulder) went down in Week 4. But if you're stuck and need a quarterback this week, Moore does have a favorable matchup. Every quarterback to face the Broncos this year has had multiple touchdowns, and Moore hopefully could keep that streak alive. It's a Hail Mary call, but Moore might post quality stats against Denver. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Christian Ponder (vs. GB): Like Moore, you don't want to use Ponder in the majority of leagues. He's a rookie making his first NFL start, and it's against the Packers of all teams. Yes, Green Bay has struggled in pass defense, but the Packers have done well the past two games against Matt Ryan and Sam Bradford, holding them to one touchdown and three interceptions. But the reason we would give Ponder a chance in a Hail Mary move is he will make plays running the ball, and hopefully that could lead to a Tim Tebow-like performance. If you're stuck, Ponder could come through with a quality outing. (Not started yet this season)

Running back

Maurice Morris (vs. ATL): Morris will start against the Falcons with Jahvid Best (concussion) out, and he showed in 2010 that he could be a good injury replacement for Best. When Best was dealing with a toe injury, Morris had five games with at least seven Fantasy points in the final seven games of the year, including five touchdowns over that span. The Falcons have allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Morris should be considered a good flex option for this week. (Not started yet this season)
Montario Hardesty (vs. SEA): Hardesty is expected to start for the injured Peyton Hillis (hamstring), and he should be used as a flex option this week. Hardesty started for Hillis in Week 3 against Miami when Hillis had strep throat, and he finished with 14 carries for 67 yards and three catches for 19 yards. He should have a similar performance against the Seahawks, who have allowed four touchdowns to opposing running backs and three to reach double digits in Fantasy points. (Started in 6 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Earnest Graham (vs. CHI): Graham did well as an injury replacement for LeGarrette Blount (knee) last week against New Orleans with 12 Fantasy points, and he has the chance for another quality outing this week against the Bears with Blount out again. The Bears have allowed three touchdowns to opposing running backs and five to reach at least nine Fantasy points. Graham might struggle to run the ball, but he's averaging four catches a game and will do well in total yardage. (Started in 57 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Ryan Torain (at CAR): Torain was a tremendous disappointment for Fantasy owners in Week 6 when he had 10 carries for 22 yards against the Eagles. He should make up for that performance this week against the Panthers. Even if Tim Hightower (shoulder) does play in this matchup, Torain will get the majority of touches. And he should do well since the Panthers have allowed 10 touchdowns to opposing running backs and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Give Torain another chance as a starting option in the majority of leagues. (Started in 67 percent of leagues in Week 6)
LaDainian Tomlinson (vs. SD): You're not going to start Tomlinson in the majority of leagues, but with Fred Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, Ahmad Bradshaw, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Cedric Benson on a bye, you could be stuck. Tomlinson is getting a ceremonial start against the Chargers, his former team, and maybe the Jets give him some increased touches in this matchup. Shonn Greene remains the better Fantasy running back of this backfield, but Tomlinson could be a flex option in deeper formats. San Diego has allowed five running backs to reach at least nine Fantasy points this year. (Started in 21 percent of leagues in Week 6)

Wide receiver

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Eric Decker (at MIA): Fantasy owners are concerned about Decker now that Tebow is the starting quarterback for the Broncos. In Denver's last game in Week 5 against San Diego, where Tebow played the second half, Decker finished with two catches for minus-4 yards. But we expect Decker to play well against the Dolphins, who have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers and five to reach double digits in Fantasy points. With Brandon Lloyd now gone after being traded to St. Louis, Decker assumes the No. 1 receiver spot for the Broncos, which should lead to quality production. (Started in 75 percent of leagues in Week 5)
Steve Breaston (at OAK): Breaston is coming off two solid games heading into a positive matchup. He had four catches for 91 yards against Minnesota in Week 4 and four catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns at Indianapolis in Week 5. The Raiders have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven have reached at least eight Fantasy points. Breaston should be useful as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver or flex option, and hopefully his recent production continues against the Raiders. (Started in 21 percent of leagues in Week 5)
Percy Harvin (vs. GB): Harvin is coming off arguably his best game of the season in Week 6 at Chicago when he had seven catches for 78 yards on nine targets. We hope he can build off that game and start to develop a rapport with Ponder. The Packers have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers and 11 to reach at least eight Fantasy points, and Harvin has two touchdowns in four career meetings with Green Bay. (Started in 42 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Nate Burleson (vs. ATL): The 49ers may have found a way to take Calvin Johnson away in the red zone by putting two defenders on him, but that opened the door for Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson to score. It was a solid game for Burleson against San Francisco in Week 6 with four catches for 34 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He has a favorable matchup this week against the Falcons, who have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing receivers and seven to reach at least eight Fantasy points. Let's hope he can build off last week's performance and play at a high level for the rest of the year. (Started in 15 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Darrius Heyward-Bey (vs. KC): We're a little leery of starting Carson Palmer in Fantasy leagues this week since he just joined the Raiders on Tuesday. But Palmer should help Heyward-Bey remain a quality Fantasy option, and he's playing at a high level coming into this matchup. He's averaging double digits in Fantasy points in his past three outings, and the Chiefs have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers and six to reach at least eight Fantasy points. (Started in 47 percent of leagues in Week 5)

Tight end

Ed Dickson (at JAC): Dickson has struggled since his big game in Week 1 against Pittsburgh when he had 11 Fantasy points. Since then, he has 13 Fantasy points combined in his past four outings. But this is a good week to use Dickson since the Jaguars have struggled with tight ends. Dustin Keller, Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham and Jermaine Gresham have all scored against the Jaguars, and we expect Dickson to find the end zone also. He is one of my favorite sleepers in Week 7. (Started in 13 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Benjamin Watson (vs. SEA): The Seahawks have struggled the past two games to defend tight ends with Tony Gonzalez and Jake Ballard scoring touchdowns and reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Watson could find the end zone against Seattle as well since he has two touchdowns on the year, and he remains heavily involved in the passing game for the Browns with at least eight targets in his past three outings. We would consider Watson a quality bye-week replacement. (Started in 21 percent of leagues in Week 6)
Lance Kendricks (at DAL): Kendricks had his best game of the season against the Packers in Week 6 with four catches for 71 yards, and we hope he can build on that 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. We hope this is the start of something special for Kendricks. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 6)

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
Patriots' Devin McCourty: There's a 'chance that I might not be back'
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) With the Patriots deciding to use their franchise tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski, safety Devin McCourty knows his time in New England could be coming to an end. 

In an interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson, McCourty said he didn't have much information on what the Patriots would do and was going off of various media reports that came down to the organization deciding whether to franchise him or Gostkowski. 

Now that Gostkowski is ineligible from hitting the free agent market, McCourty will test the waters beginning on March 10. 

"I guess it's more realistic now that [there's] a chance that I might not be back there," McCourty said. "Or there's still a chance that I will, but I guess [there's] more of a chance now with the franchise tag going to Steve that I could be playing in a different place. Still, keeping an open mind and trying to enjoy the process."

In 2014, McCourty recorded 68 tackles and two interceptions. 


Report: Texans' Andre Johnson given permission to seek trade
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Wide receiver Andre Johnson has been given permission by the Texans to seek a trade, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle

The Texans told Johnson that he'd have a reduced role this upcoming season opposite of DeAndre Hopkins. Therefore, Johnson wanted out of his deal. If a trade cannot be made with a suitor, Johnson will be released

Johnson was the third overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft and is the greatest player in the history of the Texans. He's recorded 1,012 catches, 13,597 yards and 64 touchdowns in his career.

A trade could be difficult, however, based on Johnson's upcoming $16.1 million cap figure and $10.5 million base salary for the 2015 season. 


Colts RB Vick Ballard (Achilles) 'on schedule' with recovery
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) Running back Vick Ballard is poised to be back in the Colts' plans for the 2015 season. 

Ballard, who has missed almost all of the previous two seasons due to injuries, hasn't suffered any setbacks with his recovery, according to the Colts' official website. Ballard tore his ACL in 2013 and suffered an Achilles tear before the 2014 season. 

“Vick’s doing well. He’s going through rehab right now. He’s on schedule,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He’s been working his tail. When the doctors say he’s 100 percent and ready to roll, then we’ll get him back on the field.”

Ballard led the Colts in rushing as a rookie in 2012 with 814 yards and two touchdowns. He only played in one game in 2013 before tearing his ACL in a practice the following week. His Achilles tear came during the 2014 preseason. 


Report: Jaguars looking for help at RB this offseason
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) It appears Jaguars running back Toby Gerhart will have new role in 2015. 

According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the Jaguars are planning to move Gerhart around on offense at H-back in addition to running back. This also means the Jaguars will be in the market for additional help at running back. 

Gerhart was plagued by injuries in 2014, which paved the way for Denard Robinson to assert himself as a potential starting running back down the road. Robinson, however, is injury prone himself, which goes back to his days as a standout quarterback in college at Michigan.

Robinson's 2014 season ended on injured reserve with a mid-foot sprain.

Gerhart's season ended with just 326 yards and a patry 3.2 yards per carry average. Robinson emerged late in the year and ran for 582 yards and held a 4.3 yards per carry average.  


Report: Titans parting ways with safety Bernard Pollard
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) The Titans will release veteran safety Bernard Pollard, according to a report from The Tennessean

Pollard had previously requested for the Titans to release him. He's coming off a season that ended prematurely due to an Achilles tear in early October. He was slated to earn $3.5 million with the Titans this year if he stayed on. 

In the five games he appeared in during the 2014 season, Pollard recorded 27 tackles and one sack. 


Report: Browns looking to add another quarterback
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) The Browns are not done just yet in their search for quarterback talent, according to ESPN.com. Cleveland is reportedly looking to add at least one more quarterback through the draft or free agency.

The Browns made their signing of Josh McCown to a three-year deal official last week, but appear to want another to go along with him and Johnny Manziel.


Report: Redskins will pursue Ndamukong Suh as free agent
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) After the Lions chose not to use the franchise tag to retain DE Ndamukong Suh, it became more likely that he'll become an unrestricted free agent on March 10. 

When Suh hits the market, the Redskins will be interested in signing him, reported Dianna Marie Russini of DC's NBC 4, citing sources within the organization. 


Browns don't use franchise tag on Jordan Cameron
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) The Browns won't use their franchise tag on any player, meaning that TE Jordan Cameron will become a free agent on March 10. 

Cameron had 24 catches for 424 yards and two touchdowns last season, at a salary of $1.431 million.


No franchise tag for Broncos' Julius Thomas
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) The Broncos will not use their franchise tag on TE Julius Thomas. The team instead tagged WR Demaryius Thomas. 

Julius Thomas will be able to become a free agent on March 10. He had 43 catches for 489 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. Thomas made $645,000 salary last year. 


Report: Bills do not apply franchise tag to linebacker Jerry Hughes
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/2/2015) The Bills reportedly chose not to apply their franchise tag to linebacker Jerry Hughes Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network.

Buffalo has been working on signing Hughes to a new, long term deal for the past month. The veteran linebacker racked up 10 sacks and totaled 54 tackles in all 16 games in 2014 for the Bills. 


 
 
 
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