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Waiver Wire: Never too late to tinker

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The Fantasy playoffs are here for the majority of leagues, so hopefully your rosters are set. That doesn't mean the waiver wire is meaningless, but you should have a solid squad in place, ready for a championship run.

If your roster is in good shape then your waiver moves are likely minimal. You should handcuff your top running backs where applicable, and some key backups -- Ben Tate (58 percent ownership), Joique Bell (54 percent), David Wilson (47 percent), Shane Vereen (40 percent), Toby Gerhart (22 percent), Robert Turbin (18 percent), Montario Hardesty (11 percent) and Bernard Pierce (11 percent) -- are not owned in enough leagues.

You should also look at some receiver depth after tough injuries in Week 13 to Jordy Nelson (hamstring), Ryan Broyles (knee) and Cecil Shorts (concussion) and other guys still out like Percy Harvin (ankle) and Danny Amendola (foot). We'll have some alternatives for you in Week 14.

You might also look at some key DST matchups ahead if you have been using a different option each week and need a sleeper. In Week 14 we like the Browns (50 percent) vs. Kansas City, the Bills (29 percent) vs. St. Louis or the Buccaneers (49 percent) vs. Philadelphia. And in Week 15 we like the Rams (33 percent) vs. Minnesota, the Titans (13 percent) vs. the Jets or the Dolphins (40 percent) vs. Jacksonville.

This week, there were no key running back injuries, but owners in shallow leagues might still need some help. Jonathan Dwyer is a must add option, and we also like Vick Ballard with Donald Brown (ankle) hurt again. At quarterback, it's time to buy into Russell Wilson since he's been great on the road the past two weeks and now gets Arizona at home.

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: Colin Kaepernick, 49ers (71 percent), Russell Wilson, Seahawks (47 percent)
Maybe add: Brandon Weeden, Browns (24 percent), Jake Locker, Titans (22 percent)
Desperation add: Greg McElroy, Jets (0 percent)
The breakdown: If you need a one-week quarterback option then add Wilson and start him with confidence against the Cardinals at home. Wilson has at least 19 Fantasy points in each of his past five games with 53 points in the past two weeks on the road at Miami and Chicago. In his past three home games against the Patriots, Vikings and Jets he is averaging 24.2 Fantasy points, and he should be solid against the Cardinals again. He has 11 touchdowns and one interception in his past five outings. ... Kaepernick will remain the starter for the 49ers, and we like his matchup against the Dolphins. Look for him to rebound from a poor Fantasy performance against the Rams in Week 13 when he had just 14 points. ... Weeden is a nice sleeper in Week 14 against the Chiefs at home. Kansas City has allowed eight total touchdowns to Andy Dalton, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton over the past three games. ... Locker also is a good sleeper against the Colts, who have allowed two 300-yard games and two multi-touchdown outings over the past three weeks against Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford. Locker can be a starter in deeper formats or two-quarterback leagues. ... The Jets are likely going to start McElroy over Mark Sanchez in Week 14 at Jacksonville. We have no interest in McElroy, but he is worth keeping an eye on in deep dynasty leagues in case he can win the starting job for the Jets in 2013.

Running backs

Must add: Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers (78 percent), Vick Ballard, Colts (71 percent)
Maybe add: DeAngelo Williams, Panthers (73 percent), James Starks, Packers (42 percent), Bilal Powell, Jets (23 percent), Montell Owens, Jaguars (0 percent)
Desperation add: Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (59 percent), Peyton Hillis, Chiefs (25 percent), Jeremy Stewart, Raiders (0 percent)
The breakdown: Before we get into Dwyer as the top running back to add this week, go back to the handcuff options listed above. We've been getting a lot of questions about the Texans and who is the top backup for Arian Foster. Our take is Tate is still the running back to own behind Foster, but if Foster would miss time we could see Tate and Justin Forsett (5 percent) sharing the load. ... Dwyer not only was named the starter in Week 13 against the Ravens, the Steelers also made Rashard Mendenhall a healthy scratch. Dwyer had 16 carries for 49 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 8 yards. He now has three starts on the season and has finished with double digits in Fantasy points in each outing. He also has a favorable matchup against San Diego in Week 14. ... Ballard would be the No. 2 running back to add if Brown is out. Ballard had his first rushing touchdown in Week 13 at Detroit and in the first three games he started earlier this year when Brown had knee surgery, he had at least nine Fantasy points in each game. He also scored against the Titans, his Week 14 opponent, on a reception in Week 8. ... Jonathan Stewart (ankle) could be out for a while, which will allow Williams to remain the starter for the Panthers. He can be a decent flex option, especially against the Falcons in Week 14. Williams scored against Atlanta in Week 4. ... Starks is also a potential flex option against the Lions in Week 14. He continues to share touches with Alex Green, but Starks has more upside with at least seven Fantasy points in two of the past three games, including a touchdown against Minnesota in Week 13. He had 25 carries for 74 yards at Detroit in Week 11. ... Owens might be the starter for the Jaguars with Rashad Jennings (concussion) hurt and Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) likely still out. He's not a recommended starting option in most standard leagues, but owners in deep formats might need him against the Jets in Week 14. ... Powell continues to share playing time with Shonn Greene and could be productive against the Jaguars in Week 14. Jacksonville just allowed C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to reach double digits in Fantasy points in Week 13.

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Wide receivers

Must add: Kenny Britt, Titans (74 percent), T.Y. Hilton, Colts (70 percent), Josh Gordon, Browns (61 percent), Golden Tate, Seahawks (52 percent)
Maybe add: Nate Washington, Titans (66 percent), Donnie Avery, Colts (33 percent), Chris Givens, Rams (23 percent)
Desperation add: Andrew Hawkins, Bengals (26 percent), Jon Baldwin, Chiefs (5 percent), Jarius Wright, Vikings (4 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (1 percent), Riley Cooper, Eagles (1 percent), LaVon Brazill, Colts (0 percent), Lestar Jean, Texans (0 percent)
The breakdown: Any of the must-add receivers have the chance to help you in Week 14, but we would rank them in this order: Gordon, Tate, Britt and Hilton. ... We've been telling you for several weeks that Gordon had a favorable schedule ahead, starting in Week 13 at Oakland, and he finished that game with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. He gets Kansas City at home in Week 14, Washington at home in Week 15 and at Denver in Week 16. He should be considered a starting option in all leagues moving forward. ... Tate has three games with double digits in Fantasy points in his past four outings, including his past two at home. He has the chance for another big outing at home against the Cardinals in Week 14. ... Britt has scored in each of his past two games and faces the Colts in Week 14. Indianapolis has struggled with No. 1 receivers all season, and the Titans are moving toward a pass-happy offense with Dowell Loggains now calling plays, That bodes well for Washington also. ... Hilton has at least nine Fantasy points in three of his past four games. We'd like him better if Avery were out of the picture, but Hilton had a season-high 12 targets at the Lions in Week 13. Avery had 14 targets and finished with five catches for 91 yards and two touchdowns, but Hilton has been more consistent. Still, both are worth adding with the way Andrew Luck is playing. ... Givens has done a nice job with Amendola injured or out. In his past two games he has 16 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets. He should be considered a No. 3 receiver with upside against the Bills.

Tight ends

Must add: Dennis Pitta, Ravens (45 percent), Dallas Clark, Buccaneers (38 percent), Jacob Tamme, Broncos (38 percent)
Maybe add: Martellus Bennett, Giants (68 percent), Scott Chandler, Bills (57 percent), Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (33 percent)
Desperation add: Coby Fleener, Colts (15 percent)
The breakdown: Pitta struggled as expected in Week 13 against the Steelers with one catch for 19 yards, but he should be solid the next two weeks at Washington in Week 14 and against Denver in Week 15. We like the matchups, and he should be considered a starting option. ... Clark has been on a tear of late with three touchdowns in his past four games and at least six Fantasy points in each outing over that span. He faces the Eagles at home in Week 14, and Philadelphia has allowed four tight ends to reach at least seven Fantasy points in the past five games with three touchdowns over that span. ... Tamme also has done well recently with 18 Fantasy points in his past two games against the Chiefs and Buccaneers. He had season highs in catches (nine), yards (89) and targets (13) against Tampa Bay, and we expect him to play well against the Raiders in Week 14. Oakland has allowed four tight ends to reach at least eight Fantasy points in the past four games with three scoring touchdowns. ... Chandler only had one catch for an 11-yard touchdown in Week 13 against the Jaguars on four targets, but he could see an increase in targets with Steve Johnson (hamstring) and Donald Jones (calf) banged up. ... Lewis has done well with the addition of Chad Henne at quarterback and has 11 catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns on 17 targets the past three games. ... Bennett scored against the Redskins in Week 13 and faces the Saints in Week 14. New Orleans has allowed at least eight Fantasy points to opposing tight ends the past four games with four touchdowns over that span. ... We hope Fleener can finish the season strong after returning in Week 13 at Detroit from a four-game absence due to a shoulder injury. He scored against the Lions but had just one catch for 26 yards on two targets. It could be risky to trust Fleener with Dwayne Allen sharing targets.

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
Percy Harvin looking to start the year on the right foot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:37 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin is looking at a strong matchup Week 1 against the Packers.

A quiet preseason was a good preseason for Harvin. After missing nearly all of last season due to a hip injury, Harvin was able to play in all but the final game of the preseason. He missed the fourth game due to a personal issue, and not because of an injury. Harvin caught seven balls for 92 yards in August.

The Packers didn’t boast a strong pass defense last season. The team allowed opposing wide receivers to average 22.94 Fantasy points per game. That wasn’t one of the worst rates in the league, but it was below-average. The team attempted to address this during the offseason, taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. Despite that, there’s no guarantee the team will perform better in the defensive backfield.

Despite the fact that Harvin is a five-year veteran, there are questions about how he’ll be used with the Seahawks. While Harvin was able to play during the club’s playoff run, it was unclear whether he was actually fully healthy last year. Harvin has shown the ability to be a game-changing wide receiver, so it’s assumed the Seahawks will find ways to get arguably their best playmaker the ball. The club has been been incredibly run-heavy over the past few seasons, but a healthy Harvin could make them more balanced. 


Marshawn Lynch ready to roll Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:35 pm ET) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is looking to get off to a good start Week 1 against the Packers.

Lynch had an abbreviated preseason, carrying the ball just three times for 16 yards. That’s probably not a bad thing considering his high workload over the past couple years. Lynch also had a brief holdout during the offseason, but reported to camp in shape, and should be ready to roll.

The Packers weren’t particularly strong against the run last season, giving up 19.18 Fantasy points per week to running backs. That was the eighth worst figure in the league. While the team tried to shore up things defensively during the offseason, the loss of B.J. Raji should make it easier for teams to gash the Packers up the middle. 

With that in mind, Lynch should be a strong start. The Seahawks modus operandi the past couple years has been the run game, and that probably won’t change now. There are concerns about Lynch’s workload and lack of preseason reps, but his pedigree and matchup make this a strong start Week 1. 


Russell Wilson ready to shine Week 1?
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:33 pm ET) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson begins his post-Super Bowl year with a strong matchup against the Packers Week 1. 

Wilson performed well during the preseason, completing 78.6 percent of his passes. He threw for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Wilson also managed three rushing touchdowns to cap off a strong preseason.

His ability to put up solid Fantasy numbers should be tested Week 1. The Packers did not boast a great defense against the pass last season. The team allowed quarterbacks to score 20.65 Fantasy points, which was the seventh worst clip in the league. Green Bay has been proactive in resolving the issue, drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round, but it’s unclear how much better the team’s defensive backs will perform. 

The bigger question will be whether the Seahawks open up the offense for Wilson this season. With Marshawn Lynch out for much of the preseason, Wilson showed the ability to carry the team with his arm. Now that Lynch is back, the team could opt to get back to conservative play-calling with the franchise quarterback. Wilson has all the makings of a strong matchup here, but could get the short end of the stick if the Seahawks pound Lynch.


Matt Forte should live up to billing in Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:25 pm ET) Bears running back Matt Forte was ranked as a top five Fantasy running back going into the season, and he falls in the top five in both weekly running back rankings from CBSSports.com experts. After setting career highs in rushing yardage, rushing touchdowns, receptions and receiving yardage in 2013, will Forte get this season started off on the right foot in Week 1 against the Bills?

While Buffalo put together a strong defense last season, the team's particular strength was against the pass. Rushers were able to gain 4.4 yards per carry against the Bills, leaving them 23rd in the league in the category. While the Bills did a good job defending against pass-catching backs last season, they now have to play without linebackers Kiko Alonso (season-ending injury) and Nigel Bradham (suspended for Week 1) as well as safety Jairus Byrd (signed with New Orleans).

New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense was just average defending passes against running backs in Detroit last season. Forte has been excellent against Schwartz, who was the head coach of the Lions from 2009 through 2013. He has rushed for 1,005 yards and averaged 4.74 yards per carry while catching 38 passes for 360 yards in 12 career games against the Lions. Ten of those contests came with Schwartz at the helm, and Forte should be able to continue giving the Bills defensive coordinator nightmares this Sunday.


Martellus Bennett worth starting in Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:09 pm ET) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett posted career-best numbers in 2013, catching 65 passes for 759 yards while matching his career high of five touchdowns. Three of those five scores came in the first two weeks of the season, and he could be on the verge of starting off hot for the third straight season.

Bennett is in danger of getting lost offensively on a week-to-week basis, as there are only so many opportunities to go around for Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and the tight end. He faces a plus matchup in Week 1, with the Bills dealing with a depleted linebacker corps and the loss of free safety Jairus Byrd. While the one thing new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense did well in Detroit last year was defend the tight end, the Bills don't appear to have the personnel to match up with the imposing Bennett.

Bennett falls inside the top 12 in the weekly rankings of both CBSSports.con Fantasy experts, designating him as starter material in standard leagues. We could see a similar line to his opener against the Bengals last season: three receptions, 49 yards and one touchdown.


Khiry Robinson looking to solidify role
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(8:03 pm ET) Of the Saints' top three running backs, Khiry Robinson's role is the most unclear heading into Week 1 at Atlanta, making him a risky choice in Fantasy despite the favorable matchup.

Mark Ingram is expected to start for the Saints and get the largest percentage of the carries. Pierre Thomas, who led all running backs with 77 receptions last season, still figures to play a big role in the passing game. Robinson, who wasn't nearly as effective as Ingram this preseason, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, could end up being just a change-of-pace option.

If he gets a decent number of touches, he could surprise against a defense that ranked 31st against the run last season, allowing 135.8 yards per game, but that's too big of a gamble for standard 12-team leagues.

Neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard ranks Robinson among his top 48 running backs for this week.


Mark Ingram could begin 2014 on right foot
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:58 pm ET) Coming off an impressive preseason in which he started three of the Saints' four games and ran 22 times for 156 yards (averaging 7.1 yards per carry), running back Mark Ingram has a chance to make an even bigger impression Week 1 at Atlanta.

The Falcons ranked 31st against the run last season, allowing 135.8 yards per game.

Ingram didn't do much in two games against them then, rushing nine times for 11 yards in the first and nine times for 32 yards in the second, but he picked up his pace later in the year, rushing 44 times for 249 yards in his final four games (including two playoff games) for an average of 5.7 yards per carry.

Beginning his fourth NFL season, Ingram is expected to play his biggest role yet for the Saints. He'll still split carries with Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson, but with a strong matchup after a favorable preseason, he's not a bad third running back for Week 1. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank him as a top-30 option in non-PPR leagues.


Alshon Jeffery owners should temper Week 1 expectations
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:54 pm ET) Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery enjoyed one of the biggest breakouts of the 2013 season, racking up more than 1,500 total yards and scoring seven touchdowns. As a result, he's been selected in the top 10 at his position in most 2014 Fantasy drafts, placing him in WR1 territory as owners look for a big follow-up. But it's entirely possible his third season may get off to a slow start Sunday when the Bears face the Bills at Soldier Field.

Jeffery feasted on big plays last year, scoring from 45, 46 and 80 yards out, but only one of his touchdowns came over the middle of the field, where the Bills project to be weakest on Sunday. Buffalo was the best team in the league against No. 2 receivers in 2013, per Football Outsiders, thanks to quality cornerback play from Stephen Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. The latter allowed just two touchdowns all season while breaking up 13 passes, so even if the supremely talented Jeffery gets isolated on the corner, he's no lock to come through with a long score.

Jeffery, who caught just three of his seven TDs on passes from starter Jay Cutler last year, should be primed for another big season. But before Cutler's injury, Jeffery hauled in just one catch in two of his team's first six games. Cutler could favor Brandon Marshall Sunday if he continues to face a soft defense over the middle, potentially leaving Jeffery owners a little disappointed in his Week 1 numbers.


Pierre Thomas could make statement
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:44 pm ET) Carrying the ball just three times in two games this preseason games didn't exactly relieve concerns of Pierre Thomas playing a reduced role in the Saints running game this season -- a possibility he acknowledged earlier this preseason -- but he has the right matchup to make a statement Week 1 at Atlanta.

The Falcons were dreadful against the run last season, allowing 135.8 yards per game, second-most in the league. Thomas himself took advantage in the second of the two games the Saints played against them last year, picking up 73 yards on 10 carries and 57 on five catches Week 12 at Atlanta.

That second number should give Fantasy owners hope for this matchup. With Darren Sproles and Lance Moore out of the picture, Thomas should still play a significant role in the passing game. He led all running backs with 77 catches last year and had four catches for 66 yards in one of his two preseason games.

CBSSports.com Fantasy Football analyst Jamey Eisenberg likes Thomas enough with this matchup to rank him 21st among running backs this week. Dave Richard isn't as optimistic, ranking him 37th.


IK Enemkpali dealing with plantar fascia injury
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:32 pm ET) Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali is suffering from an injury to the plantar fascia in one of his feet, NJ.com reports.

"Rest is a big part of it," Enemkpali said. "Right now, I'm just leaving it in the hands of the training room staff to see when I can get back on the field."

Enemkpali added that the injury has bothered him off and on throughout his career. He's out indefinitely.


 
 
 
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