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Waiver Wire: Looking for a playoff payoff?

Senior Fantasy Writer
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How important is finding the right free agents off the waiver wire? Just look at the Fantasy leaders from Week 14.

Nick Foles was a Top 5 quarterback. David Wilson, Montell Owens and Bilal Powell were Top 20 running backs. Brandon Gibson, Jason Avant and Alshon Jeffery were Top 20 receivers. And Clay Harbor, Anthony McCoy, Dennis Pitta, Joel Dreessen, Tony Scheffler and Zach Miller were Top 10 tight ends.

Of that group, Pitta is the most owned player at 50 percent on CBSSports.com. We'll address all those players below and tell you who can make a difference during the Fantasy playoffs and who remains waiver wire fodder.

The No. 1 priority this week is Wilson based on his performance in Week 14 against the Saints along with Ahmad Bradshaw dealing with a knee injury, albeit a minor one. If Bradshaw is out or limited then Wilson would be considered a must-start Fantasy option.

Also, if you're looking for free agent DST options this week, we like the Lions (36 percent ownership) at Arizona, the Vikings (43 percent) at St. Louis and the Rams (45 percent) vs. Minnesota.

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 (72 percent)
Maybe add: Russell Wilson, Seahawks (60 percent)
Desperation add: Chad Henne, Jaguars (26 percent), Nick Foles, Eagles (18 percent), Kirk Cousins, Redskins (1 percent)
The breakdown: At this point in the Fantasy playoffs, most owners have their quarterback situation settled in standard leagues, but owners in two-quarterback formats or someone who is without Robert Griffin III (knee) could still be playing the waiver wire. We still value Kaepernick as the best available option after he had 18 Fantasy points against the Dolphins in Week 14. He now has at least 18 Fantasy points in three of his four starts with a favorable matchup at New England in Week 15. ... Wilson only had 10 Fantasy points in Week 14 against the Cardinals despite the Seahawks surpassing the half-century mark. We expect Wilson to be better in Week 15 against the Bills in Toronto, but Buffalo has held each of the past four quarterbacks it has faced to 16 Fantasy points or less in each outing. Still, Wilson had 53 Fantasy points in his past two road games at Miami and Chicago and should play well. ... Foles was amazing in Week 14 at Tampa Bay with 381 passing yards and two touchdowns and 27 rushing yards and a touchdown, but his matchup against the Bengals will be tough. Cincinnati has held each of the past five quarterbacks it has faced to 14 Fantasy points or less, including Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers and Tony Romo. ... Cousins would start for the Redskins if Griffin is out. There's plenty of potential for Cousins at Cleveland in Week 15, but he would be too risky to trust since the Browns have held five of the past six quarterbacks they have faced to 17 Fantasy points or less.

Running Backs

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Must add: David Wilson, Giants (43 percent), Montell Owens, Jaguars (19 percent), Bilal Powell, Jets (27 percent)
Maybe add: Alex Green, Packers (62 percent), Joique Bell, Lions (59 percent), Robert Turbin, Seahawks (18 percent), DuJuan Harris, Packers (0 percent)
Desperation add: LaMichael James, 49ers (4 percent), Lamar Miller, Dolphins (4 percent)
The breakdown: Bradshaw battled a knee problem in Week 14 against the Saints, which allowed Wilson to finally show off his immense talent. He had 13 carries for 100 yards and two touchdowns and also added 227 yards on four kickoffs, setting an NFL record for all-purpose yards in a game. Bradshaw is expected to be fine in Week 15 at Atlanta, but Wilson should be owned in all formats in case Bradshaw, who has a lengthy injury history, gets hurt again. ... Owens was a pleasant surprise in Week 14 against the Jets with 14 carries for 91 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 11 yards. The Jaguars had only scored three rushing touchdowns on the season prior to that outing, but Owens scored on a 32-yard run. As long as Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and Rashad Jennings (concussion) remain out you can count on Owens to get the majority of carries. He faces the Dolphins in Week 15, and Miami has allowed three rushing touchdowns in the past two games against New England and San Francisco. ... Powell remains the No. 2 running back for the Jets behind Shonn Greene, but he continues to be productive. He now has four touchdowns in his past four games after scoring in Week 14 at Jacksonville with three games with double digits in Fantasy points over that span. He faces the Titans in Week 15, and Tennessee has allowed 13 touchdowns to opposing running backs, including three in the past three weeks. In deeper leagues you can start Powell as a flex option. ... Green appears to be the featured back for the Packers with James Starks (knee) and Cedric Benson (foot) out, but he is going to share touches with Harris, Ryan Grant and John Kuhn. Green and Harris are the only ones worth mentioning because Green had 13 carries for 69 yards in Week 14 against the Lions, and Harris had seven carries for 39 yards and a touchdown. We'd recommend adding Green first just based on workload, but neither running back is going to help you much in the Fantasy playoffs. ... Bell, however, could be a flex option in deeper leagues. He had 12 carries for 49 yards and five catches for 47 yards at Green Bay and now has at least eight Fantasy points in his past three games and four of his past six. With Detroit hurting at receiver, Bell has eight receptions in his past two games, so owners in PPR leagues should take notice. ... Turbin is only listed here as the handcuff option for Marshawn Lynch. He showed in the blowout victory against the Cardinals that he could be a capable starting option if Lynch goes down after he had 20 carries for 108 yards. He will never see that workload again as long as Lynch is healthy, but please add Turbin now if you own Lynch to be safe. ... James and Miller should only be owned in dynasty leagues, but they might see more action going forward, especially James, so keep an eye on both to see how they do.

Wide Receivers

Must add: Kenny Britt, Titans (76 percent), Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders (60 percent)
Maybe add: Chris Givens, Rams (53 percent), Andrew Hawkins, Bengals (29 percent), Brandon Gibson, Rams (21 percent), Alshon Jeffery, Bears (14 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (2 percent)
Desperation add: Domenik Hixon, Giants (9 percent), Jason Avant, Eagles (2 percent), Joe Morgan, Saints (0 percent)
The breakdown: Britt showed he's back to being an elite-level receiver with his performance in Week 14 at the Colts. He had eight catches for 143 yards on nine targets. He does have a tough matchup in Week 15 against the Jets and Antonio Cromartie, but Britt should be considered at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in that matchup and might start for you in Week 16 at the Packers. He has 32 Fantasy points in his past three games. ... Heyward-Bey had five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in Week 14 vs. Denver and has 12 targets in his past two games. He faces the Chiefs in Week 15 and scored against Kansas City in Week 8. He now has at least seven Fantasy points in his past three meetings against the Chiefs and Kansas City has allowed 17 touchdowns to opposing receivers this year. Look for Streater to also play well. He can be considered a No. 3 receiver in deeper leagues. He has 25 Fantasy points in his past two games with seven catches for 196 yards and a touchdown over that span on 11 targets. ... I'm not giving up on Givens, who had his first game with fewer than eight Fantasy points with Danny Amendola (foot) out in Week 14 at the Bills with three catches for 25 yards. He was outplayed by Gibson, who had six catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. Givens still had more targets (10) than Gibson (nine), and if Amendola is out in Week 15 against Minnesota we would still consider Givens a No. 3 Fantasy receiver. ... Jeffery scored in his return to action in Week 14 at Minnesota with three catches for 57 yards on six targets after sitting out the previous two games with a knee injury. The Bears need someone to help take pressure off Brandon Marshall, and Jeffery now has three touchdowns in seven games. ... Hawkins scored in Week 14 against Dallas with six catches for 44 yards on eight targets. He now has 16 targets in two games since Mohammed Sanu (foot) went down, and he has a tremendous matchup in Week 15 at Philadelphia. The Eagles have now allowed nine touchdowns to opposing receivers in their past five games.

Tight Ends

Must add: Martellus Bennett, Giants (77 percent), Dennis Pitta, Ravens (50 percent)
Maybe add: Dallas Clark, Buccaneers (38 percent), Tony Scheffler, Lions (3 percent)
Desperation add: Zach Miller, Seahawks (2 percent), Anthony McCoy, Seahawks (0 percent), Clay Harbor, Eagles (0 percent)
The breakdown: Pitta and Bennett might be difference makers for Fantasy owners this week, especially with the continued struggles of Antonio Gates and Vernon Davis, among others. Both scored in Week 14, with Bennett getting five catches for 32 yards and a touchdown against the Saints, and Pitta had five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown at Washington. Both have favorable matchups again in Week 15 as Pitta plays host to the Broncos, while Bennett plays at Atlanta. ... Clark struggled in Week 14 against the Eagles with only one catch for 19 yards, but he should rebound against the Saints, who have allowed five touchdowns to opposing tight ends in the past five games. ... Scheffler could be asked to produce more with Brandon Pettigrew (ankle) banged up, and we like what Scheffler has done with Ryan Broyles (knee) and Titus Young (knee) going down with at least five Fantasy points in his past three games. He faces a Cardinals defense in Week 15 that just allowed McCoy and Miller to combine for five catches for 134 yards and a touchdown in Week 14.

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
Chargers OLB Melvin Ingram sheds 20 pounds
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(12:50 am ET) Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram is sporting a different body these days.

During the offseason, Ingram changed his eating habits and dropped 20 pounds — going from 266 to 246. Ingram stopped eating beef and pork, electing to consume chicken, fish, vegetables, fruit and rice. He's no longer eating breads, pastas or potatoes either. 

"Being at 260 or 265, 266, wasn't working, really," Ingram told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "I felt quick but I kept getting injured. You've got to nitpick at your own body, your own self, your own game. ... I felt like playing lighter would be a better thing for me. The lighter you are, the less stress it is on your body, the less stress it is on your knees, your hips, your joints or your ankles, your toes — everything."

Ingram now only has a body fat of eight percent and underwent a new training program while away in Miami. Now, Ingram said he feels ready to show what he can do on the football field this season. 

"I feel it's going to be a whole different explosion, a whole different Melvin," Ingram said. "I feel like that 260-Melvin is gone."


Report: Tom Brady appeal won't be heard by Wednesday
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's appeal won't be heard by Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, citing sources. 

Brady is appealing his four-game suspension as a result of the investigation into deflated footballs prior to the AFC Championship Game. 

The NFL collective bargaining agreement requires appeals to be heard within 10 days, a window that expires on Wednesday. As of Monday, no hearing had been scheduled. 

Appeals can be heard after the 10-day window, if the league and players union agree to extend the deadline, which is likely to occur in the Brady case. 


Falcons could be without Beasley, Reed when OTAs start
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) The Falcons could be without two key components of their defense when OTAs start this week.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's D. Orlando Ledbetter, first-round pick Vic Beasley and free-agent signee Brooks Reed may not be present when voluntary practices kick off.

Beasley has yet to sign his rookie contract, which could keep him away from the team's facility. Reed is dealing with a groin injury that could keep off of the practice field.

Reed's absence is understandable due to to it being an injury. Beasley, however, is a different issue since there is little to negotiate due to the rookie wage scale. 

The remaining draft picks the Falcons selected have signed. 


Bears release troubled DT Ray McDonald after second arrest
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) The Bears have announced that they have released troubled defensive tackle Ray McDonald, the Chicago Tribune has reported.

McDonald was arrested in California for domestic violence and child endangerment. It marked his second arrest in six months. He received the same fate in December for sexual assault and domestic violence before signing with the Bears in the offseason.

The 30-year-old McDonald has been a full-time starter in the NFL since 2008. He was an All-Pro in 2011.


Chargers S Eric Weddle not expected to attend OTAs
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(5/25/2015) Chargers safety Eric Weddle is not expected to attend Tuesday's start of offseason training activities as he and the team remain far apart on talks for a contract extension, per NFL.com. 

Weddle is in the final season of his deal, but has been extremely vocal about his desire to have a new contract in place before taking part in team activities. Weddle contributed to 114 tackles last season and has averaged 103 over his last seven years.

While attendance is voluntary, Weddle's absence could mark the start of a long stalemate between the parties. 


Broncos' Tevrin Brandon hit by car, suffers minor injuries
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/25/2015) Broncos cornerback Tevrin Brandon was hospitalized on Sunday after getting hit by the car while crossing the street, the team confirmed to the Denver Post.

Police believe that Brandon was struck by a Ford F-150 pickup in Belmar, New Jersey. The driver then fled the scene. 

Brandon suffered minor injuries and was relesaed from the hospital after a brief stay. He's expected to participate in Broncos' OTAs, which start on Wednesday. 


Report: Bears DT Ray McDonald arrested for domestic violence
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(5/25/2015) According to NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo, Bears defensive tackle Ray McDonald has been arrested for domestic violence and possible child endangerment in California. No other information has been made available.

McDonald, who was released by the 49ers last December after being arrested in the second of separate sexual assualt and domestic violence cases, signed with the Bears in the offseason and said he was planning to sue the accuser in one of his sexual assault charges. 


Report: Vikings' Adrian Peterson won't attend OTAs on Tuesday
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5/24/2015) Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is reportedly set to skip organized team activities on Tuesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Peterson is frustrated with management in Minnesota for not showing him support through his legal case for child abuse. Peterson has not participated in any offseason activities so far, but skipping Tuesday's workout will cost him $250,000 in bonuses if he does not attend 90 percent of OTAs and minicamps.

Peterson has three years, $44.25 million left on his contract with Minnesota.


Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu finally cast-free
by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer
(5/24/2015) After a couple of injury-plagued seasons, Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu enters training camp almost completely healthy, without a brace on his knee or cast on his thumb, per NFL.com. 

The Cardinals will need a healthy Mathieu to offseason the loss of former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and cornerback Antonio Cromartie. In two seasons, Mathieu has 100 tackles and three interceptions but has been hampered by nagging injuries. 

"It just feels good to be free," he said. 


Giants' Bennett Jackson making transition to safety
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(5/23/2015) Giants second-year cornerback Bennett Jackson is spending the offseason transitioning to safety. 

"At the end of the day, I’m a DB,’" Jackson said, per the New York Post. "I think my strengths are cover skills, I got good speed and I got good ball skills. The thing it’s gonna take for me to get out there and make an impact is, I just got to learn the defense and really just communicate the calls fluently."

"It is all in front of him," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We think he can cover. He has done a good job of getting us lined up and then we will see how he plays."


 
 
 
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