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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 waive DT Brandon Ivory
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Texans waived rookie defensive tackle Brandon Ivory on Thursday, according to ESPN.com

Ivory was arrested on first degree burglary charges in Tuscaloosa, Ala. just one day ago. Ivory's agent Jeff Guerriero said Ivory is not guilty of the charge. 

"I spoke to Brandon he is not guilty and his name will be cleared of all charges," Guerriero said. 


Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

"I apologize to my family, the Cowboys organization, my teammates and Cowboys fans for my mistake. I will not break the rules of my profession in the future, and I regret my error," McClain said in a statement, via CSN Bay Area. "I look forward to returning to the field on week 5, when I hope to help my team beat the Patriots.

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(7/2/2015) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


Embattled Brandon Spikes pleads guilty to leaving scene of crash
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Former Patriots and Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a recent car crash and has received a fine and year of probation, per WBZ, which is further reporting that he has lost his license and will be forced to attend a driver's safety class.

Spikes has lost far more than his license. He has lost his livelihood, having been cut by New England for hitting another car and abandoning his vehicle on the highway. He later told the police that he had hit a deer.

No other teams have been rumored to be targeting Spikes for the coming season.


Terrelle Pryor ready to embrace new role with Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Terrelle Pryor once declared that he could not play football if he could not play quarterback.

Reality has since set in.

Pryor has been cut twice and is now playing on a Cleveland Browns team desperate for a quarterback, but apparently not desperate enough to give him a shot. He is instead embracing what he is calling a "slash-player" role.

"I'm going to give (it) a chance," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I just want to play football. I'm a playmaker, and I believe if I can touch the ball, I can go to the house, especially if I have space. This should definitely open up some opportunities."

Pryor has already taken the first step by contacting Steelers receiving stud Antonio Brown and making plans to work out with him and Randy Moss so they can teach him the nuances of the position.

He also figures there's another reason he's ahead of the game.

"The thing that helps me is that I played quarterback, and I know what the quarterback wants," Pryor said.


Lions new DT Haloti Ngata too busy to think about new contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had his contract in mind in his last days with the Ravens, but he's too busy to think about it now that he's been traded to the Lions.

Ngata admitted that he suspected a deal could take place.

"The closer we got to free agency, I thought it could be a possibility," he told Monday Morning Quarterback. "It didn't surprise me ... since we weren't getting closer to any kind of contract stuff, I just figured there were a lot of things that could happen. I definitely started to have a trade in my mind as a possibility."

Ngata added that he's not thinking about a contract extension with Detroit.

"I'm just trying to get to know my teammates, get my playbook down, and my technique and terminology," he said.


Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon claims he'd pick himself in Fantasy
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon doesn't have a Fantasy football team, but if he did...

"If ... I could take myself, I would," he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Never mind that Adrian Peterson has returned to the backfield. Never mind that Peterson has traditionally not yielded many carries to teammates. In 2012, for instance, he totaled 348 of his team's 401 rushing attempts.

The Vikings, however, are expected to use a more balanced approach in 2015. And McKinnon, who flashed as a starter with Peterson sidelined last season, is feeling dandy after undergoing lower back surgery in December.

"Two hundred percent," he declared in regard to his health. "If there is a 300, I feel 300. It's all good."

McKinnon averaged 4.8 yards per carry a year ago, which buoyed his confidence.


 
 
 
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