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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 5

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Week 4 was just another wacky week for Fantasy owners. Some of the best options of this past scoring period were sitting on a lot of waiver wires.

Brian Hoyer and Matt Cassel were Top 12 quarterbacks in standard leagues. Roy Helu and LeGarrette Blount were Top 20 running backs. Nate Washington, Alshon Jeffery and Jerricho Cotchery were Top 12 receivers. And Sean McGrath, Garrett Graham and Mychal Rivera were Top 10 tight ends.

Now, this doesn't mean all these players will succeed going forward. Far from it. But it does show you that playing the waiver wire is important to your success.

For the past two weeks, we've been telling you to add Danny Woodhead, who is among the top free agents being viewed on CBSSports.com Roster Trends. He was at 60 percent ownership after Week 2, and he only improved by 12 percent for Week 4.

The Drop List for Week 5
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. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys 94
2. Chris Givens, WR, Rams 83
3. Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings 74
4. Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens 71
5. Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals 68
6. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Steelers 67
7. James Starks, RB, Packers 64
8. Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals 63
9. Donnie Avery, WR, Chiefs 58
10. Chris Ivory, RB, Jets 54
11. Mark Ingram, RB, Saints 50
12. Isaiah Pead, RB, Rams 38

The owners who added Woodhead, especially in PPR leagues, were rewarded with a huge game in Week 4 against Dallas with five carries for 32 yards and five catches for 54 yards and two touchdowns. He now has 20 catches in his past three games and is outplaying Ryan Mathews. Please add him in all leagues.

The other free agents being viewed on roster trends include Redskins running back Roy Helu (34 percent ownership on CBSSports.com), Titans receiver Nate Washington (21 percent), Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount (16 percent), Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya (12 percent) and Raiders running back Rashad Jennings (7 percent).

Jennings and Helu would be injury replacements for their respective teams since Darren McFadden (hamstring) in Oakland and Alfred Morris (ribs) in Washington got hurt in their head-to-head matchup. Jennings would be the priority this week since Helu and the Redskins are on a bye.

Ogbonnaya has been the better running back in Cleveland since Trent Richardson was traded two weeks ago, and he might be worth owning over Willis McGahee. The Browns are a pass-happy team, and Ogbonnaya is the running back on the field in passing situations.

Blount now has two games in a row with at least six Fantasy points in a standard league, and he's outplayed Stevan Ridley. You should add Blount in deeper leagues, but eventually Ridley will come around – or at least we hope.

Washington has been great for the past two weeks with 35 Fantasy points over that span, but the quarterback change from the injured Jake Locker (hip) to Ryan Fitzpatrick makes me nervous. I'd add Washington, but I'd be hesitant to start him in Week 5 against Kansas City.

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: Brian Hoyer, Browns (12 percent)
Maybe add: Alex Smith, Chiefs (70 percent), Terrelle Pryor, Raiders (40 percent)
Desperation add: Matt Cassel, Vikings (4 percent), Ryan Fitzpatrick, Titans (1 percent)

This isn't a great week for quarterbacks off the waiver wire, but Hoyer should be the No. 1 passer added if you need a bye-week replacement for Robert Griffin III or Ben Roethlisberger. Hoyer has at least 22 Fantasy points in a standard league in two starts, and the Browns did the right thing by keeping him as the starter for Week 5. The Bills have also allowed every quarterback they've faced this season to throw two touchdown passes. ... If Pryor (concussion) gets clearance to play this week then make him your second priority. It's too bad Pryor had to miss that juicy matchup against the Redskins in Week 4. ... Smith is worth buying into long-term for the season. Forget about how he's getting it done with check-down passes, he has at least 20 Fantasy points in three of four games. And coach Andy Reid has him attempting at least 34 passes in every game this year. He just has a tough matchup in Week 5 at the Titans, but he could be useful in Week 6 against Oakland. ... Cassel did a great job against the Steelers with 21 Fantasy points, and unlike Christian Ponder, he allowed Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson to be playmakers. Don't bother with Cassel this week with the Vikings on a bye, but if he remains the starter in Week 6 against Carolina he could be an option in two-quarterback leagues. ... Keep an eye on Fitzpatrick, but ignore him in Week 5 with a matchup against the Chiefs.

Running backs

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Must add: Danny Woodhead, Chargers (72 percent), Roy Helu, Redskins (34 percent), Rashad Jennings, Raiders (7 percent)
Maybe add: Ronnie Hillman, Broncos (55 percent), Kendall Hunter, 49ers (35 percent), Johnathan Franklin, Packers (33 percent), Andre Ellington, Cardinals (27 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (16 percent), Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns (12 percent), Mike Goodson, Jets (3 percent)
Desperation add: Donald Brown, Colts (5 percent), Chris Polk, Eagles (1 percent), Anthony Dixon, 49ers (0 percent)

Woodhead should be the priority in all leagues if he's still available, but Jennings will likely be the most-added player this week. McFadden, shockingly, is hurt and could miss Week 5 against San Diego. Marcel Reece (knee) also got hurt against the Redskins, meaning Jennings could get a lot of work against the Chargers. He had 15 carries for 45 yards against Washington and eight catches for 71 yards. Those catches won't be there if Pryor starts, but Jennings has flex appeal in deeper leagues this week. ... The Redskins are off in Week 5, but every Morris owner needs to add Helu. Morris should return in Week 6 at Dallas, but if he's out then Helu would be a potential starter in all leagues. Helu had 13 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 43 yards against the Raiders. ... Hillman, Hunter and Ellington are all handcuff options. Hillman is worth stashing given Knowshon Moreno's injury history, Hunter has scored in consecutive weeks and would be a star if Frank Gore went down and Ellington is starting to outplay Rashard Mendenhall. All are worth speculating on in deeper leagues. ... Eddie Lacy (concussion) is expected back in Week 5 against Detroit, but James Starks (knee) might not return. That could give Franklin an extended look, and his value would skyrocket if Lacy has a setback. ... Goodson's four-game suspension is over, and he will likely share playing time with Bilal Powell with Chris Ivory (hamstring) hurt. Goodson is worth adding now in deep PPR leagues.

Wide receiver

Streamers for Week 5
Here are some DST and kickers to consider if you play the matchups with these positions each week.
Opponent Own %
Rams DST vs. JAC 41
Falcons DST vs. NYJ 38
Browns DST vs. BUF 27
Panthers DST at ARI 20
Robbie Gould, K, Bears vs. NO 57
Caleb Sturgis, K, Miami vs. BAL 50
Ryan Succop, K, Chiefs at TEN 15

Must add: Justin Blackmon, Jaguars (74 percent), Alshon Jeffery, Bears (57 percent), Marlon Brown, Ravens (53 percent), Nate Washington, Titans (21 percent)
Maybe add: Jerome Simpson, Vikings (23 percent), Robert Woods, Bills (15 percent), Austin Pettis, Rams (14 percent), Terrance Williams, Cowboys (6 percent), Keenan Allen, Chargers (3 percent)
Desperation add: Harry Douglas, Falcons (6 percent), Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers (2 percent), Justin Hunter, Titans (2 percent), Earl Bennett, Bears (1 percent), Jeff Maehl, Eagles (0 percent), Kris Durham, Lions (0 percent)

Blackmon's four-game suspension is over, and this is a good week for him to return at St. Louis. The Rams have allowed seven receivers to reach at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league this year. ... Brown is banged up with a hamstring injury, so make sure he's OK heading into Miami in Week 5. He has three touchdowns in four games and has been a valuable weapon for Joe Flacco. ... Jeffery had a breakout game in Week 4 at Detroit in a comeback effort with 20 Fantasy points, and the Bears are featuring him this season with at least eight targets in three of four games. He now has 12 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown in his past two games. ... Pettis has been the most reliable receiver for the Rams, and he is worth adding in deep PPR leagues, especially with a matchup against the Jaguars this week. ... Simpson now has over 120 receiving yards in two of four games, and the quarterback change to Cassel should help Simpson since Cassel will take shots down the field. ... Woods had his best game of the season in Week 4 against Baltimore with four catches for 80 yards and a touchdown on eight targets. He has 18 targets the past two games, and EJ Manuel is trying to get him involved. He just missed a second touchdown against the Ravens when he couldn't maintain control of the ball going out of bounds. ... Williams will remain a starter for the Cowboys as long as Miles Austin (hamstring) is out. He had seven catches for 71 yards against the Chargers, but he lost a late fumble. If he's not punished for that and starts again in Week 5 against Denver he could be a sleeper against the Broncos. ... Allen had five catches for 80 yards in Week 4 against Dallas on six targets. If he can get more targets he could be a useful Fantasy option in deeper leagues based on how well Philip Rivers has played so far this season.

Tight end

Must add: Coby Fleener, Colts (71 percent), Heath Miller, Steelers (71 percent)
Maybe add: Brent Celek, Eagles (34 percent), Brandon Pettigrew, Lions (32 percent), Garrett Graham, Texans (5 percent)
Desperation add: Delanie Walker, Titans (6 percent), Mychal Rivera, Raiders (1 percent), Jeff Cumberland, Jets (1 percent), Sean McGrath, Chiefs (0 percent), Matthew Mulligan, Patriots (0 percent)

If Dolphins tight end Charles Clay (76 percent) is still out there then add him in all leagues along with Fleener and Miller. ... Fleener has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games, and he should be owned in all formats. He should be a Top 10 Fantasy option for the rest of this season. ... Miller actually had a down game based on the expectations against the Vikings, but he still managed six catches for 70 yards on eight targets. He appears 100 percent back from last year's knee injury, and he's worth starting in all leagues when the Steelers come off their bye in Week 6. ... Celek has been relatively quiet since Week 1, but he did manage three catches for 57 yards on six targets in Week 4 at Denver. He has a good matchup against the Giants in Week 5 since four tight ends have scored against them this year. ... Pettigrew had his best game of the season in Week 4 against the Bears with seven catches for 54 yards on seven targets. It coincides with the first game Nate Burleson (arm) was out, so keep an eye on Pettigrew going forward. ... Graham has now scored in three of four games this season and has as many touchdowns as Owen Daniels. In deeper leagues, Graham could be worth starting. He has 16 targets through three games, so he's more than just a red-zone threat.

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
Report: Wes Welker may play Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:48 pm ET) Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker may play Week 1 against the Colts, according to the Denver Post

Welker is expected to be suspended for four games after reportedly testing positive for amphetamines. The league, however, has not officially announced the suspension. Suspensions are typically announced by Tuesday, according to Pro Football Talk. Since the NFL has yet to announce the move, it's thought Welker could be available for Week 1, but would serve his suspension once the NFL announced the move. 

There are a lot of uncertainties regarding the situation at this time. The club expects Welker to be available, provided he passes concussion protocal, but it remains to be seen how the NFL will handle this suspension. 


Randall Cobb to be tested Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:36 pm ET) Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb should be in for a tough test Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Cobb caught just three passes during the preseason, picking up 34 yards and a score. His lack of work shouldn’t be a huge concern, as the Packers offense doesn’t need any fine-tuning. The main thing here is that Cobb is 100 percent healthy after playing in just six games last season due to a leg injury.

His Week 1 production could be dampened by a strong Seahawks DST. Seattle was exceptional against the pass last season, holding opposing wide receivers to just 14.79 Fantasy points per game. That figure was the second-lowest rate in the league. On top of that, Cobb may have to deal with Richard Sherman, who is considered one of the best cornerbacks in the league. Sherman may spend the majority of the game stopping Jordy Nelson, but he could find his way over to Cobb on a few occasions.

Cobb’s versatility makes him a strong candidate to be moved around the Packers’ offense. If Green Bay can create some nice matchups, and Sherman is preoccupied with Nelson, Cobb could be in for a better game than people might expect. 

Despite that, expectations should be tempered. Seattle’s DST was strong last season, and while Green Bay boasts a strong offense, things should be muted Week 1. Cobb is a fine start, considering his upside, but he carries more risk this week due to the matchup.


Jordy Nelson in for a tough test Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:25 pm ET) Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson should be in for a difficult test Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Nelson had a quiet preseason, catching just two passes for 19 yards. One of those catches wound up being a touchdown. Despite the lack of action during the preseason, Nelson’s upside with a healthy Aaron Rodgers is well-known among Fantasy owners. That said, he’s going to have to work for everything he gets against Seattle.

The Seahawks rated as the best defense in the league last year. They were strong in every facet of the game. Seattle held opposing wide receivers to just 14.79 Fantasy points per game, the second-lowest figure in the league. To make things even more difficult for Nelson, he’ll likely be covered by Richard Sherman. Sherman, by many counts, is arguably the best corner in the game. 

Still, it’s tough to pass up Nelson’s upside with a healthy Rodgers. The Packers boast an overabundance of weapons, and it’s possible moving Nelson around before the play could put him in a more favorable matchup. Even if Sherman covers him the entire game, Nelson is a good enough receiver to make some noise. While he doesn’t have a great matchup, Week 1 is not the time to take a player as good as Nelson out of your Fantasy lineup. 


Eddie Lacy to have his hands full Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:17 pm ET) Packers running back Eddie Lacy will have his hands full Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Lacy is coming off a tremendous rookie season, in which he rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and scored 11 touchdowns. He didn’t get a ton of use during the preseason, but seemed to be in midseason form. Lacy rushed for 61 yards on 11 carries, good for a 5.5 average over two preseason games. He also managed to run in a touchdown.

Though he looked strong in the preseason, Lacy should have a tough time against the Seahawks Week 1. Seattle allowed just 12.32 Fantasy points per game to opposing running backs last season. That was the second-lowest rate in the league. While the Seahawks lost three defensive linemen during the offseason, the club is thought to still have the top-rated Fantasy defense.

In many circles, Lacy was considered a strong Fantasy pick after the elite four running backs were off the board. With that in mind, it’s unlikely he’ll be benched in many leagues Week 1. There are better matchups out there, but Lacy is a tough player to sit. Given Green Bay’s offensive capabilities, he’s still a decent start even against the best Fantasy defenses. 


Aaron Rodgers taking on a tough task Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(9:02 pm ET) Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has his work cut out for him Week 1 against the Seahawks.

Rodgers entered the season as one of the top Fantasy options at quarterback, but will take on the best defense in the league. Last season, Seattle held Fantasy quarterbacks to just 10.89 points per game. That was the lowest rate in the league. The Seahawks DST ranked tops in the league in limiting points and yards last year. On top of that, the team forced the most turnovers.

While Seattle lost three members of the defensive line during the offseason, the club is still expected to have one of NFL’s best defenses. If Seattle struggles to get to Rodgers, that could open things up for the Packers offense.

Given the cost to acquire Rodgers, in a snake or auction draft, he’s probably going to start for most Fantasy teams despite his tough Week 1 matchup. While there are better quarterback options for this week, Rodgers still has a strong potential for dominance. He’s healthy and still has a bevy of weapons at his disposal. It might not be Rodgers best game of the season, but he’s shown that he can put up numbers against even the best defensive clubs.


Percy Harvin looking to start the year on the right foot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:37 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin is looking at a strong matchup Week 1 against the Packers.

A quiet preseason was a good preseason for Harvin. After missing nearly all of last season due to a hip injury, Harvin was able to play in all but the final game of the preseason. He missed the fourth game due to a personal issue, and not because of an injury. Harvin caught seven balls for 92 yards in August.

The Packers didn’t boast a strong pass defense last season. The team allowed opposing wide receivers to average 22.94 Fantasy points per game. That wasn’t one of the worst rates in the league, but it was below-average. The team attempted to address this during the offseason, taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. Despite that, there’s no guarantee the team will perform better in the defensive backfield.

Despite the fact that Harvin is a five-year veteran, there are questions about how he’ll be used with the Seahawks. While Harvin was able to play during the club’s playoff run, it was unclear whether he was actually fully healthy last year. Harvin has shown the ability to be a game-changing wide receiver, so it’s assumed the Seahawks will find ways to get arguably their best playmaker the ball. The club has been been incredibly run-heavy over the past few seasons, but a healthy Harvin could make them more balanced. 


Marshawn Lynch ready to roll Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:35 pm ET) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is looking to get off to a good start Week 1 against the Packers.

Lynch had an abbreviated preseason, carrying the ball just three times for 16 yards. That’s probably not a bad thing considering his high workload over the past couple years. Lynch also had a brief holdout during the offseason, but reported to camp in shape, and should be ready to roll.

The Packers weren’t particularly strong against the run last season, giving up 19.18 Fantasy points per week to running backs. That was the eighth worst figure in the league. While the team tried to shore up things defensively during the offseason, the loss of B.J. Raji should make it easier for teams to gash the Packers up the middle. 

With that in mind, Lynch should be a strong start. The Seahawks modus operandi the past couple years has been the run game, and that probably won’t change now. There are concerns about Lynch’s workload and lack of preseason reps, but his pedigree and matchup make this a strong start Week 1. 


Russell Wilson ready to shine Week 1?
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:33 pm ET) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson begins his post-Super Bowl year with a strong matchup against the Packers Week 1. 

Wilson performed well during the preseason, completing 78.6 percent of his passes. He threw for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Wilson also managed three rushing touchdowns to cap off a strong preseason.

His ability to put up solid Fantasy numbers should be tested Week 1. The Packers did not boast a great defense against the pass last season. The team allowed quarterbacks to score 20.65 Fantasy points, which was the seventh worst clip in the league. Green Bay has been proactive in resolving the issue, drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round, but it’s unclear how much better the team’s defensive backs will perform. 

The bigger question will be whether the Seahawks open up the offense for Wilson this season. With Marshawn Lynch out for much of the preseason, Wilson showed the ability to carry the team with his arm. Now that Lynch is back, the team could opt to get back to conservative play-calling with the franchise quarterback. Wilson has all the makings of a strong matchup here, but could get the short end of the stick if the Seahawks pound Lynch.


Matt Forte should live up to billing in Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:25 pm ET) Bears running back Matt Forte was ranked as a top five Fantasy running back going into the season, and he falls in the top five in both weekly running back rankings from CBSSports.com experts. After setting career highs in rushing yardage, rushing touchdowns, receptions and receiving yardage in 2013, will Forte get this season started off on the right foot in Week 1 against the Bills?

While Buffalo put together a strong defense last season, the team's particular strength was against the pass. Rushers were able to gain 4.4 yards per carry against the Bills, leaving them 23rd in the league in the category. While the Bills did a good job defending against pass-catching backs last season, they now have to play without linebackers Kiko Alonso (season-ending injury) and Nigel Bradham (suspended for Week 1) as well as safety Jairus Byrd (signed with New Orleans).

New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense was just average defending passes against running backs in Detroit last season. Forte has been excellent against Schwartz, who was the head coach of the Lions from 2009 through 2013. He has rushed for 1,005 yards and averaged 4.74 yards per carry while catching 38 passes for 360 yards in 12 career games against the Lions. Ten of those contests came with Schwartz at the helm, and Forte should be able to continue giving the Bills defensive coordinator nightmares this Sunday.


Martellus Bennett worth starting in Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:09 pm ET) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett posted career-best numbers in 2013, catching 65 passes for 759 yards while matching his career high of five touchdowns. Three of those five scores came in the first two weeks of the season, and he could be on the verge of starting off hot for the third straight season.

Bennett is in danger of getting lost offensively on a week-to-week basis, as there are only so many opportunities to go around for Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and the tight end. He faces a plus matchup in Week 1, with the Bills dealing with a depleted linebacker corps and the loss of free safety Jairus Byrd. While the one thing new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense did well in Detroit last year was defend the tight end, the Bills don't appear to have the personnel to match up with the imposing Bennett.

Bennett falls inside the top 12 in the weekly rankings of both CBSSports.con Fantasy experts, designating him as starter material in standard leagues. We could see a similar line to his opener against the Bengals last season: three receptions, 49 yards and one touchdown.


 
 
 
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