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Playoff Extra: Rankings for Super Bowl XLVII

Senior Fantasy Writer
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By the time we get to Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET all the talking will end. We won't have to hear any more about Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh, Ray Lewis and deer antler spray or Randy Moss saying he's the best receiver of all time (he's not). It will just be game time for Super Bowl XLVII.

For those of you still alive in any Playoff Challenge league, you'll have a strong interest in how the game unfolds and won't be watching for the commercials. With that in mind, here are some rankings for the Super Bowl.

My prediction: 49ers 24, Ravens 20

Editor's note: The units listed after each player's name is the value assigned to each player in the CBSSports.com Playoff Challenge.

Quarterback

1. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers -- 62 units
2. Joe Flacco, Ravens -- 61 units

Kaepernick only had 17 Fantasy points against the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game, but prior to that he had at least 18 points in six of the first eight games he started since taking over for Alex Smith. He played in New Orleans in Week 12 against the Saints and had 21 Fantasy points, so he's used to this stadium. The Ravens have only allowed three quarterbacks to score at least 18 Fantasy points since Week 10, including the playoffs, who were Carson Palmer (22 points), Robert Griffin III (18) and Peyton Manning (23). Griffin got hurt in that game, otherwise he would have done better, and we expect Kaepernick to post similar stats (242 passing yards and one touchdown and seven carries for 34 yards). ... Flacco has been on fire with 853 passing yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions in three playoff victories. He has at least 18 Fantasy points in seven of his past 10 games. More importantly, he has 12 touchdowns, one interception and at least 240 passing yards in the five full games he has played with Jim Caldwell as the offensive coordinator (he didn't play much in a meaningless Week 17 game against Cincinnati). The 49ers have been torched in two playoff games by Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan for 51 Fantasy points, and four of the past five quarterbacks they've faced have scored at least 22 points. Flacco should perform at a high level, but both quarterbacks have the chance for a big game.

Running back

1. Frank Gore, 49ers -- 59 units
2. Ray Rice, Ravens -- 65 units
3. Bernard Pierce, Ravens -- 24 units
4. LaMichael James, 49ers -- 9 units
5. Vonta Leach, Ravens -- 4 units
6. Anthony Dixon, 49ers -- 3 units
7. Bruce Miller, 49ers -- 1 unit

It's hard to find a hotter running back than Gore right now. After he had 21 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons, he now has double digits in Fantasy points in eight of his past nine games. The Ravens shut down Gore last year, holding him to 14 carries for 39 yards and one catch for 9 yards, but three running backs in the playoffs this season have already reached nine Fantasy points against Baltimore (Vick Ballard, Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman). Gore gets a slight nod over Rice for the top spot. … Rice is no slouch either of late with double digits in Fantasy points in six of his past eight full games. He has scored in consecutive games against Denver and New England, and last year against the 49ers he combined for 83 total yards. San Francisco allowed DuJuan Harris to score in the Divisional Round, but the 49ers locked down Michael Turner and Jacquizz Rodgers in the NFC Championship Game to six Fantasy points combined. Rice is clearly the best running back San Francisco will face this postseason, and he should do well with his total yards even in a tough matchup. … After Gore and Rice, the backup running backs are a gamble based on workload. Pierce gets the edge over James because he should be more involved. Pierce has at least nine carries in two of the three playoff games, and he's averaging 6.3 yards per carry. James scored his first NFL touchdown against the Falcons, but he had just five carries for 34 yards and one catch for 4 yards.

Wide receiver

1. Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- 37 units
2. Anquan Boldin, Ravens -- 29 units
3. Torrey Smith, Ravens -- 36 units
4. Randy Moss, 49ers -- 23 units
5. Jacoby Jones, Ravens -- 9 units
6. Tandon Doss, Ravens -- 1 unit

The way Crabtree has closed the season has been remarkable. He has 15 catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns in two playoff games, and he ended the season with at least nine Fantasy points in eight of his past 11 games, including the playoffs. He has double digits in targets in five of his past seven games, and the Ravens have allowed a receiver to score in six of their past seven outings. Over that span, 11 receivers have had at least six targets against Baltimore, and seven have reached double digits in Fantasy points. … Boldin gets the nod over Smith because he's been better in the playoffs. He has 16 catches for 276 yards and three touchdowns through three games compared to Smith who has nine catches for 198 yards and two touchdowns over that span. Both could play well in this game since the 49ers have allowed multiple receivers to score double digits in Fantasy points in each playoff game (James Jones and Greg Jennings for the Packers and Julio Jones and Roddy White for the Falcons). Combined in the playoffs, San Francisco has given up 41 catches for 524 yards and four touchdowns to opposing receivers. … Moss might consider himself better than Jerry Rice, but he would be better served being quiet and trying to play at a high level in this game. He hasn't done much in the playoffs with only five catches for 71 yards, but he only has eight targets in two games. He hasn't had more than six targets in a game all season, and he has just one touchdown since Week 8. This isn't the time to gamble on him unless you need to start him based on value.

Tight end

1. Dennis Pitta, Ravens -- 32 units
2. Vernon Davis, 49ers -- 15 units
3. Delanie Walker, 49ers -- 16 units
4. Ed Dickson, Ravens -- 4 units

Pitta has been the best tight end in the playoffs with 10 catches for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He has now scored in seven of his past 10 full games, and the 49ers have allowed a tight end to score in four of their past six games, including Tony Gonzalez in the NFC Championship Game. … Davis finally woke up against the Falcons with five catches for 106 yards and a touchdown in six targets. It was the first time he scored since Week 11, which was Kaepernick's first start, and that was the last time he had more than three targets. The Ravens have only allowed two touchdowns to tight ends all season, but last week Aaron Hernandez had nine catches for 83 yards on 14 targets. It's a tough matchup for Davis, but if he's involved, which he should be, he will perform at a high level. … Walker is now non-existent with two catches for 37 yards in two playoff games, and we hope the 49ers focus on Davis in an attempt to be Super Bowl champions.

Kicker

1. Justin Tucker, Ravens -- 27 units
2. David Akers, 49ers -- 30 units

DST

1. 49ers -- 37 units
2. Ravens -- 30 units

My Championship lineup is as follows:

QB: Colin Kaepernick, 49ers -- 62 units
RB: Frank Gore, 49ers -- 59 units
RB: Shane Vereen, Patriots -- 24 units
WR: Wes Welker, Patriots -- 48 units
WR: Michael Crabtree, 49ers -- 37 units
TE: Delanie Walker, 49ers -- 16 units
K: Kai Forbath, Redskins -- 17 units
DST: Ravens -- 30 units

This is the lineup I used for the Championship Round, and I don't have any more transactions. I'm lucky to still have five starters in Kaepernick, Gore, Crabtree, Walker and the Ravens DST. If I could change one move I made from the Divisional Round it would be to use Davis over Walker since their value was similar. At the time, Walker was playing better than Davis, but Davis obviously had more upside based on his cost.

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
Tom Brady on Peyton Manning: 'I certainly hope he comes back'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:21 pm ET) While the football world anxiously awaits official word from Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning about his playing status for the 2015 season, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- and longtime Manning rival -- said Thursday he hopes the five-time NFL MVP will continue his career.

"What a great player he's been for this league," Brady said Thursday, per NFL.com. "He's a great competitor, and I've been fortunate to play against him a bunch of times. I certainly hope he comes back, 'cause the league will miss him if he doesn't. But those decisions are up to him. I'm sure it's up to whether he's mentally and physically -- that's what he wants to do. But I certainly hope he's back."

Archie Manning, Peyton's father, told NFL Network on Thursday that his son hasn't made a decision yet.

"Well, Peyton evaluates things; he's pretty good at that," he said. "I can't tell him what to do, and he hasn't told me what he's going to do. But I do know that he's really giving a lot of things a lot of thought. He's thinking about where he is physically, he wants to see how he can do this some more, trying to get over an injury."

Archie added starting over with new Broncos coach Gary Kubiak will not be an issue for Peyton, if he decides to return next season.

"Yeah, but he loves Gary. He likes Gary," Archie Manning said. "He liked John Fox. He liked Adam Gase. All those things, I think, are considered with. But my deal is he's always made good decisions; he's pretty thorough. He's going to evaluate a lot of things, and I think he'll make a good decision."


RG3: 'I could've sat out the rest of last year' after hurting ankle
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:04 pm ET) During a radio interview Wednesday night, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III indicated the dislocated ankle he suffered in Week 2 against the Jaguars hindered him the rest of the season. He missed six games due to the injury.

“I had never suffered an ankle injury of that severity before, so I didn’t really know what to expect,” Griffin said, per The Washington Times. “It just became more and more tough the more games that we lost, because you know how hard your guys work, and you want to get out there and help them win games.

“I could’ve sat out the rest of last year, with how bad the ankle was, but I felt like I could play, and I wanted to get out there and play with my guys and help them win games. And that didn’t happen when I got back out there. Then coach made a decision [to bench me]. That was an unfortunate decision, and something we all had to go with because that was coach’s choice.”

Griffin will be entering the final guaranteed year of his contract in 2015. The Redskins have until May 3 to decide if they want to exercise the fifth-year option on his contract for 2016. 

Griffin added his focus this offseason will simply be on getting healthy.

“Last year, I wasn’t healthy, and it sucked,” Griffin told ESPN 980. “There’s no other way to say it other than that. When you dislocate your ankle in the second week of the season, when you and your team had big things in mind. So I guess it’s just getting healthy, getting a mental break, getting a chance to spend time with family, and then formulate my plan going forward from this year so we can go out there and win games.”


DeMarco on free agency: 'At end of day it's about winning a Super Bowl'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(11:21 am ET) Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday talking about his thought process heading into free agency. Murray obviously said all the right things about wanting to return to Dallas, and hoping the team can sign him and Dez Bryant, who will also be a free agent, to long-term contracts.

However, Murray was also very forthcoming about the notion of playing for another NFL team.

“Yeah. I understand the business aspect of it,” he said, per The Dallas Morning News. “There’s no hard feelings if we can’t reach a deal together. But hopefully we can and we’ll see what happens.”

Murray, who rushed for a career-best 1,845 yards in 2014, will likely sign the most-lucrative contract of his career this offseason. But he added money won't be the only factor in who he signs with.

“I don’t think about [the one big contract], I’m thinking about winning a Super Bowl,” Murray said. “What’s best for me to win a Super Bowl and win one now. At the end of the day, the money is irrelevant to some degree. But you definitely want to get what you’re worth and things like that.

“At the end of the day it’s about winning a Super Bowl.”


Patriots QB Tom Brady expects to be 100 percent by Super Bowl
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:32 am ET) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has been dealing with a cold for about a week, said Thursday he is feeling "pretty good." Brady is still expecting to be OK for the Super Bowl.

"I've been through it plenty of times," Brady said of having a cold, per NFL Network. "But I'm glad it happened early in the week. I expect to be 100 percent by Sunday."

Brady is 3-2 in five Super Bowl appearances. He has completed 127 of 197 passes for 1,277 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. He also has a 93.8 quarterback rating and hasn't had lower than a 86.2 quarterback rating in five Super Bowl starts.

As of Thursday, the Patriots remain 1-point favorites for Sunday's game against the Seahawks.


Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell on injury: 'The knee is close to 100 percent'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(10:21 am ET) Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell missed Pittsburgh's playoff game against the Ravens and the Pro Bowl because he suffered a hyperextended knee in the regular-season finale against the Bengals in late December.

It's been about a month since Bell suffered the injury, but he said he has been able to work out on the injured knee.

"The knee is close to 100 percent," Bell told NFL Network on Wednesday night. "I'm probably about 85-90 percent, been able to run on it a little bit. So I'm getting back to work out a little."

Bell had a monster year in 2014, rushing for a career-best 1,361 yards. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry. He also had 83 catches for 854 yards and finished with 11 total touchdowns (eight rushing).


RG3 on Deflategate: 'I didn't know the ball had to be a certain weight'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:55 am ET) As Deflategate pushes into Day 11 on Thursday, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is the latest in the long list of current or former professional football players to weigh in on underinflated footballs being used in the AFC Champhionship Game. Although, his take on the issue might be a first.

“I didn't even know that the ball had to be a certain weight,” Griffin told Chris Russell in an interview on ESPN 980 on Wednesday night, per CSNWashington.com. “I know they pump up the balls and they get inspected before every game. But I wasn't aware that the ball had to be at a certain limit, or higher, which is interesting. I think it’s very interesting.”

While Griffin said he was unaware of the rules, he added he does pay attention to how he can grip the football before each game. If the football doesn't meet Griffin's standards, he said he tosses it aside.

“I think it could be something that we look at going into the future about how much we pump up the ball,” Griffin said. “But at the same time, for me, going this far in my career, all we worry about is, can we grip the ball? Not how much air is in it.

“I just think it's really funny,” Griffin added with a chuckle, “especially when you don't specify that you're talking about footballs. …I think I said balls seven times already.”


Pats QB Tom Brady fighting a cold
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who's been battling a cold for nearly a week, said he expects to be fine for Super Bowl 49 on Sunday. Brady sniffled often during his news conference Wednesday.

The Patriots are 1-point favorites over Seattle after opening as 2.5-point underdogs.


Raiders not expected to re-sign RB Darren McFadden
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) With expectations sky-high for Latavius Murray in 2015, the Raiders aren't expected to re-sign impending free agent running back Darren McFadden, reports CSNBayArea.com. McFadden, 27, averaged 3.4 yards per carry this season and has not had a good year since 2011.

Oakland also is expected to part ways with 29-year-oold running back Maurice Jones-Drew, saving the team $2.5 million.

Murray, 25, averaged 5.2 yards on his 82 carries and will enter next season as the starter.


Bengals could bring back TE Jermaine Gresham
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham is headed for unrestricted free agency after five years with Cincinnati. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson indicated the team has not moved on from Gresham.

"To me, there's a place for him," Jackson said, via ESPN.com. "But again, he's free, so that's going to work itself out for him however it works itself out."

Gresham caught 62 passes for 460 yards and five touchdowns, but he fumbled three times and missed two key late-season games with injuries.


Report: Warrant issued for Ravens S Will Hill
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/28/2015) New Jersey law-enforcement officials confirmed there is an active warrant out for Ravens safety Will Hill, for failure to pay child support, reports the Baltimore Sun. The amount owed is $16,588, the report said.

Hill played in 10 games this season, making 41 tackles and returning an interception for a touchdown.


 
 
 
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