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Instant reactions from Week 5

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Week 5 started off on a down note with Calvin Johnson being ruled inactive with a knee injury, but that didn't stop receivers from stealing the spotlight. It was another big day for the passing games.

Seven receivers -- Alshon Jeffery, T.Y. Hilton, Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Rueben Randle, DeSean Jackson and Justin Blackmon -- scored at least 19 Fantasy points in a standard league. For Blackmon, this was his first game of the season at St. Louis and hopefully something to build on, and Bryant and Jackson continued their stellar campaigns against the Cowboys and Giants, respectively. Bryant and Jackson are must-start Fantasy options each week, and Blackmon will soon join them in that category. But the names of note are Jeffery, Hilton, Williams and Randle.

Hilton was a huge surprise since he came into the game with no touchdowns on the season and five Fantasy points combined in his past two games, but he had five catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns against Seattle. He'll be back in your lineup in Week 6 at San Diego, and hopefully he'll never come out.

Williams stepped in for the injured Miles Austin (hamstring) for the second game in a row and had four catches for 151 yards and a touchdown against Denver. As long as Austin is out you can consider Williams a viable Fantasy option, and he's owned in just 16 percent of CBSSports.com leagues.

Jeffery continues to improve after he had 10 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown against New Orleans, and he'll be on the cusp of a must-start Fantasy option every week moving forward. He now has at least 20 Fantasy points in consecutive weeks and has at least eight targets in four of five games. Jay Cutler has developed a crush on his second-year receiver, and rightfully so.

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Randle had his second game of the season with double digits in Fantasy points with six catches for 96 yards and two touchdowns against Philadelphia, but his first big game since Week 1. He's too inconsistent to trust as the No. 3 receiver for the Giants. Add Randle to your roster (he's owned in 33 percent of leagues), but don't plan on starting him any time soon as long as Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are healthy.

Austin Pettis just missed joining that group with 16 Fantasy points, despite scoring two touchdowns against the Jaguars on four catches for 49 yards. It's clear he's Sam Bradford's favorite receiver at this point, and he's worth adding in all formats since he's owned in just 38 percent of leagues.

As for Johnson, expect him back in Week 6 at Cleveland.

Injuries of note: David Wilson (neck), Michael Vick (hamstring), Blaine Gabbert (hamstring), Zac Stacy (ribs)

Wilson's injury is not considered serious, and he said after the game he was held out as a precaution. He left the game against the Eagles in the first quarter, but at least he scored a touchdown, which was a saving grace for the Start of the Week. Look for Wilson to play Thursday night at Chicago, but stay tuned to his updates throughout the week. He'll be considered a No. 2 running back/flex against the Bears.

Vick also was held out as a precaution, but his status is up in the air for Week 6 at Tampa Bay. He was on his way to a quality stat line against the Giants with 105 passing yards and 79 rushing yards before leaving in the second quarter. He was replaced by Nick Foles, and Foles would have increased Fantasy value if Vick is out against the Buccaneers.

Just when Stacy got an opportunity -- he started against the Jaguars and had 14 carries for 78 yards -- he was injured in the fourth quarter. The game was already decided when Stacy left, but he'll likely be questionable for Week 6 at Houston. If Stacy plays against the Texans he should again be considered the best St. Louis running back. Daryl Richardson had 13 carries for 48 yards, Benny Cunningham had four carries for 13 yards and Isaiah Pead did not have a touch.

Gabbert left the game after another miserable performance. He was 9 of 19 passing for 181 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He was replaced by Chad Henne, who was 7 of 13 for 89 yards and a touchdown. After the game, coach Gus Bradley said Gabbert would start in Week 6 at Denver if healthy.

Danny Amendola returns: Amendola (groin) played for the first time since Week 1, and he had four catches for 55 yards on nine targets at Cincinnati. The good news is he didn't suffer a setback and led the Patriots in targets. The bad news is he had a terrible stat line. Look for Amendola to play much better in Week 6 against New Orleans. And as he improves, Julian Edelman's value will decline.

Also, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora reported on Fantasy Football Today on Sunday morning that Rob Gronkowski (back/forearm) will return against the Saints.

Bolden does better than Blount: The Patriots were without Stevan Ridley (knee) against the Bengals, but LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden failed to take advantage of the opportunity. Blount had 12 carries for 51 yards and a fumble, and Bolden had five carries for 24 yards and six catches for 40 yards. If Ridley is back against the Saints then Blount and Bolden will go back to reserve roles, with Bolden retaining minimal value in PPR leagues.

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Pierre Thomas first in second city: Thomas is from Chicago, and he loves playing in his hometown. He came into Week 5 with 192 rushing yards and a touchdown and 19 catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns in two career games at Chicago. On Sunday, he had 19 carries for 36 yards and nine catches for 55 yards and two touchdowns. He's a nice flex option as long as Mark Ingram (toe) remains out.

Giovani Bernard not getting it done: Bernard was outplayed by BenJarvus Green-Ellis against the Patriots, but don't get down on Bernard yet. Green-Ellis had 19 carries for 67 yards and a touchdown against his former team, and Bernard was held to 13 carries for 62 yards and a fumble and two catches for 7 yards, which was his second down game in a row. Look for both Bengals running backs to shine in Week 6 at Buffalo. If Bernard struggles against the Bills then hit the panic button.

Welcome back Chris Johnson: Johnson had his best Fantasy game of the season with 10 carries for 17 yards and four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time he was involved as a receiver with a season high in receptions -- consider that going forward with Ryan Fitzpatrick replacing Jake Locker (hip) -- and hopefully he can continue to produce. He has some tough games ahead against the Seahawks and 49ers before his bye in Week 8. But after the bye is when Johnson will shine with matchups against St. Louis, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Oakland and Indianapolis again through Week 13. Buy low if you can.

Trent Richardson struggles again: Richardson's two-game touchdown streak ended Sunday against Seattle, and he finished with 18 carries for just 56 yards. It's becoming clear that if Richardson doesn't score he has minimal Fantasy production. He has yet to top 60 rushing yards this season. You have to start Richardson in Week 6 at San Diego, but if he struggles there in a good matchup it's going to make plenty of Fantasy owners nervous about starting him in all leagues.

Waiver Wire preview: Here is a preview of the players we will highlight on Playing the Waiver Wire for Tuesday.

Quarterbacks: Bradford (79 percent ownership on CBSSports.com), Alex Smith, Chiefs (77 percent), Foles (5 percent)

Running backs: Bolden (29 percent), Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (25 percent), Stacy (12 percent)

Wide receivers: Jeffery (81 percent), Golden Tate, Seahawks (65 percent), Percy Harvin, Seahawks (39 percent), Robert Woods, Bills (39 percent), Austin Pettis, Rams (38 percent), Randle (33 percent), Williams (16 percent), Kris Durham, Lions (2 percent)

Tight ends: Charles Clay, Dolphins (80 percent), Brent Celek, Eagles (33 percent), Lance Kendricks, Rams (1 percent)

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em star: James Jones. He had four catches for 127 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Jones had 18 Fantasy points and was just behind Jeffery, Hilton, Randle, Jackson and Blackmon, who was also listed as a start.

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em flop: Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck. I had both quarterbacks on the sit list, but both finished as Top 10 quarterbacks. Wilson completed 15 of 31 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while rushing for a career-high 102 yards on 13 carries with a lost fumble. Luck completed 16 of 29 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns and also lost a fumble. Both of his touchdowns went to Hilton, who was also listed as a sit, unfortunately.

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
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles practices in full Thursday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:59 pm ET) Ankle and knee ailments could not prevent Chiefs standout running back Jamaal Charles from putting in a full practice Thursday. He was limited in the Wednesday session.

Charles in a roll. He has 515 yards on 86 carries in the last six games for a 6.0 YPC average.


DeMarco Murray increases workload in Thursday's practice
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:53 pm ET) Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray was listed as limited in Thursday's practice, but he said he did a lot more than he was able to do Wednesday, reports the Dallas Morning News. Wearing a special glove with padding to protect his surgically-repaired left hand, Murray participated in some team drills.

"It’s good," Murray told the paper. "I feel good."

Murray was asked if he'll play Sunday against the Colts, if the decision is left up to him. "I’m a very competitive person and I want to help this team out as much as I can," he told the paper. "I’ve had two good days and we’ll see how it goes."

Owner Jerry Jones said he was encouraged that Murray, the NFL's leading rusher, is "so aggressive in his thinking about playing."

Murray underwent surgery Monday to fix a broken bone in his hand. If he sits out, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar would rotate at tailback. Dallas is favored by 3 over the Colts at nearly every sportsbook.


Lions new CB Josh Thomas: Jets coaches didn't help me
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:46 pm ET) Cornerback Josh Thomas, who has hooked on with the Lions after being cut from the Jets, had some pointed words for his former team. He was let go after having his playbook stolen from a New Jersey hotel.

Thomas said the stolen playbook was not mentioned when he was told of his forced departure. But he added that the Jets never tried to improve his game.

"I feel like I wasn't given the attention necessary as far as being engaged from the coach-to-player standpoint and know the things I need to work on," Thomas told ESPN. "It became where I was there as a player and wanting and desiring some feedback that wasn't given. So sometimes I may have been standing there with a [deer-in-headlight] look in my eyes trying to figure out what I needed to do."


Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph unable to practice again
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:31 pm ET) Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (ankle, knee) missed another practice Thursday as the team prepared for Sunday's visit to Miami. Rudolph set season highs with seven catches for 69 yards Week 15 at Detroit.

If Rudolph can't play, Chase Ford would start.


Texans LB Whitney Mercilus fine for Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:16 pm ET) Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus has recovered from a back injury that prevented him from playing in Week 15 against Indianapolis and is ready to roll for the Sunday game against Baltimore.

Mercilus has played in 13 games this season with 11 starts. He has recorded four sacks.


Texans TE Garrett Graham a near-certain no-go Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:10 pm ET) Texans tight end Garrett Graham is destined to miss his third straight game Sunday against Baltimore with a high ankle sprain.

If he remains sidelined in Week 17, he will finish the season with just 18 catches for 197 yards.


Bengals get TE Gresham, CB Newman back Thursday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:59 pm ET) The Bengals received some encouragement Thursday on the injury front when tight end Jermaine Gresham (toe) and cornerback Terence Newman (ankle) practiced in full.

Both missed the Week 15 game in Cleveland.


Packers RB Eddie Lacy limited with eye irritation
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:55 pm ET) Packers running back Eddie Lacy was limited in practice Thursday as he continues to deal with eye irritation from a contact lens, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Despite the irritation, Lacy said he doesn't want to wear goggles and will wear a contact lens Sunday at Tampa Bay.

Lacy has run for 940 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 4.6 yards per carry.


Trio of Browns DBs again red-lighted Thursday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:54 pm ET) The battered Browns secondary received no good news Thursday as cornerbacks Joe Haden (shoulder) and K'Waun Williams (hamstring) and safety Tashaun Gipson (knee) were all out of their second straight practices this week.

Their continued absences could mean they will all be sidelined when the team plays at Charlotte on Sunday.


49ers' Frank Gore progressing, Carlos Hyde still out
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:43 pm ET) 49ers running back Frank Gore returned to practice Thursday wearing a non-contact jersey as he continues to progress through the league's concussion protocol, reports the Sacramento Bee. Rookie running back Carlos Hyde remained sidelined with ankle and back injuries.

The 49ers host the Chargers on Saturday night. If Gore gets cleared by an independent neurologist and Hyde sits out, Gore could see a heavy workload. If neither plays, the 49ers' top two tailbacks would be Alfonso Smith and newly-signed Phillip Tanner.


 
 
 
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