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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
Cardinals' Larry Foote '50-50' on playing in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Though Larry Foote is on the Cardinals' coaching staff at the moment, he hasn't ruled out a potential return to the team

Speaking to the team's website, Foote said he's "50-50" about playing in 2015. He talked about the factors that could play into whether or not he returns to playing. 

“Draft, what happens with (suspended linebacker) Darryl Washington, stuff like that, how my knee feels (after offseason surgery),” Foote said. “I’ll sit down with (Bruce Arians) and the next couple of months are really going to be the deciding factor.”

If Foote doesn't play, he'll be the linebackers coach for Arizona's upcoming season. He's been adjusting to the role of being a coach this offseason. 

“I am starting to like coaching,” Foote said. “It’s a little tough in the office, eating M&Ms, snacking all day, drinking coffee. I started my diet a couple days ago.”


Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


Mark Sanchez: Eagles said Tim Tebow was just a camp arm
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


 
 
 
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