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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
Report: Bills set to cut LB Quentin Groves
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:44 pm ET) The Bills are releasing pass-rushing linebacker Quentin Groves, a source has told NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport.

Groves has just 9 1/2 sacks over seven seasons, but did play in every game for Buffalo in 2014, when he contributed to 18 tackles.


Report: Steelers trade P Brad Wing to Giants
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:22 pm ET) The Giants have acquired punter Brad Wing from the Steelers for a future late-round draft pick, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. Wing will replace the released Steve Weatherford.

Wing averaged 43.7 yards per punt last season for Pittsburgh.


Buccaneers dump disappointing DL Da'Quan Bowers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:55 am ET) Defensive lineman Da'Quan Bowers has been released by the Buccaneers after four disappointing seasons, NFL.com has reported.

The former second-round draft pick signed a one-year deal with the team in July, but struggled in exhibition play with just one sack in four games.

Bowers, who has also dealt with injuries since joining the NFL and lost two games in 2014 for violating the NFL drug policy, has recorded only seven sacks in his career.


Report: Giants waive P Steve Weatherford
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:28 am ET) The Giants have released veteran punter Steve Weatherford, a source has told NFL Network.

Weatherford has been a starter for New York teams - two years with the Jets and four with the Giants - since 2009. He averaged 45.5 yards per punt last season, which is higher than his career average.


Report: 49ers release DT Darnell Dockett
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(11:05 am ET) The 49ers have released veteran defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, a league source has told Pro Football Talk.

Dockett missed all of last season with a knee injury, but had been a mainstay with Arizona before signing with San Francisco. He was deemed ready to go with no limitations in early August.

He played in every game but two for the Cardinals from 2004 to 2013 and earned Pro Bowl berths in 2007, 2009 and 2010.


Report: Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi to make roster despite cracked rib
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:40 am ET) Dolphins rookie running back Jay Ajayi suffered a cracked rib in the second half of Thursday's preseason finale against the Bucs, according to The Palm Beach Post. Despite the injury, Ajayi is still expected to make the 53-man roster.

Before getting hurt Thursday, Ajayi rushed for 66 yards on nine carries. The fifth-round pick rushed for 91 yards on 16 carries (5.7 ypg) during the preseason. He added four catches for 41 yards.


Chiefs' Reid on rookie WR Chris Conley: 'I think he can help us'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:36 am ET) Chiefs rookie wide receiver Chris Conley caught his first professional touchdown during Thursday's preseason finale against the Rams.

The third-round draft pick, who totaled three catches for 38 yards on Thursday, has made a strong enough impression over the last few weeks of the preseason that Kansas City could look to him to have an impact at the beginning of the season.

“I’ve seen a couple of good things these last two weeks," coach Andy Reid said, per ESPN.com. “It looks like he’s improving. I think he can help us."


Pettine: RB Isaiah Crowell likely starter to open regular season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(12:29 am ET) The featured back derby for the Browns has apparently been won by Isaiah Crowell - practically by default.

Mike Pettine has stated that Crowell will likely start in Week 1 against the host Jets. That became apparent when fellow competitor Terrance West played the entire first half of the final preseason game Thursday night.

The Browns had hoped that quick rookie Duke Johnson would rise up to earn the job, but a series of injuries, including a current concussion, has prevented him from playing extensively in camp or in the exhibition season.


Panthers CB Josh Norman sustains possible concussion
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9/3/2015) The Panthers declined to play most of their starters in the Thursday preseason finale against the Steelers. But one who did play suffered a head injury.

That was cornerback Josh Norman, who has begun concussion protocol, per ESPN.com. It remains to be seen if he can recover in time for the regular season opener.

Norman started the last nine games in 2014 and finished the year with two interceptions and 36 tackles.


Colts backup RB job complicated by injuries to Herron, Ballard
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(9/3/2015) Injuries to Colts running backs Dan Herron (shoulder) and Vick Ballard (hamstring) marred the team's preseason finale Thursday night against Cincinnati.

Ballard actually re-injured the hamstring that had kept him sidelined last week against St. Louis. He was hoping to remain healthy against the Bengals in an attempt to land the backup job to featured back Frank Gore.

The injuries to the two backs complicates that competition.


 
 
 
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