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Instant reactions from Week 13

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The three standout Fantasy players in Week 13 were receivers in Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery and Eric Decker. Two of those were somewhat expected -- although not to that degree -- in Gordon and Jeffery, while Decker was a pleasant surprise.

But the story of note was C.J. Spiller and his breakout performance against the Falcons in Toronto. He had his best game of the season with 15 carries for 149 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 8 yards on four targets.

It wasn't perfect. Fred Jackson was still a factor with 11 carries for 42 yards and a touchdown and four catches for 36 yards and a touchdown on four targets. And Spiller appeared to tweak his nagging ankle injury during the game, although he played through it. He also was caught from behind on a 77-yard run, which led to an EJ Manuel touchdown in the first quarter.

Still, this is what we hoped to see from Spiller all season, and hopefully he will close the year on a high note, especially since Buffalo just had a bye in Week 12 to re-evaluate things and get healthy. The remaining schedule for Spiller is favorable at Tampa Bay in Week 14, at Jacksonville in Week 15, vs. Miami in Week 16 and at New England in Week 17.

You should feel comfortable starting Spiller as at least a No. 2 running back or flex option against the Buccaneers, and we'll see where things go from there. Jackson is also worth starting since he has been consistent all year, and this was his eighth game with double digits in Fantasy points.

Spiller was a bust to start the season, but if he plays well to end the year he could still reward Fantasy owners who made it to the playoffs in spite of him. At least that's what we hope the storyline is with Spiller over the final four games.

Injuries of note: Delanie Walker (concussion), Brandon Weeden (concussion), Christian Ponder (concussion), Kenbrell Thompkins (hip), Anthony Fasano (concussion)

Walker left in the first quarter after one catch for 5 yards. We hope he will be ready for Week 14 at New England because Walker is a quality Fantasy option when healthy.

Weeden was hurt at the end of the game against the Jaguars. He had a nice Fantasy outing with 370 passing yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions with a lost fumble. He is a good option in two-quarterback leagues if healthy at New England in Week 14.

Ponder was hurt in the first half against Chicago, and he had just 40 passing yards before being replaced by Matt Cassel. There's a good chance the Vikings stick with Cassel or start Josh Freeman in Week 14 at Baltimore.

Thompkins was hurt in the first quarter and finished with one catch for 16 yards. He was expected to see an increased role with Aaron Dobson (foot) inactive, and we'll find out if either will be healthy for Week 14 against the Browns.

Fasano was a sleeper heading into Week 13 against Denver, and he finished with three catches for 28 yards and a touchdown before leaving in the fourth quarter. If he's healthy for Week 14 against the Colts he would be just a No. 2 Fantasy tight end.

Ben Tate cashes lottery ticket: Tate finally lived up to his status as a lottery ticket with his huge performance against New England with 22 carries for 102 yards and three touchdowns.

While there was some thought Dennis Johnson would take over for Tate after how both performed against Jacksonville in Week 12, I wasn't buying it. Tate is the better talent, and the Texans stayed committed to him. Johnson had just three carries for 13 yards and one catch for 11 yards against the Patriots.

Sure, Tate was miserable against the Jaguars with seven carries for 1 yard and five catches for 26 yards, while Johnson had 13 carries for 74 yards and two catches for 13 yards. But Tate has been a serviceable backup to Arian Foster, who is out with a back injury, and the Texans trust him even in a lost year.

Now the question becomes can you trust Tate heading into the Fantasy playoffs. He has a great remaining schedule at Jacksonville in Week 14, at Indianapolis in Week 15, vs. Denver in Week 16 and at Tennessee in Week 17. He should be at least a flex option in most formats, and I'll probably rank him in the Top 20 for the rematch against the Jaguars.

The key for Tate is touches. There have been seven times in his career where he has at least 20 touches in a game, including Sunday, and he's finished with at least eight Fantasy points in every outing. We hope the Texans continue to feed Tate the ball, and Johnson remains a great stash candidate in case Tate gets hurt.

Decker dominates Chiefs: So Eric Decker finally decided to wake up at Kansas City. He had been missing in action for the past four games prior to Week 13.

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Decker came into the matchup with the Chiefs having combined for 16 Fantasy points since Week 7. And then he proceeded to crush Kansas City with eight catches for 174 yards and four touchdowns on 12 targets.

We hope this is a sign of things to come because Decker is an awesome Fantasy option when involved, but he had only 22 targets during his recent rough stretch. He's also been a disappointment for the most part this season with just three games with double digits in Fantasy points in a standard league and only three touchdowns coming into Week 13.

The Broncos close the season against Tennessee, San Diego, at Houston and at Oakland, and Decker should be back in most lineups for his potential alone. The Titans matchup is tough, but you're not going to bench Decker again after his monster outing against the Chiefs.

And the best New England running back is ...?: The Patriots made Stevan Ridley inactive at Houston as punishment for his fumble woes, which opened the door for LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden to get more work against the Texans. Blount had 12 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown, and Bolden had three carries for 2 yards and one catch for 18 yards.

Blount (17 percent ownership on CBSSports.com) is obviously someone to add off the waiver wire this week, but I'd be hesitant to start him in Week 14 against the Browns. Ridley could be active in that game or Bolden could be the one getting increased carries.

The only Patriots running back to trust is Shane Vereen. He had 10 carries for 38 yards against the Texans and five catches for 37 yards and a touchdown on six targets. Vereen's role is defined, and you can consider him a flex in standard leagues and a must-start option in PPR formats.

The other big story for the Patriots was Julian Edelman again having a big game. He finished with nine catches for 101 yards on 12 targets, and he again outplayed Danny Amendola (five catches for 54 yards on five targets). If Edelman (73 percent ownership) is still available then add him now and start him as at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver for the rest of the season.

Donald Brown comes through for Colts: The Colts decided to bench Trent Richardson against the Titans and start Brown, and he came through with another quality outing in Week 13. Brown had 14 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 10 yards.

We hope the Colts stick with Brown as the starter, and he's worth using in all leagues in Week 14 at Kansas City. Richardson finished with five carries for 19 yards and no catches, and if you haven't released him yet in all leagues, you can safely do so now without hesitation.

Mike Wallace does it again: The Dolphins dominated the Jets in the passing game with Ryan Tannehill, Brian Hartline and Wallace all having huge outings. For Wallace, he's coming alive the past two games.

Wallace was awesome in Week 12 against Carolina with five catches for a season-high 127 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He followed that up against the Jets with seven catches for 82 yards and a touchdown on nine targets.

Wallace faces his former team in Week 14 at Pittsburgh, so he should be fired up for that matchup. The Dolphins then close the season with New England in Week 15, at Buffalo in Week 16 and a rematch with the Jets in Week 17. You have to buy into Wallace as at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver in all of those matchups, and he could close the season on a high note.

As for Tannehill, this was just his first game with 20-plus Fantasy points all year after he had 331 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception and three carries for 22 yards against the Jets. He's just a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback at best moving forward.

Hartline also had his best game of the season with nine catches for 127 yards and a touchdown on 15 targets. This was only his third touchdown of the season and first since Week 3, so keep expectations in check for the rest of the year.

Hooray for Roddy White: We finally got a great game from White, and it only took until Week 13. Now, let's hope he finishes the season strong after he had 10 catches for 143 yards on 14 targets against the Bills.

Brace yourself for these stats, but White came into this game with 20 catches for 209 yards and one touchdown on the season. He missed three games with ankle and hamstring injuries, and this was just his first game with double digits in targets.

White has two great matchups coming up at Green Bay in Week 14 and against Washington in Week 15, so he could be worth the risk as at least a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside.

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

Quarterbacks: Jay Cutler, Bears (61 percent), Joe Flacco, Ravens (58 percent), Josh McCown, Bears (58 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (43 percent), EJ Manuel, Bills (20 percent), Brandon Weeden, Browns (6 percent), Matt Cassel, Vikings (2 percent)

Running backs: BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals (73 percent), Mike Tolbert, Panthers (61 percent), Brandon Bolden, Patriots (41 percent), Jonathan Stewart, Panthers (38 percent), Dennis Johnson, Texans (36 percent), Willis McGahee, Browns (20 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (17 percent), Antone Smith, Falcons (1 percent)

Wide receivers: Julian Edelman, Patriots (72 percent), Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (68 percent), Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers (63 percent), Brian Hartline, Dolphins (62 percent), Randall Cobb, Packers (48 percent), Brandon LaFell, Panthers (48 percent), Greg Jennings, Vikings (42 percent), Nate Washington, Titans (40 percent), Ted Ginn, Panthers (20 percent), Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings (20 percent), Ace Sanders, Jaguars (4 percent), Brian Quick, Rams (1 percent), Andre Holmes, Raiders (0 percent), Junior Hemingway, Chiefs (0 percent), Kevin Ogletree, Lions (0 percent) Tight ends: Heath Miller, Steelers (67 percent), Jared Cook, Rams (55 percent), Brent Celek, Eagles (21 percent), Dennis Pitta, Ravens (11 percent), Ladarius Green, Chargers (11 percent), Zach Ertz, Eagles (4 percent), Anthony Fasano, Chiefs (4 percent), Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (3 percent), Clay Harbor, Jaguars (0 percent), Jim Dray, Cardinals (0 percent)

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em star: Our Start of the Week was great in Week 13 with Josh McCown scoring 26 Fantasy points on 355 passing yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions at Minnesota. We'll find out if Jay Cutler (ankle) will return for Week 14 against Dallas, but if McCown remains the starter then he should be used in most Fantasy leagues in that matchup with the Cowboys.

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em flop: There are two "bust alert" calls that I regret. One was Decker, who was obviously struggling of late, but he snapped out of it in a big way. The other was Le'Veon Bell on Thanksgiving Day. He was awesome against the Ravens with 16 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown and seven catches for 63 yards, and he should have scored a second touchdown before suffering a concussion when he lost his helmet just before the end zone. Hopefully he is OK for Week 14 against the Dolphins because that is a dream matchup, and we'd love to have him active for the Fantasy playoffs.

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
Peyton: Montee Ball can handle new role
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:14 am ET) Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said running back Montee Ball has a great opportunity now that Knowshon Moreno is gone as a free agent to Miami.

"I thought Montee had a great year," Manning said. "I thought he learned a lot in his first year. In my past, I've seen a lot of development in guys from their first year to their second year. There is no question with the loss of Knowshon — who was just nothing short of awesome for us this past year and was a great teammate — that Montee is going to have more responsibilities, and I think he will answer that challenge. I think he has the work ethic, I think he has the mental capabilities to handle the workload and I look forward to having a full offseason with him. He didn't have a full one last year because of being a rookie, so I look forward to getting even closer with him as far as being on the same page."


Carson Palmer OK if Cardinals draft quarterback
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:11 am ET) Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer would be OK if the team drafted a quarterback in the NFL Draft, reports the team's official website.

Palmer, 34, said if the team drafts a quarterback it would make sense.

"If you are in a position to draft the best player on your board, and that's the best position to be in as an organization, and (a quarterback) is the best player on the board, you are not only making your team better by creating competition but you are helping out the future," Palmer said. "I know I'm not going to play forever. It’s hard for us players to admit that. The older you get the harder it is to admit it. You don't see it happening. You still feel good, you still feel confident, you still feel healthy. But that's the reality. That's the business. It doesn't matter how you feel about it, whether it irks you or you don't care. That’s the game."

Palmer is coming off a solid season in 2013. He threw for a career-high 4,274 yards with 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.


Gerald McCoy says he won't hold out
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:10 am ET) Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy promised he wouldn't hold out of training camp this summer even though he's going into the final year of his contract. 

"When they say report to camp, Gerald McCoy will be there regardless of what happens," McCoy said per the Tampa Bay Times. McCoy also told the paper he can't wait to play in the Bucs' new version of the Cover-2 defense

"It's definitely going to be different," McCoy said. "We're playing the old-school, traditional Tampa 2 defense, and all we've been watching is old Chicago tape when (new Bucs coach Lovie Smith) was there. When (the Bucs) were in their prime, from 1996 to 2002, we've been watching all that tape because that's when the Tampa 2 was really thriving and took over the league. I'm excited about it."


Malcom Floyd's status still uncertain
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:03 am ET) Even though Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd plans to attend the team's voluntary workouts April 22, it doesn't mean his football career is back on track, reports the Union-Tribune San Diego.

Floyd continues to recover from a neck injury suffered in September. His participation in the offseason workouts will be more limited than most of his teammates, according to the report.

The report also added that no decision has been made whether Floyd will be able to continue playing. For weeks, Floyd has been running and lifting. While the injury did not require surgery, it demanded a long recovery. Risk of re-injury will be assessed before any decision about Floyd's return to the field is made.


Report: Niners want to play without Aldon Smith in 2014
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:59 am ET) Several 49ers decision makers allegedly believe that linebacker Aldon Smith won't play for the team in 2014. Smith was arrested recently for making false bomb reports at a Los Angeles airport, the latest of a string of troubles for the highly talented linebacker.

The San Jose Mercury News has sources that tell him that while Smith is unlikely to play, the team is unlikely to release him. They still owe him $3 million guaranteed and want to see how the situation plays out before making such a permanent decision. The team also expects Smith to receive a suspension from the league. 

In addition to his latest run-in with the law, Smith was arrested for suspicion of DUI in January, 2012 and again September, 2013. He also had marijuana on him during that September arrest. In October, 2013 he was charged with three felony counts of illegal possession of an assault weapon. 


Kevin Williams leaves visit with Giants without contract
by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:54 am ET) Free agent defensive tackle Kevin Williams left his visit with the Giants without a contract, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

"Had a good visit and gonna see what happens!" Williams said via text message.

The report says Williams, who arrived in New York on Monday night, has not ruled out playing what would be a 12th NFL season after spending the first 11 with the Vikings. The Giants were the first team to bring Williams in for a visit. 


Golden Tate loves role in his new offense
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:49 am ET) New Lions receiver Golden Tate thinks the offense he's going into this season will "fit better for me as a player than Seattle's did." Tate told the official team website that he's watched film on the Saints offense, which is what the playbook is based off of, and thinks of himself as a Lance Moore-type player with more explosion

As the website noted, Moore caught at least 50 passes and six scores in four of the five years he played at least 14 games with New Orleans. Both of those numbers should be attainable for Tate in Motown. 

Ultimately, Tate is excited about fitting his skills in with what's being asked of him. 

"Here we have our rules, initially, to learn the offense, but at the end of the day you have to play football," Tate said. "I think that's what I do best. Just finding ways to get open. Although a route is supposed to be at 15 yards, sometimes you're going to get pressed and your mental clock tells you to break it down to 12 (yards) and it'll time up correctly. I'm a mental clock kind of guy. In some instances it's going to be backyard football, find the hole and make a play, make a guy miss and go score with it. I see my game really fitting into this offense really well."

Tate has emerged into one of this year's hottest breakout candidates and a borderline No. 2 Fantasy receiver. Expect him to get taken between Rounds 5 and 7 depending on league size and scoring. 


LaRon Byrd visited Giants, checking out Cowboys
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:34 am ET) Free agent receiver LaRon Byrd is on his way to visit the Cowboys after spending some time with the Giants, the New York Daily News reports

Byrd has played in four games over two years with the Cardinals, landing one catch for 8 yards. 


Chris Johnson leaves Jets without a deal
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(9:31 am ET) Free agent running back Chris Johnson visited the Jets on Tuesday but left without a deal. The rusher told reporters at a Brooklyn Nets basketball game Tuesday night that "everything went well" but that he's planning to visit other teams. As ESPN reported Tuesday, the Falcons, Bills and Dolphins are reportedly interested in signing Johnson. 

"I'm just taking it one day at a time, taking my time, and whatever decision I make, it will be the best decision," said Johnson.

The Jets reportedly hope to have a decision on Johnson before the draft. 


Bears waive defensive lineman Cheta Ozougwu
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(4/15/2014) The Bears announced Tuesday that they have waived defensive lineman Cheta Ozougwu. He played nine games over the last two seasons with Chicago. 

 
 
 
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