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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
So far, so good for Texans rookie CB Kevin Johnson
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:49 am ET) First impressions aren't necessarily important for first-round picks in the NFL. They are far more critical to lower selections and undrafted free agents who desperately need to raise a few eyebrows immediately lest they be back out looking for work.

But whether necessary or not, Texans first-rounder Kevin Johnson is making one heck of a first impression on Bill O'Brien. The clornerback opened some eyes at minicamp.

"This is a guy that's a very quick guy," O'Brien said. "He's a tall guy. He's a guy that has really good transition ability. He's got what I call really good recover transition. If he's getting beat, he can stick his foot in the ground and really make up a lot of ground.

"He's a very bright player. If you ask him questions in the morning meeting, he really has obviously studied the night before. He's working out on his own and doing things to help stay up on material that's being installed."

Johnson believes he needs to do the little things right to make a big impact in his rookie year.

"From the training room to the classroom to the film study, everything is just more detailed," he told the team website. "I'm just trying to take it all in and use everything around here and just get better."


Bears CB Tim Jennings could transition into slot role
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(10:36 am ET) Bears cornerback Tim Jennings is "still trying to figure out" where he will fit into the secondary this season, the Chicago Tribune is reporting.

The nine-year veteran, who is entering his sixth season in the Windy City, has 95 career starts and led the league in interceptions in 2012. He is even a two-time Pro Bowler. But he spent significant time as the slot corner in minicamp. That's an unsatisfying role for him that he just might be forced to embrace.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio prefers his outside corners tall and physical. Jennings is 5-8, 185 pounds. He might still earn an outside role opposite Kyle Fuller, but do achieve that goal he must at the very least outperform free agent pickup Alan Ball, who better fits the ideal description.

If the words of new coach John Fox are any indication, that's unlikely to happen.

"Dimension-wise, he's built like a nickel corner," Fox said. "He's played it before."

Jennings has started all but three games over the last seven years.


Report: Cardinals' Daryl Washington unsure of NFL standing
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington is approaching the one-year mark for his suspension though his NFL status is still in limbo. 

But according to a report from FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix, Washington is unsure about his status with the league. He was suspended a year ago on May 30, 2014 for being a multiple offender of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

However, he was expected to apply for reinstatement a month ago but did not do so. 

Assuming Washington is reinstated to the NFL at some point he will likely be subjected to punishment under the NFL's domestic violence policy. On March 24, 2014, he pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend. 


Titans' Massaquoi rehabbing shoulder, to miss OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/22/2015) Outside linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi will not participate in the Titans' first organized team activities, per ESPN.com.

Massaquoi, who was claimed off waivers from the Falcons earlier this year, is recovering from shoulder surgery. He had a bone spur removed from the area, but the procedure was categorized as a minor cleanup.

Massaquoi recorded 22 tackles in 15 games with Atlanta last season.


Entering third season, 49ers' Lawrence Okoye eyeing roster spot
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/22/2015) This might finally be the year Lawrence Okoye can crack a spot on the 49ers' roster, per the Bay Area News Group.

Okoye, a former British Olympics discus thrower and rugby player, is feeling confident about his improvements and feels like his potential is worth a roster spot.

“It’s very different from the first time I came here. I’m feeling very good about things,” Okoye said Thursday while sitting at his locker. “I’m just happy I was given the opportunity to stay here so long, so I could catch up. I have a good opportunity to show what I can do.”

Okoye has worked under new head coach Jim Tomsula for two years and with Justin Smith's retirement, his emergence might be rewarded.

“You’re going to get lots of people telling you things. But the main thing is to just keep yourself motivated, despite what people say about you," Okoye said. "People will write you off. People will say this or that. Just keep yourself motivated, keep going every day and you’ll be good.”

 


Bengals' Terrelle Pryor still dreams about winning it all
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/22/2015) Terrelle Pryor's chances of taking the Bengals to the Super Bowl and winning it are slim, but that won’t stop him from dreaming.

Pryor -- in his fourth year in the league -- dreams about winning the Super Bowl with quite some frequency, he just isn't sure what team he's doing it with.

“I don’t know the team. It’s always in black uniforms,” Pryor said. “I didn’t see any orange. No, it’s not the Raiders. But I believe it can happen because I can visualize it like that. I’m into visualization.”

Pryor hasn't played a down since the 2013 regular season, when he passed for 1,798 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 11 games.


Flowers' college position coach thinks he can fill in for injured Beatty
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5/22/2015) Things are moving really fast for Giants offensive lineman Ereck Flowers. The eighth overall pick in the draft, because of an injury to Will Beatty, might have inherited a huge workload this season, per nj.com.

Art Kehoe, Flowers' offensive line coach at the University of Miami, thinks Flowers will be up to the task of protecting quarterback Eli Manning.

"I'm sure he raised his level up a notch or two, but I think he plays every week, I think he plays hard in practice," Kehoe said. "He's an unproven commodity at the next level, and he's a high draft pick, [the Giants] drafted him to be a fixer, so I'm sure he's going in there to do what he did in Miami — scrap his ass off every day in practice, and if you're supposed to be a badass the next weekend [against] your opponent, he's gonna be there and he's gonna bring everything he's got. That's what he does. He wants to know that there's a dude, and he has to take care of him, and he'll be up to the challenge.

Giants' 2013 first-round pick, Justin Pugh is also a top candidate to fill in for the injured Beatty.


Union: Goodell must back off hearing of Patriots QB Tom Brady
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith is growing impatient awaiting word from Roger Goodell on the request of the NFL commissioner to recuse himself as arbitrator of the appeal hearings ofPatriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The league suspended Brady for the first four games next season for his alleged role in the Deflategate scandal, claiming that he likely knew that game balls were being deflated for his benefit before the 2014 AFC title game.

Smith is claiming that neither Goodell nor the Wells Report, which investigated the incident, could legitimately claim impartiality. He added that the NFLPA will "advance the volume" of the request if they don't hear from Goodell by next week. Part of the union's press release reads as follows:

Given a process that has contained procedural violations of our collective bargaining agreement, the Commissioner's role as a central witness in the appeal hearing and his evident partiality with respect to the Wells report, the Commissioner must designate a neutral party to serve as arbitrator in this matter. The players also believe that the Commissioner's history of inconsistently issuing discipline against our players makes him ill-suited to hear this appeal in a fair-minded manner.

As for the Wells Report, Smith stated that "you can't really have credibility just because you slap the word independent on a piece of paper." He offered into evidence the findings in regard to NFL official Walt Anderson, who was a key figure in the investigation, citing one part of the report questions his memory and another credits it.


Zimmer happy with progress of Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) Mike Zimmer has expressed optimism that underachieving Vikings wideout Cordarrelle Patterson is gaining a better understanding of route-running and the nuances of playing the position in the NFL, which would allow his talent to result in greater productivity.

Patterson took a step back in 2014 after a mediocre rookie year. He played in every game, but managed just 33 receptions for 384 yards and one touchdown. He has since stated that 2015 is his make-or-break year and is apparently acting like it in the offseason.

"He's done real well," Zimmer told Fox Sports North. "He's running routes good. He's working hard. So we just need him to continue to do those things and continue to keep getting consistent and keep improving. I've been impressed."


GM: Dolphins LT Branden Albert should be fine for Week 1
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/22/2015) Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey has expressed optimism that left tackle Branden Albert will be ready to roll by the regular season opener.

Albert has been rehabbing from a torn ACL and MCL sustained last November against Detroit. He had signed a five-year, $46 million contract the previous March and had been performing particularly well before going down.

"It's been a long rehab and he's really attacked it every day," Hickey told SiriusXM NFL Radio, adding that there was a "reasonable explanation" that he would be ready for Week 1. "We really like his progress. He's out there with his team working out. We're really encouraged by what we're seeing with him."

Ja'Wuan Williams was forced to move to left tackle following the Albert injury in 2014. But he struggled at that position and is expected to move to his more familiar right tackle spot this year.


 
 
 
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