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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
Raiders bring back Kaelin Burnett
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Raiders have inked exclusive-rights free agent Kaelin Burnett to a one-year deal. He's expected to compete for a roster spot in training camp. 

Dekoda Watson moving to strong-side LB
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) In the wake of the release of veteran linebacker Russell Allen, the Jaguars are expected to make Dekoda Watson their new starting strong-side linebacker, ESPN reports. He'll also play as a pass rusher and potentially line up as a defensive end on third downs. 

Watson had 42 total tackles, two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed, a forced fumble and a blocked punt with the Bucs last year. 


Brandon Gibson begins light jogging
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Brandon Gibson has begun light jogging as he works his way back from a torn patellar tendon, the Miami Herald reports. The Dolphins are expected to keep him on the roster, if only because of the cap hit he'll cost, per the report. He said recently he expects to be ready for Week 1. 

'Humbled' Richardson explains 2013, promises a better 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Colts running back Trent Richardson spoke openly about his disappointing 2013 season, saying that it took him too long to learn a new playbook and get over leaving Cleveland after Week 2. Richardson also told the official team website that he's planning to do everything within his power to be as prepared as possible for 2014. 

"Y'all will see a big significant difference in the way I play, the speed. I won't have to think about a lot of stuff," Richardson said earlier this offseason. "It's going to be big -- timing with the offensive line, timing with Andrew (Luck), just knowing a lot more with the program, the whole system.

"They haven't seen everything they're going to get out of me yet. A lot of it is going to come next year. A lot of it is going to come in the offseason. I'm going to put in a lot of work, as I've been doing this whole season. This season humbled me. ... This season was a lesson to me."

Colts coach Chuck Pagano has had Richardson's back, says the running back, and the coach stressed back in March that his running back's involvement in the offseason program will be key. 

"It's going to be very, very important for (Richardson) to be here for the offseason program and to dive into this thing full steam ahead, which he will," Pagano said. "He wants to be great. He's got all the talent. He's got all the ability. We would have never done what we did if we didn't believe that deep down in our core. So we look for him to have a great offseason and to have a great 2014 campaign."


Saints bring back Robert Meachem
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Saints announced Friday that the club has re-signed veteran free agent wide receiver Robert Meachem to a one-year contract.

Meachem is a seven-year NFL veteran who was originally the club's first round draft pick (27th overall) in 2007. He re-signed with the Saints prior to the start of the 2013 regular season and appeared in 15 games with five starts. He finished with 16 receptions for 324 yards with two touchdowns.

Meachem said signing with the Saints now should help with his preparations as he will be able to take part in the team's offseason conditioning program, OTAs and mini-camp. Plus, "this is home," he said.


Can Chris Johnson turn into Tomlinson?
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Jets are hoping running back Chris Johnson can do for them what LaDainian Tomlinson did in 2010, reports ESPN.

That season, Tomlinson came from San Diego to New York after he was released. He responded with a team-high 914 yards with six touchdowns on 219 carries and caught 52 passes. He was supposed to be Shonn Greene's backup, but Tomlinson was so impressive that he won the starting job and became an integral part of a team that came within one game of the Super Bowl.

Maybe Johnson, who was let go by the Titans, can do the same thing.

"I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me, to give me motivation, to keep me hungry and to keep a chip on my shoulder and prove the naysayers wrong," he said Thursday.

Johnson had a disappointing year in 2013 when he averaged just 3.9 yards per carry, but he played 13 games on a torn meniscus and was running behind a suspect offensive line for a team that didn't have its starting quarterback for half the season. The situation in New York should be improved, and hopefully being teamed with Chris Ivory will allow him to play like Tomlinson did in 2010.


Aikman worried about Tony Romo
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Former Cowboys quarterback and Hall of Famer Troy Aikman is worried about current Dallas quarterback Tony Romo coming off back surgery, reports the team's official website.

Romo, 34, is coming off back surgery in December, which was the second procedure on his back in a year.

"I came back in a relatively short period of time because of when I had my surgery, so he's at least afforded more time to get ready," Aikman said. "But having said that, two back surgeries in less than a year at his age, I would be a bit concerned.

"I'm hopeful that he's able to come back -- everybody is. This team won't be the same if he's not able to. I anticipate that he will come back. But to say that, 'Hey, he's ahead of schedule and everything's going fine,' I'm not sure how you can really measure that here in April."


Bengals, A.J. Green not talking extension - yet
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The Bengals are expected to exercise the fifth-year option on receiver A.J. Green's contract by May 3, reports Pro Football Talk. But the sides have yet to discuss a long-term contract extension, according to the report.

The Bengals hold the rights to Green through the 2015 season. And in 2016, if a long-term deal hasn't been signed yet, the Bengals can use the franchise tag on Green for that season.

The report says Green can force the issue by trying to boycott offseason workouts or hold out from training camp. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis is confident Green will be there.


Chris Snee will give it a shot this spring
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) Giants guard Chris Snee will attempt to go through the Giants offseason program once he's healthy, the New York Daily News reports. Snee had hip surgery last season and an elbow surgery earlier this year. There is no timeline for him to be at 100 percent but he is expected to be on the field for the "bulk" of offseason activities. 

Report: Niners won't release Aldon Smith
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/18/2014) The 49ers might expect a suspension for pass rushing linebacker Aldon Smith, but they are not planning to release him, NFL Network reported on Friday.

Smith was arrested recently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker. He was also arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 


 
 
 
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