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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
Buccaneers part ways with Solomon Patton
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:55 am ET) The Buccaneers released rookie kickoff returner Solomon Patton, reports the National Football Post. He averaged 23.1 yards on 17 returns.

Bills backs might get off to slow start
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:47 am ET) Bills running backs Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon don't have a great matchup on the way in what will be their first games with an expanded role in Week 8, but both should still be on Fantasy radars.

Both Brown and Dixon will be among the most-added players on waivers this week, with C.J. Spiller already out for the season and Fred Jackson likely to miss some time. Brown is considered the more promising option of the two long-term, though there is a good chance both could struggle in Week 8 against the Jets.

The Jets have allowed just four touchdowns to opposing running backs this season, and three of them have been through the air. Opposing backs are averaging just 76.7 yards on 3.7 yards per carry on the ground, so the Bills' running game could be in for a rough outing.

The team hasn't given much of an indication as to how the playing time will be split up, but the beat writer for the team's official website thinks Dixon will at least get the edge in passing downs. Brown is the more talented runner, but the team may play it safe, at least at first, and split time between the two.

The Bills follow up Sunday's game with a bye in Week 9, so we might have to wait until Week 10 to really see how the running game shakes out. If you have the roster space, either player will be worth placing a waiver-wire bid on, but they may be tough to rely on at first. 


J.J. Watt sets franchise record for fumble recoveries
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:38 am ET) Texans defensive end J.J. Watt recovered Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's fumble in the first quarter Monday, giving him a franchise-record nine fumble recoveries in his four-year career. DeMeco Ryans recovered eight fumbles for Houston from 2006-11.

It was Watt's third fumble recovery this year, and he also recorded his fifth sack. Watt has 29 tackles entering Week 8 at Tennessee.


LB Whitney Mercilus a disruptive force on MNF
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:25 am ET) Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus registered his first two sacks of the season in Monday's loss at Pittsburgh. On one of the sacks, Mercilus stripped quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for his third career forced fumble.

Mercilus, who has 24 tackles, visits the Titans on Sunday.


Looking ahead for Denard Robinson
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(11:24 am ET) Jaguars running back Denard Robinson is the hot name and will be the top option on waivers this week, but what should Fantasy owners expect from him moving forward?

Robinson seems likely to remain the team's top back moving forward, though coach Gus Bradley was seemingly noncommittal when asked if Toby Gerhart will cut into his playing time upon his return. Still, Robinson should continue to see a healthy workload, so the question is how much Fantasy owners can expect from him.

Even if Robinson is to be unleashed again in Week 8 against the Dolphins, he will go up against a team that has proven pretty adept at slowing down running backs this season. With the exception of Weeks 3 and 7, when Matt Forte, Knile Davis and Joe McKnight racked up a combined 57 points -- including 30 through the air, which hasn't been Robinson's strength -- Miami's defense has done a good job against opposing running backs. In the team's other four games, only one back has reached double digits in Fantasy scoring, when Shane Vereen had 12 back in Week 1.

Robinson found success in his breakout in Week 7, but that was against a Browns defense that had allowed five double digit Fantasy performances by running backs in their first five games. Fortunately, things get easier after that, with the slumping Bengals on the way in Week 9. Robinson should be a useful Fantasy option moving forward, even if he might struggle a bit in Week 8.  


Browns make roster moves
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:19 am ET) The Browns waived defensive lineman Jacobbi McDaniel and re-signed tight end Gerell Robinson.

Titans promote RB Antonio Andrews
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:10 am ET) The Titans promoted running back Antonio Andrews to the active roster out of fear another team might sign him off the practice squad, reports The Tennessean.

A.J. Green on Week 8: 'Still up in the air'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(11:05 am ET) Bengals wideout A.J. Green told NFL Network that his injured toe feels better but his status for Sunday against Baltimore is "still up in the air."

"It's probably not gonna be 100 percent, but I hope it's just manageable," said Green, who's missed two straight games. "I can get through the season and be fine and still play at a high level."

Asked directly if he'll play Sunday, Green said: "I hope so, man. It's still up in the air and we'll see."


Calvin Johnson 'moving around a lot more'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:59 am ET) Lions wideout Calvin Johnson has never missed three straight games in his eight-year career. It could happen if Detroit holds him out Sunday against the Falcons in London.

"I'm going to tell you the same thing every week: I'm getting better," Johnson said, via the Detroit News. "Moving around a lot more so I'm feeling good."

With the Lions on a bye Week 9, Detroit might prefer to rest Johnson to get his injured right ankle close to 100 percent for the home stretch. Johnson did some on-field drills last week and is running this week.

"If I'm good enough to play, I'm going to play," Johnson said. "I'll just leave it at that."

Browns NT Ahtyba Rubin might need surgery
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(10:45 am ET) Browns starting nose tackle Ahtyba Rubin, who's missed two straight games with an ankle injury, might need surgery, coach Mike Pettine told the Akron Beacon Journal. The team is awaiting word on a second opinion.

 
 
 
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