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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 3

Senior Fantasy Writer
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This could be a tough week for Fantasy owners following several injuries to prominent running backs. It will lead to a lot of moves on the waiver wire.

We could be without Ray Rice (hip), Steven Jackson (thigh), Maurice Jones-Drew (ankle) and Eddie Lacy (concussion) after they all got injured in Week 2. Bernard Pierce should be the No. 1 priority to add if he's available, but his ownership is relatively high at 72 percent on CBSSports.com.

The rest of the replacement options aren't as enticing as Pierce, but James Starks (5 percent ownership) should catapult to the top of the list after his performance against the Redskins. Once Lacy went down, Starks took off with 20 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 36 yards.

Keep in mind that Starks did that at home against a terrible defense for the Redskins, and in Week 3 he plays at Cincinnati. Starks is the most viewed player on CBSSports.com as of Tuesday morning on Roster Trends.

The other top free agents being viewed include Eddie Royal (17 percent), Charles Clay (3 percent), Andre Ellington (1 percent) and Jason Snelling (1 percent). Royal should be the No. 1 receiver added this week because even though his stats will definitely decline, his five touchdowns through two games are hard to ignore.

Clay has done a nice job for the Dolphins filling in for the injured Dustin Keller (knee) and is a good tight end to add in deeper leagues. Ellington looks like the No. 2 running back for the Cardinals behind Rashard Mendenhall and scored in Week 2 against the Lions. And Snelling might be the running back to target for the Falcons ahead of Jacquizz Rodgers (48 percent) if Jackson is out.

We'll also touch on the backup situation behind Jones-Drew and several other players to add or ignore at quarterback, running back, receiver and tight end.

Editor's note: Must add is for players worth adding in all leagues. Maybe add is for players worth adding in 14-team leagues or larger. Desperation add is for players worth adding only if you're, well, desperate. The ownership percentage listed is how many leagues that player was owned in the previous week for CBSSports.com.

Quarterbacks

Must add: Philip Rivers, Chargers (63 percent)
Maybe add: Alex Smith, Chiefs (53 percent), Terrelle Pryor, Raiders (42 percent), EJ Manuel, Bills (35 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (32 percent)
Desperation add: Chad Henne, Jaguars (3 percent), Jason Campbell, Browns (0 percent)

The Drop List for Week 3
Below are 12 players who are owned in at least 30 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com that owners can consider dropping.
Player Own %
1. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers 70
2. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos 69
3. Fred Davis, TE, Redskins 62
4. Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Lions 57
5. Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers 51
6. Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers 50
7. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Colts 49
8. Ryan Broyles, WR, Lions 41
9. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Vikings 40
10. Shonn Greene, RB, Titans 36
11. Christine Michael, RB, Seahawks 36
12. Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Steelers 30

When Rivers had four touchdowns in Week 1 against Houston we considered it a fluke. He passed for just 195 yards, and his best weapon was Royal, who scored two touchdowns. Well, Rivers backed up that performance with a standout game at the Eagles with 419 passing yards and three touchdowns, and he now has 65 Fantasy points through two games -- 31 points more than Cam Newton. Granted, Philadelphia's defense is terrible, but Rivers has a relatively easy schedule ahead with matchups at Tennessee, vs. Dallas, at Oakland, vs. Indianapolis and at Jacksonville before a bye in Week 8. He looks comfortable in Mike McCoy's offense, and it might be time to buy in. ... Smith is a notch below Rivers, but not by much. Through two games, Smith has 45 Fantasy points, and his performance against Dallas was solid with 223 passing yards and two touchdowns and eight carries for 57 yards. The benefit for Smith is Andy Reid, who can't help himself when it comes to calling pass plays. He has a great matchup in Week 3 at the Eagles in Reid's return to Philadelphia, and don't be surprised if Smith has his third game in a row with at least 20 Fantasy points. ... Pryor didn't have a big game in Week 2 against Jacksonville, but he wasn't needed in an easy victory. Look for Pryor to post a quality stat line in Week 3 at Denver on Monday night. ... Manuel won his first NFL game in Week 2 against the Panthers with a touchdown to Steve Johnson on the game's last play. He's not someone to add right now, but keep an eye on his performance over the next four games against the Jets, Ravens, Browns and Bengals. We'll find out if he's a potential Fantasy starter down the road if he plays well through that stretch. ... Tannehill is like Manuel where you want to see him continue to improve as the season goes on. He only has 30 Fantasy points to start the season, but the Dolphins are looking like a team with standout weapons just scratching the surface. Tannehill could end up as a quality bye-week replacement over the next several weeks.

Running backs

Must add: Bernard Pierce, Ravens (72 percent), Bilal Powell, Jets (60 percent), James Starks, Packers (5 percent)
Maybe add: Danny Woodhead, Chargers (60 percent), Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons (48 percent), Isaiah Pead, Rams (38 percent), Da'Rel Scott, Giants (36 percent), Brandon Jacobs, Giants (24 percent), Donald Brown, Colts (21 percent), Robert Turbin, Seahawks (14 percent), Jordan Todman, Jaguars (2 percent), Andre Ellington, Cardinals (1 percent), Jason Snelling, Falcons (1 percent)
Desperation add: LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (23 percent), Johnathan Franklin, Packers (14 percent), Marcel Reece, Raiders (12 percent), Denard Robinson, Jaguars (7 percent), Jackie Battle, Titans (4 percent), Justin Forsett, Jaguars (4 percent), Leon Washington, Patriots (2 percent)

Pierce should be owned in 100 percent of leagues by the end of the week. If Rice is out for Week 3, even in a tough matchup against Houston, Pierce is worth starting in all formats. And if Rice is out for a significant amount of time then Pierce could be a star. ... Starks should be priority No. 2 even in a tough matchup against the Bengals in Week 3. We hope Lacy isn't out long, but the Packers have been committed to Starks for four years despite injuries and inconsistent play. He could carve out a role and is worth stashing even though Lacy is the best Fantasy option of this backfield. ... Powell is the best running back for the Jets right now, and he is worth consideration as a flex option the next two weeks against the Bills and Titans. ... If Jackson is out for the Falcons then Rodgers and Snelling would split time at Miami in Week 3. In standard leagues we'd lean toward Snelling because of his potential to work at the goal line, and he scored against the Rams in Week 2. He also finished with more rushing yards (19 on two carries) and receiving yards (41 on four catches) than Rodgers, who had 11 carries for 17 yards and four catches for 28 yards. Still, playing time should favor Rodgers, so don't overlook him as well. ... I wouldn't trust any Jaguars running backs in Week 3 at Seattle if Jones-Drew is out. But, in a desperate situation, Todman should get the most touches over Robinson or Forsett. ... Woodhead should be owned in the majority of PPR leagues. He had eight catches in Week 2 on nine targets, and he's going to be a reliable weapon for Rivers all season. ... Jacobs (six points) in one game and Scott (16) through two games both have more Fantasy points than David Wilson (minus-2). We still expect Wilson to get going, but taking a flier on either Jacobs (standard leagues) or Scott (PPR) isn't a bad idea at this point. ... Ellington is going to be the third-down back for the Cardinals and play behind Mendenhall. You can forget Ryan Williams, Stepfan Taylor and Alfonso Smith for now, and Ellington is worth stashing if possible. ... Brown replaces the injured Vick Ballard (knee) as the No. 2 running back for the Colts behind Ahmad Bradshaw. He'll only be worth starting if Bradshaw goes down, but he's someone to monitor given Bradshaw's injury history. ... Turbin is the handcuff for Marshawn Lynch, not Christine Michael. Consider Turbin a sleeper this week in what should be a blowout victory for the Seahawks at home against the Jaguars since he could get some late-game action.

Wide receiver

Must add: Marlon Brown, Ravens (41 percent), Eddie Royal, Chargers (17 percent)
Maybe add: Jerome Simpson, Vikings (33 percent), Kendall Wright, Titans (27 percent), Aaron Dobson, Patriots (26 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (26 percent), Nate Burleson, Lions (15 percent), Robert Woods, Bills (13 percent), Austin Pettis, Rams (0 percent)
Desperation add: Santana Moss, Redskins (23 percent), Harry Douglas, Falcons (12 percent), Riley Cooper, Eagles (10 percent), Stephen Hill, Jets (6 percent), Ted Ginn, Panthers (1 percent), Derek Moye, Steelers (0 percent)

Streamers for Week 3
Here are some DST and kickers to consider if you play the matchups with these positions each week.
Opponent Own %
Vikings DST vs. CLE 22
Jets DST vs. BUF 11
Bills DST at NYJ 11
Alex Henery, K, Eagles vs. KC 38
Steven Hauschka, K, Seahawks vs. JAC 33
Nick Novak, K, Chargers at TEN 7

It's hard to trust Royal even with the five touchdowns through two games. In Week 1 against the Texans he had just three catches for 24 yards. He did better in Week 2 with seven catches for 90 yards, but there is reason for optimism. The Chargers don't have Danario Alexander (knee) and lost Malcom Floyd (neck) for at least a week after getting hurt against the Eagles. That should keep Royal involved. Rivers trusts him, and if he stays healthy who says he can't become this year's darling receiver like Laurent Robinson in 2011 or Alexander last season? No one is saying start Royal if you add him, but he's worth stashing on your bench. I wouldn't overspend for him with your bid points (11 would be the max out of 100), but if you need receiver help then pick him up this week. ... I liked Brown in Week 2 for his matchup against the Browns, and he came through with four catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. He has now scored in consecutive games and should remain relevant with Jacoby Jones (knee) out for several weeks. ... Simpson could have a solid game like Brown did last week since he's the No. 2 receiver facing the Browns in Week 3. If Joe Haden lines up against Greg Jennings then Simpson could post quality stats against Buster Skrine. ... Dobson scored a wide-open touchdown against the Jets in Week 2, but he was plagued by drops. The offense for the Patriots is about to change with Rob Gronkowski (back) coming back, so keep an eye on Dobson's role. ... Wright is worth a flier in all PPR leagues, and he had seven catches for 54 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 at Houston on 11 targets. ... The same goes for Burleson, who should be considered a sleeper this week at Washington. The Redskins have already allowed four receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points in two games. ... Woods is only going to get better as Manuel improves. The same goes for Streater with Pryor. Keep these guys on your radar moving forward. ... Pettis could be a PPR sleeper the rest of this season. He has 17 targets through two games, and the Rams are going to be one of the more pass-happy teams all year. He scored in Week 2 at Atlanta with eight catches for 78 yards.

Tight end

Must add: Coby Fleener, Colts (35 percent)
Maybe add: Jermaine Gresham, Bengals (34 percent), Heath Miller, Steelers (24 percent), Charles Clay, Dolphins (3 percent), Garrett Graham, Texans (2 percent), Jordan Reed, Redskins (2 percent)
Desperation add: Delanie Walker, Titans (5 percent), Zach Ertz, Eagles (5 percent), Clay Harbor, Jaguars (0 percent)

This isn't a great week for tight ends to add, but Fleener has potential if Dwayne Allen (hip) remains out. Fleener had four catches for 69 yards and a touchdown on eight targets against Miami in Week 2. He's not worth starting in Week 3 at San Francisco, but monitor Allen's status moving forward. ... Through two games, Clay has 13 targets for 10 catches, 163 yards and a rushing touchdown. If you're stuck at tight end then add him and hope that kind of production continues. ... The same goes for Graham with the Texans since he has a touchdown in each game so far this year on 10 targets. ... Reed appears to have passed Fred Davis as the receiving tight end for the Redskins. Through two games, Reed has eight catches for 56 yards and a touchdown on nine targets while Davis has three catches for 25 yards on six targets. ... Miller (knee) might be coming back soon, and the Steelers need him. If you want to speculate on a tight end and don't need one in Week 3 then grab Miller now. Remember, he scored eight touchdowns last year with 71 catches for 816 yards and was a Top 10 Fantasy tight end in all leagues.

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 .

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Player News
Texans allow 30 points again
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12:55 pm ET) After allowing 33 points Week 6 against Indianapolis, the Texans allowed 30 Week 7 at Pittsburgh. But while their struggles were to be expected against a Colts offense that ranks No. 1 in the NFL, at least in terms of yardage, the same can't be said for their matchup against the Steelers, who scored 10 points against the Browns in Week 6 and 17 against the Jaguars in Week 5.

Because turnovers kept putting the Steelers in good field position, the Texans allowed 328 yards, only 12 away from their season low. They recorded three sacks, equaling a season high met twice previously, but their only takeaway was a fumble recovery in the first quarter.

The Texans haven't had a favorable schedule of late, but their DST has mostly held its own. Again, the 30 points given up in this one was as much the fault of the offense. With an appealing matchup Week 8 at Tennessee, the Texans DST is an advisable play in Fantasy.


Report: Darren Sproles still unlikely to play Sunday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:49 pm ET) While Eagles running back Darren Sproles (knee) returned to a limited practice Tuesday, he's still unlikely to suit up Sunday at Arizona, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sproles did not participate in pass-catching drills with the running backs and was seen doing light running during individual drills, the report said.

Sproles sprained his MCL in the Week 6 win over the Giants. The Eagles had a Week 7 bye.


Eagles C Jason Kelce back on the field
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:32 pm ET) Eagles starting center Jason Kelce, who's coming back from sports hernia surgery, returned to practice Tuesday as the team prepared for Sunday's game at Arizona, reports CSNPhilly.com. Kelce suffered the injury Week 3 against Washington.

Eagles RB Darren Sproles returns to practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:30 pm ET) Eagles running back Darren Sproles, who sprained his MCL in the Week 6 win over the Giants, returned to practice Tuesday, reports CSNPhilly.com. He is ahead of schedule and has a chance to play Sunday at Arizona.

Two Patriots' offensive linemen back at practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:21 pm ET) Patriots offensive linemen Dan Connolly and Bryan Stork, who missed Week 7 with concussions, returned to practice Tuesday, reports the Boston Herald.

Report: Aldon Smith's suspension could be reduced
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(12:17 pm ET) 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith is suspended for the season's first nine games for violating league policies on personal conduct and substance abuse. But according to Pro Football Talk, Smith could have his suspension reduced one or two games for good behavior.

The 49ers are on a bye this week. If Smith's suspension gets cut, he could return as early as Week 9 against the Rams, the report said.


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.


 
 
 
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