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Waiver Wire: Time to swap Vick for Nick?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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For the first time since Week 5 when Cedric Benson and Ryan Williams got hurt, we went a week without a starting running back being lost for a significant amount of time. That's the good news.

The bad news is we might be looking at a quarterback change in Philadelphia with Michael Vick getting benched. While coach Andy Reid has yet to make an announcement on his quarterback heading into Week 9 at New Orleans, we would prefer Vick keep his job over Nick Foles, especially with the matchup against the Saints.

But Vick could be a scapegoat for the Eagles' woes this season, and Fantasy owners need to be prepared. We'll give you some options to replace Vick and also deal with Tom Brady being on a bye.

At running back, it's time to make sure you have the handcuff to your stud No. 1 option if there's a direct No. 2 in place. Every Maurice Jones-Drew and DeMarco Murray owner has learned a lesson that even though the backup is not as skilled as the starter, it's still comforting to know you have a replacement option in case of injury.

And at receiver, Titus Young will likely be the most added player this week -- and rightfully so. He had a career performance for the Lions against the Seahawks and helped turn Matthew Stafford's season around.

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: Josh Freeman, Buccaneers (74 percent)
Maybe add: Brandon Weeden, Browns (44 percent), Russell Wilson, Seahawks (29 percent), Jake Locker, Titans (22 percent), Nick Foles, Eagles (6 percent)
Desperation add: Matt Moore, Dolphins (1 percent)
The breakdown: Hopefully this is the last time we have to mention Freeman here, because he's been the second-best quarterback the past three games behind Aaron Rodgers (98 Fantasy points) at 92 points. You might not have the need to start Freeman every week, but you definitely want him on your roster. And every Vick owner should make a move to get Freeman now. ... Foles could step into the starting role for the Eagles and play like a star. After all, Vick has four games with at least 19 Fantasy points this season and former Philadelphia backups like Kevin Kolb, A.J. Feeley and Vince Young have had success before. In deeper leagues, every Vick owner should add Foles, but in standard formats you might want to wait to hear what Reid says heading into practice Wednesday. ... Despite Weeden's poor performance against the Chargers in the rain in Week 8, we would still consider him a replacement option for Brady this week against the Ravens, who have allowed multiple passing touchdowns against Tony Romo and Matt Schaub in their past two games. ... Wilson could also be useful as a bye-week replacement against the Vikings, who have struggled recently against Robert Griffin III and Freeman in two of the past three games. ... As we've been saying the past couple of weeks, if you want to speculate on a quarterback down the road then gamble on Locker, who still has plenty of upside once his left shoulder is healthy. He is expected to resume his starting job soon. ... Moore would only be useful in two-quarterback leagues if Ryan Tannehill (quad) is out for an extended period of time.

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Running backs

Must add: Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (71 percent), Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (32 percent)
Maybe add: DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (72 percent), Kendall Hunter, 49ers (54 percent), Peyton Hillis, Chiefs (45 percent), Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons (43 percent), Toby Gerhart, Vikings (34 percent), Joique Bell, Lions (30 percent), Mike Goodson, Raiders (27 percent), Robert Turbin, Seahawks (22 percent), Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (19 percent), Shane Vereen, Patriots (17 percent), Ronnie Brown, Chargers (15 percent), Jamie Harper, Titans (15 percent), Bernard Pierce, Ravens (8 percent), Bryce Brown, Eagles (3 percent)
Desperation add: Beanie Wells, Cardinals (24 percent), Kevin Smith, Lions (22 percent)
The breakdown: There's talk that Dwyer could remain the starter in Pittsburgh even when Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) is healthy, which would be a surprise. But Dwyer does have 34 carries for 232 yards the past two games and could start at the Giants in Week 9. ... Thomas has scored in three of his past four games and even though he's missed time with two different concussions, he still has double digits in carries in three games this season. He could be a flex option in deeper leagues because he continues to take touchdowns away from Reggie Bush while also averaging 43 total yards a game. ... If Williams is traded from the Panthers (Arizona and Green Bay would make sense) then he could have value. If you want to speculate and he's available then add him now. ... In PPR leagues, Brown is a must add. He has 15 catches in his past three games with at least six Fantasy points in two of those outings. ... Vereen has two touchdowns in his past four games and 15 carries for 71 yards in his past two outings. He has taken over for the injured Brandon Bolden (knee) and could excel if Stevan Ridley goes down. ... Rodgers might start getting more involved for the Falcons if Michael Turner continues to struggle. Rodgers had eight carries for 60 yards and five catches for 20 yards at the Eagles in Week 8 while Turner had 24 carries for 58 yards. ... If you like your roster then gamble on adding Wells, who could return from his toe injury in Week 12. ... Smith also might have value if Mikel Leshoure continues to struggle. It's a situation to monitor, especially with Bell continuing to steal work as well. ... Hillman did well against the Saints with 14 carries for 86 yards, but he's just the handcuff to Willis McGahee. ... As for the rest of the running backs listed, these are your handcuff options in San Francisco, Kansas City, Minnesota, Oakland, Seattle, Tennessee, Baltimore and Philadelphia. If your starting quarterback has passed his bye then drop your No. 2 quarterback and handcuff your stud running back. It makes more sense going forward.

Wide receivers

Must add: Danny Amendola, Rams (77 percent), Santana Moss, Redskins (63 percent), Titus Young, Lions (51 percent), Cecil Shorts, Jaguars (15 percent)
Maybe add: Sidney Rice, Seahawks (70 percent), Kendall Wright, Titans (61 percent), Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (58 percent), Brandon LaFell, Panthers (41 percent), Chris Givens, Rams (21 percent), Ryan Broyles, Lions (16 percent)
Desperation add: Golden Tate, Seahawks (15 percent), Dexter McCluster, Chiefs (6 percent), Donald Driver, Packers (3 percent), Drew Davis, Falcons (0 percent)
The breakdown: We had Young as breakout candidate prior to the season but until Nate Burleson (leg) went down he was a bust. In Week 8 against the Seahawks, Young exploded for nine catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets. He should continue to be heavily involved and be owned in all leagues. Broyles is also worth owning in deeper leagues, as he has two touchdowns in his past two games. ... Amendola is expected to return in Week 10 following the Rams' bye week. If he's still out there in your league then plan on adding him now to make sure you get him. If he remains out with his shoulder injury then look for Givens to continue to shine, but Givens is worth stashing anyway as the second-best receiving threat for the Rams. ... Moss continues to be the go-to receiver for Griffin with Pierre Garcon (foot) out, and he has four touchdowns in his past three games. ... Shorts has become the best receiver for the Jaguars. He has 12 catches for 195 yards and a touchdown in his past two games on 22 targets. ... Rice, Wright, Heyward-Bey and LaFell should be owned in most leagues because they are excellent No. 3 receivers and bye-week replacements. LaFell could have a solid performance in Week 9 against the Redskins. And Wright has been the most consistent Titans receiver this year. ... If you're looking for a one-week Hail Mary then take a chance on Tate. The No. 2 receiver against the Vikings has a touchdown in each of the past two games.

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Tight ends

Must add: Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (74 percent), Dustin Keller, Jets (59 percent)
Maybe add: Logan Paulsen, Redskins (10 percent), Dwayne Allen, Colts (5 percent)
Desperation add: Kellen Davis, Bears (3 percent), Zach Miller, Seahawks (2 percent), Tony Moeaki, Chiefs (2 percent)
The breakdown: Gresham has been hit or miss this season, but he has a favorable matchup this week against the Broncos. Denver has allowed six touchdowns to opposing tight ends and four to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Gresham is a great bye-week replacement for Vernon Davis, Rob Gronkowski or Aaron Hernandez. ... Keller is off this week, but in two games since coming back from a hamstring injury he has 14 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown on 18 targets. If you can carry two tight ends he appears to be worth it. ... The Redskins are leaning on Paulsen with Fred Davis (Achilles) out, and he has eight catches for 119 yards on 12 targets the past two games. ... Allen continues to be the No. 1 tight end for the Colts despite Coby Fleener on the roster. Allen had his best receiving game in Week 8 at Tennessee with four catches for 56 yards and could be helpful in deeper formats. ... If you're stuck, Kellen Davis could be worth a flier. He scored in Week 8 against Carolina and faces the Titans this week. Tennessee has allowed the most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends this year.

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Player News
Could Bortles time make Allen Hurns more effective?
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:25 am ET) Generally speaking, rookies are tough to rely on in Fantasy. They tend to produce inconsistent numbers while learning the game, making them incredibly tough to rely on from a week-to-week perspective. That has certainly been the case for Jaguars rookie Allen Hurns, who has sandwiched two double-digit Fantasy efforts around a near no-show in Week 2. Now that he has a rookie in Blake Bortles throwing it to him, why should we expect Hurns to be any more reliable moving forward?

Hurns has shown an impressive ability, thus far, to get open down the field. Even during his 2-catch, 13-yard stinker against Washington, he was open downfield and dropped a sure-fire long touchdown. Chad Henne might have lost faith in Hurns after that, as he failed to target him once in Week 3, but newly appointed starter Bortles looked Hurns way three times in the second half of Sunday's game, with the duo eventually hooking up for a 63-yard score.

The long touchdown is starting to become Hurns' signature play, and he will have real home-run potential for Fantasy. He will also likely certainly be wildly inconsistent, as both he and Bortles feel their way through their first weeks together in the NFL. Still, he has a chance to be one of the top rookie wideouts in the league this season, and is worth taking a chance on in waivers this week -- he is owned in just 41 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.  


Randall Cobb frustrated with play after three weeks
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:21 am ET) Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb was not happy following his team's 19-7 loss Sunday against the Lions. Cobb totaled only three catches for 29 yards, and the entire offense struggled against a Lions defense that was decimated by injury.

"Our defense played their butts off tonight," Cobb said, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We did nothing for them. It was kind of embarrassing as an offense, embarrassing myself the way I played."

Although Cobb had two touchdowns Week 2 and three on the season, he has just 14 catches for 126 yards through three games. He also has just one catch of 20-plus yards.

"I have to do more, I have to give this team more," he said. "I have to look in the mirror first and see where it is that I can do more to help this team out."


John Brown unlikely to be a reliable source of scores
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(10:15 am ET) Arizona rookie wide receiver John Brown is sure to be one of the hottest names on the waiver wire ahead of Week 4, but Fantasy owners might be searching for fool's gold if they are looking to bolster their receiving corps with the young Cardinals wide out.

Through the first three weeks of his career, Brown looks like a bonafide red-zone monster, having hauled in three touchdowns, including two in Sunday's win over the 49ers. However, he also had just 52 receiving yards in the game, with almost all of his value coming from those two scores. Unfortunately, an early proclivity for scoring doesn't necessarily mean a player has a nose for the end zone.

Over the past five seasons, 14 rookies have caught two touchdowns in a game while failing to top 55 yards in that same game, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com's play index. And though some of them -- Jimmy Graham, Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski -- went on to stardom, the collective isn't particularly impressive as a whole. Over their next two games played, the 14 players accounted for 10 total touchdowns but just 149 Fantasy points overall, an average of just 5.3 points per game.

Brown has been the best Fantasy option in the Cardinals' receiving corps so far, but he won't be much use if -- when -- the touchdowns run dry. He is just third on the team in targets and could be a big-time disappointment moving forward. 


Steelers could be without three defensive players for a while
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:09 am ET) Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a sprained MCL Sunday against the Panthers and will undergo an MRI Monday, according to ESPN. 

Linebacker Jarvis Jones likely needs wrist surgery after getting hurt Sunday and will be sidelined indefinitely. Cornerback Ike Taylor could also miss some time after suffering a broken arm against Carolina.


Making sense of Baltimore's backfield, post-Taliaferro breakout
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(9:48 am ET) It took just about every other back being unavailable, but Ravens rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro got the chance to shine in Week 3 against the Browns.

Taliaferro led the Ravens in rushing yards Sunday, racking up a team-high 91 on 18 carries, including a 31-yard long run and a 1-yard touchdown. However, he was actually less effective on a per-touch basis than Justin Forsett, who averaged 5.7 yards per carry to Taliaferro's 5.1. Is Taliaferro a star in the making, or just a flash in the pan?

Among the four players who have had at least 10 carries through three games against the Browns, Taliaferro actually ranked fourth in yards per carry, as the Browns are giving up 5.2 yards per carry to opposing running backs. Though you will certainly want to go out and add Taliaferro, be mindful of the fact that he did his work against a team that has been pitiful against the run thus far.

The Ravens have seemed to be looking for reasons to push Bernard Pierce down the depth chart this season, but it is not clear if Taliaferro's performance in Week 3 will be enough to do that for good. With Taliaferro's emergence, the Ravens look to have three dependable options in the back field, meaning he is likely to be working in a crowded backfield for the time being. Taliaferro is an interesting pickup, though likely not a Fantasy starter at this point. 


Eddie Lacy working on improving run game
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:43 am ET) After facing three of the league's best run defenses through three weeks, it probably comes as no surprise the Packers rank 27th in rushing offense, averaging 78.7 rushing yards per game.

Perhaps even more alarming is that star running back Eddie Lacy is averaging 37.7 rushing yards per game and 3.1 yards per carry after averaging 78.5 and 4.1, respectively, in 2013.

"We have to change our mind-set," Lacy said, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "We had a few opportunities as backs that we didn't take advantage of, whether we made the wrong read or tried to press too much. It's a long season and we're going to get it to where we need it to be.

"We just have to figure out better ways to run the ball. I don't know if I have to be more patient or speed things up but one way or another I'm responsible for the run game."


Panthers DST gets steamrolled
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:55 am ET) After opening the season with two strong performances, the Panthers DST got run over Week 3 by the Steelers. Carolina allowed a whopping 264 rushing yards and 454 total yards in the 37-19 loss. Pittsburgh averaged 7.8 yards per carry.

Carolina mustered one sack, by defensive end Mario Addison, and zero turnovers. The Panthers DST will try to bounce back Week 4 at Baltimore.


Graham Gano goes for seven points
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:51 am ET) Panthers kicker Graham Gano converted a pair of 40-yard field goals and a PAT in the Week 3 loss to the Steelers. He'll visit the Ravens in Week 4.

Panthers get offensive contributions
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:49 am ET) The Panthers got some minor contributions in their Week 3 loss to the Steelers. Wideout Brenton Bersin made a 29-yard catch, and receiver Jason Avant caught two of six targets for 12 yards.

Greg Olsen finds paydirt
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:47 am ET) Panthers tight end Greg Olsen continued his strong start to the season with another touchdown catch Week 3 against the Steelers. Early in the fourth quarter, Olsen caught an out route and turned upfield for a 37-yard touchdown.

He finished with five grabs on seven targets for 69 yards. Olsen has 224 receiving yards and two scores entering Week 4 at Baltimore.


 
 
 
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