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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 4

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The first set of bye weeks is upon us in Week 4, and along with some key injuries and poor play, several Fantasy owners are scrambling to fill out a quality lineup.

We're about to find out who has depth on their roster and who needs the waiver wire or trades in the worst possible way.

Carolina and Green Bay are off, meaning we don't have key must-start options at our disposal this week (Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, etc ...). And with several injuries at running back (Ray Rice and Steven Jackson, for example) and a few receivers headed for tough matchups (Larry Fitzgerald vs. Darrelle Revis, Andre Johnson vs. Richard Sherman and Hakeem Nicks vs. Brandon Flowers) we could see some waiver wire additions being used as starters in Week 4.

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The Top 5 most-viewed free agents on CBSSports.com Roster Trends are Jets running back Bilal Powell (72 percent ownership), Falcons running back Jason Snelling (39 percent), Jets receiver Santonio Holmes (17 percent), Packers running back Johnathan Franklin (12 percent) and Jets receiver Stephen Hill (9 percent). Not only are the Jets a huge surprise at 2-1, they have become quite popular among Fantasy owners.

Powell should be added in all leagues where available. Chris Ivory (hamstring) is not expected to play in Week 4 at the Titans, and Powell is playing well with at least seven Fantasy points in all three games this year, including 28 points the past two weeks. The Jets will lean on him against Tennessee, and he should be started in most formats as at least a flex option.

Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers (62 percent) did an admirable job filling in for Jackson at Miami, but Snelling is the better Fantasy option. He had 11 carries for 53 yards and four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers had 18 carries for 86 yards and two catches for 7 yards. Both should be considered at least flex options in Week 4 against the Patriots.

Holmes and Hill both stepped up in Week 3 to help the Jets beat the Bills. Holmes had five catches for 154 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets, and Hill had three catches for 108 yards and one touchdown on six targets. The good thing is Geno Smith looks like he can help Holmes and Hill have Fantasy relevance. The bad thing is facing the Titans this week will be tougher than facing the Bills. We wouldn't start either Holmes or Hill, but both make for good stash options in deeper leagues.

Franklin is worth adding in deeper leagues or if you own Eddie Lacy, but don't be misled by his stat line against the Bengals. Franklin had 13 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown and three carries for 23 yards. He stepped in for James Starks (knee) and ran well, but he lost a crucial fumble late in the fourth quarter.

Lacy (concussion) is expected to return in Week 5, and he will likely remain the starter. Franklin, who also suffered a foot injury, could replace Starks as the No. 2 option, but keep in mind he didn't touch the ball in the first two games. You shouldn't go overboard trying to add Franklin this week.

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

The Drop List for Week 4
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. Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings 89
2. Montee Ball, RB, Broncos 87
3. Golden Tate, WR, Seahawks 84
4. Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals 81
5. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets 79
6. Lance Moore, WR, Saints 75
7. Kenny Britt, WR, Titans 73
8. Bryce Brown, RB, Eagles 72
9. Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals 72
10. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints 67
11. Rueben Randle, WR, Giants 58
12. Andre Roberts, WR, Cardinals 53

Must add: Joe Flacco, Ravens (73 percent), Alex Smith, Chiefs (61 percent), Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (59 percent), Terrelle Pryor, Raiders (37 percent)
Maybe add: EJ Manuel, Bills (37 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (36 percent), Geno Smith, Jets (12 percent), Brian Hoyer, Browns (2 percent)
Desperation add: Jake Locker, Titans (15 percent), Christian Ponder, Vikings (13 percent)

We're looking at the quarterbacks from two perspectives this week: Replacements for Rodgers or Newton if you don't own a backup and guys to speculate on for the long term. For this week, we'd consider the best available guys to start in this order: Pryor, Roethlisberger, Flacco and Alex Smith. ... Pryor just had his third game with at least 20 Fantasy points in four career starts with his performance Monday night against Denver. He did suffer a concussion late in the game, but if he plays as expected in Week 4 against Washington consider him a potential starting option. ... Roethlisberger rebounded from a horrific start to the season to have a good game against the Bears in Week 3 with 406 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions with two lost fumbles. He needs to eliminate the turnovers, but he has a favorable matchup against the Vikings this week. ... Flacco faces a Bills defense that just gave up 28 Fantasy points to Geno Smith. ... Alex Smith had his first bad game of the season from a Fantasy perspective in Week 3 at the Eagles, but he faces a Giants defense that has allowed at least 20 Fantasy points to all three opposing quarterbacks this season. ... We'll continue our theme with Tannehill and Manuel that they are worth monitoring, but you don't need to add them right away in most 12-team leagues. Tannehill could be used in a pinch if needed this week at New Orleans, but he has yet to top 17 Fantasy points this year -- and don't overlook this Saints defense. We wouldn't trust Manuel against the Ravens. ... Geno Smith is also worth keeping an eye on, especially if Holmes and Hill can develop into consistent playmakers. Smith could be a decent bye-week replacement in deep two-quarterback leagues if needed against the Titans. ... Hoyer had 24 Fantasy points against the Vikings, and we hope he keeps the starting job over Brandon Weeden (thumb). Don't consider Hoyer this week against the Bengals, but if you're looking ahead, he faces Buffalo at home in Week 5. Even though it's the Thursday night game, Hoyer could be a good replacement option for Robert Griffin III's bye. ... I have no interest in Locker or Ponder even after both had more than 21 Fantasy points in Week 4. They each needed significant rushing totals to help their cause, and that's not sustainable enough to consider them as Fantasy options.

Running backs

Must add: Willis McGahee, Browns (75 percent), Bilal Powell, Jets (72 percent), Danny Woodhead, Chargers (65 percent), Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons (62 percent), Jason Snelling, Falcons (39 percent), Isaiah Pead, Rams (31 percent)
Maybe add: Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (45 percent), Michael Bush, Bears (43 percent), Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (42 percent), Kendall Hunter, 49ers (36 percent), Andre Ellington, Cardinals (27 percent), Johnathan Franklin, Packers (12 percent), Brandon Bolden, Patriots (3 percent), Alfonso Smith, Cardinals (3 percent), Mike Goodson, Jets (2 percent)
Desperation add: Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns (19 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (15 percent), Mike Tolbert, Panthers (10 percent), Bobby Rainey, Browns (10 percent), Ronnie Brown, Chargers (6 percent), Jordan Todman, Jaguars (5 percent)

McGahee is worth gambling on in all leagues if you have an open roster spot. He's the running back to own in Cleveland, and he could eventually become a flex option, especially with the bye weeks. You should only add Ogbonnaya or Rainey in deeper formats. ... As we said with Woodhead last week, he should be owned in 100 percent of PPR leagues. He had seven catches in Week 3 and now has 15 catches the past two games. ... Pead could start Thursday night against the 49ers with Daryl Richardson (foot) hurt, and Pead had seven catches in Week 3 at Dallas. Like Richardson when he's healthy, Pead can start for you in PPR leagues this week. ... Owners in touchdown-only leagues should add Bush and Thomas where available. That's where their value will lie moving forward. If they don't score, their production will be minimal. ... Bolden looks like he will step into Shane Vereen's role, and he had three carries for 51 yards and five catches for 49 yards on six targets against Tampa Bay. He's definitely worth adding in PPR leagues. ... The Cardinals running game is a mess with Rashard Mendenhall likely not 100 percent with a toe injury, and it might be time to speculate on Ellington or Smith, in that order. ... If you're looking ahead and need a running back consider adding Goodson now. His four-game suspension ends after this week, and the Jets might use him right away with Ivory hurt. ... Hillman had a big game Monday night, but keep in mind he scored in the fourth quarter against Oakland with the game out of hand. He should move ahead of Montee Ball, however, after Ball fumbled for the second game in a row.

Wide receiver

Streamers for Week 4
Here are some DST and kickers to consider if you play the matchups with these positions each week.
Opponent Own %
Steelers DST at MIN 57
Chiefs DST vs. NYG 55
Colts DST at JAC 10
Robbie Gould, K, Bears at DET 47
Ryan Succop, K, Chiefs vs. NYG 9
Shaun Suisham, K, Steelers at MIN 7

Must add: Justin Blackmon, Jaguars (70 percent), Marlon Brown, Ravens (59 percent), Denarius Moore, Raiders (51 percent), Ryan Broyles, Lions (33 percent), Mohamed Sanu, Bengals (29 percent), Donnie Avery, Chiefs (11 percent)
Maybe add: Alshon Jeffery, Bears (61 percent), Sidney Rice, Seahawks (54 percent), Aaron Dobson, Patriots (32 percent), Kendall Wright, Titans (31 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (24 percent), Santana Moss, Redskins (23 percent), Brandon LaFell, Panthers (19 percent), Santonio Holmes, Jets (17 percent), Austin Pettis, Rams (14 percent), Stephen Hill, Jets (9 percent), Ted Ginn, Panthers (2 percent)
Desperation add: Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (17 percent), Nate Washington, Titans (6 percent), Davone Bess, Browns (6 percent), Jason Avant, Eagles (3 percent), Justin Hunter, Titans (2 percent), Robert Meachem, Saints (1 percent), Earl Bennett, Bears (1 percent), Marvin Jones, Bengals (0 percent)

Like Goodson, you might want to add Blackmon a week in advance of his suspension ending. Blackmon could be a starting Fantasy option in three-receiver leagues. ... Brown faces a Bills defense that has already allowed five receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points. ... Moore and Streater face a Redskins defense that has allowed six receivers to reach double digits in Fantasy points. ... Sanu gets the Browns this week, and two of the three No. 2 receivers to face Cleveland this year (Brian Hartline and Brown) have scored. ... Broyles should get a bigger opportunity with Nate Burleson (arm) out, and Broyles had his first action of the season in Week 3 at Washington. He had three catches for 34 yards on three targets, but his production could skyrocket now. ... Avery has at least seven Fantasy points in two of three games, and secondary receivers have hurt the Giants this year (Miles Austin, LaFell and Ginn). Avery is also having a better season than Dwayne Bowe. ... Jeffery and Wright look like good PPR options. Jeffery has at least five catches in two of three games, and Wright has 13 catches in the past two weeks. ... I'd rather have Wright than Washington, who will only remain consistent if Kenny Britt gets injured or possibly traded. ... Prior to scoring twice against the Jaguars, Rice had four Fantasy points combined. Buy in if you want, but I need to see more. ... Dobson led the Patriots in targets in Week 3 against the Buccaneers and finished with seven catches for 52 yards. He's only going to get better from here. ... Moss has at least seven Fantasy points in each of the past two games in a standard league, and the Redskins are relying on him with all their comeback efforts. He could be useful in deeper leagues. ... LaFell and Ginn are off this week, but both are worth a look in deeper leagues. They won't be consistent, which is the problem, but Newton needs receivers to step up outside of Steve Smith and Greg Olsen. ... Pettis has two touchdowns in his past two games. In deeper leagues, it's time to buy in because this is a passing offense, and he's entrenched as a starter.

Tight end

Must add: Coby Fleener, Colts (67 percent), Heath Miller, Steelers (30 percent)
Maybe add: Charles Clay, Dolphins (59 percent), Zach Miller, Seahawks (16 percent), Jordan Reed, Redskins (7 percent), Scott Chandler, Bills (4 percent)
Desperation add: Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (9 percent), Joseph Fauria, Lions (1 percent), Gavin Escobar, Cowboys (1 percent), Luke Willson, Seahawks (0 percent), Dion Sims, Dolphins (0 percent), Levine Toilolo, Falcons (0 percent)

Fleener should be owned in close to 90 percent of leagues. He's about to take off with Dwayne Allen (hip) out, and he's facing a Jaguars defense that just allowed two touchdowns to Zach Miller. ... Heath Miller made his season debut in Week 3 against Chicago and had three catches for 35 yards on four targets. He faces a Vikings defense that has allowed a tight end to score in all three games this year with six over that span. ... Clay had another quality game with four catches for 40 yards on six targets, but he lost a goal-line touchdown to Sims. ... Maybe Zach Miller can be like Rice and build off his two-touchdown game against the Jaguars, but we need to see more. Miller had six Fantasy points in the first two games. ... Reed hurt his knee in Week 3 against Detroit, but he was playing well again with five catches for 50 yards before getting injured. If he's OK for Week 4 at Oakland then consider him a sleeper. ... Chandler scored his first touchdown of the season in Week 3 at the Jets. He does have six targets in all three games, but we need to see more before using him in most formats. ... Escobar and Toilolo should only be owned in dynasty 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' O'Brien: WR DeAndre Hopkins can 'be one of the best'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:28 am ET) Texans head coach Bill O'Brien is very encouraged by the performance of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins last season, per ESPN. O'Brien went as far as to say that Hopkins can be one of the best.

"He had a really productive year," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "The thing that we really like about Hop and that we want him to continue to do is his work ethic. He’s a hungry player. He works every single day. He came into the spring a year ago and he was learning the offense and thinking out there, then all of a sudden you could see all the work he put in and learning, he just took off."

Due to the departure of wide receiver Andre Johnson, the progression of Hopkins will be under the microscope as he is now the focal point of the passing offense.

"We just want to see him continue and progress," O'Brien said. "We think he can be one of the best, we think he is one of the best. We have a lot of confidence in him and we’re looking forward to seeing him progress when the offseason program starts."

In two years with the Texans, Hopkins has reeled in 128 receptions for 2012 yards and eight touchdowns.


Giants won't rush WR Victor Cruz back to the field
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(12:12 am ET) Although Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is hopeful that wide receiver Victor Cruz will be ready by training camp, the team will not rush him back, reports ESPN.

"I shouldn't say this, because medically I really don't have a definite answer, but by training camp hopefully, even if it's just to bring him," Coughlin said. "We're not going to just throw him to the wind. He'll work his way through. But I hope that would be the target."

Cruz tore his patellar tendon in week six of the 2014 season, causing him to miss the rest of the year. Coughlin is hopeful that he'll return to be the player that he was before the injury.

"I think he'll be the player that he was, and hopefully better," Coughlin said of Cruz. "But as far as when, I would be careful of what I would say there. Hopefully it's the first game. But if it isn't, you know we've done that one before. We just went through it. But I'm hoping it would be."

The former undrafted free agent has tallied 264 receptions for 3,963 yards and 24 touchdowns.


Lions QB Matthew Stafford to take more chances through the air
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was in new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi's system for the first time last season. The team plans on taking more chances down the field in Stafford's second season in the new offense, Lombardi said, according to the team's official website.

“In his second year (in the offense) he’s going to be that much more comfortable,” Lombardi said.

“We’ll be able to tailor the offense a little bit more to what he likes and what he’s good at. I thought he played smart football and sometimes to a fault. We’ll look for him to maybe take a few more chances this year with the football.”

Although Stafford didn't take many shots down the field, he did throw a career-low 12 interceptions in 2014. 

The former first overall draft pick has thrown for 21,714 yards with 131 touchdowns and 85 interceptions during his six-year career.


Colts OLB Robert Mathis plans to be ready for training camp
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis is not ready to run yet, he told Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL. Mathis added that he plans to be ready for the start of training camp.

“It’s not going as fast as I would like to, but we are getting well and we should be clicking in camp,” Mathis told Sirius.

Mathis was suspended for the first four games of last season due to violating the league's substance abuse policy. He then suffered a torn achilles, forcing him to miss all 16 games of the 2014 season.

During his 11-year career with the Colts, Mathis has collected 487 total tackles, 111.0 sacks, 15 passes defensed and 48 forced fumbles.


Lions TE Eric Ebron has been working out with Matthew Stafford
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said that tight end Eric Ebron has been working out with quarterback Matthew Stafford in Atlanta this offseason, reports the Detroit News. Lombardi also said that the plan is to have Ebron be the No. 3 weapon in the passing game this year.

Ebron, 21, finished his rookie season with 25 catches for 248 yards and one touchdown. 


Cowboys' Tony Romo: DeMarco Murray asked me to take a pay cut
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was really hoping to remain with the Cowboys this offseason. So much so, he asked quarterback Tony Romo to take a pay cut to remain with the team, Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday, per the Dallas Morning News.

"DeMarco ended up asking me, 'Why don't you take a pay cut?' I said, 'I will. I would take a pay cut to go do this,'" Romo said. "I was like, 'They're going to restructure me.' That's the same thing in some ways, just for the salary cap purposes. He was like, 'OK, now we're back to being friends again.' I would take $5 million less if meant getting him back.

"He knew that. It was just funny how he was literally worried about that part of it for a week. I'm like, 'That's not the reason.' I'm like, 'Obviously I'll restructure. I would even take a pay cut.' He was like, 'OK, we can be friends again.' It's amazing what you think about in those moments."


Giants QB Eli Manning wants to take offense 'to another level'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Giants quarterback Eli Manning is entering the second year in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system. Manning is ready to take the next step now that he is familiar with the system, reports the NY Daily News.

““This year will be a much easier transition, knowing that we have been through so much of it already,” said Manning, who recently had been working out at Ole Miss with some of their receivers and alumni. “It’s definitely a different starting point. I feel good about it. I feel that I have a good understanding of it.

“But there is still room to grow and that is why I try to keep it as fresh in my mind as possible. Looking at old game-plan sheets and calling plays in my head – throwing routes with receivers trying to call out plays to myself, so you don’t let it slip away. It was new last year and it wasn’t something I have been doing for 10 years, so you want to keep it fresh and go through your reminders and all your checks. So when we come back I haven’t taken a step backwards and have to re-learn things. It is still all there. There will be new stuff and we will be taking it to another level.”

Manning has started all 16 games in each season since 2005, throwing for 39,755 yards with 259 touchdowns and 185 interceptions.


Saints TE Josh Hill wants to grow into new role
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) After trading trading Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks, tight end Josh Hill is ready to step into his new role with the Saints, according to the team's offical website.

“I think it might open a few opportunities for me as I continue to grow in my role and just do everything they ask me to do,” Hill said when asked about the trade of Graham to the Seahawks.

Hill recognized that Graham helped him transition from college to the professional level.

“It’s a big difference, especially coming from a smaller school and a smaller city," Hill said. "He was always there for me. We became pretty good friends over the past few years so it will definitely be different without him.”

Head coach Sean Payton believes that Hill is ready to step up.

“Josh Hill is a player that we value a lot," Payton said last week at the NFL annual meeting. "He’s not on anyone’s fantasy first three rounds, I promise you, but he’s a real good tight end. He’s versatile in the running game, in the pass receiving game, a special teams player.”

Hill, heading into his third year in the NFL, has recorded 20 receptions for 220 yards and six touchdowns. 


Cowboys QB Tony Romo excited about this offseason
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is excited about what the offseason holds for him, according to ESPN.

“This is the first offseason where I’ve been able to kind of get after it this early and be able to kind of improve in a lot of different areas that I think you aren’t able to until you get healthy enough to attack it,” Romo said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday. “I’m just excited about that, really.”

Romo, 34, is encouraged by the fact that he is able to do a lot of different things during the offseason process while working out.

“Now I’m able to do that while actually doing functional strength training through different versions of squats,” Romo said. “I’m not putting anything on my back and doing stuff like that but you are doing a lot of single-leg stuff and different things that I started getting into during the season that helped a lot. Now it’s nice to be able to do that in the offseason.”

Romo has thrown for 33,270 yards with 242 touchdowns and 110 interceptions in his 12-year career. 


WR Dwayne Bowe looks to revitalize himself with Browns
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/31/2015) Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is looking to revitalize his career now that he has joined the Browns, reports ESPN. Bowe was cut by the Chiefs in the middle of March.

"I have a chance to revitalize myself," Bowe, 30, told ESPN.com via telephone Tuesday. "Just sit back and watch."

Browns general manager Ray Farmer has familiarity with Bowe from their time with the Chiefs. The two sat down and watched tape from the 2010 season when he racked up 15 touchdown receptions.

"Him knowing what I can do, seeing me in practice, making crazy plays, splitting the safeties, he knows I still can do that," Bowe said. "I couldn't showcase that last year. He was pulling up old plays, saying, 'We are going to use you just like that.' Moving around, going on motion, trying to hit the deep ball, trying to break plays."

The 30-year-old wideout appreciated his time with the Chiefs and he has no regrets.

"It's been up and down, but it's been fun," Bowe said. "I don't regret nothing. People can talk about the NFL and playing wide receiver -- I feel I still have a good four more years in me."

Over his eight-year career, he has totaled 532 receptions for 7,155 yards and 44 touchdowns.


 
 
 
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