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Playing the Waiver Wire for Week 15

Senior Fantasy Writer
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There's never a good time for injuries, but losing prominent players in the Fantasy playoffs can be devastating. If you were able to survive Week 14, we're here to help.

The biggest injury, for now, is Rob Gronkowski being lost for the season with a torn ACL. You can't replace a tight end of his caliber, but we'll give you some suggestions to fill his spot.

The Drop List for Week 15
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. Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers 100
2. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots 100
3. Martellus Bennett, TE, Bears 96
4. Darren Sproles, RB, Saints 95
5. Jarrett Boykin, WR, Packers 91
6. Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins 90
7. Percy Harvin, WR, Seahawks 88
8. Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders 88
9. Eli Manning, QB, Giants 80
10. Tavon Austin, WR, Rams 79
11. Jared Cook, TE, Rams 77
12. Nate Burleson, WR, Lions 68

The reason we said Gronkowski's injury is the worst for now is because we don't know the extent of Adrian Peterson's foot problem. He might play in Week 15 against the Eagles, or the Vikings could shut him down since they are out of playoff contention. Toby Gerhart, who is battling a hamstring injury of his own, should immediately be added where available. He would be at least a flex option against Philadelphia this week.

Aside from Peterson, there were plenty of other big-name running backs hurt or who didn't play in Week 14, including Eddie Lacy (ankle), Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring), Reggie Bush (calf), Rashad Jennings (concussion) and Lamar Miller (concussion). We hope all of these guys are active in Week 15, especially Lacy (at DAL), Jones-Drew (vs. BUF) and Miller (vs. NE) based on their matchups. If not, their handcuffs could be valuable Fantasy options depending on your team.

And Wes Welker (concussion) is almost certain to sit out in Week 15 against San Diego since the Broncos play on Thursday night. He just snapped out of his four-game slump in Week 14 against Tennessee before suffering his second concussion of the season, so hopefully he can return in Week 16 for a potential Fantasy championship. We'll give you some receiver suggestions to plug in for Welker if he's out as expected.

The Top 5 free agents being scouted in CBSSports.com leagues include Bears quarterback Josh McCown (72 percent ownership on CBSSports.com), Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (24 percent), Gerhart (18 percent), Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta (15 percent) and Raiders running back Marcel Reece (7 percent).

McCown would be a must-start Fantasy option if he remains the starter ahead of Jay Cutler (ankle) in Week 15 at Cleveland. Thomas and Reece would be solid injury replacements for Miller and Jennings, respectively, although Jennings could play in Week 15 against Kansas City. And Pitta is a great tight end to add if you just lost Gronkowski, although his matchup in Week 15 at Detroit isn't favorable.

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: Josh McCown, Bears (72 percent), Jay Cutler, Bears (66 percent)
Maybe add: Joe Flacco, Ravens (63 percent), Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins (46 percent)
Desperation add: Geno Smith, Jets (20 percent), Jason Campbell, Browns (13 percent), Matt McGloin, Raiders (7 percent), Kirk Cousins, Redskins (3 percent), Matt Cassel, Vikings (2 percent)

The order for quarterbacks to add this week is McCown/Cutler, Tannehill and Flacco. ... Like we said last week, whoever starts for the Bears would be considered a must-start Fantasy option, especially against the Browns in Week 15. Cleveland has allowed six of the past eight opposing quarterbacks to score at least 24 Fantasy points, with all eight throwing multiple touchdowns. We'd prefer McCown remain the starter, especially since he just had five total touchdowns and 348 passing yards against Dallas on Monday night. ... Tannehill has come alive the past three games with at least 19 Fantasy points in all three outings. He's running more with at least 21 yards in each of his past four games, and his offensive line is protecting better with only four sacks allowed the past two weeks. He's a great sleeper in standard leagues and a must-start in two-quarterback formats against the Patriots in Week 15. ... Flacco is also a decent option in two-quarterback leagues this week at Detroit, and he had 25 Fantasy points against Minnesota in Week 15. He finally has Pitta back, which is great, and his return could help Flacco finish the season strong.

Running backs

Must add: James Starks, Packers (45 percent), Daniel Thomas, Dolphins (24 percent), Toby Gerhart, Vikings (18 percent)
Maybe add: Mike Tolbert, Panthers (63 percent), Chris Ogbonnaya, Browns (55 percent), LeGarrette Blount, Patriots (38 percent), Michael Bush, Bears (21 percent), Shonn Greene, Titans (21 percent), Marcel Reece, Raiders (7 percent), Jordan Todman, Jaguars (1 percent)
Desperation add: Peyton Hillis, Giants (21 percent), Chris Polk, Eagles (0 percent)

The order for the running backs to add this week is Gerhart, Starks, Thomas, Ogbonnaya, Reece, Todman, Blount, Tolbert, Bush and Greene. ... Gerhart did well stepping in for Peterson against the Ravens in Week 14 with 15 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown with a lost fumble. He has three games this season with at least eight Fantasy points, and he could end up starting three games if the Vikings shut down Peterson and his hamstring is OK. Stay tuned but add him now. ... Lacy limped through the second half in Week 14 against Atlanta, but his status with his ankle injury for Week 15 is up in the air. Should he sit out, Starks would have a tremendous matchup at Dallas, which just got run over by Chicago on Monday night and could be without middle linebacker Sean Lee (neck). ... It was a surprise to see Thomas active in Week 14 at the Steelers since he missed Week 13 with an ankle injury, but he took over for an injured Miller and had 16 carries for 105 yards and a touchdown. If Miller is out in Week 15 with a concussion against the Patriots then Thomas could be considered a flex option. ... Willis McGahee (concussion) could sit out in Week 15 after getting hurt in Week 14 at New England. That would open the door for Ogbonnaya to start in a great matchup against the Bears, who have allowed a running back to run for at least 100 yards in six consecutive games. Ogbonnaya has flex potential, especially in PPR leagues. ... It appears that Jennings will return in Week 15 against the Chiefs after sitting out Week 14 at the Jets with a concussion, but if he's out again then Reece could be a flex option, especially in PPR leagues. He did well against the Jets with 19 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown and two catches for 38 yards. ... Jones-Drew said he expects to play in Week 15 after hurting his hamstring in Week 14 against Houston. Since the game was Thursday night, he has extra time to be ready. But if he's out then Todman would face a Bills defense that has allowed a running back to score in each of the past four games. He would be a flex option in that matchup. ... Blount could be relegated back to third string behind Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, but if you're stuck at running back then give him a chance this week in deeper leagues. He and Ridley both had eight carries in Week 14 against the Browns, but Blount finished with 42 yards and one catch for 32 yards compared to just 35 rushing yards for Ridley. The matchup in Week 15 at Miami is favorable, so Blount could score. ... Tolbert gets a boost with Jonathan Stewart (knee) likely done for the season. The matchup is tough in Week 15 against the Jets, but Tolbert could end up as a flex in Week 16 against the Saints at home. ... Bush and Greene remain handcuff options for Matt Forte and Chris Johnson, respectively, despite both scoring touchdowns in Week 14. If you had to gamble on one this week, go with Bush in a deep format with a potential garbage-time touchdown against the Browns.

Wide receiver

Must add: Brian Hartline, Dolphins (70 percent), Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers (69 percent), Rod Streater, Raiders (44 percent), Da'Rick Rogers, Colts (1 percent)
Maybe add: Jerricho Cotchery, Steelers (61 percent), Brandon LaFell, Panthers (49 percent), Cordarrelle Patterson, Vikings (21 percent), Jeremy Kerley, Jets (11 percent), Ace Sanders, Jaguars (6 percent)
Desperation add: Marvin Jones, Bengals (63 percent), Marlon Brown, Ravens (23 percent), Ted Ginn, Panthers (20 percent), Jerome Simpson, Vikings (14 percent), Justin Hunter, Titans (7 percent), Cole Beasley, Cowboys (2 percent), La'Von Brazill, Colts (1 percent), Drew Davis, Falcons (1 percent), Earl Bennett, Bears (1 percent), Josh Boyce, Patriots (0 percent)

The order for wide receivers to add this week is Hartline, Streater, Rogers, Emmanuel Sanders, Patterson, Kerley, Ace Sanders, LaFell and Cotchery. ... Hartline has a touchdown in consecutive games, at least five catches in five games in a row and eight or more targets in four of his past five. He faces the Patriots this week, who have allowed eight touchdowns to opposing receivers in their past five games. ... Streater had a career day against the Jets in Week 14 with seven catches for 130 yards and a touchdown on 10 targets. He now has at least 80 receiving yards in four of his past six games with two touchdowns over that span, and he has eight or more targets in three of his past four. ... Rogers could be a one-week wonder, but since the Colts need playmakers in the passing game he is worth the gamble after he had six catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns on nine targets against the Bengals. He's a better option than Brazill, who also scored twice against the Bengals. ... All Emmanuel Sanders has done is score touchdowns in three consecutive games. The concern would be his production if he didn't score because he's been under 60 receiving yards in all three outings, but he does have 24 targets over that span. He's a great No. 3 receiver heading into this matchup with the Bengals. You can also gamble on Cotchery, who has scored seven touchdowns in his past six games. ... Patterson continues to improve and had his best day as a pro in Week 14 at Baltimore with five catches for 141 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. His production is erratic, but with Peterson potentially out he could get a few additional carries and a bump in targets if the Vikings get pass happy. ... And the key to the Jets offense is -- Kerley. He returned from a three-game absence with an elbow injury in Week 14 against Oakland and finished with four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. It coincided with Geno Smith having his best game since Kerley went down, and you can gamble on Kerley as a No. 3 receiver in deeper leagues. ... Ace Sanders is a solid option in PPR leagues with eight catches in two of his past four games, and he threw a touchdown in Week 14 against Houston. It's a risk to trust any of the Jaguars receivers outside of Cecil Shorts, but Sanders has 31 targets the past four games and continues to remain involved, which is positive. ... LaFell and/or Ginn could be a Hail Mary play this week against a Jets defense that gives up plenty of big plays.

Tight end

Streamers for Week 15
Here are some DST and kickers to consider if you play the matchups with these positions each week.
Opponent Own %
Saints DST at STL 63
Colts DST vs. HOU 38
Eagles DST at MIN 18
Phil Dawson, K, SF at TB 73
Graham Gano, K, CAR vs. NYJ 53
Matt Bryant, K, ATL vs. WAS 42

Must add: Delanie Walker, Titans (66 percent), Garrett Graham, Texans (63 percent), Dennis Pitta, Ravens (15 percent)
Maybe add: Timothy Wright, Buccaneers (46 percent), Brandon Myers, Giants (23 percent), Brent Celek, Eagles (21 percent), Zach Ertz, Eagles (11 percent), Jacob Tamme, Broncos (4 percent)
Desperation add: Scott Chandler, Bills (29 percent), Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars (3 percent), Andrew Quarless, Packers (3 percent), Mychal Rivera, Raiders (1 percent), Logan Paulsen, Redskins (0 percent), Luke Wilson, Seahawks (0 percent)

The order for tight ends to add this week is Walker, Graham, Pitta, Celek, Tamme, Myers, Ertz and Wright. ... It sounds like Walker will return in Week 15 against Arizona after being out in Week 14 at Denver with a concussion. He has the best matchup for any tight end this week since the Cardinals allow the most Fantasy points to the position. ... Graham is coming off a great game at Jacksonville with eight catches for 73 yards and a touchdown, and he has 46 targets in his past four games. He only had four catches for 46 yards against Indianapolis in Week 9, but the Colts have allowed two tight ends to score in the past four games. ... Pitta was great in his season debut in Week 14 against Minnesota after being out all year with a hip injury. He had six catches for 48 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, but his matchup with the Lions is tough. Detroit has allowed just one touchdown to a tight end all season, but Pitta's upside makes him a start candidate this week and a definite Gronkowski replacement based on his low ownership. ... Celek, Ertz and even Chandler have great matchups this week. The Eagles play at Minnesota and the Bills play at Jacksonville, but all three are risky Fantasy options. ... With Welker out, Tamme could see a bigger role playing in the slot against the Chargers on Thursday night. ... Myers has scored in three straight games, and the Seahawks have allowed a tight end to score in back-to-back outings. The problem is those two tight ends against Seattle were Jimmy Graham and Vernon Davis. Still, you can gamble that maybe Myers scores again since he's the best red-zone threat Eli Manning has right now. ... Wright scored in Week 14 against Buffalo and now has at least seven Fantasy points in two of his past three games. If you're willing to gamble on him against the 49ers then go ahead, but we'd proceed with caution based on his track record.

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
Chargers TE Antonio Gates suspended 4 games for PED use
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:09 pm ET) Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has been suspended four games for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy, the team announced. 

It's unknown at this time what drug Gates tested positive for. Gates, in a statement, said he was unaware that he took a banned substance

"In my 12 years in the NFL, I have taken tremendous pride in upholding the integrity of the NFL shield and all that it entails," Gates said. "I have taken extreme care of my body with a holistic approach and I have never knowingly ingested a substance that was banned by the NFL. In an effort to recover from this past season, I used supplements and holistic medicines, and unfortunately, I have now learned that those substances always present a risk because they may contain banned substances even if the ingredient list doesn’t reflect them.

"As an NFL veteran and team leader, I should have done my due diligence to ensure that what I was taking for recovery was within the NFL guidelines. I understand that I am responsible for what is in my body and I have always believed that ignorance is no excuse when it comes to these issues. I take full responsibility for my actions. I’d like to express my sincere apologies to the Chargers, my teammates, coaches, fans and the league who have always supported me and expected and gotten nothing but the highest level of integrity from me."

With Gates out for four games, the Chargers will turn to Ladarius Green as the team's top tight end, though it was expected for Green to continue getting more looks in the passing game. Green is entering the final season of his rookie contract. 

The Chargers expressed disappointment in Gates for his suspension but plans to stick with the longtime veteran through the suspension. 

"We are tremendously disappointed for our team and our fans as well as Antonio, but no more disappointed than Antonio is with himself," the Chargers stated. "Antonio is a member of the Chargers' family and we will continue to support him 100-percent. We have the utmost confidence he will stay in excellent shape for the season and be ready to go when he returns in Week 5. While it's unfortunate to not have him to start the season, we have complete confidence our tight end group will continue to play at a high level."  


Packers' Datone Jones out 1 game for substance-abuse violation
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4:01 pm ET) Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones will be suspended for one game for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to NFL.com. 

Jones will miss Green Bay's season-opener against the Bears. In 2014, Jones totaled 22 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in 13 games played. 


Cowboys LB Rolando McClain suspended four games for 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(2:56 pm ET) The Cowboys announced that linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season due to violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. 

McClain hasn't been able to participate much in offseason workouts due to going under offseason knee surgery. McClain will be eligible to practice in training camp and is expected to be healthy by then. 

In 2014, McClain, who had previously retired twice before being traded from the Ravens to the Cowboys, totaled 81 tackles and a sack in 13 games played.


Jets DL Sheldon Richardson suspended four games
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:22 pm ET) Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson was suspended four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, the NFL announced Thursday.

“I apologize for letting down my family, teammates, this organization and the fans," Richardson said in a statement via the Jets, per Fox Sports. "However, words aren't enough. This is something that can only be addressed by how I handle myself from this point on. I don't want this to take away from what the team is trying to accomplish. While I won't be there at the start of the regular season, I will do whatever I can to support my teammates until I'm able to return to the field.”

Richardson, who was a 2013 first-round pick, is entering his third season in the NFL. He was the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013 and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.

He has totaled 84 tackles and 11 1/2 sacks in 32 career games. He also has one safety.


Texans DT Brandon Ivory arrested on burglary charge
by Sean d'Oliveira | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Texans defensive tackle Brandon Ivory was arrested Wednesday morning in Alabama and charged with first-degree burglary, according to a Tuscaloosa Police Department report obtained by SportingNews.com.

Ivory and another man were allegedly involved in a home burglary when the two entered the residence by kicking open the back door and then demanding money from the residents. The two stole money and two Ipads from the residence. Ivory and the other suspect were arrested at their apartment shortly after the incident with the stolen money and property.


Embattled Brandon Spikes pleads guilty to leaving scene of crash
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(7/1/2015) Former Patriots and Bills linebacker Brandon Spikes has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a recent car crash and has received a fine and year of probation, per WBZ, which is further reporting that he has lost his license and will be forced to attend a driver's safety class.

Spikes has lost far more than his license. He has lost his livelihood, having been cut by New England for hitting another car and abandoning his vehicle on the highway. He later told the police that he had hit a deer.

No other teams have been rumored to be targeting Spikes for the coming season.


Terrelle Pryor ready to embrace new role with Browns
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Terrelle Pryor once declared that he could not play football if he could not play quarterback.

Reality has since set in.

Pryor has been cut twice and is now playing on a Cleveland Browns team desperate for a quarterback, but apparently not desperate enough to give him a shot. He is instead embracing what he is calling a "slash-player" role.

"I'm going to give (it) a chance," he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I just want to play football. I'm a playmaker, and I believe if I can touch the ball, I can go to the house, especially if I have space. This should definitely open up some opportunities."

Pryor has already taken the first step by contacting Steelers receiving stud Antonio Brown and making plans to work out with him and Randy Moss so they can teach him the nuances of the position.

He also figures there's another reason he's ahead of the game.

"The thing that helps me is that I played quarterback, and I know what the quarterback wants," Pryor said.


Lions new DT Haloti Ngata too busy to think about new contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata had his contract in mind in his last days with the Ravens, but he's too busy to think about it now that he's been traded to the Lions.

Ngata admitted that he suspected a deal could take place.

"The closer we got to free agency, I thought it could be a possibility," he told Monday Morning Quarterback. "It didn't surprise me ... since we weren't getting closer to any kind of contract stuff, I just figured there were a lot of things that could happen. I definitely started to have a trade in my mind as a possibility."

Ngata added that he's not thinking about a contract extension with Detroit.

"I'm just trying to get to know my teammates, get my playbook down, and my technique and terminology," he said.


Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon claims he'd pick himself in Fantasy
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon doesn't have a Fantasy football team, but if he did...

"If ... I could take myself, I would," he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Never mind that Adrian Peterson has returned to the backfield. Never mind that Peterson has traditionally not yielded many carries to teammates. In 2012, for instance, he totaled 348 of his team's 401 rushing attempts.

The Vikings, however, are expected to use a more balanced approach in 2015. And McKinnon, who flashed as a starter with Peterson sidelined last season, is feeling dandy after undergoing lower back surgery in December.

"Two hundred percent," he declared in regard to his health. "If there is a 300, I feel 300. It's all good."

McKinnon averaged 4.8 yards per carry a year ago, which buoyed his confidence.


Lions RB Joique Bell predicting at least a 1,200-yard season
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(6/30/2015) Lions featured back Joique Bell is coming off a knee injury that has sidelined him throughout the offseason and has also been dealing with an Achilles issue. But his confidence is not hurt at all.

Bell has made a rather lofty prediction for 2015, particularly for a guy that has never rushed for more than 860 yards in a season. He claims he will exceed that by plenty.

"I'm going to rush for over 1,200 yards," he told MLive.com. "That's the minimum. If I do less than that, I'll be surprised. I'll be disappointed. Anything more than that, I wouldn't be surprised at all."

Bell averaged a mediocre 3.9 yards per carry in both of the last two years.


 
 
 
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