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Waiver Wire: Time to hunt the Hunter

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Kendall Hunter is on the verge of becoming very Fantasy relevant. It could happen in Week 11 if Frank Gore is out or limited, or it could be down the road as the 49ers continue to prepare for the playoffs.

Gore hurt his knee in Week 10 against the Giants and was unable to finish the game. Coach Jim Harbaugh already said Gore should play in Week 11 against Arizona, but you know how injuries work. And Gore has already been dealing with ankle problems.

If he is out against the Cardinals then Hunter would be worth starting in the majority of leagues. He is owned in just 45 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com, but he played well against the Giants once Gore left the game. Hunter finished with six carries for 40 yards and a touchdown.

He has two touchdowns on the season and three games with at least nine Fantasy points while playing behind Gore. The 49ers would remain a run-first team with Hunter even if Gore is out.

And looking ahead, with the 49ers at 8-1 and with a firm grasp on the NFC West, they could start resting Gore as the season winds down. If San Francisco feels it can't catch Green Bay for the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC then look for Gore to get limited carries or even sit, especially if his knee and ankle problems persist.

It goes without saying that every Gore owner should add Hunter now if you don't own him already. But all Fantasy owners should grab Hunter where available in case he becomes a starter as early as Week 11.

In case you haven't noticed ... Laurent Robinson is going to continue to play well as an injury replacement for Miles Austin (hamstring). Robinson, who had three catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10 against Buffalo, now has four touchdowns in his past three games with 44 Fantasy points over that span. The Cowboys have a favorable schedule going forward with Washington, Miami and Arizona in the next three weeks, which should help Robinson and is the timetable when Austin will likely remain out. He is owned in 70 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com, but all Fantasy owners should add him where available. It might even be worth dropping Austin to add Robinson if you need to win in your Fantasy league now with the hopes of making the playoffs.

Each Tuesday we will highlight players who might be available in your league and whether you should consider picking them up off waivers based on their recent performances. The players chosen are based on the percentage of ownership in CBSSports.com leagues.

Quarterback

Add 'Em

Carson Palmer, Raiders
Owned: 66 percent of leagues
Week 10: Completed 14 of 20 passes for 299 yards, two touchdowns and one interception at San Diego.
Analysis: We said last week to add Palmer, and we'll hammer home the point again this week. He has now played well for two games in a row and should excel in Week 11 at Minnesota. Palmer is averaging 22 Fantasy points in two starts against Denver and San Diego, and the Vikings are a favorable opponent. If you're missing Drew Brees or Ben Roethlisberger on a bye or just lost Matt Schaub (foot) or Matt Cassel (hand) and Palmer is still available then add him and start him with him confidence.

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Avoid 'Em

Rex Grossman, Redskins
Owned: 7 percent of leagues
Week 10: Completed 21 of 32 passes for 215 yards and two interceptions at Miami.
Analysis: Grossman returned as the starter for the Redskins in Week 10 against the Dolphins in place of John Beck, and Grossman did not play well. Even though he started out the season with 41 Fantasy points in his first two games against the Giants and Arizona, he has combined for 20 points in his next four starts. The Redskins are a mess right now, and the only player in Washington worth owning in all leagues is tight end Fred Davis.

Tyler Palko, Chiefs
Owned: Not owned
Week 10: Completed 5 of 6 passes for 47 yards vs. Denver.
Analysis: Palko is expected to start for the Chiefs in Week 11 at New England and possibly the rest of the season with Cassel (hand) injured. We're not expecting much from Palko since even Cassel has struggled this season, especially recently with some favorable matchups against Oakland, Miami and Denver. If Palko does come out and play well then he could be worth adding in deeper leagues, but we're not expecting much from the career backup.

Scout 'Em

Vince Young, Eagles
Owned: 4 percent of leagues
Week 10: Did not attempt a pass vs. Arizona.
Analysis: Michael Vick has two broken ribs, so there is a chance he could sit in Week 11 at the Giants or down the road if the Eagles continue to lose. If Vick is out then Young would start, and he could be useful for Fantasy owners in deeper leagues. Young has never been a great Fantasy quarterback, but he has been good at times. He's also never had weapons like this, so Young might end up being a factor in several Fantasy leagues if Vick misses any time.

John Skelton, Cardinals
Owned: 2 percent of leagues
Week 10: Completed 21 of 40 passes for 315 yards, three touchdowns and two interception at Philadelphia.
Analysis: The Cardinals might want to stick with Skelton instead of Kevin Kolb even when Kolb returns from his toe injury. Skelton has looked better than Kolb this season in his past two games, where he has combined for 44 Fantasy points. Larry Fitzgerald owners definitely like Skelton since the two have connected for three touchdowns. This week, Skelton has a tough test at San Francisco, but if he continues to play well while Kolb is out he could be useful for Fantasy owners in deeper leagues to close the season.

Matt Leinart, Texans
Owned: 1 percent of leagues
Week 10: Did not attempt a pass at Tampa Bay.
Analysis: It appears like Schaub is out for the season, which would give Leinart the starting job for the Texans. While he has a lot to prove before Fantasy owners could trust him, there is an opportunity here for him to succeed when Houston returns from its bye in Week 11. Andre Johnson (hamstring) should return in Week 12 at Jacksonville, and Leinart would have plenty of talent around him. The Texans will remain a running team, but they also have a favorable schedule remaining, which could help Leinart succeed as a starter in deeper formats.

Running back

Add 'Em

Lance Ball, Broncos
Owned: 2 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had 30 carries for 96 yards at Kansas City.
Analysis: Ball is not a good Fantasy running back, but he does have a good opportunity in front of him if Willis McGahee (hamstring) is out in Week 11 against the Jets now that Knowshon Moreno (torn ACL) is out for the season. McGahee has a chance to play, but this is a short week for the Broncos with the game against the Jets on Thursday night. The Broncos are clearly going to be a run-dominated team after Tim Tebow attempted just eight passes against the Chiefs, and Ball could be a flex option in Week 11 if he starts in place of McGahee.

Avoid 'Em

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Derrick Ward, Texans
Owned: 3 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had 11 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown at Tampa Bay.
Analysis: Ward would be a solid Fantasy option if he was the starter for the Texans or played on a different team, but he's third on the pecking order behind Arian Foster and Ben Tate. Even though Houston is running the ball at an unbelievable level, Foster and Tate will get the majority of the production, with Ward only getting an extended look in a blowout situation like he had against the Bucs. Ward should only be owned if Foster or Tate suffers an injury.

Scout 'Em

Kevin Smith, Lions
Owned: 3 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had four carries for 19 yards and two catches for 10 yards at Chicago.
Analysis: The Lions re-signed Smith this past week, and he ran well toward the end of a blowout loss against the Bears. If Jahvid Best (concussion) is lost for the season then Smith might be worth adding in deeper leagues. Maurice Morris would remain the starter, but the Lions might share carries with Smith since he used to be their featured back as recently as 2009.

Taiwan Jones, Raiders
Owned: 7 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had seven carries for 39 yards at San Diego.
Analysis: As long as Darren McFadden (foot) remains out then Jones will be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Michael Bush. He ran well against the Chargers in Week 10 in his first extended look this year, and the Raiders might give him more touches to keep Bush healthy. Keep him on your radar in deeper leagues, and if you own Bush and have the roster space, you might want to add him now.

Wide receiver

Add 'Em

Denarius Moore, Raiders
Owned: 36 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had five catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns at San Diego.
Analysis: Moore is back after being non-existent for the past four games, but he has done well since Palmer took over as the starting quarterback. He has 19 targets in two games with Palmer as the starter, and his value could rise if Jacoby Ford (ankle) is out in Week 11 at Minnesota. Moore is a must-own Fantasy receiver again. Remember, he had a three-game stretch from Week 2 to Week 4 with 40 Fantasy points, and the talent is there for him to be a star. Now he has a quarterback who can get him the ball, and he should finish the season strong.

Damian Williams, Titans
Owned: 8 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown at Carolina.
Analysis: Williams had seven targets against the Panthers, and he has stepped up his performance since Kenny Britt (knee) was lost for the season. Williams has four touchdowns in his past six games, and Matt Hasselbeck is relying on him quite a bit, especially with Nate Washington and Jared Cook disappearing. If he continues to play at this level he could be a solid No. 3 Fantasy receiver for the rest of the year.

Vincent Brown, Chargers
Owned: 3 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown vs. Oakland.
Analysis: We had Brown as a scout last week, and then he played well against the Raiders. He should have had two touchdowns in Week 10, but it's clear as long as Malcom Floyd (hip) is out that Brown will remain a significant contributor in the passing game since he has nine catches for 176 yards and a touchdown in his past two outings. He also has 15 targets over that span, and Philip Rivers will not be afraid to throw his way going forward.

Avoid 'Em

Chad Ochocinco, Patriots
Owned: 24 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had two catches for 65 yards at the Jets.
Analysis: There was an Ochocinco sighting Sunday night in Week 10 when he finally looked like he was involved. But just because he was running free on a long reception doesn't mean he is back to being a solid contributor. He only had two targets against the Jets, and he disappeared in the second half. He might be getting more playing time in recent weeks, but he's still fifth on the pecking order at best behind Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Our advice is to leave Ochocinco alone in the majority of leagues.

Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers
Owned: 1 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had two catches for 29 yards and a touchdown at Cincinnati.
Analysis: Cotchery had one touchdown against the Bengals, and he also had another one called back due to a penalty. But even with the sudden involvement (which comes with Emmanuel Sanders out), he is not worth owning in the majority of leagues. He might continue to play ahead of Hines Ward as the No. 3 receiver, but Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Heath Miller will still dominate the targets. Cotchery should only be added in deeper leagues if Sanders is out for the rest of the season and he continues to play at this level on a consistent basis.

Scout 'Em

Harry Douglas, Falcons
Owned: 1 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had eight catches for 133 yards vs. New Orleans.
Analysis: Douglas has played well of late with at least five Fantasy points in three of his past four games, and he could have an opportunity to remain relevant if Julio Jones (hamstring) is out. Jones left the game with the Saints, and although he's expected to play in Week 11 against Tennessee, he's already dealt with one hamstring injury this season, which knocked him out for two games. Douglas had 14 targets against the Saints, and Matt Ryan will continue to look in his direction if Jones is out.

Steve Smith, Eagles
Owned: 4 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had five catches for 47 yards vs. Arizona.
Analysis: The Eagles receiving corps was out of whack against the Cardinals with DeSean Jackson benched for missing a team meeting and then Jeremy Maclin (shoulder/hamstring) getting hurt. Jackson should return in Week 11 at the Giants, but Maclin could sit out. That could open the door for Smith and Jason Avant to step up, but Smith had his best performance of the season against the Cardinals, including 10 targets. If he's back to 100 percent with his knee injury then he should be considered the No. 3 receiver for the Eagles and would benefit the most if Maclin is out.

Tight end

Add 'Em

Ed Dickson, Ravens
Owned: 23 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had 10 catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns at Seattle.
Analysis: We've been waiting for Dickson to do something since his performance in Week 1 when he had 11 Fantasy points against the Steelers, but he's disappeared ever since. But he rebounded in a big way against the Seahawks, including 14 targets. Dickson continues to share playing time with Dennis Pitta, but Dickson has more big-play ability. He is worth adding and starting in deeper leagues in Week 11 against Cincinnati.

Avoid 'Em

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals
Owned: 52 percent of leagues
Week 10: Had four catches for 23 yards and a touchdown vs. Pittsburgh.
Analysis: This is an avoid for one week only since Fantasy owners can still rely on Gresham as the season winds down. He played well against the Steelers, especially after being out the previous two games with a hamstring injury. But he faces Baltimore in Week 11, so those owners without Jimmy Graham, Owen Daniels or Heath Miller this week should look elsewhere for a one-week replacement since the Ravens have been phenomenal against tight ends all season.

Scout 'Em

Jacob Tamme, Colts
Owned: 2 percent of leagues
Week 9: Had six catches for 75 yards vs. Jacksonville.
Analysis: We had Tamme in this spot last week, and we'll keep him here again as long as Dallas Clark (leg) is out. Tamme had eight targets against the Jaguars, and we'll find out what the Colts do with Clark after the bye in Week 11. But Tamme showed in 2010 that he could step up when Clark was out with a wrist injury, and he could be a useful option for Fantasy owners in deeper leagues even with the poor quarterback play for the Colts with Peyton Manning (neck) out.

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
Report: Former Browns DE Phillip Taylor visits Steelers
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5:57 pm ET) A day after the Browns cut him, defensive end Phillip Taylor  visited the Steelers, according to NBCSports.com.

Cleveland paid Brown $5.47 million to not be a part of the organization on Tuesday. He was a first-round pick in 2011.


Saints place Vinnie Sunseri, Nick Toon, Ronald Powell on IR
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Raiders sign LB Lorenzo Alexander
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(4:51 pm ET) The Raiders signed veteran linebacker Lorenzo Alexander on Wednesday, the team announced. Alexander has played nine seasons in the NFL and totaled 179 tackles.

Former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs retires
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(3:38 pm ET) Linebacker Lance Briggs announced his retirement from the NFL on Wednesday, reports ESPNChicago.com. Briggs played his entire 12-year career with the Bears totaling 1,177 tackles and 15 sacks.

Briggs later said on his Twitter account that he hasn't filed his retirement papers and nothing is official. 


Panthers sign QB Derek Anderson to contract extension
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:04 pm ET) The Panthers reached a two-year contract extension with quarterback Derek Anderson, the team announced Wednesday.

"I’m excited about this for my family. To be here with the players, coaches and management we have – everything is top notch," Anderson said. "It was a no-brainer for me."

Anderson will backup Cam Newton. He was slated to become a free agent after the 2015 season.


Report: Bills RB LeSean McCoy may not be ready for Week 1
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:36 pm ET) While Bills coach Rex Ryan recently said he was optimistic running back LeSean McCoy would be ready for the regular season opener, a source indicated to ESPN that McCoy's status for Week 1 is in jeopardy.

"Well we certainly expect him to be ready to go, I hope," Ryan said, per ESPN. "If not then the next man has to step up. Boobie [Dixon] got a lot of reps out there today. Bryce Brown got a lot of reps [Wednesday]. So we will see. I am not going to put that all on one man. If he is not ready to go, he won't be in there."

McCoy has not been able to play during the preseason after he suffered a hamstring injury at practice. He has been able to conduct some light footwork, agility and cardio drills, but his conditioning needs work.

"It's way too early to say whether [McCoy] will play or not. He is doing a little bit more every day. But hell yes, I'm concerned about that," the source said. "I can't say for sure he's going to be with us Week 1. I can't say that at all. It will take everything we got just to get him ready for game day, and then we get to game day [there's] no way he can be in great football shape. So I think he will be on a pitch count, I think at the very best."


Giants K Josh Brown dealing with bruised leg; sign K Chris Boswell
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:27 pm ET) With Giants kicker Josh Brown trying to recover from a bruised leg, the team signed kicker Chris Boswell, reports the New York Daily News.

Boswell was signed to handle the kicking duties during Thursday's preseason finale. Brown reportedly suffered the injury while attempting to make a tackle during the second preseason game.


Report: Bills considering cutting QB Matt Cassel
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:17 pm ET) The Bills are reportedly discussing releasing quarterback Matt Cassel, sources told WGR 550 in Buffalo. Cassel was competing for a starting spot, which he lost to Tyrod Taylor.

Report: Colts DT Arthur Jones needs ankle surgery
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:07 pm ET) The 2015 season for Colts defensive tackle Arthur Jones is in doubt with the tackle reportedly needing surgery to repair torn ligaments in his ankle, sources told NFL.com.

Jones could be placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list. Jones produced 23 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in nine games last season.


Bears acquire TE Khari Lee from Texans for draft pick
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(11:38 am ET) The Texans traded tight end Khari Lee to the Bears on Wednesday, the Bears announced. In exchange for Lee, the Texans will receive a sixth-round draft pick in the 2017 draft.

 
 
 
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