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Postseason Extra: No ordinary Joe

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We're one week closer to finding out who will be playing in Super Bowl XLVII, but it might be hard to match the excitement from the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The four games this past weekend were all entertaining.

On Saturday, the Ravens beat the Broncos in double overtime, and the 49ers had an offensive onslaught against the Packers. Then on Sunday, the Falcons had a game-winning field goal to hold off a furious comeback from the Seahawks, and the Patriots were able to handle the Texans.

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Along the way we had some great individual performances, which could help some players heading into 2013 when it comes to their Fantasy value. And that's what we're here to address in this Playoff Stockwatch. You can see what we said about 10 players from the Wild Card Round, but here are five guys who have improved their draft value for next year, and five guys who might see their value decline.

Five on the rise

Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers: The way Crabtree has closed the season has been remarkable, and he has the look of a Top 10 Fantasy receiver heading into next year. He had nine catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers on Saturday, which gives him three games with multiple scores in his past four outings. He ended the season with at least nine Fantasy points in eight of his past 10 games -- including the playoffs -- and he is worth drafting by Round 6 in all formats.

Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens: Flacco, who is a free agent this offseason, is doing a great job to earn a big paycheck -- even though there's no way he leaves Baltimore. He had 331 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Broncos on Saturday and now has 613 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in two playoff victories. He has at least 18 Fantasy points in seven of his past 10 games. More importantly, he has nine touchdowns, one interception and at least 250 passing yards in the four full games he played with Jim Caldwell as the offensive coordinator. Flacco looks like a solid No. 2 Fantasy quarterback with upside next season.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, 49ers: The second-year quarterback showed how dynamic he can be with 263 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception and 181 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Packers. Since taking over for Alex Smith in Week 11 he now has at least 18 Fantasy points in six of eight starts. He has the chance to be a low-end No. 1 Fantasy starter in 2013, and we like him with a mid-round pick. Pairing Kaepernick and Flacco together next season might not be a bad idea if you're inclined to wait for a quarterback on Draft Day.

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Falcons: There's a good chance Michael Turner will be cut during the offseason. He'll be 31 next season and is scheduled to make $5.5 million. That could give Rodgers the starting job, and he has the ability to be a solid No. 2 Fantasy running back. He played great against the Seahawks with 10 carries for 64 yards and two catches for 8 yards. And if you want a tutorial in blitz protection, watch Rodgers block for Matt Ryan. Rodgers only had two games with double digits in Fantasy points in 2012, but he had double digits in carries just three times. With more work, Rodgers could be a star.

Shane Vereen, RB, Patriots: Vereen stole the spotlight for the Patriots against the Texans with seven carries for 41 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns. He took on the passing-down role with Danny Woodhead (thumb) hurt, and that could be foreshadowing for next season with Woodhead a free agent. A Vereen-Stevan Ridley combo would look nice in the New England backfield, with Ridley still the better Fantasy option because of his goal-line work. Still, if Woodhead is gone, Vereen would be worth drafting with a mid-round pick, with his value higher in PPR formats.

Five on the decline

Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots: Gronkowski broke his left forearm again Sunday against the Texans and underwent surgery Monday. He should be fine for the start of the 2013 season, but Fantasy owners will now be hesitant to draft him in Round 1 in standard leagues. Prior to breaking his arm the first time in Week 12, Gronkowski was on pace to finish with 229 Fantasy points, which would have made him the No. 1 receiver, not just the top tight end. He's still worth drafting in Round 2, but his value is slightly lower following the season-ending injury.

Greg Jennings, WR, Packers: Jennings is a free agent this offseason, and he's not expected to return to the Packers. That's a bad thing because leaving Aaron Rodgers will likely hurt his production. He's coming off a down year due to injuries (he missed eight games) and had just two games with double digits in Fantasy points when he was healthy. A logical landing spot for him is Miami since former Green Bay offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is the head coach for the Dolphins, and they need a No. 1 receiver. If that happens then Jennings would be a low-end No. 2 Fantasy option at best.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Broncos: Moreno was hurt in Saturday's loss against the Ravens, leaving in the third quarter with a knee injury. The extent of the injury is unknown, but Moreno went from a Fantasy hero to close the season to a backup again in 2013. Willis McGahee is expected to return to the starting job, and Ronnie Hillman will take on a bigger role. That will leave Moreno once again in a reserve role. He had double digits in Fantasy points in five of his final six games once McGahee (knee) got hurt, but Moreno will only be worth a late-round pick next season.

Matt Schaub, QB, Texans: Schaub played well, statistically, against the Patriots with 343 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but he closed the season on a down note. He had 16 Fantasy points or less in seven of his final nine games -- including the playoffs -- and he needs more weapons. Houston has a tremendous ground game with Arian Foster, but Schaub basically has to rely on Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels as his lone playmakers in the passing game. Unless the receiving corps is upgraded this offseason, Schaub should only be drafted as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback with a late-round pick.

Sidney Rice, WR, Seahawks: Rice had four catches for 60 yards in the playoff loss at Atlanta, and that game summed up the end of his regular season. Even with Russell Wilson playing like a star at the end of the year, Rice was quiet with just one game with double digits in Fantasy points in his final eight outings, including the playoffs. He has the chance to be a starting Fantasy receiver based on his talent level and with a developing star in Wilson, but he did not produce at a high level on a consistent basis during the year. Heading into 2013, Rice should be viewed as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best. He should only be drafted with a late-round pick.

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
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.


Eagles' Maclin believes contract will take care of itself
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin believes he will be back in Philadelphia in next season. His representatives and the Eagles are in the process of negotiating a new contract for the 27-year-old, who will become a free agent in March unless he is re-signed.

"I'm excited about what the future holds," Maclin said on Friday. "Once again, both sides have made it known what we want to do. I think it will take care of itself."

He could be franchise tagged if a deal is not signed. The tag number for wide receivers is yet to be determined.

Maclin had 85 catches in 2014 for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns in Philadelphia.


Bears sign LB DeDe Lattimore to two-year contract extension
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) The Bears have signed linebacker DeDe Lattimore to a two-year contract extension. He appeared in 10 games as a rookie in 2014, recording five special teams tackles.

Jaguars' Khan 'very optimistic' about WR Blackmon being reinstated
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(1/30/2015) Jaguars owner Shahid Khan said Friday he is "very optimistic" about wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who missed the 2014 season after being suspended indefinitely for a third violation of the league's substance abuse policy, being reinstated to the NFL.

"I think he's paid his dues and I think he's got his life together," Khan said, per The Florida Times-Union.


 
 
 
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