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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
Report: Teams approach Jets about Muhammad Wilkerson trade
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:47 am ET) At least two teams have approached the Jets about trading for defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, ESPN reports.

Wilkerson is reportedly seeking a new contract this offseason and skipped new coach Todd Bowles' voluntary workouts. The Jets, who pick No. 6 Thursday, could be in position to land top defensive-line prospect Leonard Williams in the draft. Wilkerson has recorded 24.5 sacks over his first four seasons.


Falcons' Joe Hawley to rehab during minicamp
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:42 am ET) Falcons center Joe Hawley said he will continue his rehab from a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee at voluntary minicamp Tuesday, ESPN reports.

Hawley, who suffered the injury last September, is confident he'll return to full speed by training camp in late July. James Stone, who replaced the starting center last season, will likely continue to replace him for any drill work as Hawley continues his rehab.


Broncos waive Quanterus Smith
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:37 am ET) The Broncos have waived defensive end Quanterus Smith, the Denver Post reports. The team confirmed the move Tuesday.

Smith played in 15 games last season as DeMarcus Ware's backup on the line, recording 11 tackles and no sacks. He was placed on the injured reserve with a knee injury before the team's divisional-round loss against the Colts. His role next season could go to Shaquil Barrett, who was added to the roster before that playoff loss.


Vikings' Cordarrelle Patterson: I'm entering make or break year
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:23 am ET) Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson followed up a promising rookie season by catching just 33 passes for 384 yards and one touchdown in 2014 while making just six starts. He feels like 2015 will be a make or break year, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

"This year is going to make me or break me, and I hope I step up and have a good role in this offense," Patterson said Monday during the second week of voluntary workouts.

Patterson worked out in San Francisco last month while many of his offensive teammates were working out in Los Angeles.

"I feel like I needed to work on something different from what those guys were doing," Patterson said. "So I went to San Francisco."

He indicated he touched up on some skills that needed refining.

"This whole offseason, I spent a lot of time just thinking to myself, 'How can I get better?' " he said. "I just want to let my game speak for itself. I just focused on the little things that really matter, and I hope this year will be way better than last year. Just route running. Growing up, I was always athletic and could just do anything. I'm in the NFL now, so I just have to focus on my craft and just work at route running, getting in and getting out of breaks and stuff like that."

Patterson could open the season as the team's slot receiver depending on how the Vikings approach this weekend's draft.


Vikings LB Chad Greenway unsure if he'll play beyond 2015
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(10:12 am ET) Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway will play his 10th season with the team in 2015 but is unsure of whether he'll hang up his cleats at the end of the season, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

"I don’t know how it’s going to go," Greenway said Monday. "I’ll tell you I’m enjoying everything with the idea of, 'Who knows? We’ll see.' Ten years is sort of that unwritten (goal). Everyone wants to get there. We’ll see what happens."

Greenway ranked No. 38 out of 40 outside linebackers in a 4-3 scheme, per Pro Football Focus, but his teammates still see him as a pivotal part of the team.

"I love it," defensive end Everson Griffen said. "That’s a big leader. He was our defensive caller last year. When we didn’t have him in sometimes it was kind of rough to get the calls in, but having in him, he’s a big vocal point of our team. He’s a leader. He’s been here. This is his 10th season. So I’m happy the guy’s still here. I love him like a brother."

Greenway agreed to restructure his contract in late March to return to the Vikings for his 10th season.


Rams not expected to pick up 2016 option on S Mark Barron
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4/27/2015) The Rams are not expected to pick up the 2016 option on safety Mark Barron, reports ProFootballTalk.com. 

The Rams acquired Barron from the Buccaneers in a trade midseason last year for a fourth- and sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. 

He started all seven games he was with the Rams in 2014. 

The Rams will evaluate Barron's play in 2015 before deciding if they'll pursue a new contract.


Giants waive running back Michael Cox
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/27/2015) The Giants have waived running back Michael Cox, the team has announced.

Cox played in four games in 2014, having his season cut short after suffering a fractured leg in Week 10.

A seventh-round draft choice in 2013, Cox played in 18 games and started one in two seasons for the Giants.

Rams to exercise fifth-year option on DT Michael Brockers
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4/27/2015) The Rams have announced that they will exercise the fifth-year option on defensive tackle Michael Brockers, keeping him with the club through at least 2016, per NFL.com. 

Brockers was drafted No. 14 overall in 2012 by the Rams and has started every game for the team the last two seasons. 

The former LSU standout will earn over $5 million in 2016 after signing a four-year, $9.52 million rookie deal.


Report: Eagles excercise fifth-year option on Fletcher Cox
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(4/27/2015) The Eagles have reportedly exercised their fifth-year team option on defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, according to NFL Network.

Cox is entering his four season in Philadelphia, where he has missed just one game his career. Cox has totaled 109 tackles and 12 1/2 sacks in his three seasons with the club.


Bills release DB Jonte Green
by Ted Leshinski | Staff Writer
(4/27/2015) After signing him in January, the Bills have released defensive back Jonte Green, the team has announced.

Green was drafted by the Lions in the sixth round of the 2012 draft out of New Mexico State.

He played 24 games with seven starts over the 2012 and 2013 seasons for the Lions and totaled 38 tackles, one sack, seven passes defensed and one interception.

He did not play in the NFL in 2014.


 
 
 
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