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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
Jaguars' Thomas won't try to measure up to Broncos' numbers
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(9:11 am ET) New Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas told SI.com he has already begun working with quarterback Blake Bortles.

"It’s exciting, that first time you get to work out with your new quarterback," he said. "We’ve got a couple thousand more reps to go, but I’m really looking forward to that chemistry and growing with that entire offense."

The expectations will be elevated for Thomas, who is coming off two great seasons with the Broncos. However, Thomas isn't out to prove he can have the same production without Peyton Manning throwing him passes.

"I think I’ve got to be a little bit cautious on trying to prove so much," he said. "I think I’ve just got to go out there and work my hardest, and do everything I can to win every route, and see what happens. I don’t want to set a goal of 'I gotta have these numbers.' I’m just going to work my hardest every day, do everything I can to become a better player, and do everything I can to help out my team and this offense."

Thomas is also confident he will be able to coexist on offense with veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis, who has been with the team since 2006.

"I don’t think we’ll have any problem playing together," he said. "I was actually talking to him this weekend. I ran into him; we both live in L.A. He’s a really good guy. I’ve met him a couple times before. We both have the same marketing company, so we know the same people, and people that I respect speak very highly of him. I think we complement each other very well. There are going to be things that he can teach me, and I can learn from him."


Former Eagles WR Jeremy Maclin: I still believe in Chip Kelly
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8:59 am ET) Former Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin apparently has no ill-will toward Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly. Although the Eagles could not match the Chiefs' five-year, $55 million contract offer, which Maclin signed in mid-March, Maclin is still a fan of Kelly, who has overhauled the Eagles' roster this offseason.

"I still believe in Chip," Maclin said, per The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I think Chip's going to do great things here. I have the utmost respect for him. Unfortunately, we couldn't get something worked out. But at the end of the day I'm very excited about playing for Kansas City and playing for Big Red."

As well as Maclin not being brought back, the Eagles traded LeSean McCoy and quarterback Nick Foles. They also released defensive end Trent Cole and offensive lineman Todd Herremans.

Maclin missed the 2013 season -- Kelly's first in the NFL -- due to a torn ACL. However, he returned in 2014 to post career highs in targets (143), catches (85) and receiving yards (1,318), while tying a career high with 10 touchdowns.


Lions' Caldwell: Don't expect Stafford's numbers to change much
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8:36 am ET) Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is just one of five quarterbacks in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards. However, since he accomplished the feat in 2011, his passing yards have declined each season.

Stafford passed for 4,257 yards and attempted 602 passes in 2014 -- his first year under coach Jim Caldwell. While at the NFL owners' meetings in Phoenix this week, Caldwell said it's probably safe not to expect Stafford's numbers to change much in 2015.

"Here's the thing I want to make certain you guys understand, and see what I see just in terms of my vision," Caldwell said, per MLive.com. "When I tell you we're not going to throw the ball anymore than we threw it, that's a fact. We're probably not going to throw it (more).

"If we do throw it more, that means we're struggling, we're not winning, we're not a very good football team. OK? Plain and simple. Maybe that ball's got to be distributed a little bit differently, but I don't anticipate those numbers changing, overall, a significant amount."


Nick Foles' acquisition won't change Rams' plans to draft QB
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(8:26 am ET) Rams coach Jeff Fisher said the team is still looking to draft a quarterback this year, despite the acquisition of quarterback Nick Foles, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“It’s our intention to draft one,” Fisher said. “The Nick (Foles) trade has no bearing over what we do in the draft.”

The Rams have the 10th pick in the first round. It's unlikely Jamies Winston or Marcus Mariota fall that far, so unless St. Louis trades up, then they are likely looking to draft from the second-tier of quarterbacks, which includes Bryce Petty, Brett Hundley, Sean Mannion and Garrett Grayson.

“There’s some outstanding players once you get beyond (Winston and Mariota),” Fisher said. “We’re just starting the process. My understanding based on our first-wave draft meetings is that there’s some young quarterbacks that can play.”

Petty, who played at Baylor, said in a radio interview earlier in March he intends to visit with the Rams before the draft.

“Good combine,” Fisher said. “Got a very strong arm. Good athlete. You don’t see him do things that we’re gonna ask him to do, so I think you have to see him actually work out, private workout, things like that.”


Cowboys' Garrett: DL Nick Hayden an 'important signing'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett made it a point of emphasis to mention to reporters at the NFL Meetings that re-signing defensive lineman Nick Hayden was important, reports the Dallas Morning News.

“Well, we’re always trying to get better and we have to get better,’’ Garrett said. “We have to bring some impact players into our defense. But Nick has been such a good player for us as a leader of that defensive line and he’s a really productive player. There’s a lot of the dirty work but he’s one of those guys who makes a lot of hits on the ball, is around the football a lot and simply makes a lot of plays.

"That was an important signing for us.’’

Hayden has started all 16 games with the Cowboys for two consecutive seasons. Over his seven-year career, he has 135 total tackles, two sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.


Giants' Coughlin: WR Victor Cruz looks 'really good'
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is encouraged that wide receiver Victor Cruz can return to form, according to the NY Daily News. Cruz suffered a torn patellar tendon that forced him to miss 10 games last season.

“I think he will be back to the player that he was and hopefully better. Victor looks really good, he’s starting to run, I was in the field house watching him rehab, he’s coming along well.” … As for when Cruz will be back at practice, full-time, Coughlin added, “I don’t know. I shouldn’t say this, because medically I really do not have a definite answer, but by training camp, hopefully. He will work his way through.”

Through his five years in the NFL, Cruz has 264 receptions for 3,963 yards and 24 touchdowns.


Patriots LB Dont'a Hightower to miss at least six months
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower is going to miss between six and seven months, according to the Boston Globe.

Hightower had surgery this February to repair a torn right labrum. The team is concerned that he might not be able to be ready for the start of the reguar season. He played through the injury for a good portion of the 2014 season prior to surgery.

The 25-year-old started all 12 games he played, collecting 89 total tackles, six sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble.


Packers to use pistol formation more often this season
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) After implementing the pistol formation into the offense to help take stress off of quarterback Aaron Rodgers' leg in 2014, the Packers are considering to use it more often this season, according to the Journal Sentinel.

"I like the pistol," head coach Mike McCarthy said during a break at the NFL owners meetings this week. "I think there's a lot of value regardless of the injury to Aaron. I know he likes it. There's a place for it year-round in your offense."

Although McCarthy has no intention of turning Rodgers into an option quarterback, the system provides unpredictability for opposing offenses.

"I would say this is about the third year it's been part of our pace and installation," McCarthy said. "Really, when we moved to it exclusively there at the end of the year it really wasn't a change for us.

"I liked it from a self-scout standpoint. It gives you another self-scout variable when you're in the gun, but you also have the tailback behind you. (There are a) lot of benefits to it."


Report: Vikings sign CB Terence Newman
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) The Vikings have signed cornerback Terence Newman to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with $750,000 in guarantees on Thursday, according to NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. 

Newman spent the last three seasons with the Bengals after playing nine years for the Cowboys. The 36-year-old has had at least one interception in each year of his 13-year career. The cornerback has recorded 741 total tackles, two sacks, 147 passes defensed, 37 interceptions, and eight forced fumbles. 


Kubiak wants Peyton Manning comfortable with playbook
by Dave Peters | CBSSports.com
(3/26/2015) Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak wants to make sure that all of his players are comfortable with the new offensive playbook, including quarterback Peyton Manning, reports ESPN.

“I think you prepare to help him call that game throughout the course of the week," Kubiak said. “A lot of people put emphasis on him calling plays at the line, but you’ve also prepared to do that throughout the course of the week, so you, as a coach, 'Here’s what I think is best in that situation.' In a lot of ways you’re still working together. You’re just going about it a different way."

“You never want to put a player in a position where he’s doing something he’s uncomfortable with," Kubiak said. “One of things about having a veteran, especially like Peyton, he’s going to let you know, 'This is what I do best and this is what I feel comfortable with.' That’s what you need to go do as a coach. You might tweak things here or there that you think may help, but you’re never going to take him out of his comfort zone and what he feels like he does best.”

Manning, 39, recently took a pay cut of $4 million to help clear salary cap space for the team.


 
 
 
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