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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
Broncos announce Week 16 inactives
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:13 pm ET) The Broncos declared running back Ronnie Hillman (foot), linebacker Brandon Marshall (foot), defensive back Tony Carter, offensive linemen Michael Schofield and Paul Cornick, tight end Dominique Jones and defensive lineman Quanterus Smith inactive for Monday's game at Cincinnati.

Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman inactive as C.J. Anderson starts again
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:07 pm ET) Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman, who was questionable with a foot injury, is inactive at Cincinnati and will miss his sixth straight game. Running back C.J. Anderson, who was probable with an ankle injury, is active and will get another start.

Anderson has scored five touchdowns in the past four games while receiving at least 21 touches in each. Juwan Thompson (knee, ankle) also is active after being listed as questionable and will back up Anderson.


Peyton Manning, Emmanuel Sanders good to go for MNF
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7:02 pm ET) Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and wideout Emmanuel Sanders, who were listed as questionable, are active as expected for Monday night's game in Cincinnati. Manning is dealing with a thigh injury, while Sanders missed practice Saturday due to an illness.

Manning will have all his top targets available, as wideout Demaryius Thomas (ankle) and tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) also are active after being listed as probable.

Denver is laying 3 or 3.5 points at Vegas sportsbooks.


Dolphins might move Dion Jordan to outside linebacker
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:38 pm ET) Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan got his first sack of the season Sunday against Minnesota. Defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle told the Palm Beach Post the team needs more production from the No. 3 overall pick in the 2013 draft and will consider moving him to outside linebacker next season.

"We have got to find ways to utilize him more," Coyle said.

Miami has a bigger need at outside linebacker than defensive end. Since returning from a six-game suspension to start the season, Jordan has played 34 percent of the defensive snaps. He has 16 tackles and a sack in nine games.


Rams CB E.J. Gaines going through concussion protocol
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:27 pm ET) Rams cornerback E.J. Gaines is doing better Monday, according to coach Jeff Fisher, and is going through the league's concussion protocol. Gaines took a knee to the helmet and had to be carted off the field during Sunday's loss to the Giants.

Chuck Pagano: We'll play to win, need to 'build some steam'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(6:18 pm ET) Colts coach Chuck Pagano told the Indianapolis Star his team will play to win Week 17 at Tennessee despite the fact Indy has little to gain in terms of playoff seeding. The Colts will be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed and host a first-round game. They cannot earn a first-round bye.

Pagano said the Colts need to "build some steam" after being embarrassed 42-7 at Dallas on Sunday. Look for quarterback Andrew Luck, top wideout T.Y. Hilton and the rest of the Colts' starters to play until the game is decided.

Vegas sportsbooks installed Indy as a 6.5- or 7-point favorite.


Chargers place Johnnie Troutman on IR, sign Kenny Wiggins
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:37 pm ET) The Chargers announced a pair of roster moves on Monday, per U-T San Diego. The team placed right guard Johnnie Troutman on injured reserve with a knee injury and re-signed offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins to the 53-man active roster.

Jets' Percy Harvin 'extremely sore' with rib injury
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:10 pm ET) Jets wide receiver Percy Harvin is dealing with a rib injury he suffered in Sunday's game against the Patriots and coach Rex Ryan said he is "extremely sore."

Harvin was forced to leave Sunday's game because of the rib injury and was unable to return. He was dealing with an ankle injury prior to the game, but was able to play through it.

Harvin registered four catches for 44 yards before exiting.


Jets coach Ryan: Nick Mangold has 'bad' ankle sprain
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:07 pm ET) Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters Monday that center Nick Mangold is dealing with a "bad sprain" on his ankle, according to the team's official website. Mangold was carted off Week 16 after rolled up by Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork. Ryan said Mangold will play Sunday against Miami if he can. If he is unable to play Dalton Freeman will likely get the start.

49ers dealing with litany of injuries heading into final week of season
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:04 pm ET) The 49ers have already placed 16 players on the injured-reserve this season and could be without a few more for the season finale in Week 17 against the Cardinals.

"We've kept the doctors busy," coach Jim Harbaugh said.

Safety Eric Reid will see a neurologist for his third concussion in the last 16 months. Cornerback Perrish Cox suffered an AC joint injury Saturday and his status in unknown for Week 17.

Defensive end Aldon Smith suffered a head injury on the final drive of Saturday's game against the Chargers and Harbaugh had no update on his status.

The 49ers are currently 6-point favorites against the Cardinals, according to Vegas Insiders.


 
 
 
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