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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
Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall not sure if he'll be ready for camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:47 pm ET) Redskins veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall hopes he has recovered enough from a torn Achilles tendon to be 100 percent for the starting of training camp. But he's making no guarantees.

"I know they're going to monitor me," he told 106.7 The Fan. "I know they are not going to just throw me out there and [have me] take all the reps with the [first team].

"I'm just going to get out there and see how the body feels ... I'm at the mercy of the trainers and coaching staff. They're going to kind of wean me back in slowly."

Hall, who lost all but three games last season to the injury, also missed OTAs and minicamp, but has recently begun ramping up his workouts.


Saints WR Nick Toon seeks to seize best opportunity of career
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) The path is clear for Saints wide receiver Nick Toon to earn more playing time than ever. But he realizes that he must get on that path and stay on it through superior performance.

The offseason losses of Kenny Stills, Jimmy Graham and Robert Meacham should result in more reps for Toon, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He has been buried on the depth chart, though he did catch a career-high 17 passes last year.

He believes that now is the time for him to step up and break out.

"Pressure is not something that I've every worried about or thought about," he told the New Orleans Advocate. "I just try to be consistent. Anything outside of that is out of my control, so do what you've got to do to put yourself in the best position for things to work out."

Toon has a shot at the third receiver role behind Brandin Cooks and Marques Colston.


Giants WR Victor Cruz believes he'll be back in action for camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(2:22 pm ET) Giants standout receiver Victor Cruz believes he can avoid starting the season on the PUP list despite continuing to deal with his recovery from a patellar tendon tear.

"The plan is to be ready for training camp and I feel good," he told SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Placing Cruz on the PUP list would give the Giants roster flexibility if he is not ready by training camp. If he lands on the regular-season PUP list, he would be forced to miss the first six games.

Cruz has experienced weakened production every year since his breakout season of 2011. But he was limited to just six games in 2014.


Report: Packers have no plan to release TE Andrew Quarless
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:28 am ET) The Packers have no intention of releasing tight end Andrew Quarless despite his arrest on July 4 for allegedly shooting off his gun in public, sources have told ESPN.

Quarless was charged with a misdemeanor after firing two shots into the air outside a parking garage in Miami Beach, per police reports. He was seen arguing with two women before the incident.


Report: Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul can forget long-term deal
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:25 am ET) The Giants will not take back their one-year franchise tag offer of $14.813 million to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in the wake of a fireworks accident that resulted in a hand injury and hospitalization, a source has told the New York Daily News.

But the source added that there is "no chance" the Giants will now work on a long-term contract for Pierre-Paul. 

Giants officials made the trek to South Florida on Tuesday to see how he is recovering, sources have told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Pierre-Paul is coming off his best season since 2011. He contributed to 77 tackles and racked up 12 1/2 sacks.


Eagles LB Brandon Graham could be on verge of breakout year
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9:29 am ET) Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham feels the optimism of a guy coming off his best season.

"I'm feeling the best I've ever felt," he told the team website.

It's no wonder. He recorded career-highs in tackles (36), tackles for losses (13 1/2), assists (11) and sacks (5.5) in 2014. He earned significant playing time in a rotation at that position. And with Trent Cole off to Indianapolis, those reps could increase this year.

Graham has toiled feverishly to improve his game and adapt to a new defensive system. The result was a new four-year contract with the team.

"I understand the game and the league and what it takes to get it done here," he said. "I think I've grown up. I'm serious about being a great player. I want to be the best."


Giants pulling long-term contract offer to Jason Pierre-Paul
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) In the wake of a Fourth of July fireworks mishap, the Giants on Monday pulled their long-term contract offer to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who remains hospitalized in Miami, per NFL.com insider Ian Rapaport. 

The Giants had applied the franchise tag to Pierre-Paul this offseason, but the player has not yet signed it, technically leaving him not under contract with the team. The Giants move to yank the longer deal is a bit of gamesmanship, since according to Rapoport, Pierre-Paul was not going to sign the $60 million deal anyway. 


Bills sign veteran tackle Wayne Hunter
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) The Bills took another step to shore up their offensive line, signing veteran tackle Wayne Hunter to a one-year deal Monday, per the National Football Post. 

Hunter, who has not played in the NFL since 2012, did spend three years with the Jets under new Bills coach Rex Ryan from 2009-2011. 

Hunter's deal is reportedly worth $870,000.


RB Khiry Robinson could be odd man out in Saints backfield
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/6/2015) Running back Khiry Robinson is a fan favorite with the Saints, but the third-year pro, who once was viewed as a breakout candidate for the team, may find his role squeezed by the presence of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller, per ESPN.com. 

Robinson dealt with a broken arm last season, which limited him to 12 carries and 32 yards over the final 10 weeks of the year. The Saints then re-upped with Ingram and brought in Spiller to replace Pierre Thomas, meaning Robinson will have to fight hard in training camp to establish a role. 

"I just gotta keep working," Robinson said. "It's all love in the backfield. We all work together, try to help each other. So I think it's a good thing we've got a full backfield again. So if anybody goes down, we've got another player right up there to do the same thing."


Report: Giants Jason Pierre-Paul hurt in fireworks accident
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(7/5/2015) Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul reportedly hurt his hand in a Fourth of July fireworks accident in Miami, according to the Daily News

The paper reports that the injury is not considered career-threatening, but that varying accounts of what happened have been reported. The Giants have not confirmed nor denied the incident. 

The Giants applied the franchise tag to Pierre-Paul this offseason, but the 26-year-old has not yet signed it as he seeks a long-term deal, meaning that he technically is not under contract. 

Pierre-Paul had 53 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks last year for New York. 


 
 
 
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