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Into the Deep for Week 17

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

Joe Flacco (at CIN): Flacco has played well of late with at least 18 Fantasy points in each of his past three games. He also did well against the Bengals in Week 11 with 20 Fantasy points, and he has the chance to close the season on a high note in the rematch with Cincinnati. The Bengals have allowed multiple touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in six of their past eight games, and Flacco should be considered a starting Fantasy option in 14-team leagues this week. (Started in 30 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Josh McCown (at MIN): The Vikings have allowed the most touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks with 35, so McCown could be useful in deeper formats this week. Josh Freeman in Week 2, Matt Cassel in Week 4 and Kevin Kolb in Week 5 are the only starting quarterbacks who failed to throw multiple touchdowns against Minnesota this season. It's risky to trust McCown as a starter in any format since he had just 16 Fantasy points at Green Bay in his first start last week, but the matchup suggests he could play well. (Not started in the majority of leagues in Week 16)
Dan Orlovsky (at JAC): Orlovsky has the chance to end the season, and possibly his final appearance as a starter, with a quality performance against the Jaguars, who are a mess in their secondary. Matt Hasselbeck passed for 350 yards last week against Jacksonville, and Matt Ryan had three touchdowns against the Jaguars in Week 15. We're not expecting Orlovsky to have a career game, but he could approach 18 Fantasy points based on this matchup. He is worth using as a starter in deep two-quarterback leagues. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 16)

Running back

Ben Tate (vs. TEN): We're not expecting Arian Foster to play much this week against the Titans with the Texans locked into the No. 3 seed in the AFC, which means Tate could see the bulk of work. He has done well with an increased workload this season with double digits in Fantasy points in five of the seven games where he had double digits in carries. One of those games was Week 7 at Tennessee when he had 15 carries for 104 yards, and we can see him having similar production in the rematch. (Started in 14 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Brandon Saine (vs. DET): The Packers will likely rest James Starks and Ryan Grant this week with the No. 1 seed in the NFC locked up, which means Saine could see plenty of work. We're not expecting a huge performance or even double digits in Fantasy points, but he can be a flex option in deeper formats. The Lions have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing running backs and 11 to reach double digits in Fantasy points, including Toby Gerhart and Michael Bush in the past three weeks. The Packers haven't done well running the ball this year, but with Aaron Rodgers likely sitting they could rely on Saine to carry the load in the season finale. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Chris Ivory (vs. CAR): We've been waiting for Ivory to have a good game for each of the past three weeks, but he continues to come up short. He has combined for just 15 Fantasy points the past three games, but he could see an increased workload against the Panthers if the Saints decide to rest most of their starters. The Panthers have struggled in run defense all year with 19 touchdowns allowed to opposing running backs and 11 reaching double digits in Fantasy points. Ivory could add his name to that list if he gets additional carries this week when the Saints decide to lean on their reserves. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Stevan Ridley (vs. BUF): The Patriots probably won't give many carries to BenJarvus Green-Ellis this week with the playoffs looming, but Ridley could see increased touches. He has 24 carries for 129 yards in his past two games against Denver and Miami, and he could reach double digits in Fantasy points against the Bills this week. Buffalo has allowed 16 touchdowns to opposing running backs and 11 to reach double digits in Fantasy points. We can see Ridley having the best game of his rookie season in Week 17 if the Patriots lean on him a little more in this matchup. (Started in 1 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Kendall Hunter (at STL): There is a good chance the 49ers limit the workload for Frank Gore this week, which could mean heavy lifting for Hunter. He played well in Week 16 at Seattle with 12 carries for 73 yards and would likely reach double digits in Fantasy points this week if he gets 15-plus carries. The Rams have been brutal in run defense all season with 16 touchdowns allowed to opposing running backs and 10 have reached double digits in Fantasy points. In the past two games, St. Louis has allowed five touchdowns to opposing running backs in Cedric Benson, Bernard Scott, Rashard Mendenhall, Isaac Redman and John Clay. There is a good chance Hunter will score if he gets enough carries. (Started in 4 percent of leagues in Week 16)

Wide receiver

Robert Meachem (vs. CAR): Meachem played well in Week 16 against Atlanta with Lance Moore (hamstring) hurt, and Moore will likely be out again in Week 17. Meachem had three catches for 75 yards and a touchdown, and he could see an increase in targets against the Panthers. Carolina has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, including six in the past five games. We expect Drew Brees to rely on Meachem with Moore not expected to play. (Started in 11 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Pierre Garcon (at JAC): Garcon has struggled of late with a combined nine Fantasy points in his past three games against Baltimore, Tennessee and Houston, but this is a great matchup for him against the Jaguars. Jacksonville has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing receivers, including six in the past five games. And Garcon should see plenty of targets in what should be a fun matchup despite the poor records. He is still looking for his first touchdown against Jacksonville in four career meetings, but we can see him scoring in this matchup to end the year. Consider him a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside. (Started in 29 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Vincent Brown (at OAK): Brown has the chance to see increased playing time with Vincent Jackson (groin) likely out. That should be similar to what happened to him in Week 10 when he faced the Raiders the first time with Malcom Floyd (hip) out. Brown had five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown, and he could have a similar performance this week. This is a great matchup against the Raiders, who have allowed the second-most touchdowns to opposing receivers with 19, trailing only New England (21). We like Brown as a potential No. 3 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 16)
James Jones (vs. DET): Jones could be one of the few regulars for the Packers to play significant minutes against the Lions, and we expect him to post quality stats if that's the case. He should be able to connect with Matt Flynn, who should see plenty of time in place of Rodgers, and Jones has a solid matchup against the Lions. He had three catches for 94 yards and a touchdown against Detroit in Week 12, and the Lions have allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing receivers this season, including seven in the past five games. Jones also has three touchdowns in his past five meetings against Detroit. (Started in 18 percent of leagues in Week 16)
David Nelson (at NE): Nelson hasn't scored since Week 12, but he should be able to close the season with a quality performance. He has a great matchup this week against the Patriots, who have allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing receivers this year. Nelson had six catches for 84 yards against New England in Week 3, and Buffalo will likely be throwing quite a bit in this matchup. We would consider using Nelson as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in deeper leagues in the season finale. (Started in 12 percent of leagues in Week 16)

Tight end

Ed Dickson (at CIN): Dickson has played well in his past two games with a touchdown in each outing against San Diego and Cleveland. He has a good matchup against the Bengals, who have allowed two touchdowns and a 100-yard game to three tight ends in the past three weeks. Dickson had just two catches for 21 yards in Week 11 against Cincinnati, but with Anquan Boldin (knee) out he could remain more involved in the passing game, which will lead to quality production. (Started in 14 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Jeremy Shockey (at NO): We'll ride the hot hand here and go with Shockey, who has been a solid contributor for the Panthers the past three games. He has a touchdown in each outing against Atlanta, Houston and Tampa Bay and has been more reliable than Greg Olsen. Shockey was limited to three catches for 21 yards in Week 5 in the first meeting with the Saints, his former team, but he does have the chance to be productive if he keeps his touchdown streak alive. Don't expect overwhelming Fantasy stats since he has just six catches for 59 yards during the streak, but his ability to score makes him a potential starter in deeper formats. (Started in 2 percent of leagues in Week 16)
Heath Miller (at CLE): Miller has a great history against the Browns with three touchdowns in his past five meetings, and he could play well this week if Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) returns as expected. Miller was limited in Week 14 against Cleveland with two catches for 11 yards and a fumble, but the Browns have allowed seven touchdowns to opposing tight ends and seven to reach at least seven Fantasy points. We consider Miller a starting option in 14-team leagues this week, and hopefully Roethlisberger will look for him with significant targets, especially in the red zone. (Started in 15 percent of leagues in Week 16)

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
Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


Embattled Brandon Spikes pleads guilty to leaving scene of crash
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Former Patriots and Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a recent car crash and has received a fine and year of probation, per WBZ, which is further reporting that he has lost his license and will be forced to attend a driver's safety class.

Spikes has lost far more than his license. He has lost his livelihood, having been cut by New England for hitting another car and abandoning his vehicle on the highway. He later told the police that he had hit a deer.

No other teams have been rumored to be targeting Spikes for the coming season.


Terrelle Pryor ready to embrace new role with Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Terrelle Pryor once declared that he could not play football if he could not play quarterback.

Reality has since set in.

Pryor has been cut twice and is now playing on a Cleveland Browns team desperate for a quarterback, but apparently not desperate enough to give him a shot. He is instead embracing what he is calling a "slash-player" role.

"I'm going to give (it) a chance," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I just want to play football. I'm a playmaker, and I believe if I can touch the ball, I can go to the house, especially if I have space. This should definitely open up some opportunities."

Pryor has already taken the first step by contacting Steelers receiving stud Antonio Brown and making plans to work out with him and Randy Moss so they can teach him the nuances of the position.

He also figures there's another reason he's ahead of the game.

"The thing that helps me is that I played quarterback, and I know what the quarterback wants," Pryor said.


Lions new DT Haloti Ngata too busy to think about new contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had his contract in mind in his last days with the Ravens, but he's too busy to think about it now that he's been traded to the Lions.

Ngata admitted that he suspected a deal could take place.

"The closer we got to free agency, I thought it could be a possibility," he told Monday Morning Quarterback. "It didn't surprise me ... since we weren't getting closer to any kind of contract stuff, I just figured there were a lot of things that could happen. I definitely started to have a trade in my mind as a possibility."

Ngata added that he's not thinking about a contract extension with Detroit.

"I'm just trying to get to know my teammates, get my playbook down, and my technique and terminology," he said.


Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon claims he'd pick himself in Fantasy
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon doesn't have a Fantasy football team, but if he did...

"If ... I could take myself, I would," he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Never mind that Adrian Peterson has returned to the backfield. Never mind that Peterson has traditionally not yielded many carries to teammates. In 2012, for instance, he totaled 348 of his team's 401 rushing attempts.

The Vikings, however, are expected to use a more balanced approach in 2015. And McKinnon, who flashed as a starter with Peterson sidelined last season, is feeling dandy after undergoing lower back surgery in December.

"Two hundred percent," he declared in regard to his health. "If there is a 300, I feel 300. It's all good."

McKinnon averaged 4.8 yards per carry a year ago, which buoyed his confidence.


Lions RB Joique Bell predicting at least a 1,200-yard season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Lions featured back Joique Bell is coming off a knee injury that has sidelined him throughout the offseason and has also been dealing with an Achilles issue. But his confidence is not hurt at all.

Bell has made a rather lofty prediction for 2015, particularly for a guy that has never rushed for more than 860 yards in a season. He claims he will exceed that by plenty.

"I'm going to rush for over 1,200 yards," he told MLive.com. "That's the minimum. If I do less than that, I'll be surprised. I'll be disappointed. Anything more than that, I wouldn't be surprised at all."

Bell averaged a mediocre 3.9 yards per carry in both of the last two years.


Report: LB Kyle Knox gets four-game suspension from NFL
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6/29/2015) Free agent linebacker Kyle Knox will get a four-game suspension from the league, NFL beat writer Howard Balzer reported. 

Knox as released by New Orleans in the offseason. Dallas signed him in June and released him three days later. 

Knox has played in 16 games for New Orleans and Jacksonville over the last two seasons.


Eagles sign John Moffitt, release Cole Manhart
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6/29/2015) As expected, the Eagles signed center John Moffitt to a one-year contract on Monday, per Philly.com.

Moffitt was a third-round draft pick in 2011 and played two years for Seattle. He was traded to Denver and retired early in the 2013 season. 

He was arrested in 2014 on assault and drug charges, which were later dropped. 

To make room, the Eagles released undrafted rookie free agent Cole Manhart


Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin off to best start ever with Alex Smith
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6/29/2015) New Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin has hit it off with quarterback Alex Smith during the offseason. 

Maclin came to Kansas City from Philadelphia in the offseason, and his communication with Smith has been more than either player expected. 

“I don’t think I’ve ever been off to a better start with a particular quarterback in my life,” Maclin said, per KCChiefs.com.

Offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, like head coach Andy Reid, brought the Philadelphia offense to Kansas City, which has helped Maclin's transition. 

“He’s only a couple years removed from our system,” Pederson said. “We’ve changed some things since he’s been in the offense, but he’s such a smart, savvy, veteran guy that he’s picked up on what we’re doing really fast. He and Alex have sort of developed that continuity right away.”


Redskins' David Amerson looks to win back starting job
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(6/29/2015) After a sub-par 2014 season, Redskins cornerback David Amerson is no longer expected to be a starter. Bashaud Breeland and free agent pickup Chris Culliver have knocked Amerson down to a nickelback role. 

Amerson lost the job after a season in which he indecisive and lacked aggression, he admitted to the Washington Post. Amerson didn't record an interception and had just seven pass breakups. 

“At the end of the day, that’s all it comes down to: just making plays. That’s the thing I felt like I was missing last year: being that big play-maker, game-changer,” Amerson said. “I basically had been that all my life, but it was different for me last year. It was unusual for me. So I need to get back into my groove and just find my swag. … Like I said, I’ve been that all my life, and always had that – I wouldn’t call it a gambling type of mentality – but knowing when to go and make that play, when to step up. It’s something I think a lot of people naturally have in them, and knowing when to bring it out. I just have to have that mindset.”


 
 
 
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