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Instant reactions from Week 9

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Nick Foles was nothing short of amazing Sunday in Week 9 at Oakland. He shocked the NFL and Fantasy world by his performance against the Raiders.

The last time we saw Foles was Week 7 against Dallas when he passed for 2.8 yards per attempt, completed 38 percent of his passes and finished with five Fantasy points before leaving with a concussion. He certainly improved on that performance against Oakland.

Foles returned as the starter in place of Michael Vick (hamstring) and was 22 of 28 passing for 406 yards, seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He threw three touchdowns to Riley Cooper and one each to DeSean Jackson, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy. He also had three carries for 14 yards, and he finished with 59 Fantasy points.

Foles will easily remain the starter for the Eagles for the rest of the season even when Vick is healthy, and he should be picked up where available. He is currently owned in just 40 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com. The Eagles play at Green Bay in Week 10, and even though that's a difficult matchup you can buy into Foles as a starting option. He has at least 35 Fantasy points in two of three starts, and apparently the Cowboys game was the exception and not the norm.

Cooper (22 percent) is worth adding in all leagues since he has a great rapport with Foles. In Foles' other previous big game in Week 6 at Tampa Bay, Cooper had four catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Along with his three touchdowns against the Raiders, Cooper also had five catches for 139 yards.

Ertz (3 percent) and Celek (27 percent) are still low-end Fantasy options, but Ertz has more upside. He has more targets than Celek of late, and it's clear the Eagles are trying to feature their rookie tight end in a prominent role.

Injuries of note: Terrelle Pryor (knee), Darren McFadden (hamstring) Darren Sproles (concussion), Kyle Rudolph (foot), Jeremy Kerley (elbow), Robert Woods (knee), Marquise Goodwin (hamstring), Greg Little (shoulder)

While Foles was lighting things up in Oakland, Pryor was an afterthought, which was frustrating for me since he was the Start of the Week. Pryor finished 22 of 41 passing for 288 yards and two interceptions and 10 carries for 94 yards before leaving with a knee injury. Pryor said his knee was OK, but it's worth keeping an eye on heading into Week 10 at the Giants.

Here we go again with McFadden. He injured his hamstring in the first half against the Eagles and finished with five carries for 12 yards and one catch for 3 yards. Rashad Jennings stepped in for McFadden and was awesome with 15 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 74 yards. If McFadden is out for Week 10 at the Giants then Jennings (12 percent) will be someone to add off the waiver wire.

Sproles' miserable season continues as he was forced from the game at the Jets in the first quarter. He finished with one catch for 2 yards, and he has now gone four games in a row with single digits in Fantasy points and two in a row with no points. Plan on Sproles being out for Week 10 against Dallas depending on how he does with the concussion protocol.

Rudolph scored a touchdown at Dallas and finished with two catches for 35 yards. But on the touchdown catch in the third quarter he injured his foot, and he will likely be questionable for Week 10 against Washington, especially since the game is Thursday night.

Goodwin scored for the second time in the past four games with two catches for 64 yards against the Chiefs, but he left in the fourth quarter. Even if he's OK in Week 10 at Pittsburgh he'll have minimal Fantasy value. The same goes for Woods, who was injured in the third quarter after he had four catches for 44 yards.

Kerley had one catch for 1 yard before leaving in the second quarter against the Saints. The Jets are off in Week 10, so Kerley will have two weeks to get healthy. He's a low-end Fantasy option when healthy.

Little had a tremendous game against Baltimore with seven catches for 122 yards on nine targets before leaving in the fourth quarter. The Browns have a bye in Week 10, so hopefully Little will be OK in Week 11. He's also a low-end Fantasy option in all leagues when healthy.

Also, keep an eye on Giovani Bernard (ribs) after he was hurt Thursday night at Miami. Bernard is expected to play in Week 10 at Baltimore.

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Patriots look like the Patriots again: We finally saw the real Tom Brady in Week 9 against the Steelers, and it's too bad New England is on a bye in Week 10 because we hope this continues. I think it will.

Brady was 23 of 33 passing for 432 yards and four touchdowns, and he should continue to play at a high level for the rest of the season with Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola healthy and the emergence of Aaron Dobson. Gronkowski had nine catches for 143 yards and a touchdown, Amendola had four catches for 122 yards and a touchdown and Dobson had five catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns.

Brady and Gronkowski are must-start Fantasy options for the rest of the season, and Amendola looks like he will be fine going forward. Consider him at least a No. 2 Fantasy receiver in the majority of leagues. Dobson (45 percent) is worth adding in all leagues, and he now has three touchdowns in his past two games.

Welcome back Chris Johnson: We've been saying it for weeks to buy low on Johnson heading into Tennessee's bye in Week 8 because of his upcoming schedule. Well, Johnson did better than expected coming out of the bye against the Rams with 23 carries for 150 yards and two touchdowns and three catches for 20 yards.

There should be no more questions about Johnson's status since he's a must-start Fantasy option the rest of the way. And to remind you again, here's his schedule to close the season: Jacksonville in Week 10, Indianapolis in Week 11, at Oakland in Week 12, at Indianapolis in Week 13, at Denver in Week 14, Arizona in Week 15, at Jacksonville in Week 16 and Houston in Week 17. There should be plenty more big games to come.

As for Shonn Greene, he also did well with nine carries for 38 yards and a touchdown and one catch for 28 yards. With all those favorable matchups, Greene can be a potential flex option in deeper leagues.

Is C.J. Spiller back? Spiller returned from his one game absence from an ankle injury and looked like the running back we hoped to see all season against the Chiefs. He had 12 carries for 116 yards and two catches for 39 yards.

His ankle still isn't 100 percent, but we hope Spiller can build off this performance heading into Week 10 at Pittsburgh. That's a tough matchup, and Fred Jackson will remain a factor since he had 16 carries for 77 yards and one catch for 22 yards. But the best of Spiller should be yet to come.

Darrel Young is the new Roy Helu: For the second time in three games we got another example of why Fantasy owners hate Redskins coach Mike Shanahan. Instead of Alfred Morris getting multiple touchdowns, Young scored three times against the Chargers. In Week 7, Roy Helu had three touchdowns against Chicago.

Morris was still good against San Diego with 25 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown, but he could have been amazing. As for Young, don't buy into him becoming Fantasy relevant. He had one Fantasy point for the season prior to Week 9.

The problem for the Redskins when it comes to Fantasy owners is Robert Griffin III. He struggled again with 10 Fantasy points against the Chargers and now has less than 20 points in five of his past six games. He's a risky starting option in a favorable matchup at Minnesota in Week 10.

Chris Ivory dominates former team: I liked Ivory heading into Week 9 against the Saints because New Orleans had struggled against the run, and he was facing his former team. Ivory was brilliant with 18 carries for 139 yards and a touchdown.

He now has double digits in Fantasy points in two of his past three games. The Jets have a bye in Week 10, but Ivory faces the Bills in Week 11. He is worth starting against the Bills in that matchup.

Mike James looks legit: James had one of the best performances in Week 9 at Seattle with 28 carries for 158 yards, two catches for 8 yards and a 2-yard passing touchdown to tight end Tom Crabtree. Yes, he threw a jump pass at the goal line. With Doug Martin (shoulder) out indefinitely, James showed in this game that he can be counted on as a potential starting option.

He has a tough matchup in Week 10 against Miami on Monday night, but he could definitely be a flex option if needed. James had 14 carries for 45 yards and three catches for 8 yards in his first start for Martin in Week 8 against Carolina, but he improved dramatically against a tough Seahawks defense, which is encouraging for his Fantasy value moving forward.

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

Quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (67 percent), Nick Foles, Eagles (40 percent), Jason Campbell, Browns (19 percent), Mike Glennon, Buccaneers (14 percent), Christian Ponder, Vikings (9 percent)

Running backs: Mike James, Buccaneers (76 percent), Chris Ivory, Jets (68 percent), Andre Brown, Giants (65 percent), Shonn Greene, Titans (21 percent), Rashad Jennings, Raiders (12 percent), Brian Leonard, Buccaneers (3 percent), Darrel Young, Redskins (0 percent)

Wide receivers: Eddie Royal, Chargers (68 percent), Aaron Dobson, Patriots (45 percent), Marlon Brown, Ravens (34 percent), Riley Cooper, Eagles (22 percent), Mike Brown, Jaguars (22 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (13 percent), Doug Baldwin, Seahawks (12 percent), Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers (7 percent), Greg Little, Browns (6 percent), Davone Bess, Browns (3 percent), Marquise Goodwin, Bills (1 percent), Robert Meachem, Saints (1 percent), Jermaine Kearse, Seahawks (1 percent), Tiquan Underwood, Buccaneers (1 percent), Dwayne Harris, Cowboys (0 percent)

Tight ends: Jared Cook, Rams (61 percent), Timothy Wright, Buccaneers (34 percent), Brent Celek, Eagles (27 percent), Zach Ertz, Eagles (3 percent)

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em star: Keenan Allen returned from the bye week and remained a standout Fantasy option. He was a Top 10 Fantasy receiver with eight catches for 128 yards and a touchdown, and he should remain a must-start Fantasy option in all leagues for the rest of the season.

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em flop: Aside from saying to sit Foles and Brady, I also had Roethlisberger as a sit for his best game of the season. He finished as a Top 10 Fantasy quarterback with 28 of 48 passing for 400 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, and we hope he can build off this performance. He faces Buffalo in Week 10 at home in a favorable matchup and can be considered a starter in all leagues.

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
Fred Jackson may have trouble finding running room in Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(1:04 am ET) Bills running back Fred Jackson will face a Bears team in Week 1 that did a terrible job at defending the run last season. However, his Week 1 success may not be as pre-ordained as that of running mate, C.J. Spiller.

Unlike Spiller, Jackson does much of his work without the benefit of big plays, grinding out his numbers by taking what the defense gives rather than providing a home-run threat on any down. While most of the members of the Bears back seven that was responsible for surrendering so many big plays has returned, the team has overhauled the defense line, signing three new defensive ends and drafting two rotational defensive tackles.

Two of those free-agent additions are Lamarr Houston and Willie Young, the two players that graded out as the best 4-3 defensive ends in run stop percentage last season, per Pro Football Focus. With those two players in tow and second-round draft pick Ego Ferguson taking up space in the middle, Jackson could have difficulty converting on short-yardage or goal-line situations.

It's also fair to wonder how many long scoring drives the Bills will be able to put together if Jackson and the offensive line can't stymie the line's potentially improved rush defense. EJ Manuel hasn't done enough at this point in his career to trust his ability to pick defenses apart with his arm. If the Bills have trouble finding the red zone, Jackson could wind up being a Week 1 Flex option Fantasy owners come to regret.


C.J. Spiller could ride big plays to productive Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:39 am ET) Bills running back C.J. Spiller has feasted on big plays ever since emerging as a Fantasy weapon. In 2012, he was third in the league in breakaway percentage, a statistic tracked by Pro Football Focus that determines how much of a player's rushing yardage total is accrued on plays of at least 15 yards. Spiller topped the league in the category last season. Clearly, if he can find a seam, he has the ability to wrea havoc on a defense.

Spiller will be squaring off with the Bears on Sunday. Last season, the Bears turned in by far the worst run defense performance in the league. They surrendered 2,583 rushing yards and 5.3 yards per rush, both marks placing them last in the league. They overhauled the defensive line in the offseason as a result, drafting two rotational defensive tackles and signing three defensive ends.

But if those players can't keep Spiller bottled up at the line all game, he's a threat to break a long touchdown or two. While the Bears run defense was obviously porous as a unit, the back seven was particularly offensive, ranking last in Football Outsiders' second-level yardage and open-field yardage statistics. The Bears didn't do much to upgrade those two levels of the defense either, meaning plenty of broken tackles and long gains are there for the taking if Spiller can find a little daylight. He's a trustworthy RB2 in Week 1 and a must-use in any Flex conversations.


EJ Manuel will look to conquer road woes Sunday
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(12:20 am ET) Bills quarterback EJ Manuel endured what could at best be described as an uneven rookie season last year. Going 4-6 as a starter, Manuel particularly struggled on the road, where he turned in poor performances against the Jets, Browns, Steelers and Buccaneers before turning in a quality performance against the Jaguars in Week 14, his last game of the season.

Manuel opens this season on the road as well, heading to Soldier Field to take on the Bears Sunday. He'll be facing a new-look Chicago defensive line, rebuilt after the Bears defense struggled to generate a pass rush last season. Whether that pass rush can be effective could be the key to Manuel's success; the quarterback averaged 6.9 yards per attempt when under no pressure last season, but just 5.0 yards per attempt when faced with pressure.

Is there a good reason to start Manuel in Week 1? Not really. Every Fantasy team should be looking at a healthy roster heading into the beginning of the season, and there are anywhere from 14 to 20 QBs worth using over Manuel no matter the matchup. But a good performance in an unfavorable environment against a potentially improved pass rush would go a long way towards making the second-year player Fantasy relevant in 2014.


Patriots claim Don Jones off waivers
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Patriots have been awarded safety Don Jones on waivers from the Dolphins and waived offensive lineman Chris Barker in a corresponding move.

The Patriots will likely be looking for some extra insight on their Week 1 opponent after bringing the former Dolphin into the fold. The move leaves the Patriots with six safeties on the roster.


Jets release Ellis Lankster, re-sign A.J. Edds
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Jets released cornerback Ellis Lankster and re-signed inside linebacker A.J. Edds Monday.

Report: Chris Conte to start if medically cleared
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Bears safety Chris Conte will be the team's starting free safety in Sunday's season opener against the Bills, provided he's medically cleared to play, ESPN reports.

Conte has been locked in a position battle with rookie Brock Vereen, and despite suffering a concussion during the team's third preseason game, he's done enough to be named the starter. It wouldn't be surprising to see Vereen overtake Conte in the starting lineup, with the latter grading out as a below-average starter, according to ProFootballFocus.com, who particularly struggles in run support.


Report: Raiders going with Derek Carr over Matt Schaub
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Raiders players have been told the team will start rookie Derek Carr over veteran Matt Schaub at quarterback, reports Fox Sports. Carr threw three touchdown passes in last Thursday's preseason finale while Schaub has battled elbow problems.

Oakland opens the season Sunday at the Jets.


Emmanuel Sanders a strong flex option Week 1
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) Assuming Wes Welker returns from his concussion and plays Week 1, teammate Emmanuel Sanders still will be a strong flex option. Colts-Broncos is a guaranteed shootout -- the over/under is a whopping 55, highest on the board -- and Peyton Manning can support three productive Fantasy receivers with ease.

Plus, Manning has taken a liking to Sanders. When Sanders debuted in the third preseason game, the duo hooked up for 67- and 29-yard touchdowns in the first half.

"You just throw it as far as you can, and it's hard to outthrow that guy," Manning told the team's website.

Sanders finished with five catches for 128 yards on eight first-half targets, doing most of that before Welker got concussed. Sanders was not 100 percent for that game; he had just come back from a quad injury.

Now Sanders, who started building chemistry with Manning at informal Duke University workouts, "looks ready for the big stage," the website said.

"Peyton puts it on the money," Sanders said. "He takes pride in throwing the perfect football. He takes pride in being perfect all around, in general. He makes my job easy."

Manning is going to help Sanders reach a level he has not hit before, starting Sunday night.

Redskins complete practice squad
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Redskins filled out their 10-man practice squad by signing safety Akeem Davis and linebacker Chaz Sutton, reports the Washington Post.

Jets tweak roster
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(9/1/2014) The Jets signed free agent cornerback Phillip Adams and claimed receiver Walt Powell off waivers from the Cardinals. New York also waived receiver Quincy Enunwa, who likely will be placed on the practice squad.

 
 
 
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