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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
Bills awarded waiver claim for QB Matt Simms
by Jason Lempert | Staff Writer
(8:28 pm ET) The quarterback situation in Buffalo has gotten a little more complicated on Friday. The Bills were awarded their waiver claim on QB Matt Simms, who was released by the Jets on Thursday, according to the team's official website. 

Simms has played just four games and has completed 19 of 39 passes for 195 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in his career.


Falcons waive LB Prince Shembo due to animal cruelty charges
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(5:55 pm ET) The Falcons have decided to waive linebacker Prince Shembo on Friday after he was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per nfl.com.

"We are aware of the charges that have been filed against Prince Shembo," the team said in a statement. "We are extremely disappointed that one of our players is involved in something like this. Accordingly, we have decided to waive Prince Shembo."

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Rams RB Trey Watts suspended four games
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(4:08 pm ET) Rams running back Trey Watts has been suspended for the first four games of the 2015 season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, according to profootballtalk.com.

Watts, who made the team in 2014 as an undrafted free agent, played in 14 games last season and rushed for 30 yards on seven carries.

Watts is eligible to return for Week 5 against the Packers.


Falcons LB Prince Shembo charged with cruelty to animals
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(3:57 pm ET) Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo is being accused of killing his ex-girlfriend's dog and has been charged with aggravated cruelty to animals, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Police said Denicia Williams, Shembo's ex-girlfriend, reported on April 19 that Shembo had killed her Yorkie.

Williams took the dog to Shembo's residence and left them unattended at some point. When she returned, the dog was unresponsive.

Shembo recorded 59 tackles in 16 games for the Falcons last season.


Seahawks' Kam Chancellor: 'This is the strongest offseason I've had'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(2:56 pm ET) Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor feels good. He should, he's finally healthy.

Chancellor, who has become accustomed to rehabbing nagging injuries during the offseason, is practicing with the team during organized team activities for the first time in a while, per The News Tribune.

“I feel great. Back to football form. Feel fast. Feel strong. I just feel good out there," Chancellor said. "I think this is the strongest offseason I’ve had since I’ve been in the league. I’ve been actually able to train in the offseason instead of having surgeries.”

Chancellor recorded 78 tackles, an interception and a forced fumble in 14 games last season.


Cardinals RB coach: David Johnson 'reminds me a lot of Matt Forte'
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(2:44 pm ET) Cardinals rookie runningback David Johnson received a huge compliment from his position coach, per nfl.com.

Running backs coach Stump Mitchell said the third-round pick reminds him of a Pro Bowl running back.

"He reminds me a lot of Matt Forte," Mitchell said. "You can put him outside and use him as a receiver and he's a good runner."

Mitchell sees the comparison between the two when it comes to Johnson's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, something Forte has excelled at throughout his career.

"He has excellent hands and he's a bigger target to throw the ball to," Mitchell said. "He's going to be a big piece of the puzzle before this season is said and done."

Johnson rushed for 1,553 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at Northern Iowa last year.


Patriots Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler absent at OTA's
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:30 pm ET) Patriots cornerback and Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler was noticeably absent from organized team activities on Friday, per nesn.com. It's unclear why Butler was not at practice.

Butler recorded 15 tackles in 11 games last season, but most noticeably came up with a game-clinching interception in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLIX.


Cowboys excited and cautious with return of LB Sean Lee
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(1:22 pm ET) Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee tore his ACL during organized team activities last year. This year, he has been limited to individual drills during non-padded parctices, per The Dallas Morning News.

Cowboys linebackers coach Matt Eberflus said the team is happy to have Lee back but that they will pace him along slowly.

"He's a ball of energy and excitement and that represents who we are," Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "He's moving well. We're just being smart as we get him ready to go. But he's got a lot of good quality work in."


Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin getting work in as a punt returner
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:59 pm ET) Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin was the Chiefs' prized free-agent pickup this offseason, which makes it that much more intriguing that he lined up to return punts during practice on Thursday, per ESPN.com.

Maclin, who signed a five-year, $55 million deal with the Chiefs, was a premier punt returner in college and played the role sparingly -- with little success -- with the Eagles.

Coach Andy Reid said the team is preparing Maclin just in case he's needed to return punts or kicks because of injuries.

We just want to make sure he is ready,’’ Reid said. “You have limited numbers that you can dress on game day, so you don’t know what rotation you are going to have there with the receivers and returners. So it gives you an opportunity to keep him fresh. We don’t work him every day like the other guys. It’s kind of an every other day deal, so just to make sure that he’s okay and can still do that, but he’s not going to be the primary guy doing it right now.”


Eagles CB Byron Maxwell guarantees trip to Super Bowl 50
by Ruben Palacios | Staff Writer
(12:40 pm ET) Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell knows what it takes to make a Super Bowl run, he's appeared in two straight as a key member of the vaunted Seahawks defense.

Now, Maxwell is confident the Eagles will make a run to the big game and he will make his third consecutive appearance, per NFL.com.

"Because I've been there before," Maxwell said. "Knowing what it's like if we go that far. Because we're gonna go that far this year, meaning the playoffs and the Super Bowl. We're gonna go that far. Hopefully that experience I already had, I can help them."

The Eagles haven't made a Super Bowl since their 24-21 loss to the Patriots in 2004, but Maxwell didn't backtrack with his comments.

"You can take that as a guarantee," he said. "That's just me believing in my team and the product we're going to put out there on the field. I really do believe that. I have no choice but to think that way."

Maxwell, who signed a six-year, $60 million deal with the Eagles this offseason, recorded 39 tackles and two interceptions in 13 games last season.


 
 
 
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