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Waiver Wire: Options other than Jones

Senior Fantasy Writer
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DeMarco Murray had his best rushing game since Week 1 on Sunday at Baltimore, but his day was ruined with a sprained ligament in his foot. And now he's out for at least a week -- if not longer.

Enter Felix Jones, who will be the most added player this week and has an amazing matchup at Carolina. He will be in line for quality production and is worth spending at least 30 percent of your bid points on because he could be the difference in a win this week. And if Murray is out for an extended period of time, then Jones' value would continue to rise.

We also had Trent Richardson (ribs) get hurt in Week 6 against Cincinnati, but he expects to play in Week 7 at Indianapolis. Still, if he's out you'll want to add his backup in Montario Hardesty, who had a nice performance against the Bengals and has a favorable matchup this week.

There are some big quarterbacks on a bye this week (Matt Ryan, Peyton Manning, Michael Vick and Philip Rivers), so we'll give you some replacement options in case you aren't prepared. And we'll also address some big receiver performances from Mike Williams, Josh Gordon and Sidney Rice.

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: Carson Palmer, Raiders (68 percent), Christian Ponder, Vikings (63 percent), Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (50 percent), Brandon Weeden, Browns (21 percent)
Maybe add: Sam Bradford, Rams (40 percent), Matt Hasselbeck, Titans (8 percent)
Desperation add: Russell Wilson, Seahawks (28 percent), Mark Sanchez, Jets (16 percent), Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars (9 percent), John Skelton, Cardinals (4 percent)
The breakdown: Palmer is not someone that has long-term value, but if you need a quarterback for a one-week replacement then add him where available with his matchup at home against the Jaguars. ... Freeman is coming off his best game of the season with 29 Fantasy points against the Chiefs and he gets another home matchup with the struggling Saints. ... Ponder doesn't have the best matchup against the Cardinals at home, but he does have at least 19 Fantasy points in four of his past five games. ... Weeden is somewhat risky to trust, but he has 19 Fantasy points in consecutive games and faces a struggling Colts defense in Week 7. ... Bradford and Hasselbeck are like Weeden in that they're risky starting options, but they also have good matchups in Week 7. Bradford plays host to the Packers and Hasselbeck is at Buffalo. ... I'm not ready to recommend Wilson, who had 28 Fantasy points against the Patriots, because he is at San Francisco in Week 7. ... The same goes for Sanchez, Gabbert and Skelton, who could start for the injured Kevin Kolb (ribs), even though they have good matchups this week. Sanchez is at New England, Gabbert is at Oakland and Skelton gets the Vikings at home, but they are too inconsistent to start in most formats.

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Running backs

Must add: Alex Green, Packers (84 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers (54 percent), Felix Jones, Cowboys (29 percent), Montario Hardesty, Browns (3 percent)
Maybe add: Isaac Redman, Steelers (60 percent), William Powell, Cardinals (52 percent), David Wilson, Giants (45 percent), Daryl Richardson, Rams (38 percent), Mike Goodson, Raiders (21 percent), Cedric Peerman, Bengals (1 percent), Phillip Tanner, Cowboys (0 percent)
Desperation add: LaRod Stephens-Howling, Cardinals (34 percent), Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (11 percent), Baron Batch, Steelers (0 percent)
The breakdown: You couldn't pick a worst time for Murray or Richardson to get hurt. They have dream matchups in Week 7. Dallas is at Carolina, which has allowed four touchdowns to opposing running backs and six to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Jones will start for Murray and is a must-start Fantasy option. The Browns are at the Colts, who have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing running backs and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points. That could allow Hardesty to be a star this week if Richardson is out. Add Jones and Hardesty in all leagues this week. ... In deeper leagues you'll want to add Tanner as well since Jones has never been able to stay healthy himself. ... Green had 22 carries in his first start against the Texans and the Packers are going to lean on him. He faces the Rams this week and has potential to be a flex option going forward. ... Blount, as we told you last week, had the chance to score against the Chiefs, and he did. He has another favorable matchup against the Saints this week. ... Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) should play in Week 7 at Cincinnati, but if he's out then Redman, Dwyer or Batch will see an increased role. Redman has the most upside, but it's a situation to avoid if possible. ... Every Steven Jackson owner should have Richardson on their roster as he's continuing to get more work. He was better than Jackson at Miami in Week 6 with 11 carries for 76 yards compared to 12 carries for 52 yards for Jackson. ... Goodson is a Darren McFadden injury away from becoming a star. He had eight Fantasy points against the Falcons and we know McFadden has a lengthy injury history. ... BenJarvus Green-Ellis continues to show he has little big-play ability and Peerman looks like the replacement for Bernard Scott (knee). He had eight catches for 76 yards against the Browns in Week 6 and is worth picking up in PPR leagues. ... Powell is clearly the running back to own for the Cardinals. He had 13 carries for 70 yards against the Bills while Stephens-Howling had 11 carries for 22 yards. Neither is going to start in most Fantasy leagues on a weekly basis.

Wide receivers

Must add: Randall Cobb, Packers (76 percent), Mike Williams, Buccaneers (73 percent), Sidney Rice, Seahawks (69 percent), Kendall Wright, Titans (54 percent), Donnie Avery, Colts (48 percent), Josh Gordon, Browns (25 percent)
Maybe add: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (60 percent), Mario Manningham, 49ers (45 percent), Nate Burleson, Lions (40 percent), Brandon Gibson, Rams (25 percent), Stephen Hill, Jets (23 percent), Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (7 percent), Chris Givens, Rams (5 percent)
Desperation add: Braylon Edwards, Seahawks (3 percent), Michael Jenkins, Vikings (1 percent), Derek Hagan, Raiders (0 percent)
The breakdown: The priority list at receiver this week is Cobb, Williams and Gordon. All have played well and have the shot to be starting options as the bye weeks continue. Cobb might have benefited the most with Cedric Benson's foot injury. Since Benson went down in Week 5, Cobb has 11 catches for 184 yards and a touchdown in the past two games. ... Williams has at least 11 Fantasy points in three of his past four games with 25 targets over that span. ... Gordon has emerged as the best Browns receiver and has 35 Fantasy points the past two games on just five catches. Imagine what he could do with more receptions. ... Wright is a must own in PPR leagues. He has at least six catches in three of his past four games. ... Rice should continue to emerge as the best Seattle receiver. He had his best game of the season with 14 Fantasy points against the Patriots in Week 6. ... Avery keeps missing out on a big game. He had six Fantasy points at the Jets in Week 6, but he has at least eight targets in every game this season. He could have a big week against the Browns in Week 7. ... If you're going to gamble on a Rams receiver consider Gibson first and then Givens. Gibson had seven catches for 91 yards on nine targets in Week 6 at Miami, and Givens had three catches for 85 yards on seven targets. ... Look for Heyward-Bey to be more involved now that he's healthy from his Week 3 head injury. He's worth keeping an eye on going forward. ... Hill could emerge as the best Jets receiver now that he's healthy. He scored against the Colts in Week 6 and has a great matchup against the Patriots.

Tight ends

Must add: Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (76 percent), Jared Cook, Titans (67 percent)
Maybe add: Joel Dreessen, Broncos (23 percent), Brandon Myers, Raiders (18 percent)
Desperation add: Anthony Fasano, Dolphins (10 percent), Tony Scheffler, Lions (1 percent), Benjamin Watson, Browns (1 percent), Tom Crabtree, Packers (0 percent)
The breakdown: Gresham is starting to come around with his performance of late. He has 12 Fantasy points in two of his past four games with at least five catches and 60 receiving yards in three of those four outings. He also has three games with at least 12.0 yards per catch, which is nearly 2 yards better than his career average (10.3). ... Cook has at least nine Fantasy points in two of his past four games with five Fantasy points in three of those outings. ... Myers remains a quality tight end in PPR leagues with three games with at least five catches and 60 yards. The problem is he's still looking for his first NFL touchdown. ... Dreessen continues to prove he's better than Jacob Tamme for Fantasy owners. If you own Tamme, drop him for Dreessen going forward.

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
Seahawks' Cooper Helfet able to return Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(10:27 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was able to return Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Helfet was carted off in the first half with a rib injury. He was initially ruled questionable to return to the contest, but was cleared to return after half time. Helfet returned at the start of the third quarter. 


Patriots' backfield remains an enigma
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:17 pm ET) LeGarrette Blount was out for Week 16 at the Jets with a shoulder injury, which meant surely the Patriots would make Jonas Gray their go-to running back. After all, he had a 200-yard, four-touchdown game earlier this season and finally got out of coach Bill Belichick's doghouse with 11 carries for 62 yards last week.

Wrong again.

Gray was the Patriots' only running back to score a touchdown in Week 16, plunging in from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter, but to say he was the go-to back would be disingenuous. He and Shane Vereen tied for the team lead in carries with six, but Brandon Bolden also had five. And Vereen and Bolden were both more productive with their carries, averaging 6.3 yards and 6.4 yards, respectively, than Gray was with his, averaging 0.8 yards.

And then there's the fact that Vereen is far and away the best pass-catcher of the three, but he was hardly involved in the passing game on a quiet day for quarterback Tom Brady.

So basically, you wouldn't have gone right with any of Blount's three replacements, and considering they were all equally involved, you have to wonder how they'll impact Blount's role if he returns Week 17 against Buffalo. Given that it's a tough matchup anyway, you might just want to avoid every Patriots running back.


Field goals down Ravens in loss to Texans
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:01 pm ET) Coming off their best performance of the season, the Ravens DST unit failed to live up to expectations in Week 16's 25-13 loss to the Texans.

The Ravens mostly held the Texans offense in check, limiting them to 313 yards of total offense. However, the Texans had the ball in the red zone seven times, and were able to rack up a solid scoring day despite being held to just one touchdown, as they kicked six field goals in the win. The Ravens forced just one turnover, and failed to sack Case Keenum in the loss.

The Ravens finished Sunday's game with just 5 Fantasy points, one week after dropping 26 against the Jaguars. They will look to bounce back in Week 17, as they face the Browns in the season finale.


Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse ruled out with hamstring injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:59 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has been ruled out Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Kearse is dealing with a hamstring injury. He caught one pass for 8 yards before leaving the contest. 


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet gets carted off Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:57 pm ET) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was carted off the field Week 16 against the Seahawks.

Helfet came into the game with an ankle injury, but was carted off with a rib injury. He is questionable to return to the contest. Helfet caught two passes for 9 yards before leaving. 


Texans DST keeps on rolling in win
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:56 pm ET) The Texans defense dominated in Week 16, in a 25-13 win over the Ravens.

The Ravens managed just 211 yards of total offense in the game, despite running 68 plays. The Texans pass rush got home for just two sacks in the game, but they forced Joe Flacco into three interceptions anyways, as they finished the game with 18 Fantasy points, their second in a row with that total.

The Texans DST unit enters the final week of the season riding a eight-game streak with at least 10 Fantasy points, and they should have no trouble keeping it going with a matchup on the way against the Jaguars. 


Greg Zuerlein drills a 51-yarder
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9:54 pm ET) Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein nailed a 51-yard field goal against the Giants, making him 4 of 6 from 50-plus yards this season. He also hit a 20-yard field goal and three PATS for nine points.

Zuerlein wraps up the season at Seattle.


Steelers pass rush dominates in victory
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:51 pm ET) The Steelers DST unit continued its solid play in Week 16, in a 20-12 win over the Chiefs.

The Chiefs racked up 327 yards of total offense in the win, but did little to take advantage of that. They made four trips to the red zone and failed to come away with a single touchdown, settling for four field goals in the loss. The Steelers forced one turnover and sacked Alex Smith six times, en route to 14 Fantasy points.  

The Steelers have at least 9 Fantasy points in eight of their last nine games, including 9 against the Bengals in Week 14. They will look to pull that feat again in Week 17, with the Bengals on the schedule again to close the season out. 


Don't lose faith in Mark Ingram
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:50 pm ET) Though Saints running back Mark Ingram scored a touchdown Week 16 against Atlanta, plunging in from 1 yard out in the first quarter, he didn't have the most productive afternoon, rushing 13 times for 38 yards and catching three passes for 17. He's now run for less than 60 yards in three straight games, averaging 46.7 during that stretch compared to 101.3 in his previous six.

It's not like the Saints have turned to other options, though, which was Ingram's problem in previous seasons. Khiry Robinson was the only other running back to get any carries in Week 16, and he had just two. It's just that the Saints haven't been in a position to run the ball in recent weeks, losing big in both Week 14 and, of course, Week 16.

So what about Week 15? That's partly on Ingram. He got the carries, finishing with 17, and didn't do much with him.

The good news is that the Saints should be able to win handily Week 17 at Tampa Bay, which should mean plenty of garbage-time opportunities against a so-so run defense. Outside of maybe PPR leagues, you'll want to keep Ingram active in Fantasy.


Chiefs slow Steelers, but not quite enough
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:46 pm ET) The Chiefs DST unit mostly slowed the Steelers down in Week 16, but not enough to come away on the right side of a 20-12 final score.

The Steelers managed just 282 yards of total offense against the Chiefs defense, but reached the red zone four times and scored on each trip. The Chiefs sacked Ben Roethlisberger just once, and failed to come away with a single turnover en route to 7 Fantasy points in the loss.

The Chiefs have managed to score in double figures in Fantasy points just once in the last six games, and have another tough matchup on the way in Week 17 against the Chargers. 


 
 
 
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