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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
Steelers WR Antonio Brown arrives at team facility
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(10:52 am ET) Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was noticably absent during the first few days of the team's offseason workout program, was back in camp on Monday, the team reported. 

Speculation bloomed that Brown was dissatisfied with his contract, which is scheduled to pay him $6 million this season, but Brown wrote on Twitter that he was spending time with his newborn child and would be back soon. 

The receiver racked up 1,815 yards and 138 catches for the Steelers last season.


Joe Flacco: Ravens don't need to draft wide receiver
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(10:35 am ET) When your Super Bowl quarterback doesn't believe his team needs to draft a wide receiver, then perhaps it doesn't.

Joe Flacco feels the Ravens are well-stocked in that area despite having lost Torrey Smith to free agency. They still boast Steve Smith, Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanero and Jeremy Butler, but are expected to seriously considering adding a wideout as early as the first round.

"Obviously, without Torrey now, the one thing we probably don't have as much of is that speed, is that one guy who can stretch the field," Flacco told ESPN. "But I'm not going to say we need it. I think we got really good guys and I think we're good with who we have."


Report: Cowboys out of running for Adrian Peterson; Cardinals still alive
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(10:28 am ET) The Cowboys, once considered the frontrunners to trade for Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, are now out of the running, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport, who added that only the Cardinals are serious contenders.

The claim is that a deal for Peterson must be made by Friday or Peterson will stay with Minnesota. That will be contingent on Arizona's ability or inability to identify its future featured back. Peterson could bring the Vikings a second-round pick.


Colts sign ILB Jerrell Freeman to qualifying offer
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:16 am ET) Linebacker Jerrell Freeman has signed his one-year qualifying offer for a reported $2.35 million and will remain with the Colts for a fourth season, the team website has reported. He had been a restricted free agent.

The three-year starter led Indianapolis in tackles in 2012 and 2013 before losing four games to a hamstring injury last year. He still finished with 95 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.


Cardinals' Larry Foote '50-50' on playing in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Though Larry Foote is on the Cardinals' coaching staff at the moment, he hasn't ruled out a potential return to the team

Speaking to the team's website, Foote said he's "50-50" about playing in 2015. He talked about the factors that could play into whether or not he returns to playing. 

“Draft, what happens with (suspended linebacker) Darryl Washington, stuff like that, how my knee feels (after offseason surgery),” Foote said. “I’ll sit down with (Bruce Arians) and the next couple of months are really going to be the deciding factor.”

If Foote doesn't play, he'll be the linebackers coach for Arizona's upcoming season. He's been adjusting to the role of being a coach this offseason. 

“I am starting to like coaching,” Foote said. “It’s a little tough in the office, eating M&Ms, snacking all day, drinking coffee. I started my diet a couple days ago.”


Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


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(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


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
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(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.


 
 
 
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