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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
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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