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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
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to avoid surgery on shoulder
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(5:34 pm ET) Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he will avoid surgery on his shoulder after testing it at the Pro Bowl. 

"I’ve been doing rehab and I’m going to start back on my rehab Monday and really there’s going to be no surgery," Graham told SiriusXM radio. "I’m just going to do rehab, strengthen the area. That’s what’s best — not having to take six months off and try to heal up with a surgery, but now have those six months to work on all things I need to to try and hopefully get to a place like (the Super Bowl) next year."

Graham, who had 85 catches for 889 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, fought off the injury for most of the season. He was still unsure about having surgery before the Pro Bowl last week.

"It was something that really needed some rest and unfortunately it wasn’t able to get that during the season," he said. "It happened early and then you have about 10 straight weeks of trying to make it to the game. Now after having about three or four weeks and last week kind of testing it at the Pro Bowl, it feels great."


Vikings' Greg Jennings: We all want Adrian Peterson back
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:26 pm ET) Vikings veteran wideout Greg Jennings said during a SiriusXM NFL Radio interview on Friday that embattled running back Adrian Peterson is wanted back by everyone in the organization, per ESPN.

"I don't know if he'll be back. I can't answer that question," Jennings said. "But what I do know is that if he does come back, he'd be accepted with open arms. As an organization from the Wilfs on down, we all want him back. So, I mean, it's a touchy subject and he's been the franchise player -- face of that team -- for eight years. So it will be a loss, a huge loss, if we can't get him back, and that's the nature of this business."

In November, Peterson was suspended by the league without pay for the rest of the season, making him ineligible for reinstatement until at least April 15. The move came after Peterson pleaded no contest to recklessly injuring his 4-year-old son last May. He is under contract with the Vikings for next season, and is set to earn $12.75 million.

It's unclear at this point if Jennings has talked to Zygi and Mark Wilf about the Peterson situation. What is clear is that the team is not allowed to communicate with Peterson during his suspension.


Eagles' Maclin believes contract will take care of itself
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(3:08 pm ET) Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin believes he will be back in Philadelphia in next season. His representatives and the Eagles are in the process of negotiating a new contract for the 27-year-old, who will become a free agent in March unless he is re-signed.

"I'm excited about what the future holds," Maclin said on Friday. "Once again, both sides have made it known what we want to do. I think it will take care of itself."

He could be franchise tagged if a deal is not signed. The tag number for wide receivers is yet to be determined.

Maclin had 85 catches in 2014 for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns in Philadelphia.


Bears sign LB DeDe Lattimore to two-year contract extension
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(3:03 pm ET) The Bears have signed linebacker DeDe Lattimore to a two-year contract extension. He appeared in 10 games as a rookie in 2014, recording five special teams tackles.

Jaguars' Khan 'very optimistic' about WR Blackmon being reinstated
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:46 pm ET) Jaguars owner Shahid Khan said Friday he is "very optimistic" about wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who missed the 2014 season after being suspended indefinitely for a third violation of the league's substance abuse policy, being reinstated to the NFL.

"I think he's paid his dues and I think he's got his life together," Khan said, per The Florida Times-Union.


NFLPA president Eric Winston: New conduct policy 'violates CBA'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:43 pm ET) After the union field a grievance last week against the NFL over changes to the NFL personal conduct policy, Players Association president Eric Winston said Thursday the new policy "violates the CBA in several ways and we're going to be grieving this as far as we can."

NFL owners unanimously approved the changes in December.

"We have an agreement with the league and they have an agreement with us," Winston said, per the Associated Press. "We're going to hold them to that agreement. Many aspects of this policy fall outside of the CBA and we're going to continue fighting it going forward."

Following former Ravens running back Ray Rice's domestic violence case and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson's child abuse case, a more extensive list of prohibited conduct was included in the policy, as well as criteria for paid leave for anyone charged with a violent crime. A suspension of six games without pay for violations involving assault, sexual assault, battery, domestic violence, child abuse and other forms of family violence will be in effect.

"The league's revised conduct policy was the product of a tremendous amount of analysis and work and is based on input from a broad and diverse group of experts within and outside of football, including current players, former players, and the NFL Players Association," the league said in a statement last week.

"We and the public firmly believe that all NFL personnel should be held accountable to a stronger, more effective conduct policy. Clearly, the union does not share that belief."


Eric Decker 'pushing' for Demaryius Thomas to sign with Jets
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:38 pm ET) Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is set to become a free agent in March, unless he agrees to a contract extension or Denver uses the franchise tag on him. If he does become a free agent, former teammate Eric Decker hopes Thomas would consider joining him on the Jets roster.

Decker spent a few days in Arizona this week with Thomas filming a commercial.

“I’ve been pushing for the entire year now,” Decker said in a telephone interview with The New York Post. “It was just another opportunity to talk to him about it. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens. I think it would be tough for Denver to let him go. So whether they franchise-tag him here in the next month or give him a long-term deal, he’s just one of those premier players in this league.

"If he happens to make it to free agency, I would love to sign him because playing alongside him for four years and especially the last two years made it a lot of fun and made it a lot easier. He’s just one of the great players in this league.”

Thomas recorded a career-best 1,619 receiving yards in 2014. It was his third straight season of 1,000-plus receiving yards. He also had at least 10 touchdowns for a third straight season.


49ers CEO York: 'Defenses are not going to want to play against us'
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(2:32 pm ET) 49ers CEO Jed York confirmed the promotion of quarterbacks coach Geep Chryst to offensive coordinator during an interview with NFL Network on Friday. York is particularly excited about Chryst, who has been the quarterbacks coach since 2011, continuing to work with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“With Kap, you got a guy in Geep Chryst who knows him better than anybody else,” York said, per CSNBayArea.com. “You have a great guy in (quarterbacks coach) Steve Logan who is coming to come in to work with him on fundamentals and allow us to put together a system that’s going to put Kap in the best position to make plays.

“How many quarterbacks in this league can run 90 yards for a touchdown? I can’t think of many. But you have to put Kap in a position where he can make those plays. And put Kap in a position where we can run the ball (and) we can throw the ball in ways that allow him to be successful and let him be the absolute stud that he can be on the field. And I think that’s what you’re going to see from us next year. Defenses are not going to want to play against us because you’re not going to know where we’re going to hit you.”


Bears' Bennett: Trestman will be 'excellent coordinator' for Ravens
by Michael Hurcomb | CBSSports.com
(12:34 pm ET) Marc Trestman lasted only two seasons as the Bears coach before losing his job. Bears tight end Martellus Bennett said on NFL Network on Friday that Trestman's demise in Chicago was plagued by his inability to control a locker room full of personalities.

"Trestman, I think, first off, the issue that he had, probably, was managing us all, all the different personalities," Bennett said. "There's a lot of big personalities (in the locker room). And I think, for a first-time head coach in the NFL, dealing with all the personalities that you have, I think that's hard when you got guys like me, you know, (Brandon) Marshall ... Lance Briggs on defense, (Charles) Tillman.

"There's so many guys with such outgoing personalities that managing those guys and bringing them all together is what a leader needs to do, you know? And that's one of the toughest things."

Although Trestman was fired in late December, he wasn't out of work for long, landing the job as the Ravens offensive coordinator after Gary Kubiak left to become the Broncos coach. Bennett believes Trestman will have success in his new role.

"Calling plays, he was excellent," Bennett said. "I think he's going to be an excellent coordinator for the Ravens.  Strategically, he was great. But on the field, guys just weren't executing.

"A lot of it comes back to the player preparation. If you're not preparing to a high level, then the coaches can only do so much; the game's not played on paper, it's played on grass. On paper, we look great. On grass, we looked bad."


Marijuana charges dropped against LeGarrette Blount in Pennsylvania
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(12:10 pm ET) Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount will not face charges for marijuana possession in Pennsylvania, Blount’s attorney said Friday.

Blount and Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell were pulled over and arrested for pot possession in August, a day before a preseason game. Blount satisfied his penalty by working community service in Boston. He will not have to appear in court in Pittsburgh next week. 


 
 
 
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