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Four Quarters: Ouch babe!

Michael Hurcomb
Fantasy Writer
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The mayhem started around 1:05 p.m. on Sunday and the Fantasy Football nightmare lasted all day.

The first kick in the teeth was to the 70 percent of Fantasy owners that started Marshawn Lynch. It wasn't until right before kickoff the Seahawks announced their starting running back was pulled from the lineup after suffering a back injury during pregame warmups. Little did we know that was going to be the first of many major injuries to happen in Week 7.

Shortly after the Lynch announcement, Bucs running back Earnest Graham left the game in London against the Bears with an ankle injury. It was later reported that Graham could be done for the season with a torn Achilles'.

Other early-game injuries included Willis McGahee leaving with a hand injury, LaDainian Tomlinson hitting the showers early due to an illness, Tim Hightower writhing in pain on the ground with a knee injury, Mohamed Massaquoi and Benjamin Watson both being knocked out with concussions, Santana Moss suffering a broken hand and Damian Williams sustaining a head injury.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Ryan Mathews of the Chargers gave us scares as they both left their respective games on Sunday for a short period, but later returned without setbacks. We unfortunately have to await the status of oft-injured Matthew Stafford, who was injured on the final play of his game against Atlanta. He is getting his right knee and ankle checked out after he was rolled up on by an Atlanta defender.

Regrettably, the injury bug kept biting long after the early games were over. The late-afternoon starts brought plenty of agony as well.

Fantasy superstar Darren McFadden lasted just three touches before bowing out with a sprained right foot. Beanie Wells sustained a sprained knee, Percy Harvin re-aggravated a lingering rib injury, Greg Jennings had a big day before injuring his hand, Kevin Boss sustained a concussion and Hines Ward bowed out with an ankle injury.

There was no reprieve in the nightcap either. Colts running back Joseph Addai re-aggravated his hamstring injury and Saints rookie Mark Ingram sustained a heel injury.

These injuries were added to the list of regular Fantasy contributors that were already inactive for Week 7, which included Sam Bradford (ankle), Jahvid Best (concussion), LeGarrette Blount (knee), Peyton Hillis (hamstring), Felix Jones (ankle), Andre Johnson (hamstring), Julio Jones (hamstring), Chris Cooley (hand) and Todd Heap (hamstring).

First Quarter -- Surprises of the Week

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Drew Brees had more touchdown passes (five) than incomplete passes (four) in a rout of the Colts ... Mark Sanchez fired three touchdowns against the Chargers. The only other quarterback to throw three touchdowns against San Diego this season was Tom Brady ... Christian Ponder recorded 19 Fantasy points in his first career start ... LaRod Stephens-Howling was a top 10 Fantasy scoring running back because of a 76-yard touchdown reception ... Shonn Greene recorded his first 100-yard performance of the season facing a team yielding just 14.4 Fantasy points per contest to running backs, which was sixth-best in the NFL ... The Browns showed Peyton Hillis that Montario Hardesty can be a featured back in the NFL as he carried the rock a career-high 33 times against the Seahawks ... Michael Bush stepped in admirably for the injured Darren McFadden, rushing for 99 yards on 17 carries ... Arian Foster and Ben Tate both gashed the Titans defense for 100-yard performances. Foster added a 100-yard receiving game as well ... Plaxico Burress totaled just 25 yards in Week 7, but he racked up the Fantasy points thanks to three touchdowns ... Michael Jenkins needed just three catches for his first 100-yard game of the season. He also almost had a multi-touchdown game as well, but Jenkins was pulled down at the 1-yard line on a 72-yard catch to open the game against Green Bay ... Dezmon Briscoe had a career performance in Week 7 and had to go across the pond to get it ... Demaryius Thomas does quite well in debuts. He scored in his NFL debut last year and scored again in his 2011 debut Sunday ... Tight ends accounted for 13 touchdowns in Week 7, which included scores from Visanthe Shiancoe, Joel Dreessen, Daniel Fells, Anthony Fasano and Jared Cook.

Second Quarter -- Duds of the Week

The Raiders quarterback tandem of Carson Palmer and Kyle Boller each totaled minus-2 Fantasy points ... Charlie Whitehurst was also in the negative with minus-1 Fantasy point as he replaced the injured Tarvaris Jackson ... Matt Cassel, coming off a four-touchdown performance, finished with 2 Fantasy points against a defense allowing quarterbacks to average 22.7 Fantasy points per week, which was third-highest in the NFL ... Tashard Choice was the only Cowboys' running back that couldn't take advantage of the worst run defense in the NFL. He was even benched after fumbling in the third quarter ... Rashard Mendenhall followed his best performance of the season with a stinker against Arizona, which was yielding 17.6 Fantasy points per week to running backs ... What else is there to say about Chris Johnson? He is becoming a regular in this space and heads the list of the most disappointing Fantasy option of the season ... It's about time for Fantasy owners to bail on Denarius Moore, who had his third straight horrific performance ... It's not like we didn't expect Vincent Jackson to have a poor performance going up against Darrelle Revis, but he still makes this list because of his one-point Fantasy performance ... Miles Austin also had just a one-point performance as he was facing the team allowing the most Fantasy points to receivers, but that was more of Dallas taking to the ground to beat St. Louis ... Doug Baldwin was activated in 40 percent of Fantasy leagues following a string of solid performances. He delivered a no-catch week ... Greg Olsen has been held out of the end zone in two straight games and had his season-worst performance Week 7.

Third Quarter -- Injury Report

Is it really worth rehashing all the misery Fantasy owners endured Week 7? If you a glutton for punishment, then just re-read the lead to this column.

Fourth Quarter -- Early Look Ahead

Fantasy owners are going to have to find more bye-week replacements in Week 8 as six more teams -- Atlanta, Chicago, Green Bay, N.Y. Jets, Oakland and Tampa Bay -- are off ... New England at Pittsburgh could be another playoff preview. The Steelers own the league's best pass defense, but are you really going to sit your Patriots superstars? ... Dallas at Philadelphia should be a great NFC East showdown ... The Monday night game in Week 8 is San Diego at Kansas City. A few weeks ago this game looked like a laugher. But Kansas City is at .500 thanks to a three-game winning streak and back in the AFC West hunt.

Overtime -- Q & A

I've got Matthew Stafford and Tim Tebow. An owner wants Tebow and Frank Gore for Aaron Rodgers. That leaves me with Ray Rice, LeGarrette Blount and DeMarco Murray. Should I make this trade? --SyrNYBones (Twitter)

MH: I would. I think you can get by with Stafford and Tebow, but Rodgers has been lights out every week and it doesn't appear he will be slowing down. Blount is likely back after his team's bye week, and Murray could very well remain his team's top running back, so you have decent depth at running back. You are taking a gamble by dealing Gore, but Rodgers is clearly worth it.

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As a Felix Jones owner, should I dump him? --MrBuffBills (Twitter)

MH: As much as I like Murray, the answer is no. Murray faced the league's worst run defense and took advantage. I still think we need to see how he does against a good run defense. Also, the league now has footage on Murray, so we aren't expecting many more 200-yard performances. Let's not forget either that the Cowboys also love Jones. He might not be performing up to expectations this year (mostly due to shoulder and ankle injuries), but there is no reason to cut him in Fantasy.

Is Alfonso Smith worth adding off waivers for a bye-week replacement next week? --sjo2009 (Twitter)

MH: No. I don't care if he is going to be the Cardinals' feature back with Beanie Wells potentially sidelined. The Ravens have been stout against the run this season, yielding 9.4 Fantasy points per week to running backs. They have also given up one rushing score to running backs in their first five games.

Is the Texans DST worth a pick up? Houston's second half schedule looks easy --LadyFantasy82 (Twitter)

MH: The Texans defense has been a laughing stock for years, but not anymore. Perhaps the team's biggest offseason acquisition was hiring defensive guru Wade Phillips, who brought his 3-4 scheme to Houston. Thus far, the results have been impressive. The Texans are a top 10 defense and are applying constant pressure on the quarterback. The second half of the schedule does look favorable as the toughest offenses it will face are Atlanta and Carolina. The Texans DST was a top 10 Fantasy scoring outfit before Week 7, so you should scoop them off waivers before it's too late.

Is Demaryius Thomas the guy to own in Fantasy in the Broncos passing game? --Mike Halbany (Twitter)

MH: The short answer is yes. Thomas returning to full health was part of the reason Denver parted ways with Brandon Lloyd as it targeted Thomas as the guy who could be the team's new downfield threat. Also, Thomas was targeted 10 times in Tebow's first start. The Broncos have high hopes for this former first-round pick, so he could end up being a decent Fantasy play down the stretch.

Is it time to dump Percy Harvin? --Jer Nazareta (Facebook)

MH: I can't say yes. Logic tells me it would be OK to tell you to dump Harvin, but just knowing the type of player he can be when at 100 percent prevents me from doing so. There has to be somebody else on your roster you can cut for wide receiver help. I know his lingering rib injury doesn't strengthen my argument, but I do feel Christian Ponder might be a suitable enough quarterback to get Harvin involved on offense once he is healthy.

What's wrong with Vincent Jackson this year? --Bob Firster (Facebook)

MH: It's hard to pick on a guy with two 100-yard performances and three receiving touchdowns, but I understand the frustration. He has posted two straight subpar outings, but that's because he has been injured and had a tough matchup against the Jets. Also, he has been missing Antonio Gates, who can draw safety coverage when on the field, which frees up favorable one-on-one matchups for V-Jax. If Gates can stay on the field and Jackson can shake his injury issues, then he should be a good Fantasy option down the stretch.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow us on Facebook. You can also follow Michael via Twitter @CBSHurc

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Player News
Bears' Bennett: Trestman will be 'excellent coordinator' for Ravens
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:34 pm ET) Marc Trestman lasted only two seasons as the Bears coach before losing his job. Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said on NFL Network on Friday that Trestman's demise in Chicago was plagued by his inability to control a locker room full of personalities.

"Trestman, I think, first off, the issue that he had, probably, was managing us all, all the different personalities," Bennett said. "There's a lot of big personalities (in the locker room). And I think, for a first-time head coach in the NFL, dealing with all the personalities that you have, I think that's hard when you got guys like me, you know, (Brandon) Marshall ... Lance Briggs on defense, (Charles) Tillman.

"There's so many guys with such outgoing personalities that managing those guys and bringing them all together is what a leader needs to do, you know? And that's one of the toughest things."

Although Trestman was fired in late December, he wasn't out of work for long, landing the job as the Ravens offensive coordinator after Gary Kubiak left to become the Broncos coach. Bennett believes Trestman will have success in his new role.

"Calling plays, he was excellent," Bennett said. "I think he's going to be an excellent coordinator for the Ravens.  Strategically, he was great. But on the field, guys just weren't executing.

"A lot of it comes back to the player preparation. If you're not preparing to a high level, then the coaches can only do so much; the game's not played on paper, it's played on grass. On paper, we look great. On grass, we looked bad."


Marijuana charges dropped against LeGarrette Blount in Pennsylvania
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:10 pm ET) Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount will not face charges for marijuana possession in Pennsylvania, Blount’s attorney said Friday.

Blount and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell were pulled over and arrested for pot possession in August, a day before a preseason game. Blount satisfied his penalty by working community service in Boston. He will not have to appear in court in Pittsburgh next week. 


Seahawks leaving playing status decision up to Richard Sherman
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:08 pm ET) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said Friday it will be up to cornerback Richard Sherman if he plays in Sunday's Super Bowl against the Patriots. It is not because of the elbow injury he sustained in the NFC title game against the Packers. It's because Sherman's girlfriend might go into labor with the couple's first child sooner than expected.

"If (Sherman) is faced with that decision, we'll support him," Carroll said, per the Associated Press. "I can't wait to see little Petey."

Sherman said Thursday that his unborn son isn't due for another couple of weeks, and added "he was going to do his father a favor" and wait to be born until after the Super Bowl.


Vikings' Adrian Peterson to begin probation on Wednesday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will begin his probation on Wednesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Peterson will begin community service, and will undergo counseling to determine whether he has a drug problem. Peterson will report to a probation officer once a month in order to take a drug test. The strict drug testing stems from an Oct. 8 pre-trail urinalysis. Peterson admitted to "smoking a little weed," though the results from the test were never disclosed. 

Probation officials will also determine whether Peterson needs to attend parenting classes. 

Per his plea agreement, Peterson was fined $4,000 and ordered to perform 80 hours of community service. He's required to perform at least 16 hours per month, which would allow him to complete to program prior to training camp.

Peterson is under contract with the Vikings for next season, and is set to earn $12.75 million. The team is not allowed to communicate with Peterson during his suspension. 


Austin Collie signs with CFL's BC Lions
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Free-agent receiver Austin Collie has signed with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League, the team announced Thursday.

"I’m excited to be joining the Lions and very much look forward to playing in the CFL," said Collie. "The wide-open play of the Canadian game and the passion of fans across the league is going to be a lot of fun to experience."

Collie played four seasons with the Colts and one with the Patriots. In his last NFL action, he caught four passes for 57 yards in the 2014 AFC Championship Game.


Eagles RB LeSean McCoy: 'I don't want to take less money'
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Eagles running back LeSean McCoy reiterated Thursday that while he'd be willing to restructure his contract if asked, he would not accept a pay cut, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

"I know how hard it is to keep a team together and I want to be part of this team. But I don't want to take less money," McCoy said. "I want to figure a way to make it happen [where] we're all together."

McCoy, who is due to count $11.95 million against the cap in 2015, turned in his fourth 1,000-yard season in the last five years in 2014, finishing with 1,319 rushing yards on 312 carries and 155 receiving yards on a career-low 28 receptions. All five of his touchdowns came on the ground.


Bills' Rex Ryan won't commit to EJ Manuel as starting QB
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) When asked about who his starting quarterback would be in 2015, Bills coach Rex Ryan said the team would look at every available option, reports The Buffalo News.

"We're going to exhaust every resource we can," Ryan said. "We'll look at free agents. We'll look at the draft. We'll look at anything."

The Bills have former first-round pick EJ Manuel on their roster, but Ryan said he would not commit to Manuel as his starting quarterback at this time.

"To say that he's definitely going to be the guy, it's way too early to say that," Ryan said.


Bills RB Fred Jackson excited to play for new coach Rex Ryan
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) Bills veteran running back Fred Jackson said he hasn't had the opportunity to meet with new coach Rex Ryan, but that didn't stop him from expressing his excitement about the new coaching regime in Buffalo.

"I can't wait to play for him. I've heard nothing but good things," Jackson said Wednesday of Ryan during an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM. "I'm looking forward to that [first] conversation when I sit down and talk to him."

The Bills finished 9-7 in 2014, which was their best record since 2004. While Jackson believes Ryan is going to "be that catalyst that comes in and pushes us over that hump," he didn't have many bad things to say about coach Doug Marrone, who opted out of his contract New Year's Eve.

"I thought he was a tremendous coach," Jackson said. "He showed up, he worked hard, he pushed players to give their best effort. He got us to a 9-7 record -- we hadn't won nine games in 10 years. There's definitely some things about him that made him a great coach. It's just the way he exited. I don't think anybody expected that. 

"Players, the way we found out is we got a generic text from him, saying that he was moving on and he had chosen to opt out of his contract." 


Justin Tuck: Raider Nation would appluad signing Ndamukong Suh
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) If defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh doesn't sign a long-term deal with the Lions, then he will become a free agent March 10 and there will be plenty of teams interested in the Pro Bowl lineman. 

Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck indicated if Suh wanted to sign with Oakland, then he would be welcomed in Raider Nation.

"(He's) Raider-ish," Tuck said, per the Detroit Free Press. "And that's one of the reasons why I know Raider Nation would applaud that move, beyond the fact that he's an awesome football player. He kind of fits the mold of ... the toughness and the ferocious player that built the Oakland Raiders."

It is speculated Suh will receive a contract worth at least $100 million. Tuck believes the three-time All-Pro deserves such a lucrative deal.

"The thing about him, you know what you're getting every day. Some of the tactics, you could probably do without, but he's a hell of a football player," Tuck said. "I would love to have the opportunity to line up beside of him and let him take all the double teams that I normally take."


Nick Foles: 'I plan on being in Philly' in 2015
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/29/2015) There has been a lot of talk about quarterback Nick Foles' future with the Eagles, especially since Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly's former pupil at Oregon -- Marcus Mariota -- will be part of this year's draft class.

On Thursday, Foles addressed the rumors and stated he is expecting to be back on the Eagles' roster in 2015.

"Yeah you hear about it," Foles said in between doing paid appearances at Super Bowl XLIX, per NJ.com. "You are going to hear about it every single year. That's just part of it. The main word is 'rumor.' You can't put too much into it....I plan on being in Philly.

"I only listen to (head coach) Chip Kelly. That's what is most important. He is the one that will make the decision. Right now all I am going to do is work because I plan on being back in Philadelphia and playing with my team. That's all I ever thought. So that is what I plan on doing and I'm not looking at it any other way."

Foles added he hasn't talked with Kelly since the end of the season.

"We haven't talked a lot. He has a lot going on," Foles said. "This time of year you really just get away from everything. He is busy looking at the draft, doing all that. I saw he is more of the decision maker. Haven't really talked to him too much, but I'm sure I'll hear from him soon."


 
 
 
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