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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
Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


Cowboys' Greg Hardy called 'woman beater' by teammate
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy got into an altercation with teammate Davon Coleman during a voluntary offseason workout, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports

Hardy reportedly questioned Coleman's work ethic during a conditioning drill, which led Coleman to call Hardy a "woman beater."

Hardy was accused of domestic abuse and was found guilty by a North Carolina judge. On the subsequent appeal, prosecutors dropped charges against Hardy and the case was never presented in front of a jury. 

Hardy has been suspended by the NFL for 10 games due to what transpired in that case. According to FOX Sports, the confrontation between Hardy and Coleman remained verbal


Lions and Rob Sims' representation haven't spoken in 3 weeks
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Lions need a left guard and Rob Sims would be a solid option if the two sides can strike a deal for the veteran to return. 

However, talks have stalled between the Lions' front office and Sims' representation. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said it's been nearly a month since he's spoken to Sims' camp. 

"We've had some discussion with Rob," Mayhew said, via MLive.com. "I spoke to his agent probably about three weeks ago and we had an offer out to him. That's kind of where we are right now. We'll have to kind of wait and see what happens."

The Lions could still opt to draft a lineman early to fill the position, too. 

Sims, who entered the NFL in 2006, has been with the Lions for the past five seasons. 


Andre Ellington OK with Cardinals drafting another running back
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) If the Cardinals decide to draft a running back in one of the higher rounds, running back Andre Ellington would be OK with it. 

Ellington was a three-down back for Arizona last year that got plenty of touches in the running and passing games. But if the Cardinals use a high pick on a running back, that could cut into Ellington's touches. 

That's something that wouldn't bother Ellington. 

“It’s whatever will better our team,” Ellington told the team's website. “That’s most important. No one is going to hate any decisions. I’m sure those guys will make the best decisions to help the team. We’ll accept any guy who comes in.”

Another quality runner could help Ellington, who dealt with numerous injuries a year ago, in the long run. His season ended last December after undergoing hernia surgery. 


Dolphins haven't decided if they'll extend Ryan Tannehill's contract
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Dolphins executive vice president of football operations Mike Tannenbaum said the club has yet to decide if it will extend quarterback Ryan Tannehill, according to the Palm Beach Post

The Dolphins could decide to pick up Tannehill's fifth-year option and wait on an extension. The deadline for doing so is May 3. Doing that would cost the Dolphins $15 million for the 2016 season. 

Previously, NFL.com reported that the Dolphins were hopeful that they could strike a long-term deal with Tannehill before Week 1 of the 2015 season. 

In 2014, Tannehill threw for 4,045 yards with 27 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.


 
 
 
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