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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: Cardinals' Daryl Washington unsure of NFL standing
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7:32 pm ET) Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington is approaching the one-year mark for his suspension though his NFL status is still in limbo. 

But according to a report from FOX Sports 910 in Phoenix, Washington is unsure about his status with the league. He was suspended a year ago on May 30, 2014 for being a multiple offender of the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

However, he was expected to apply for reinstatement a month ago but did not do so. 

Assuming Washington is reinstated to the NFL at some point he will likely be subjected to punishment under the NFL's domestic violence policy. On March 24, 2014, he pleaded guilty to assaulting his ex-girlfriend. 


Titans' Massaquoi rehabbing shoulder, to miss OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(4:34 pm ET) Outside linebacker Jonathan Massaquoi will not participate in the Titans' first organized team activities, per ESPN.com.

Massaquoi, who was claimed off waivers from the Falcons earlier this year, is recovering from shoulder surgery. He had a bone spur removed from the area, but the procedure was categorized as a minor cleanup.

Massaquoi recorded 22 tackles in 15 games with Atlanta last season.


Entering third season, 49ers' Lawrence Okoye eyeing roster spot
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(4:04 pm ET) This might finally be the year Lawrence Okoye can crack a spot on the 49ers' roster, per the Bay Area News Group.

Okoye, a former British Olympics discus thrower and rugby player, is feeling confident about his improvements and feels like his potential is worth a roster spot.

“It’s very different from the first time I came here. I’m feeling very good about things,” Okoye said Thursday while sitting at his locker. “I’m just happy I was given the opportunity to stay here so long, so I could catch up. I have a good opportunity to show what I can do.”

Okoye has worked under new head coach Jim Tomsula for two years and with Justin Smith's retirement, his emergence might be rewarded.

“You’re going to get lots of people telling you things. But the main thing is to just keep yourself motivated, despite what people say about you," Okoye said. "People will write you off. People will say this or that. Just keep yourself motivated, keep going every day and you’ll be good.”

 


Bengals' Terrelle Pryor still dreams about winning it all
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(3:45 pm ET) Terrelle Pryor's chances of taking the Bengals to the Super Bowl and winning it are slim, but that won’t stop him from dreaming.

Pryor -- in his fourth year in the league -- dreams about winning the Super Bowl with quite some frequency, he just isn't sure what team he's doing it with.

“I don’t know the team. It’s always in black uniforms,” Pryor said. “I didn’t see any orange. No, it’s not the Raiders. But I believe it can happen because I can visualize it like that. I’m into visualization.”

Pryor hasn't played a down since the 2013 regular season, when he passed for 1,798 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 11 games.


Flowers' college position coach thinks he can fill in for injured Beatty
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(3:18 pm ET) Things are moving really fast for Giants offensive lineman Ereck Flowers. The eighth overall pick in the draft, because of an injury to Will Beatty, might have inherited a huge workload this season, per nj.com.

Art Kehoe, Flowers' offensive line coach at the University of Miami, thinks Flowers will be up to the task of protecting quarterback Eli Manning.

"I'm sure he raised his level up a notch or two, but I think he plays every week, I think he plays hard in practice," Kehoe said. "He's an unproven commodity at the next level, and he's a high draft pick, [the Giants] drafted him to be a fixer, so I'm sure he's going in there to do what he did in Miami — scrap his ass off every day in practice, and if you're supposed to be a badass the next weekend [against] your opponent, he's gonna be there and he's gonna bring everything he's got. That's what he does. He wants to know that there's a dude, and he has to take care of him, and he'll be up to the challenge.

Giants' 2013 first-round pick, Justin Pugh is also a top candidate to fill in for the injured Beatty.


Union: Goodell must back off hearing of Patriots QB Tom Brady
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:00 pm ET) NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith is growing impatient awaiting word from Roger Goodell on the request of the NFL commissioner to recuse himself as arbitrator of the appeal hearings ofPatriots quarterback Tom Brady.

The league suspended Brady for the first four games next season for his alleged role in the Deflategate scandal, claiming that he likely knew that game balls were being deflated for his benefit before the 2014 AFC title game.

Smith is claiming that neither Goodell nor the Wells Report, which investigated the incident, could legitimately claim impartiality. He added that the NFLPA will "advance the volume" of the request if they don't hear from Goodell by next week. Part of the union's press release reads as follows:

Given a process that has contained procedural violations of our collective bargaining agreement, the Commissioner's role as a central witness in the appeal hearing and his evident partiality with respect to the Wells report, the Commissioner must designate a neutral party to serve as arbitrator in this matter. The players also believe that the Commissioner's history of inconsistently issuing discipline against our players makes him ill-suited to hear this appeal in a fair-minded manner.

As for the Wells Report, Smith stated that "you can't really have credibility just because you slap the word independent on a piece of paper." He offered into evidence the findings in regard to NFL official Walt Anderson, who was a key figure in the investigation, citing one part of the report questions his memory and another credits it.


Zimmer happy with progress of Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:32 pm ET) Mike Zimmer has expressed optimism that underachieving Vikings wideout Cordarrelle Patterson is gaining a better understanding of route-running and the nuances of playing the position in the NFL, which would allow his talent to result in greater productivity.

Patterson took a step back in 2014 after a mediocre rookie year. He played in every game, but managed just 33 receptions for 384 yards and one touchdown. He has since stated that 2015 is his make-or-break year and is apparently acting like it in the offseason.

"He's done real well," Zimmer told Fox Sports North. "He's running routes good. He's working hard. So we just need him to continue to do those things and continue to keep getting consistent and keep improving. I've been impressed."


GM: Dolphins LT Branden Albert should be fine for Week 1
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:22 pm ET) Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey has expressed optimism that left tackle Branden Albert will be ready to roll by the regular season opener.

Albert has been rehabbing from a torn ACL and MCL sustained last November against Detroit. He had signed a five-year, $46 million contract the previous March and had been performing particularly well before going down.

"It's been a long rehab and he's really attacked it every day," Hickey told SiriusXM NFL Radio, adding that there was a "reasonable explanation" that he would be ready for Week 1. "We really like his progress. He's out there with his team working out. We're really encouraged by what we're seeing with him."

Ja'Wuan Williams was forced to move to left tackle following the Albert injury in 2014. But he struggled at that position and is expected to move to his more familiar right tackle spot this year.


Report: Bills still want to extend Marcell Dareus
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(1:15 pm ET) The Bills still want to extend the contract of defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, according to a report by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport

Despite the one-game suspension levied by the league against Dareus on Thursday, the team still hopes to have an extension wrapped up before the start of training camp. 

2015 is scheduled to be the last season of Dareus' current contract. He'll make $8.06 million.


Shanahan: Struggles of Robert Griffin III unrelated to injury
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(1:13 pm ET) Former Redskins coach Mike Shanahan does not believe injuries have prevented quarterback Robert Griffin III from maximizing his potential in the NFL. Rather, he feels it was the team not creating an offensive system that best fits his talents and his own belief that he could play a traditional role at that position.

Griffin sustained a serious knee injury in the 2012 playoffs. He then struggled in 2013 in an offense designed to transform him into a drop-back quarterback rather than one that took advantage of his mobility. He suffered another knee injury last year and did not perform well in the offense of new coach Jay Gruden.

"I don't think getting hurt has anything to do with it," Shanahan told 106.7 The Fan. "In college he didn't have a route tree, didn't have a playbook. That does take some time. ... If you take a quarterback like that you must run the kind of system that allows him to be successful. ... I really believe Robert thought he was more of a drop-back quarterback. He hasn't done things the NFL asks you to do. It does take some growing pains. You better really work on it inside and out."

Some have wondered why the Redskins went so hard after Griffin if they weren't willing to create an offense that maximizes his skill set.


 
 
 
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