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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 8

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Doug Martin has been a disappointment in 2013.

No breaking news there.

He started the year with three games in a row with double digits in Fantasy points, but he scored only one touchdown and ran for 100 yards just once. And now his season might be over.

Martin suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in Week 7 at Atlanta and could miss the rest of the year, although Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano hasn't ruled him out. You can expect Martin to be out for a while, and the rush to the waiver wire is now on because a starting running back has become available.

Rookie Mike James, a sixth-round pick from the University of Miami, is the new starter for Tampa Bay, and he should be added in all leagues. He is owned in just 1 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com heading into Week 8, but he will be the most added free agent this week.

The Drop List for Week 8
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. Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers 100
2. Jay Cutler, QB, Bears 99
3. Nick Foles, QB, Eagles 84
4. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys 78
5. Jared Cook, TE, Rams 75
6. Randall Cobb, WR, Packers 72
7. David Wilson, RB, Giants 70
8. Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs 66
9. Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens 63
10. Tavon Austin, WR, Rams 62
11. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos 50
12. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots 42

James will not be a weekly starter in standard leagues like Martin was even though he was struggling, but he could be a potential flex option, especially during the bye weeks. His most extensive action was against the Falcons after Martin went down, and James had 14 carries for 45 yards and three catches for 8 yards.

If Martin wasn't having much success there's no reason to think James will do better, and the Buccaneers have a tough two-game stretch ahead against Carolina in Week 8 and at Seattle in Week 9. It gets better after that with Miami in Week 10, a rematch with Atlanta in Week 11 and at Detroit in Week 12, and we'll see where things go from there.

It's worth adding James even if you weren't the Martin owner because he could surprise us all, so make him a priority off your waiver wires. The other top free agents currently being scouted in CBSSports.com leagues include Redskins running back Roy Helu (44 percent ownership), Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (39 percent), Packers receiver Jarrett Boykin (37 percent), Jets running back Chris Ivory (36 percent) and Colts receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (16 percent).

Reed, as we've said the past few weeks, has the chance to be a Top 12 tight end the rest of the season, and he proved why with his breakout game against Chicago in Week 7. Boykin played like a star in place of the injured Randall Cobb (knee) and James Jones (knee) against Cleveland, and he gets a boost with Jermichael Finley (neck) now hurt. Heyward-Bey is headed for a bigger role with Reggie Wayne (ACL) now out for the season. And Ivory and Helu are coming off productive games in Week 7 and worth adding where available.

I would spend at least 50 percent of my FAAB money on James, 40 percent on Reed and Boykin depending on what you need, 15 percent on Ivory and Heyward-Bey and 10 percent or less on Helu. Every Alfred Morris owner should own Helu, but his three-touchdown performance against the Bears was fluky, so don't be fooled.

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: None
Maybe add: Terrelle Pryor, Raiders (61 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (48 percent), Carson Palmer, Cardinals (41 percent), Geno Smith, Jets (27 percent), Jake Locker, Titans (15 percent), Mike Glennon, Buccaneers (12 percent), Case Keenum, Texans (4 percent)
Desperation add: Josh Freeman, Vikings (28 percent), Thad Lewis, Bills (4 percent), Josh McCown, Bears (0 percent), Kellen Clemens, Rams (0 percent)

This is a bad week for quarterbacks, especially with six teams on a bye (Baltimore, Chicago, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tennessee and Houston), including must-start quarterbacks in Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck. On top of that, Sam Bradford (ACL) is out for the season and Jay Cutler (groin) could miss four weeks. ... Pryor should rebound coming off a bye from his poor performance against the Chiefs in Week 6, but the Steelers won't be an easy opponent. Only one quarterback has scored more than 18 Fantasy points against Pittsburgh, which was a surprise in Matt Cassel in Week 4. ... Tannehill has yet to score 20 Fantasy points this season, but he's facing a wounded New England defense this week. The Patriots have allowed three of the past four quarterbacks they've faced to score at least 20 Fantasy points, including Smith last week. ... Palmer is a sneaky sleeper this week. He hasn't scored 20 Fantasy points since Week 1, but he's facing the Falcons at home. He might be the best one-week replacement. ... Smith was great against the Patriots with 22 Fantasy points, and he now has at least 22 points in every other game going back to Week 3. If the pattern holds, he will have single digits in Fantasy points in Week 8 at Cincinnati. It's also a road game for Smith, and he has just one game with double digits in Fantasy points away from home in three tries, which was Week 5 against a bad Atlanta defense. ... Glennon has done well the past two weeks against mediocre opponents in Philadelphia and Atlanta with 43 Fantasy points over that span, but he faces a tough opponent in Week 8 against Carolina on Thursday night. We're not overly optimistic for Glennon this week, especially with Martin out. ... Locker is worth buying into long-term since the Titans are on a bye. He had 25 Fantasy points against the 49ers in Week 7 after missing the previous two games with a hip injury, and he now has at least 18 Fantasy points in four games in a row. The Titans come off their bye with strong matchups against St. Louis, Jacksonville and Indianapolis, and Locker could remain hot. ... Keenum is another quarterback to buy into long-term. The Texans have a bye in Week 8, and we'll find out if Matt Schaub (ankle) gets his job back. If he doesn't and Keenum remains the starter then he might have some potential for Fantasy owners. He played well at Kansas City in Week 7 with 271 passing yards and one touchdown and showed more moxie than Schaub, which could jump-start this struggling offense. ... I wouldn't buy into the injury replacements in McCown or Clemens until we see how they do. McCown has more upside than Clemens, but the Bears are off this week.

Running backs

Must add: Chris Ivory, Jets (36 percent), Peyton Hillis, Giants (22 percent), Mike James, Buccaneers (1 percent)
Maybe add: Shane Vereen, Patriots (58 percent), Roy Helu, Redskins (44 percent), Andre Brown, Giants (34 percent), Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (28 percent), Mike Tolbert, Panthers (27 percent), Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (24 percent), Brandon Bolden, Patriots (23 percent)
Desperation add: Khiry Robinson, Saints (5 percent), Michael Cox, Giants (5 percent), Phillip Tanner, Cowboys (2 percent), Brian Leonard, Buccaneers (1 percent)

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James is the priority this week, but in deeper leagues you might want to consider Leonard based on his experience. And if James were to get hurt then Leonard could see an expanded role. ... Ivory outplayed Bilal Powell in Week 7 with 34 carries for 104 yards and one catch for minus-2 yards, and Powell was barely used with three carries for 6 yards and no catches on two targets. Powell was coming off a neck injury in Week 6, but the Jets said he wasn't hurt. It might have been a matchup-based scenario against New England, but Ivory is worth buying into in case this continues. ... Hillis looked sluggish against the Vikings on Monday night, but he was productive with 18 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 45 yards. He outplayed Cox, who started and had 11 carries for 23 yards and two catches for 1 yard. We'll find out if Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) returns for Week 8 at the Eagles, but if he's out again then Hillis could be considered a starter in the majority of leagues. ... Helu had 11 carries for 41 yards and three touchdowns, but he came into the game with three career touchdowns. Alfred Morris was still a factor with 19 carries for 95 yards, but Helu just took away the touchdowns. We don't expect Helu to become a touchdown vulture, but Helu is someone to keep your eye on in case he gets more work moving forward. He could be involved in the passing game this week with the matchup at Denver. ... I'll continue to say it, but if you have an open roster spot now is the time to add Vereen, Brown or Stewart, in that order. Vereen won't return until Week 11, but he could make a difference in the Fantasy playoffs. Brown (leg) could help the Giants right away once he's ready in Week 10. And Stewart could return as early as Week 9, but it's unlikely he'll be 100 percent any time soon. ... Tolbert just continues to score with a touchdown in consecutive games and four in the past four games. In a dire situation he could be worth starting, even with a tough matchup against Tampa Bay in Week 8. ... Thomas had his best game in Week 7 against Buffalo with 12 carries for 60 yards, and he got three more carries than Lamar Miller. The Dolphins will continue to split time with Thomas and Miller, which hurts both of them, but Thomas has a great matchup in Week 8 at New England. If you're stuck this week then consider Thomas as a bye-week or injury replacement. ... Bolden started in Week 7 at the Jets and had just three fewer carries than Stevan Ridley. We still like Ridley as the best New England running back, but Bolden scored against the Jets and could be useful in a deeper league. ... If Mark Ingram (toe) is out again in Week 8 against Buffalo then bump up Robinson to the maybe add group and gamble on him this week. Robinson scored in his last game in Week 6 at New England and has a favorable matchup in Week 8 against Buffalo.

Wide receiver

Streamers for Week 8
Here are some DST and kickers to consider if you play the matchups with these positions each week.
Opponent Own %
Steelers DST at OAK 43
Saints DST vs. BUF 39
Falcons DST at ARI 32
Sebastian Janikowski, K, OAK vs. PIT 41
Jay Feely, K, ARI vs. ATL 8
Graham Gano, K, CAR at TB 5

Must add: Jarrett Boykin, Packers (37 percent), Darrius Heyward-Bey, Colts (16 percent)
Maybe add: Kendall Wright, Titans (41 percent), Michael Crabtree, 49ers (24 percent), Jeremy Kerley, Jets (11 percent), Marvin Jones, Bengals (7 percent), Brandon Gibson, Dolphins (7 percent), Mario Manningham, 49ers (4 percent)
Desperation add: Eddie Royal, Chargers (49 percent), Sidney Rice, Seahawks (39 percent), Riley Cooper, Eagles (19 percent), Brian Quick, Rams (1 percent), Mike Brown, Jaguars (1 percent), Aldrick Robinson, Redskins (0 percent), LaVon Brazill, Colts (0 percent)

If Falcons receiver Harry Douglas (76 percent) is available put him as the 1a priority at receiver after Boykin. He had a career game against Tampa Bay in Week 7 with 20 Fantasy points, and he should continue to shine, at least until Roddy White (hamstring) returns. ... Boykin was great in his first featured role with Cobb and Jones out with 16 Fantasy points against the Browns. Jones could return this week, but Finley's absence will keep Boykin relevant for the foreseeable future. ... Heyward-Bey will fill in for Wayne, and he's coming off his first game with a touchdown in Week 7 against Denver. Heyward-Bey obviously won't be anywhere near as good as Wayne, and T.Y. Hilton is now the No. 1 receiver for the Colts. But with Heyward-Bey's playing time and targets expected to increase, he can now be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver after the Colts bye in Week 8. Brazill also is expected to see a bump in playing time and is worth monitoring. ... Kerley has played well of late with double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games. His play goes hand in hand with Smith, and so when Smith has been good, so has Kerley. ... Wright is a must add in all PPR leagues, and he had nine catches for 98 yards in Week 7 against the 49ers. He now has at least five catches in each of his past six games, and his production should remain high with Locker back. ... Jones has done a nice job the past two games against Buffalo and Detroit with seven catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns on 11 targets, and he's one of the reasons Andy Dalton has gotten hot of late. Dalton needs a second receiver to step up opposite A.J. Green, and Jones appears to be that guy over Mohammed Sanu. We'd gamble on Jones now in deeper leagues, and hopefully he continues to put up quality production moving forward. ... Percy Harvin could return this week -- if he's available (81 percent ownership) add him immediately -- and Crabtree and Manningham could return soon. We'll continue to mention each, and Manningham should be back in Week 10. If you're a playoff-caliber team, it's worth it to gamble on Crabtree now. ... Don't buy into the two touchdowns for Gibson against Buffalo because those were his first two scores of the season. Buy into at least seven Fantasy points in a standard league in three consecutive games and four times this year. In a PPR league, Gibson has at least five catches four times and at least 70 receiving yards three times.

Tight end

Must add: Jordan Reed, Redskins (39 percent)
Maybe add: Tyler Eifert, Bengals (42 percent), Brandon Pettigrew, Lions (32 percent), Dallas Clark, Ravens (25 percent), Zach Miller, Seahawks (13 percent), Delanie Walker, Titans (7 percent), Rob Housler, Cardinals (4 percent)
Desperation add: Benjamin Watson, Saints (1 percent), Andrew Quarless, Packers (0 percent)

As we said last week, if Jimmy Graham (foot) is out for Week 8 against Buffalo then consider adding Watson in deeper leagues. Watson is nowhere near as talented as Graham, but the starting tight end for Drew Brees is a valuable commodity. ... Quarless could also see a bump in value depending on how long Finley is out. ... Reed is the main priority at tight end after he had nine catches for 134 yards and a touchdown on nine targets against the Bears. He now has at least six targets in all but one game and at least 50 receiving yards in three games in a row. He's dealing with a hip pointer, but he's expected to be fine at Denver in Week 8 in what should be a favorable matchup. ... Eifert scored his first NFL touchdown in Week 7 against the Lions, and we hope he can build on that performance. He has a favorable matchup against the Jets, who have allowed a tight end to score or total at least eight Fantasy points in each of the past five games. ... You know at this point what you're getting with Pettigrew, Clark, Miller and Walker. They each scored touchdowns in Week 7, but none of them have been consistent. Still, in a desperate situation, you might need one of these veterans moving forward. Of that group, we like Walker and Miller the best. ... Walker has at least five targets in each of his past three games, and hopefully Locker can help him improve. ... Miller had a great matchup in Week 7 at Arizona, and he took advantage of it with five catches for 40 yards and a touchdown on a season-high seven targets. I wouldn't add Miller in the majority of leagues, but hopefully he can build off that performance. ... Housler just had his best game of the season with seven catches for 53 yards on seven targets, and even though the majority of it came during garbage time against Seattle, we hope it's a building block. He has a favorable matchup at home against Atlanta in Week 8.

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
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.


Illness has Bengals WR A.J. Green out Thursday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(3:28 pm ET) Bengals stud wideout A.J. Green missed practice Thursday with what the team has confirmed was an illness.

Green should be fine for the Monday night game against visiting Denver.


 
 
 
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