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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 7

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Cowboys rookie running back Joseph Randle has the chance to be the most popular player off the waiver wire this season. He could be a must-start Fantasy option for the next four weeks.

DeMarco Murray sprained his MCL in his left knee Sunday night against the Redskins, and hopefully he won't be out long. But if he does miss an extended period of time you then Randle could be the starter in Dallas with some great matchups ahead.

The Drop List for Week 7
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. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs 100
2. David Wilson, RB, Giants 91
3. Willis McGahee, RB, Browns 90
4. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Cardinals 88
5. Jared Cook, TE, Rams 87
6. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys 84
7. Tavon Austin, WR, Rams 84
8. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans 83
9. Coby Fleener, TE, Colts 82
10. Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs 79
11. Matt Schaub, QB, Texans 73
12. Daryl Richardson, RB, Rams 70

The Cowboys face some of the worst run defenses over the next four games before their bye in Week 11 with matchups against Philadelphia, Detroit, Minnesota and New Orleans. If Randle starts those games then Fantasy owners could potentially be starting him across the board, and you can pencil him as the No. 1 option for Week 7 with Murray almost certainly out.

Lance Dunbar could play a role if healthy, but he missed Sunday's game with a hamstring injury. Phillip Tanner would share time with Randle in Week 7 at the Eagles, but it's clear Randle is the running back you want. Against the Redskins, Randle filled in for Murray with 11 carries for 17 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 15 yards. Tanner had just one carry for 2 yards.

Randle is owned in just 4 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com and is a must-add in all formats. In deeper leagues you can speculate on Dunbar (5 percent ownership) or Tanner (1 percent) in case Randle struggles, but Randle is the one to covet until Murray returns.

Some of the other top free agents currently being viewed on CBSSports.com include Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (67 percent), Seahawks receiver Percy Harvin (55 percent), Giants running back Brandon Jacobs (30 percent), Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (28 percent), Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell (18 percent) and Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya (15 percent).

I would prioritize the free agents this way: Randle, Harvin, Ellington, Jacobs, Foles, Ogbonnaya and LaFell. I would spend at least 50 percent of my remaining FAAB money on Randle if he has the chance to start those next four games. Harvin and Ellington are worth at least 30 percent, Jacobs 25 percent and Foles, Ogbonnaya and LaFell are worth 10 percent or less.

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

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Must add: Nick Foles, Eagles (28 percent)
Maybe add: Brandon Weeden, Browns (17 percent), Josh Freeman, Vikings (16 percent), Mike Glennon, Buccaneers (7 percent)
Desperation add: Thad Lewis, Bills (2 percent), T.J. Yates, Texans (2 percent), Case Keenum, Texans (0 percent)


Foles stepped in for the injured Michael Vick (hamstring) in Week 6 at Tampa Bay and was brilliant with 296 passing yards and three touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Including his Week 5 game at the Giants when he replaced Vick, Foles now has six total touchdowns and just under 500 passing yards in the past two outings. He has a favorable matchup in Week 7 against Dallas, and Foles would be worth starting in most leagues if he remains the starter for the Eagles. Consider him a great bye-week replacement for Drew Brees or Terrelle Pryor. ... The Browns lost for the first time in three games with Weeden starting, but he posted 20 Fantasy points and isn't expected to lose his job. He is worth using in two-quarterback leagues with his matchup at Green Bay in Week 7. ... Glennon took advantage of a good matchup in Week 6 against the Eagles with 22 Fantasy points, and he did that without Mike Williams (hamstring). Like Weeden, you can use Glennon in two-quarterback leagues if needed this week with another favorable matchup at Atlanta. ... The Vikings haven't said if Freeman or Matt Cassel will start this week at the Giants, but it's worth speculating Freeman will get the job eventually. And if he does start in Week 7 then he could be an option in two-quarterback leagues already. Cassel struggled in Week 6 against Carolina at home, and the Vikings need a spark on offense. Maybe Freeman can give them that, especially in a good matchup against New York. ... Lewis would be a maybe add if healthy, but he hurt his foot in Week 6 against the Bengals and was in a walking boot after the game. He had 25 Fantasy points against Cincinnati and played well, but I don't love his matchup at Miami, especially if he's not 100 percent. ... Yates is expected to start in Week 7 at Kansas City with Matt Schaub (leg) hurt, but Fantasy owners should ignore him in most formats. If you want to speculate on a long-term quarterback option for the Texans then look at Keenum. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason LaCanfora said on our Fantasy Football Today show Sunday morning that Keenum could get an extended look soon if Schaub continues to struggle.

Running backs

Must add: Zac Stacy, Rams (69 percent), Andre Ellington, Cardinals (67 percent), Brandon Jacobs, Giants (30 percent), Joseph Randle, Cowboys (4 percent)
Maybe add: Shane Vereen, Patriots (56 percent), Chris Ivory, Jets (36 percent), Andre Brown, Giants (29 percent), Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (29 percent), Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns (15 percent), Mike Tolbert, Panthers (9 percent), Michael Cox, Giants (1 percent)
Desperation add: Lance Dunbar, Cowboys (5 percent), Khiry Robinson, Saints (2 percent), Phillip Tanner, Cowboys (1 percent), Travaris Cadet, Saints (0 percent)

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The top running back to add for this week is Randle, but after that I would look at Jacobs if you need a one-week fill-in option. He has the best matchup of the free agent running backs against the Vikings on Monday night, and Jacobs just had 22 Fantasy points at Chicago in Week 6. Jacobs looks like he'll remain the starter for the near future with David Wilson (neck) out, and he'll share time with Cox, who's worth a flier in deeper leagues. Brown (leg) is eligible to return in Week 10, and when he does he could see plenty of action depending on what the backfield looks like then. He's worth speculating on now if you have an open roster spot. ... Stacy did a nice job in Week 6 at Houston with eight Fantasy points and now has 15 Fantasy points in two games. The Rams are still searching for their first rushing touchdown of the season from a running back, but Stacy should be considered a flex option moving forward based on his role in St. Louis as the starter. He had 20 touches against the Texans, and hopefully that workload will remain the same in Week 7 at Carolina. ... Ellington is the running back to own in Arizona, as Rashard Mendenhall continues to struggle. Ellington now has at least eight Fantasy points in a standard league in three of his past five games, and he should only continue to improve from this point forward. He has a tough matchup in Week 7 against Seattle on Thursday night, so consider him a flex option at best, but he could be great in Week 8 against Atlanta. ... Like we said about Brown, if you have an open roster spot, now is the time to grab Vereen (wrist) to make sure he's on your roster. He won't return until Week 11, but he could make a difference in the Fantasy playoffs. ... Stewart (ankle) is closer to a return, but he might be two weeks away. At this point we'd rather gamble on Vereen or Brown even though Stewart should hopefully be back before those two. ... Bilal Powell (shoulder) and Mike Goodson (torn ACL, MCL) were both injured in Week 6 against the Steelers, which could open the door for Ivory to start against the Patriots in Week 7. We expect Powell to play, but keep an eye on what develops. If Ivory does start it would be a good matchup against New England. ... Ogbonnaya might be the better Fantasy option than Willis McGahee for the Browns, especially in PPR leagues. He has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three outings with 12 catches and two touchdowns against Cincinnati and Detroit, and he failed to make it three in a row in Week 5 against Buffalo because he left the game with a concussion. The Browns are a pass-first team, and Ogbonnaya could be more involved than McGahee moving forward, especially in Week 7 at Green Bay. ... Tolbert is a risky Fantasy option because if he doesn't score a touchdown you're looking at three Fantasy points or less, which he's done three times this season. But in a desperate situation in Week 7 you could consider him against the Rams, who have allowed six touchdowns to opposing running backs this season. Tolbert also is the only running back to score a touchdown for the Panthers this year with three compared to none for DeAngelo Williams.

Wide receiver

Streamers for Week 7
Here are some DST and kickers to consider if you play the matchups with these positions each week.
Opponent Own %
Packers DST vs. CLE 46
Steelers DST vs. BAL 45
Dolphins DST vs. BUF 25
Mason Crosby, K, GB vs. CLE 59
Ryan Succop, K, KC vs. HOU 44
Caleb Sturgis, K, MIA vs. BUF 27

Must add: Percy Harvin, Seahawks (55 percent), Harry Douglas, Falcons (47 percent), Rueben Randle, Giants (46 percent), Kris Durham, Lions (5 percent), Jarrett Boykin, Packers (0 percent)
Maybe add: Michael Floyd, Cardinals (67 percent), Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (50 percent), Marlon Brown, Ravens (40 percent), Kendall Wright, Titans (38 percent), Michael Crabtree, 49ers (21 percent), Brandon LaFell, Panthers (18 percent), Mario Manningham, 49ers (2 percent)
Desperation add: Jacoby Jones, Ravens (15 percent), Kenny Stills, Saints (9 percent), Greg Little, Browns (8 percent), Riley Cooper, Eagles (4 percent), Drew Davis, Falcons (1 percent), Marvin Jones, Bengals (0 percent), Marquise Goodwin, Bills (0 percent), Tandon Doss, Ravens (0 percent), Kevin Cone, Falcons (0 percent)

In consecutive weeks we lost two of the top Fantasy receivers coming into the season with Julio Jones (foot) in Week 5 and now Randall Cobb (leg) in Week 6. Jones is out for the season, and Cobb is expected to miss 6-8 weeks, which crushes his value. Hopefully he will be back for the Fantasy playoffs at 100 percent, but the Packers also could be without James Jones (knee) in Week 7 vs. Cleveland. These injuries have opened the door for Fantasy owners to consider Douglas and Boykin as potential starters. ... The Falcons could be without Roddy White (hamstring, ankle) in Week 7, which would elevate Douglas to No. 1 on the depth chart. He has yet to score this season, but he does have two games with at least six Fantasy points. He also has seen at least six targets in three of five games, but his best production lies in front of him for the rest of the season. Also, put Davis and Cone on your radar in case they do anything in Week 7 vs. Tampa Bay. ... I'd speculate on Boykin in all leagues because anyone catching passes from Aaron Rodgers has upside. He had six targets against the Ravens with Jones and Cobb injured, but he produced just one catch for 43 yards. His targets could go up with an increased role, and so will his production, especially if Jones remains out. ... I like what Durham has done of late, and he's benefited the most with Nate Burleson (arm) out. He has 11 catches for 113 yards and a touchdown the past two games at Green Bay and Cleveland on 21 targets. He's also stepped up with Calvin Johnson (knee) at less than 100 percent, and it's clear Matthew Stafford likes throwing to his fellow Bulldog. ... Randle might have trouble with his route running, which has led to a couple of Eli Manning interceptions, but he's now produced three touchdowns and 34 Fantasy points in his past two games. He has two favorable matchups ahead with Minnesota in Week 7 and Philadelphia in Week 8, and there's also speculation the Giants could trade Hakeem Nicks. That would obviously allow Randle's value to skyrocket. ... We're going to say this every week until they return, but it's time now to speculate on Harvin (hip), Crabtree (Achilles) and Manningham (knee) if you have an open roster spot. That's how I would rank them even though Manningham will return first. He could start practicing this week. The earliest Harvin could return is Week 8. ... Torrey Smith was held in check by the Packers with one catch for 12 yards, but Brown, Jacoby Jones and Doss all had at least seven Fantasy points. The only one to trust is Brown, who has at least seven Fantasy points in four of five games this season. ... Floyd and Sanders showed up in Week 6 with their first touchdowns of the season. Floyd had 10 Fantasy points against the 49ers, and Sanders had 13 Fantasy points against the Jets. If they can build on these performances then they'd be worth adding in all leagues, but both have been disappointments thus far despite entering the season with a lot of promise. ... Cam Newton's two best games this season were Week 3 against the Giants and Week 6 at Minnesota. In those two games, LaFell has three touchdowns and 160 receiving yards. He is risky because if he doesn't score he has minimal production with four Fantasy points or less in three of five games, so keep that in mind when adding him. ... Wright is undervalued in PPR leagues. He has at least five catches in each of the past five games, and he has 41 targets over that span.

Tight end

Must add: Kyle Rudolph, Vikings (48 percent), Scott Chandler, Bills (21 percent), Timothy Wright, Buccaneers (0 percent)
Maybe add: Jordan Reed, Redskins (21 percent), Dallas Clark, Ravens (21 percent), Lance Kendricks, Rams (4 percent), Joseph Fauria, Lions (2 percent), Levine Toilolo, Falcons (1 percent)
Desperation add: Benjamin Watson, Saints (0 percent), Cory Harkey, Rams (0 percent), Michael Hoomanawanui, Patriots (0 percent)


We hope Jimmy Graham (foot) will be fine following the Saints' bye in Week 7, but if we find out prior to Tuesday night that he's out for an extended period of time then make Watson a higher priority. He's nowhere near as talented as Graham, but the starting tight end for Brees is a valuable commodity. ... The first two tight ends listed in Rudolph and Chandler are coming off good games with great matchups this week and worth using as bye-week replacements for Graham. Rudolph had a career high in catches (nine) and yards (97) against Carolina with his second touchdown of the season. He faces the Giants in Week 7, and they have already allowed four tight ends to reach double digits in Fantasy points. Chandler caught his second touchdown in the past four games against the Bengals in Week 6 and faces a Dolphins defense in Week 7 that allows the second-most Fantasy points to opposing tight ends. ... The Bucs may have solved their tight end problem with Wright, who has played well the past two games. He had seven catches for 91 yards against the Eagles in Week 6 and now has 12 catches for 132 yards the past two games. He has a favorable matchup in Week 7 at Atlanta since the Falcons have allowed a tight end to score in four of five games this season. ... Reed may never develop into a must-start Fantasy option in standard leagues, but he has played well when healthy. He had four catches for 58 yards at Dallas in Week 6 and has six targets in three of four games. He doesn't have the best matchup in Week 7 against Chicago, but keep an eye on him in deeper leagues. ... In touchdown-only leagues, adding Fauria is a must, but owners in other formats can probably do better. Until Fauria starts to produce as more than just a red-zone threat he's not going to be a consistent Fantasy option. He scored three touchdowns at Cleveland in Week 6 and had three catches for 34 yards. He has yet to top three catches or three targets in a game this season. He does have three games with touchdowns this year, but in the three games he didn't score he had no catches. We like his upside and he's a big target at 6-foot-7. But red-zone threats are hard to predict, and you don't want to start him on the game where he doesn't score. His Week 7 matchup against the Bengals isn't terrible because Cincinnati has allowed three tight ends to score this season. ... Clark resurfaced again in Week 6 against Green Bay with his best game of the season. He had four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown on six targets, which came one week after no targets in Week 5 at Miami. He's too inconsistent to trust in most leagues and should not be started in Week 7 at Pittsburgh. ... Kendricks scored for the third week in a row for the Rams, and for the second time over that span he had just one catch. He's like Fauria since he's mostly just a red-zone threat and isn't worth using in most formats outside of touchdown-only leagues. ... Toilolo is worth keeping an eye on if the Falcons use more two tight-end sets. He has a touchdown in two of his past three games.

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
Matthew Stafford burns you for the last time
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/21/2014) When Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford disappointed with just 153 passing yards and one touchdown Week 15 against Minnesota, I was willing to make excuses for him. "The Vikings pass defense really isn't so bad," I said while penciling in Stafford for another 390 yards and two touchdowns Week 16 at Chicago. That's what he did against the Bears in Week 13, after all, and they entered Week 16 ranked 31st against the pass.

So of course, Stafford throws for 243 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.

The performance could have been so, so, so much better. He threw one of those interceptions in the end zone and another just short of the end zone. But the fact is he completed those passes to Bears and not Lions, and so it was an awful performance despite a favorable matchup.

Stafford has been one of the most up-and-down quarterbacks in Fantasy this season, but the one thing he appeared to have going for him was that he played to the matchups. Remove predictability from the equation, and he's as frustratingly inconsistent as Cam Newton.

How can you trust him Week 17 at Green Bay? He threw two interceptions with no touchdown passes in his previous meeting with the Packers this year, so if you have a Mark Sanchez or even Newton type on the waiver wire, you might want to go that route instead.


Seahawks TE Luke Willson scores twice Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) Seahawks tight end Luke Willson turned in a huge game Week 16 against the Cardinals. 

Willson only caught three passes, but made a huge impact. On his first reception of the game, Willson hauled in an 80 yard score from Russell Wilson. Willson got behind the defense, and was able to outrun everyone once he caught the pass. Late in the game, Willson pulled in a 39 yard reception. Later in the drive, he caught a 20 yard touchdown pass for his second score of the night. Willson finished with a team-high 139 yards. 

Willson will take on the Rams Week 17. 


Seahawks QB Russell Wilson picks up three scores Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson turned in a fantastic start Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Wilson completed 20 of 31 passes for 339 yards and two scores. Despite playing one of the tougher defenses in the NFL, Wilson did not turn the ball over during the contest. He had a mostly clear pocket, or at least was able to escape when things got muddy, taking just one sack. When Wilson did have time, he was able to hit on big play, averaging 10.9 yards per completion. 

On top of that, Wilson turned in a fine game on the ground. An early 55 yard run started things off, but a late 5 yard scramble really put the nail in the coffin. Wilson stiff-armed a defender on his way to the end zone.

Wilson will take on the Rams Week 17.


Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch finds the end zone twice Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch found the end zone twice Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Lynch didn't play the entire first quarter due to an upset stomach, but still managed to make a huge impact. On his fourth carry of the game, Lynch picked up a 6 yard touchdown. Lynch was mostly held in check other than that carry until the fourth quarter. On his final carry, Lynch ripped off a career-high 79 yard touchdown. It was vintage Lynch, as he stiff-armed a defender and broke multiple tackles on his way to the end zone. He finished with 113 rushing yards. 

Lynch will take on the Rams Week 17.


Danny Amendola fills in capably
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/21/2014) Getting a chance for extensive playing time with Julian Edelman sidelined by a concussion, Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola took over as quarterback Tom Brady's preferred underneath route runner, leading the team with 11 targets. He caught a season-high eight passes for 63 yards.

The Patriots are notoriously tight-lipped about injuries, so no one can say for sure if Edelman will also miss Week 17 against Buffalo, but it's nice to know Amendola can step in with similar numbers if he does. For Edelman owners, he's worth adding as handcuff in case Edelman can't go, and in PPR leagues, he might be worth adding whether or not you own Edelman.

Just understand that, like Edelman, you shouldn't be counting on him for big yardage, just lots and lots of opportunities.


Tom Brady has out-of-character performance
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/21/2014) The Patriots have played some weird games against Jets in recent years, including a 27-25 squeaker when they were at their hottest back in Week 7. So perhaps it's not surprising quarterback Tom Brady wasn't at his best Week 16 at the Jets as the Patriots eked out another victory, this time by just one point.

He completed 23 of 35 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was coming off a streak of 10 games with both 200-plus passing yards and two-plus touchdowns.

Brady was playing without his top target, wide receiver Julian Edelman, who was out with a concussion. But with Rob Gronkowski and Brandon LaFell still at his disposal and Danny Amendola filling in capably, that likely wasn't the reason for his struggles. The matchup shouldn't have been either given where the Jets rank against the pass, but in three of his last four games against the division rival, Brady has thrown for less than two scores. And in all four, he's thrown for less than 300 yards.

Maybe it's just a matter of them being too familiar with each other. In any case, you shouldn't let this performance discourage you from starting Brady Week 17 against Buffalo unless of course the Patriots have already secured homefield advantage throughout the playoffs by that point.


Seahawks' Cooper Helfet able to return Week 16
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) Seahawks tight end Cooper Helfet was able to return Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Helfet was carted off in the first half with a rib injury. He was initially ruled questionable to return to the contest, but was cleared to return after half time. Helfet returned at the start of the third quarter. 


Patriots' backfield remains an enigma
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(12/21/2014) LeGarrette Blount was out for Week 16 at the Jets with a shoulder injury, which meant surely the Patriots would make Jonas Gray their go-to running back. After all, he had a 200-yard, four-touchdown game earlier this season and finally got out of coach Bill Belichick's doghouse with 11 carries for 62 yards last week.

Wrong again.

Gray was the Patriots' only running back to score a touchdown in Week 16, plunging in from 1 yard out in the fourth quarter, but to say he was the go-to back would be disingenuous. He and Shane Vereen tied for the team lead in carries with six, but Brandon Bolden also had five. And Vereen and Bolden were both more productive with their carries, averaging 6.3 yards and 6.4 yards, respectively, than Gray was with his, averaging 0.8 yards.

And then there's the fact that Vereen is far and away the best pass-catcher of the three, but he was hardly involved in the passing game on a quiet day for quarterback Tom Brady.

So basically, you wouldn't have gone right with any of Blount's three replacements, and considering they were all equally involved, you have to wonder how they'll impact Blount's role if he returns Week 17 against Buffalo. Given that it's a tough matchup anyway, you might just want to avoid every Patriots running back.


Field goals down Ravens in loss to Texans
by Chris Towers | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) Coming off their best performance of the season, the Ravens DST unit failed to live up to expectations in Week 16's 25-13 loss to the Texans.

The Ravens mostly held the Texans offense in check, limiting them to 313 yards of total offense. However, the Texans had the ball in the red zone seven times, and were able to rack up a solid scoring day despite being held to just one touchdown, as they kicked six field goals in the win. The Ravens forced just one turnover, and failed to sack Case Keenum in the loss.

The Ravens finished Sunday's game with just 5 Fantasy points, one week after dropping 26 against the Jaguars. They will look to bounce back in Week 17, as they face the Browns in the season finale.


Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse ruled out with hamstring injury
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12/21/2014) Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse has been ruled out Week 16 against the Cardinals.

Kearse is dealing with a hamstring injury. He caught one pass for 8 yards before leaving the contest. 


 
 
 
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