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Waiver Wire: Battle for success?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Every Ryan Mathews owner who is in a panic after what happened in Week 4 at Kansas City needs to calm down. Mathews is going to be fine, starting this week at New Orleans.

The reason Mathews didn't start at the Chiefs was probably punishment for his fumble in Week 3 against Atlanta. But Mathews is not going to play second fiddle to Jackie Battle for long.

That said, Battle is now a must-add running back this week. He won't remain the starter, but Battle has earned a role with the Chargers in some capacity after he had two touchdowns and 81 total yards against his former team. He now has four total touchdowns on the season, which is more than Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch.

Keep in mind that as talented as Mathews is, the Chargers have only used him in tandem during his career since he previously shared touches with Mike Tolbert. Battle could easily step into Tolbert's role this season as a complementary option to Mathews.

So even if Battle never has another game at this level, he is worth the gamble of adding and stashing. We know Mathews has trouble staying healthy, and if he goes down then Battle is the handcuff.

Some other big performances we'll address this week include Brandon Bolden and Brian Hartline, and we'll remind you once again that Ryan Fitzpatrick should be owned in all leagues. It also appears that Domenik Hixon and James Jones can be viable injury replacements for Hakeem Nicks (knee) and Greg Jennings (groin), respectively.

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: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills (74 percent), Christian Ponder, Vikings (50 percent)
Maybe add: Kevin Kolb, Cardinals (17 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (12 percent), Matt Hasselbeck, Titans (2 percent)
Desperation add: Tim Tebow, Jets (12 percent)
The breakdown: Fitzpatrick doesn't have the best matchup in Week 5 at San Francisco, but he's playing well enough that you can consider him a solid bye-week replacement with Tony Romo, Matthew Stafford, Carson Palmer and Josh Freeman all off. He overcame four interceptions against the Patriots in Week 4 to still get 31 Fantasy points in a standard league, and he has at least 19 Fantasy points in every game this year. You might not start Fitzpatrick every week, but he should be owned in all leagues since he currently is a Top 12 Fantasy quarterback. ... Ponder was a huge letdown in Week 4 against the Lions with four Fantasy points, but he could have a rebound game at home against the miserable Titans, who have allowed multiple passing touchdowns in every game this season. If you need a bye-week replacement you might consider giving Ponder another chance in Week 5. ... Hasselbeck might start if Jake Locker (shoulder) is out for an extended period of time, and he could do well against the Vikings. He threw two touchdowns against the Texans in Week 4 after Locker went down, but he also had two interceptions. ... Kolb may have turned the page on his dismal 2011 to become a decent Fantasy option in 2012. He has 47 Fantasy points in his past two games after a nice showing against the Dolphins in Week 4, and he faces the Rams on Thursday night this week. If you're stuck for a starter this week you could give Kolb a chance as your No. 1 option in deeper leagues. ... The same goes for Tannehill in Week 5 against the Bengals, who have been suspect against opposing quarterbacks this year. He had 431 passing yards at the Cardinals in Week 4, but he managed just one touchdown and two interceptions. Still, this game could be a catalyst for the rookie, especially with the way Hartline and Davone Bess played. ... It's clear that Mark Sanchez's days as a starting quarterback are numbered, and the Jets might be forced to turn to Tebow soon to spark their offense. Sanchez and Tebow each had zero Fantasy points against the 49ers in Week 4, but Sanchez attempted 29 passes to Tebow's one, with Sanchez completing only 13 for 103 yards. We know how Tebow has done each of the past two years for Fantasy owners when given a chance to start, so keep him on your radar.

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Running backs

Must add: Jackie Battle, Chargers (36 percent)
Maybe add: Bilal Powell, Jets (46 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (44 percent), Kendall Hunter, 49ers (39 percent), Danny Woodhead, Patriots (26 percent), Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (24 percent), Joique Bell, Lions (7 percent), Brandon Bolden, Patriots (0 percent)
Desperation add: Lance Ball, Broncos (7 percent), Vick Ballard, Colts (4 percent), Marcel Reece, Raiders (1 percent), James Casey, Texans (0 percent), Jorvorskie Lane, Dolphins (0 percent)
The breakdown: Another reason to like Battle this week is his matchup with the Saints. New Orleans has now allowed five running backs to reach double digits in Fantasy points this season in Alfred Morris, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Jamaal Charles and Cedric Benson, and there should be enough touches for Mathews and Battle to both have good games. Consider Battle a flex option this week. ... Bolden is interesting because even though Stevan Ridley is playing great this season, including 22 Fantasy points at Buffalo in Week 4, you never know how Bill Belichick might use his running backs. In deeper leagues, you might want to stash Bolden. The same goes for Woodhead as each running back has scored in consecutive games. ... Blount had a touchdown in Week 4 against the Redskins and looks like the red-zone running back going forward. Doug Martin still has plenty of value, but he could lose his scoring chances to Blount, which increases his value in standard formats. ... Powell is still worth adding since the Jets offense needs a makeover, and Hunter and Hillman remain handcuff options to monitor. ... Bell has supplanted Kevin Smith as the No. 2 running back for the Lions behind Mikel Leshoure. He might even be worth a gamble in PPR leagues since he had six catches for 72 yards in Week 4 against the Vikings. For the second week in a row Smith did not touch the ball. ... Ballard is worth keeping an eye on following the Colts' bye week to see if his role will increase as the No. 2 running back behind Donald Brown.

Wide receivers

Must add: Mike Williams, Buccaneers (67 percent), Kendall Wright, Titans (44 percent), James Jones, Packers (36 percent), Brian Hartline, Dolphins (33 percent), Andre Roberts, Cardinals (12 percent), Domenik Hixon, Giants (1 percent)
Maybe add: Greg Little, Browns (51 percent), Jerome Simpson, Vikings (48 percent), Davone Bess, Dolphins (27 percent), Jeremy Kerley, Jets (18 percent), T.Y. Hilton, Colts (13 percent)
Desperation add: Donald Jones, Bills (4 percent), Joe Morgan, Saints (0 percent)
The breakdown: Hartline had 12 catches for 253 yards and a touchdown in Week 4 at Arizona on 19 targets. As a result, he is now the No. 3 receiver in standard leagues with 51 Fantasy points behind A.J. Green (60) and Roddy White (57), and he is No. 3 in targets with 48 behind Dwayne Bowe and Victor Cruz, who each have 49. No matter what you think of Tannehill or the Dolphins offense, Hartline is worth adding in all leagues. ... Hixon, not Ramses Barden, stepped up in Week 4 at Philadelphia with Nicks out. He had six catches for 114 yards on 11 targets, while Barden had two catches for 36 yards on four targets. Keep in mind Hixon was ahead of Barden on the depth chart to start the season, and Barden's big game in Week 3 at Carolina (nine catches for 138 yards) came when Hixon was out with a concussion. Of course if Nicks returns in Week 5 against Cleveland then Hixon's value will be limited. ... Jennings left Week 4 against the Saints and Jones finished the game with five catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns. He now has three touchdowns on the season and two games with double digits in Fantasy points. The problem is the one game Jennings missed in Week 2 against Chicago, Jones finished with two catches for minus-1 yard, but he dropped a touchdown in that game. Still, if this groin problem continues to linger for Jennings than Jones will have increased value. ... In three-receiver leagues you should definitely consider Williams, Roberts and Wright as bye-week replacements. Williams has a touchdown or 100 yards receiving in three of four games, Roberts has four touchdowns on the season and Wright has two touchdowns in his past three games. Of this trio, Roberts would be the one to target this week, and he continues to benefit with plenty of single coverage opposite Larry Fitzgerald. ... Bess is starting to improve with 12 catches for 209 yards in his past two games against the Jets and Cardinals on 19 targets, and he should remain productive as the complementary option to Hartline. ... Kerley might see an increase in production with Santonio Holmes (foot) hurt, but the Jets will likely spread targets around to Stephen Hill, Chaz Schilens and Dustin Keller as well, making none of the Jets receivers must-add options.

Tight ends

Must add: Heath Miller, Steelers (73 percent), Greg Olsen, Panthers (72 percent), Scott Chandler, Bills (39 percent)
Maybe add: Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (20 percent)
Desperation add: Joel Dreessen, Broncos (5 percent)
The breakdown: Miller and Chandler have done a fantastic job of finding the end zone and both are Top 10 tight ends entering Week 5. They each have four touchdowns and Miller's scores have come in just three games. They are great bye-week replacements, especially Chandler at the 49ers, who have allowed four touchdowns to tight ends already this year. ... Olsen had another big game for the second week in a row with six catches for 89 yards and a touchdown at Atlanta. He now has 13 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown against the Giants and Falcons in consecutive weeks on 21 targets and is back as a must-own tight end. ... Lewis isn't someone to start most weeks, but if you're stuck for a bye-week replacement then he could be a home run pick. He has two touchdowns in four games and two games with a combined one catch for 8 yards. He only has nine targets on the season, but Jason Witten just destroyed the Bears defense on Monday night.

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
Geno Smith hopeful Jets bring back Percy Harvin in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:48 pm ET) Jets quarterback Geno Smith knows he can't make the ultimate decision, but he wants to see Percy Harvin back in New York in 2015.

"I would love for Percy to come back," Smith said. "Obviously I can’t make that decision, but from my short time with him he’s been a great teammate. He’s obviously a dynamic player and I’d love to see what he can do in this new offense."

Harvin played eight games with the Jets in 2014, catching 29 passes for 350 yards. 

However, Harvin is due $10.5 million in base salary in 2014, and is under contract until 2018.


Eagles' Nick Foles expecting to be starter in Philadelphia next year
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:06 pm ET) Eagles quarterback Nick Foles said he is expecting to be back in Philadelphia in 2015, leading the offesne.

"My expectation is to be out there and be the starting guy," Foles said, according to CSNPhilly.com. "I expect to be out there with my teammates leading them. I’ve never thought otherwise throughout this whole time. 


"I know there’s been a lot of things said, but the only thing I’m worried about is making myself the best player, the best person to help lead my team."

Foles, who threw for 2,163 yards and 13 touchdowns in an injury-shortened season, expects to be back at full strength by the time training camp rolls around.

"Completely healthy, ready to go," he said. "Just grinding away. Just can’t wait to get back out there."


Jets' Geno Smith doesn't know if he will start in 2015
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:00 pm ET) Jets quarterback Geno Smith said Saturday he is unsure of his status with the team and has not received a definitive answer from new coach Todd Bowles on whether he will be the starter in 2015, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

Smith, who threw for 2,525 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2014, also isn't sure if the Jets will try to draft a quarterback in the first round like Jamies Winston or Marcus Mariota, but he would welcome the challenge as more competition.


Cardinals coach Bruce Arians: 'It's really (Fitzgerald's) decision'
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(10:33 am ET) Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told reporters Friday he really wants to see wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald back in Arizona next season.

"I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t," Arians said. "We definitely, desperately want him to stay. He knows that. It’s really his decision."

Fitzgerald has a salary cap hit of $23.6 million for 2015 and the team will work to get that number down in the offseason. Team president Michael Bidwill said this week contract talks won't start fully until after the Super Bowl.

"I’m hoping and praying every day that it does happen," Arians said. "I’ve expressed to him personally how much it means to us."

Fitzgerald has not reached 1,000 yards receiving in the past three seasons and totaled 784 in 2014 on 63 catches with two touchdowns.


Seahawks corner Byron Maxwell set to test free agency
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(9:25 am ET) Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell is ready to hit the free-agent market during the upcoming offseason and feels the Super Bowl will be his last game in Seattle.

"I’m the prettiest girl at the dance right now," Maxwell said. "But yeah, it’s one of those things I’m excited about it. I would love to be here, but I’m ready to see what’s out there and see how things work out."

Maxwell, who was heavily targeted this year with the Seahawks secondary filled with Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, grabbed two interceptions and defended 11 passes.

"Coming into the season I already knew teams were going to try me," Maxwell said. "But it was cool. I accept that. That’s more opportunities for me to get the rock and put my name out there."


Report: Titans S Bernard Pollard wants to be released
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:52 am ET) Titans safety Bernard Pollard has requested a release from his contract, The Tennessean reports. He is scheduled to make $3.1 million in the final season of his two-year deal in 2015.

Pollard submitted his request to general manager Ruston Webster at the end of the regular season, per the report. He is recovering from a ruptured Achilles and wants to play in 2015, but said on The Tennessean's Bernard Pollard Show earlier this month that he was unsure of his future with the Titans.

"I am not getting any younger, so I want to win, I really do. I want to win,'' Pollard said. "Looking at how things took place this year, looking at where (the Titans) need to be for next year, that is a tough, tough question, and I don't even know if they can give me the answer. I have one year on my deal, but it is going to take some time."

Pollard has been out of his walking boot for a month and is making progress in rehab. He suffered his Achilles injury in Week 5 and was placed on injured reserve.


Patriots fairly healthy heading into Super Bowl Sunday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Patriots will be at nearly full strength for Sunday’s Super Bowl as the following players have been listed as probable: Tom Brady (ankle), Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), Chris Jones (elbow), Akeem Ayers (knee), Darrelle Revis (non-injury-related) and Sealver Siliga (foot).

All except Brady were limited participants in practice Friday. The only question mark is center Bryan Stork, who is questionable with a knee injury and was limited in practice Friday.

The Patriots are currently 1-point favorites against Seattle.


Seahawks unveil final injury report in preparation for Super Bowl
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Seahawks have listed the following players as probable for the Super Bowl on Sunday: J.R. Sweezy (ankle), Justin Britt (knee), Marshawn Lynch (back), Earl Thomas (shoulder), Richard Sherman (elbow) and Kam Chancellor (knee).

Chancellor was a late addition to the injury report, when he fell on the next-to-last play of practice and missed the last play. He was not limping on his way off. All other players were full participants in practice Friday.

The Seahawks are currently 1-point underdogs against New England.


Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to avoid surgery on shoulder
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he will avoid surgery on his shoulder after testing it at the Pro Bowl. 

"I’ve been doing rehab and I’m going to start back on my rehab Monday and really there’s going to be no surgery," Graham told SiriusXM radio. "I’m just going to do rehab, strengthen the area. That’s what’s best — not having to take six months off and try to heal up with a surgery, but now have those six months to work on all things I need to to try and hopefully get to a place like (the Super Bowl) next year."

Graham, who had 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, fought off the injury for most of the season. He was still unsure about having surgery before the Pro Bowl last week.

"It was something that really needed some rest and unfortunately it wasn’t able to get that during the season," he said. "It happened early and then you have about 10 straight weeks of trying to make it to the game. Now after having about three or four weeks and last week kind of testing it at the Pro Bowl, it feels great."


Vikings' Greg Jennings: We all want Adrian Peterson back
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Vikings veteran wideout Greg Jennings said during a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview on Friday that embattled running back Adrian Peterson is wanted back by everyone in the organization, per ESPN.

"I don't know if he'll be back. I can't answer that question," Jennings said. "But what I do know is that if he does come back, he'd be accepted with open arms. As an organization from the Wilfs on down, we all want him back. So, I mean, it's a touchy subject and he's been the franchise player -- face of that team -- for eight years. So it will be a loss, a huge loss, if we can't get him back, and that's the nature of this business."

In November, Peterson was suspended by the league without pay for the rest of the season, making him ineligible for reinstatement until at least April 15. The move came after Peterson pleaded no contest to recklessly injuring his 4-year-old son last May. He is under contract with the Vikings for next season, and is set to earn $12.75 million.

It's unclear at this point if Jennings has talked to Zygi and Mark Wilf about the Peterson situation. What is clear is that the team is not allowed to communicate with Peterson during his suspension.


 
 
 
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