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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
Chris Harris targeting midway point of preseason
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) Broncos cornerback Chris Harris, who's coming back from ACL surgery, told ESPN he expects to be cleared for full participation by the midway point of the preseason. Harris said the exact timetable hinges on his upcoming visit to his surgeon, Dr. James Andrews.

"I’m doing everything, there’s really nothing I can’t do right now," Harris told the network. "I still have to go see Dr. Andrews at the end of the month and get checked up and he’ll pretty much let us know the plan from there."

Harris had 65 tackles and three interceptions last year before getting hurt in the playoffs.


Dimitri Patterson a starter by default
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) Unable to land a high-end free agent cornerback, the Jets "were forced to settle for journeyman Dimitri Patterson as a consolation," notes The Star-Ledger. Patterson, who projects to start opposite Dee Milliner, is on his sixth team in 10 seasons and has played all 16 games just once in his career.

If Patterson falters, third-round pick Dexter McDougle could get a shot.


Fred Jackson in danger of losing carries
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) Bills running back Fred Jackson might not approach the 207 carries he received last year. According to WGR550.com, Jackson will once again split time with C.J. Spiller but also potentially lose snaps to the team's additions at running back, Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon.

The website said Jackson, 33, who's entering the last year of his deal, will be trying to prove how much he has left.


Teammate: Bitterness won't linger from Jimmy Graham standoff
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) Saints tight end Benjamin Watson told ESPN that the the team's arbitration fight with Jimmy Graham over whether he's a receiver or a tight end won't have a longterm detrimental effect. Watson is hopeful the sides will reach a multiyear contract agreement by Tuesday's deadline.

"I’m very confident that it’ll be resolved the right way and guys can move forward," Watson said. "Obviously it’s always tough when you go through litigation with somebody, and it can probably get heated. And I’m sure there are emotions on both sides. But that is the business side of the game. 

"And it’s unfortunate that it came to that and that it was so public. But I really think -- I know, I don’t think -- I know that Jimmy loves New Orleans and I know that he loves our team and the organization and he loves playing here. And we love him, everybody wants him here, coaches included. So when it comes down to contract situations, that’s just a necessary evil ... not even evil, but just a necessary progression of getting a player here."


Dallas Thomas eyes starting job
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) Dolphins coach Joe Philbin named Dallas Thomas one of the team's most improved players, and he has a good chance to start at left guard, according to the team's website. A third-round pick in last year's draft, Thomas played only four offensive snaps last season.

Thomas worked with the first team during spring drills and is much further along than he was in 2013. He stayed in South Florida throughout the offseason to get better prepared.

"You’ve got to know your material, you’ve got to know what you’re doing on the field because stuff happens so fast," Thomas said. "You’ve got to be able to just react to it and not even think about what’s happening on the field."


Spencer Nealy hit with four-game ban
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) The NFL suspended Vikings defensive end Spencer Nealy four games for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances. An undrafted free agent out of Texas A&M, the 24-year-old Nealy did not play in a game last season.

Nealy apologized and took responsibility in a statement, saying he took a supplement containing a banned stimulant.


Jarrett Boykin will be 'hard to dislodge'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) Jarrett Boykin improved dramatically last season and "will be hard to dislodge" from the Packers' No. 3 receiver job, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Boykin will have to hold off second-round pick Davante Adams, fifth-rounder Jared Abbrederis and seventh-rounder Jeff Janis.

Boykin, 24, caught 49 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns last season.


Trent Richardson might not get long leash
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) Averaging 2.9 yards a carry, like he did last year, will get Trent Richardson benched quickly, reports ESPN.com. Richardson "will have to produce right away because it's unlikely the Colts will wait for him to get going" if running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard are healthy and productive, the website said.

Richardson likely will get the first shot at the starting job. He has a much better grasp of the playbook than he did in 2013 and the belief is he'll be able to run on instinct as opposed to overthinking, the report said.


Bruce Ellington trying to overcome stature
by Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer
(7/11/2014) At 5-foot-9, Bruce Ellington is the shortest receiver on the 49ers' roster. But the fourth-round pick out of South Carolina should not be discounted, his high school coach, Jerry Brown, told the Sacramento Bee.

Brown said Ellington is relentless at finding open space and catching everything thrown his way. "Football's played on a big field and it's hard to track someone like Bruce who's got so much agility," Brown said.

Ellington believes he has lots of room for growth because he only gave up basketball last year. Also a former track competitor, Ellington clocked a 4.45 forty at the combine.

"I'm just going to work hard, give it a hundred (percent) every time I step on the field and keep on chasing the dream," he said.


Colts dump LaVon Brazill, sign Aaron Burks
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/11/2014) The Colts waived suspended wideout LaVon Brazill and signed receiver Aaron Burks, an undrafted free agent from Boise State. Brazill, 25, is suspended for at least a year for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Burks caught 18 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns for the Broncos last season, averaging 17.2 yards per catch.


 
 
 
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