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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
49ers promote NT Mike Purcell Friday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The 49ers signed nose tackle Mike Purcell off the practice squad Friday, the team announced. He has been on the team's practice squad since the beginning of the 2013 season.


Broncos QB Manning fine Friday in practice
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) Broncos quarterback Peyton manning had a "really good day at practice" Friday, per wideout Emmanuel Sanders. He was limited with a thigh injury that had him receiving extra treatment during the Thursday session.

Manning and his team plays at Cincinnati on Monday night.


Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray medically cleared, will decide status
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray (hand) will make the final call on whether he plays in Week 16 against the Colts after being medically cleared Friday, NFL.com reports.

Murray is listed as questionable to play after participating in Friday's practice in a limited fashion, but since he's received medical clearance, it would be surprising to not see him active Sunday. The Cowboys lead rusher has racked up 1,687 yards on 351 carries with 11 touchdowns as well as another 395 yards on 54 receptions.


Marshawn Lynch among notable Seahawks probable for Sunday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The Seahawks have ruled tackle Russell Okung (chest) out for Sunday's game at Arizona. Center Max Unger (ankle) and defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (ankle) were labeled as questionable. Tight end Tony Moeaki (shoulder) is the only player labeled questionable and is expected to be a game-day decision.

Meanwhile, the following players were labeled probable: Running back Marshawn Lynch (back), wide receiver Paul Richardson (hamstring), guard J.R. Sweezy (ankle) and tight end Cooper Helfet (ankle).


Saints list Armstead, Hicks, Sanford questionable for Week 16
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) Saints tackle Terron Armstead (neck), defensive end Akiem Hicks (ankle) and safety Jamarca Sanford (hamstring) were unable to practice Friday and were all ruled questionable for Sunday's game against Atlanta.

New Orleans remains a 6 1/2-point favorite at home against the Falcons.


49ers unveil lengthy injury report for Saturday game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The 49ers have ruled the following players out for Saturday's game against San Diego: Linebacker Chris Borland (ankle), cornerback Tramaine Brock (hamstring), running back Carlos Hyde (ankle), wide receiver Stevie Johnson (knee).

Linebacker Ahmad Brooks (thumb), wide receiver Michael Crabtree (knee), right tackle Anthony Davis (concussion), running back Frank Gore (concussion), safety Raymond Vetrone (groin) and linebacker Michael Wilhoite (hip) were labeled as questionable.

Meanwhile, cornerback Perrish Cox (ankle), cornerback Chris Culliver (knee), defensive tackle Quinton Dial (knee), defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie (foot), right tackle Jonathan Martin (illness), center Marcus Martin (knee), long snapper Kyle Nelson (back) and defensive end Justin Smith (back) were all deemed as probable.


49ers RB Frank Gore ruled questionable for Saturday
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) 49ers running back Frank Gore (concussion) was a limited participant in practice for the second consecutive day on Friday. San Francisco officially designated him as questionable for Saturday's home game against San Diego.

Because Carlos Hyde (ankle) was ruled out, third-stringer Alfonso Smith will shoulder the load in the ground game if Gore can't play. San Francisco is currently a 1 1/2-point home favorite.


Fitzgerald, Mathieu among notable Cardinals probables Week 16
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The Cardinals have ruled guard Jonathan Cooper (wrist) out, quarterback Drew Stanton (knee) doubtful and wide receiver Jaron Brown (toe) questionable for Sunday's home game against Seattle.

Meanwhile, the following players were deemed probable: Outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (knee), defensive end Calais Campbell (hip), guard Paul Fanaika (ankle), wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (knee), inside linebacker Larry Foote (knee), safety Tyrann Mathieu (thumb), tackle Jared Veldheer (ankle) and running back Kerwynn Williams (knee).


Browns list Joe Haden, Karlos Dansby as questionable for Sunday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) The Browns listed cornerback Joe Haden (shoulder) and linebacker Karlos Dansby (knee) as questionable for Sunday’s game at Carolina. Haden was able to practice Friday on a limited basis.

Also listed as questionable are Gary Barnidge (ribs), Marlon Moore (knee), Robert Nelson (hamstring) and Jabaal Sheard (foot).

The Browns ruled K’Waun Williams (hamstring) and Tashaun Gipson (knee) as out. Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (illness) is the only player listed as probable.

The Browns are 3 ½ point underdogs to the Panthers.


Cardinals QB Drew Stanton ruled doubtful for Seattle game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(12/19/2014) Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton (knee) was unable to practice on Friday, just a day removed from a being a limited participant in practice. The Cardinals officially designated Stanton as doubtful for Sunday's contest at home against Seattle. If Stanton can't play, the Cardinals will have Ryan Lindley under center, with a special package also designed for rookie Logan Thomas.

Arizona is a 7 1/2-point home underdog on Sunday.


 
 
 
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