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Postseason Extra: We Pitta the fools

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Be prepared. We're about to get an overload of Harbaugh for the next two weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLVII.

Jim Harbaugh's 49ers won the NFC Championship Game against the Falcons and John Harbaugh's Ravens pulled off the upset in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots. A Baltimore-San Francisco Super Bowl wasn't what many people expected before the year, but this will be the final matchup of the season with the two brothers facing off.

We learned a lot about many players during the postseason, which could help some guys 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 and 10 players from the Divisional Round, but here are five guys who have improved their draft value for next year and five who might see their value decline.

Five on the rise

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Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens: There's a chance the Ravens could release Boldin this offseason to save money since he's owed $6 million next year. He's making a strong case to stay in Baltimore or find a new job with an amazing postseason run. Through three games, Boldin has 16 catches for 276 yards and three touchdowns against the Colts, Broncos and Patriots. He's 32, but he's been a tremendous weapon for Joe Flacco from December on. In three of his final four regular-season games, Boldin had at least nine Fantasy points with three touchdowns over that span, which coincides with the Ravens opening up the passing game. If Boldin returns to the Ravens in 2013 he could be a tremendous value pick with a late-round selection.

Frank Gore, RB, 49ers: Maybe 2013 will be the year Gore gets replaced as the workhorse for the 49ers. We keep expecting him to lose a step and San Francisco continues to bring in other options (Glen Coffee, Anthony Dixon, Kendall Hunter, Brandon Jacobs and LaMichael James were all added in recent years). Yet all Gore does is produce, and he now has 44 carries for 209 yards and three touchdowns in the playoffs. That gives him 13 games with double digits in Fantasy points for the season and he should enter 2013 as a No. 2 Fantasy option. Hunter will return from his Achilles injury and James will have a bigger role. But Gore is still the main man for the 49ers and is a big reason for their Super Bowl run.

Julio Jones, WR, Falcons: We recently shared an early look at our Top 30 ranked receivers for 2013, and Jones was a top six consensus for me, Dave Richard and Nathan Zegura. Our top six were all the same with Calvin Johnson at No. 1 followed by, in a different order for each of us, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant and Jones. You can argue that Jones should easily be No. 2. He just had a dominant performance against the 49ers with 11 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns. And he had a great season with 10 games with double digits in Fantasy points, and whether he's the No. 2 or 6 receiver drafted, he will be a Fantasy stud in his third year.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens: Pitta has emerged as a legitimate No. 1 Fantasy tight end heading into 2013 and he's having a great playoff run. Through three games he has 10 catches for 138 yards and two touchdowns, including his best game against the Patriots with five catches for 55 yards and a score. He now has eight games with at least eight Fantasy points on the season and he's going to be a tremendous value pick with a late-round selection. Tight end is thin on talent next year, especially if Tony Gonzalez retires as expected, and Pitta has the chance to be a Top 10 player at his position.

Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: Ryan suffered a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder against the 49ers, but he should be fine for the start of next season. He has established himself as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and a standout Fantasy option. He had a great playoff run with 646 passing yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions against Seattle and San Francisco and finished with 12 games with at least 21 Fantasy points this year. Next season, Ryan will be tremendous value on Draft Day because he will be selected in Round 3 or later and should once again be around a top five quarterback by the end of the year.

Five on the decline

Tony Gonzalez, TE, Falcons: Putting Gonzalez in this section is by no means an indictment of his play. It's a plea for him to keep playing. We'd love for Gonzalez to put off retirement for another season and return to the Falcons because he had an awesome year in 2012. In two playoff games he had 14 catches for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and he finished the season with double digits in Fantasy points in nine games. He would be considered a top five Fantasy tight end if he returned in 2013, but if not then start the clock because he's definitely headed for the Hall of Fame.

Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots: Lloyd actually played well against the Ravens with seven catches for 70 yards, but he was a disappointment in his first season with the Patriots. He only had five games with double digits in Fantasy points and this was his worst season since his breakout campaign in 2010 despite playing with Tom Brady. We hope Lloyd can turn things around in 2013, but he has a lot to prove to Fantasy owners. We would only draft him as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver at best and you can see by our Top 30 receiver list for 2013 that none of us like him in that group. It's amazing that playing with a quarterback like Brady can actually lower your production.

Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots: I consider Ridley a Top 12 Fantasy running back heading into 2013, and he's a potential first-round pick in standard formats. But a lot of Fantasy owners will be hesitant to draft Ridley that early. The concern with Ridley is he plays for Bill Belichick and he's not much of a receiver. The latter is a problem since he caught just seven passes during the season. But otherwise Ridley was a star. He dominated the carries for New England with 290 for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns during the regular season. Compare that to Danny Woodhead (76 carries) and Shane Vereen (62) and you'll see how much Belichick relied on Ridley. I can understand drafting DeMarco Murray, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte or a healthy Maurice Jones-Drew ahead of Ridley, but it's difficult to argue with his production in his breakout season in 2012. That should continue in 2013.

Michael Turner, RB, Falcons: Turner wasn't a complete bust for Fantasy owners in 2012. He actually finished as a Top 20 running back in standard leagues thanks to 11 total touchdowns. But he had more than 100 rushing yards just twice and he's a candidate to be released this offseason since he'll be due $5.5 million at 31 years old. The Falcons might not turn to Jacquizz Rodgers as a replacement option, but Atlanta needs to upgrade over Turner. Wherever he plays in 2013 he can still be used as a goal-line back -- he has 60 rushing touchdowns since 2008 -- but his burst as a rusher is gone. Not many teams want a plodder at his age and Turner's Fantasy value is clearly on the decline.

Wes Welker, WR, Patriots: Welker didn't have a great game against the Ravens. Despite eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown he had some key drops. And that might have been his last game for the Patriots. Welker is a free agent this offseason and New England might allow him to walk. Welker said he wasn't sure what the Patriots will do, and even though Tom Brady called Welker "the heart and soul" of the team, he might be too expensive for a 31-year-old slot receiver. Keep in mind Welker just had a team-high 118 catches, but if he leaves the Patriots and Brady his Fantasy value will decline.

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
Seahawks sign LB Bobby Wagner to contract extension
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(1:07 pm ET) The Seahawks agreed to a contract extension with linebacker Bobby Wagner on Sunday, the team announced.

The extension is worth a reported $43 million with $22 million guaranteed over four years, according to the NFL.com. Wagner produced 104 tackles and two sacks in 11 games last season.


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(12:57 pm ET) Bills fullback John Conner will probably be out for a week after sustaining a hamstring injury, reports the team's official website.

Conner suffered the injury during Sunday's practice. Conner has rushed for 108 yards on 27 carries during his six-year career.


Seahawks release DT Tony McDaniel
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(12:22 pm ET) The Seahawks decided to part ways with defensive tackle Tony McDaniel on Sunday, reports ESPN.

McDaniel has played in 32 games for the Seahawks over the last two seasons and produced 84 tackles and two sacks.


Vikings sign WR Ryan Whalen
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(11:39 am ET) The Vikings announced the signing of wide receiver Ryan Whalen on Sunday. Whalen has caught 11 passes for 80 yards in his three-year career.

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by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:35 am ET) Barring an injury, Eagles coach Chip Kelly said quarterback Sam Bradford will start the first preseason game, reports the Philadelphia Daily News.

Bradford has also been fully cleared to take part in practice and will not wear a brace on his knee. Bradford has sustained two ACL tears in his knee over the last two seasons.


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by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(11:22 am ET) Colts running back Vick Ballard was able to participate in Sunday's practice and said he's almost 100 percent recovered from his Achilles and knee injuries, reports The Herald Bulletin.

Ballard played in one game in 2013 before suffering a season-ending knee injury and a torn Achilles cost him the 2014 season.


Texans sign NT Chris Neild
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:43 am ET) The Texans signed nose tackle Chris Neild on Sunday, reports the Houston Chronicle. Neild has played four seasons in the NFL and produced two sacks and 16 tackles.

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by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:38 am ET) Panthers wide receiver Stephen Hill was waived/injured, the team announced Sunday. 

Hill had to carted off the practice field Saturday after sustaining a torn ACL in his right knee. The team signed wide receiver Paul Browning on Sunday as a replacement.


Browns DE Phillip Taylor participates in team drills Sunday
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:35 am ET) For the first time since undergoing knee surgery last season, Browns defensive end Phillip Taylor was able to participate in team drills Sunday, reports the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. Taylor played in five games last season before suffering the knee injury.

Colts place Robert Mathis, Donald Thomas on PUP
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(10:23 am ET) The Colts opened training camp Sunday with linebacker Robert Mathis and guard Donald Thomas on the Physically Unable to Perform list, reports 1070TheFan.com.

Mathis missed the 2014 season after tearing his Achilles and there is no timetable for his return. Meanwhile, Thomas is recovering from a quad injury, which also cost him the entire 2014 season.


 
 
 
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