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Waiver Wire: No shortage of upgrades

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We finally have an opportunity to chase running backs on the waiver wire. Injuries have opened the door to make unknown players like Andre Brown and Daryl Richardson viable heading into Week 2.

When Fred Jackson (knee) and Matt Forte (ankle) went down with injuries, most Fantasy owners were stuck. Backups C.J. Spiller and Michael Bush were owned in the majority of leagues, and the only enticing running back to add after Week 1 was Alfred Morris of the Redskins.

But in Week 2 we saw Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) and Steven Jackson (groin) suffer injuries, which could open the door for Brown and Richardson to make an impact in Week 3. Pierre Thomas also showed he could still be a factor for the Saints.

Other guys we'll address here include Alex Smith's hot start, why Danny Amendola continues to be underrated and Martellus Bennett turning into one of Eli Manning's best weapons.

Editor's note: Must add is for players worth adding in all leagues. Maybe add is for players worth adding in 14-team leagues or larger. Desperation add is for players worth adding only if you're, well, desperate. The ownership percentage listed is how many leagues that player was owned in the previous week for CBSSports.com.

Quarterbacks

Must add: Alex Smith, 49ers (72 percent)
Maybe add: Andy Dalton, Bengals (69 percent), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills (62 percent), Sam Bradford, Rams (44 percent), Matt Cassel, Chiefs (30 percent)
Desperation add: Christian Ponder, Vikings (21 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (13 percent), Brandon Weeden, Browns (11 percent), Chad Henne, Jaguars (1 percent)
The breakdown: We said it last week about Smith and we'll say it again. He may never turn into a Fantasy stud, but he is playing well, especially in connecting with standout tight end Vernon Davis (three touchdowns in two games). Smith now has consecutive weeks with 21 Fantasy points, and he has more combined points than Aaron Rodgers (38), Tom Brady (38) and Matthew Stafford (28). He also doesn't hurt you with a franchise-record streak of 216 passes without an interception. Put him on your team if he's still out there ... Dalton rebounded from a poor Week 1 at Baltimore with 28 Fantasy points against the Browns. He gets a banged up Redskins defense in Week 3, which just allowed Bradford to get 29 Fantasy points. ... Cassel (40) is another quarterback with more combined Fantasy points than Rodgers, Brady and Stafford. He faces the Saints this week, and New Orleans was lit up the past two games by Robert Griffin III (28 Fantasy points) and Cam Newton (27). ... Another quarterback off to a good start (who also has more combined Fantasy points than Rodgers, Brady and Stafford) is Fitzpatrick (42). He faces the Browns, who just struggled against Dalton. ... Weeden, Tannehill and Ponder all had at least 18 Fantasy points in Week 2, but we need to see more before adding them. ... Even if Blaine Gabbert (hamstring) is out in Week 3 don't worry about Henne.

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Running backs

Must add: Pierre Thomas, Saints (62 percent), Daryl Richardson, Rams (3 percent), Andre Brown, Giants (0 percent)
Maybe add: Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (63 percent), Mike Goodson, Raiders (19 percent), Bernard Scott, Bengals (15 percent), Lamar Miller, Dolphins (5 percent)
Desperation add: Shaun Draughn, Chiefs (3 percent), Tashard Choice, Bills (3 percent), Jackie Battle, Chargers (0 percent), Armando Allen, Bears (0 percent), Kahlil Bell, Bears (0 percent)
The breakdown: The running backs to add this week are in this order: Brown, Richardson and Thomas. Brown has the most value for Week 3 because the Giants play Carolina on Thursday night, and Bradshaw might not be ready to return is such a short amount of time after getting hurt Sunday. Brown is clearly No. 2 on the depth chart ahead of David Wilson, and Brown did well in Week 2 against the Bucs with 16 Fantasy points. The Panthers have already allowed double digits in Fantasy points to four running backs this season in Doug Martin, Darren Sproles, Mark Ingram and Thomas. ... Richardson could replace an injured Jackson -- if in fact Jackson was hurt and not benched against the Redskins -- at Chicago in Week 3. Richardson had nine Fantasy points against Washington, and the Bears have allowed double digits in Fantasy points to opposing running backs each week in Donald Brown and Cedric Benson. Richardson has clearly passed Isaiah Pead on the depth chart behind Jackson. ... Thomas only had nine carries against Carolina, but he finished with 110 rushing yards and four catches for 33 yards. He's worth stashing if he's still available even though he will continue to share touches with Sproles and Ingram. ... Dwyer was a must add last week, and he could still play a viable role for the Steelers heading into a favorable matchup in Week 3 at Oakland. But Isaac Redman isn't going away, and Rashard Mendenhall (knee) is getting closer to playing. ... Goodson, not Taiwan Jones, is looking like the handcuff for Darren McFadden again. He had a 64-yard touchdown catch at Miami and is worth stashing if you own McFadden. ... Miller took advantage of Daniel Thomas (concussion) being out, and he could emerge as the No. 2 running back for the Dolphins behind Reggie Bush. ... In deeper leagues I'm still stashing Scott, who has missed the first two games with a hand injury, to see what role he plays in tandem with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. ... Battle (18 Fantasy points) was great against the Titans in Week 2, but Ryan Mathews (shoulder) should return in Week 3 against Atlanta. Battle is only worth adding if you want to handcuff Mathews. ... Draughn again played well in garbage time for the Chiefs but remains behind Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis, and Choice, Bell and Allen are just insurance policies for Spiller and Bush.

Wide receivers

Must add: Danny Amendola, Rams (72 percent), Mike Williams, Buccaneers (64 percent), Greg Little, Browns (60 percent), Andrew Hawkins, Bengals (22 percent)
Maybe add: Kendall Wright, Titans (55 percent), Jerome Simpson, Vikings (26 percent), Leonard Hankerson, Redskins (9 percent), Brandon Gibson, Rams (4 percent), Brian Hartline, Dolphins (3 percent), Donnie Avery, Colts (2 percent)
Desperation add: Andre Roberts, Cardinals (8 percent), Brandon Tate, Bengals (0 percent), Julian Edelman, Patriots (0 percent)
The breakdown: Fantasy owners apparently weren't sold on Amendola's Week 1 performance at Detroit when he had five catches for 70 yards on nine targets. For those of you who waited it might be too late. In Week 2 against the Redskins he had 15 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown on 16 targets, which were second to only Victor Cruz for this scoring period. Amendola is clearly the No. 1 receiver for the Rams, and he should continue to play at a high level all year as long as he stays healthy. ... Williams is on his way to double digits in touchdowns for the second time in three years after scoring in each of the first two games. He only has five catches and eight targets over that span, but his track record makes him worth adding. ... Little's ownership dropped from 82 percent in Week 1 to 60 percent in Week 2 after he was held without a catch against the Eagles. That was a mistake. Little had five catches for 57 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals and still remains a breakout candidate. ... Hawkins looked like a possession receiver in Week 1 with eight catches for 86 yards on nine targets against the Ravens. He showed his big-play ability in Week 2 against the Browns with two catches for 56 yards and a touchdown on three targets. He can definitely serve as a No. 4 Fantasy receiver. ... Hartline could emerge as Miami's No. 1 receiver after he had nine catches for 111 yards on 12 targets, but the Dolphins passing game is still inconsistent. ... Wright and Hankerson each had their first NFL touchdowns, but they remain part of a crowded receiving corps for their respective teams. ... Gibson and Roberts each have two touchdowns through two games for their respective teams, but I still want to see more. Gibson has the higher value of the two with the better quarterback. ... Edelman could see a bump in value with Aaron Hernandez (ankle) now out for at least two weeks. ... Simpson has one more game for his suspension, but he could emerge as a quality reserve for Fantasy owners and an eventual bye-week replacement. ... Avery looks like a solid option for Andrew Luck.

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Tight ends

Must add: Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (61 percent), Martellus Bennett, Giants (45 percent), Dennis Pitta, Ravens (37 percent)
Maybe add: Heath Miller, Steelers (38 percent), Scott Chandler, Bills (15 percent), Brandon Myers, Raiders (1 percent)
Desperation add: Kellen Davis, Bears (4 percent), Anthony Fasano, Dolphins (4 percent), Dante Rosario, Chargers (0 percent), Anthony McCoy, Seahawks (0 percent)
The breakdown: Through two weeks, the Top 5 tight ends in standard leagues have three obvious names (Davis, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski) and two surprises in Bennett and Rosario. We're not buying into Rosario unless Antonio Gates (ribs) is out for an extended period of time. But we are backing Bennett. He now has nine catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns in two games on 16 targets, and he will fill the No. 3 receiver role behind Hakeem Nicks and Cruz. He's a No. 1 Fantasy tight end going forward. ... Rudolph also is a No. 1 Fantasy tight end with eight catches for 102 yards and one touchdown on 12 targets through two games. ... Here's what Pitta has done in his past five games, including the playoffs: 26 catches, 270 yards and three touchdowns. He has 13 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown this season on a whopping 24 targets, which leads all tight ends. If you want to know if he can remain relevant, the answer is yes. ... Miller and Chandler can be great replacement options if you lost Hernandez. Both have two touchdowns through two games. And you have to like what Myers has done for the Raiders with 11 catches for 151 yards through two games, and he has yet to drop a pass. ... Fasano, Davis and McCoy are just fliers because they will be inconsistent most of the year.

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
Ravens LB C.J. Mosley says wrist is fine and he's ready for camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:51 am ET) Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley has declared that x-rays have shown that his broken wrist is almost completely healed and that he's been cleared for full contact, per the Baltimore Sun.

Mosley had predicted in June he'd be ready to roll after undergoing surgery on the wrist.

The second-year player enjoyed a strong rookie season, contributing to 133 tackles and adding three sacks and two interceptions.


Owner expresses confidence in Cowboys RB Joseph Randle
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:13 am ET) Always-involved Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has endorsed Joseph Randle as the team's featured back in 2015.

Jones expressed his belief to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that Randle can be "the No. 1 back."

Randle must step up in the wake of the departure of superback DeMarco Murray, though an offensive line considered one of the best in the sport should help. Randle averaged 6.7 yards per carry a year ago.


Lions place RB Joique Bell on PUP list to open camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:06 am ET) Lions featured back Joique Bell has been placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list to start training camp, per ESPN.

Bell sat out all offseason practices after undergoing surgery for an issue that he has yet to divulge. But Bell did have problems with his knee and Achilles last year.

He should be set as the No. 1 option out of the backfield in 2015 after the release of Reggie Bush, though rookie second-round pick Ameer Abdullah could push him.


Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin (hamstring) says he's set for camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:51 am ET) Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has declared that the hamstring he hurt in minicamp has fully healed and that he'll be a full-go when training camp begins, per the Charlotte Observer.

Benjamin enjoyed a fine rookie season, snagging 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns.


Titans OLB Brian Orapko feeling fine for start of training camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:46 am ET) Titans new outside linebacker Brian Orakpo has declared himself healthy and ready for training camp. He is coming off a pectoral injury that required season-ending surgery last October.

"I'll be ready to rock and roll as soon as we open camp," he told ESPN. "Body-wise, I feel 100 percent. The pec and everything else feels real good. We kind of played it safe in OTAs and minicamp for precaution, but now we can kind of unleash everything."

Orakpo signed with Tennessee as a free agent after six seasons with Washington.


Niners RB Carlos Hyde cleared to practice
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:38 am ET) A mere two days after his placement on the non-football injury list, 49ers running back Carlos Hyde has been removed from it, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting.

Hyde, who had been dealing with a lower leg strain, has been medically cleared to participate in the team's first full workout Saturday.

He is considered the front-runner to serve as the featured back this season, though a committee approach after the departure of Frank Gore is also a possibility. Hyde rushed for 333 yards and four touchdowns on 83 carries as a rookie in 2014.


Chiefs release RB Cyrus Gray
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:28 am ET) The Chiefs have released running back and special teams standout Cyrus Gray, per the Kansas City Star.

The sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft carried just 24 times during his career with the team for 99 yards and one touchdown. He had eight attempts for 31 yards and that lone score in 2014.

He was out after November 11, however, with a torn ACL.


Ravens CB Lardarius Webb absent as Ravens begin camp
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:17 am ET) Ravens starting cornerback Lardarius Webb is a no-show at the first full-team practice Thursday. He is not injured, an NFL source told the Baltimore Sun.

His absence last training camp due to a back issue resulted in a slow start to the regular season in which he missed the first two games.


CB Dee Milliner cleared for Jets camp
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(1:01 am ET) Cornerback Dee Milliner, who has been battling an Achilles' injury, was cleared to take part in the team's practices at training camp, which begins Thursday, per ESPN.com. 

Milliner, the ninth overall pick in 2013, is fighting for a backup spot on the Jets. He played in just three games last season before the injury. 


Packers place four on PUP list on eve of camp
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(12:54 am ET) The Packers announced they have placed four players on their Physically Unable to Perform (PUP)/non-football injury list, including second-round pick Quinten Rollins, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rollins, a cornerback taken with the 62nd pick, is on the non-football injury list, meaning his injury occurred outside of team activities. The other players on the PUP list are receiver Ricky Collins, running back John Crockett and linebacker Mike Neal


 
 
 
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