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Offseason Extra: 32 Fantasy storylines

Senior Fantasy Writer
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The regular season is over, the postseason is coming and before long we'll have a new Super Bowl champion.

Soon thereafter, the NFL will kick into its "business season" and teams will make improvements for hopes of big wins and trophies starting next September.

Of course it's the goal of everyone who plays Fantasy to land big wins and trophies, too. The season might have just ended but it's still not too early to begin making some assessments on what's going to happen -- there's no real point in talking about what did happen since the Fantasy season is over.

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Let's borrow a term used by our pals on Wall Street and make some forward-looking statements on every NFL team as they stand right now. Things can change, so some of these statements might turn to dust, but it's all worth checking out as we begin our march toward our 2014 drafts.

Arizona: After tying for the same amount of Fantasy points in standard leagues, Andre Ellington, not Rashard Mendenhall, should be the back with more sizzle in Arizona (assuming Mendenhall is even re-signed).

Atlanta: Both in contract years, Julio Jones and Roddy White should shine, making Matt Ryan the very best buy-low quarterback on Draft Day 2014.

Baltimore: The offensive line is expected to be significantly re-tooled in hopes of rejuvenating a once-terrific run game. Ray Rice should still be given the chance to benefit from it.

Buffalo: The Bills should continue to be a run-heavy offense (they finished No. 2 in the league in rushing with 144.2 yards per game) with C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson paving the way, but Robert Woods should have a chance to be a sneaky candidate for over 60 catches and 900 yards in his second season.

Carolina: Because the receiving corps isn't expected to be restocked this offseason there will be less excitement about Cam Newton in drafts next summer than there was in the past, making him a candidate to slide into good value.

Chicago: The Bears offense should take the next step in Marc Trestman's second season as head coach and play caller, thanks to all of their top offensive players locked up for 2014.

Cincinnati: Even though BenJarvus Green-Ellis will still be on the roster, look for Giovani Bernard to make a productive jump statistically in his second season (it already happened -- he had 13 more touches than Green-Ellis in the Bengals' last five).

Cleveland: There's nowhere for Josh Gordon to go but up, particularly since the Browns offense is headed for a major re-tooling. Any kind of quarterback upgrade is good for him and the rest of the offense. He's a Top-3 Fantasy receiver for sure entering 2014.

Dallas: With concerns that DeMarco Murray's carries were limited in fear of him breaking down, Dallas could make a splash at running back and jeopardize Murray's chances at another 270-touch season.

Denver: Two veterans -- Knowshon Moreno and Eric Decker -- aren't guaranteed to return to the Broncos because they're free agents. If they split, expect a downturn in their stats since they won't work with Peyton Manning (their replacements, however, should be great).

Detroit: The offense will change but there should be improvement not only in Matthew Stafford's receiving corps but also his own development, making him a potential draft steal.

Green Bay: Keep tabs on how the Packers move on at tight end since Jermichael Finley is a free agent coming off of spinal surgery. Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick or Jake Stoneburner could move into a starting role.

Houston: Arian Foster's 2014 will go one of two ways: Remarkably well after playing only eight games in 2013 or horribly wrong after dealing with multiple injuries. He'll be 28 years old when the season starts.

Indianapolis: The Colts have many offensive priorities this offseason, none bigger than improving the offensive line, which is vital in the success of the run game.

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Jacksonville: With the Jaguars offense in major flux and the franchise willing to let Maurice Jones-Drew shop himself this offseason, prepare for the veteran back to find a new team -- likely a contender -- to run for in his age-29 season.

Kansas City: If the Chiefs draw a big name receiver (or tight end) this offseason it could be the difference in making Alex Smith a legitimate Fantasy sleeper next summer.

Miami: Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas both struggled to get a grip on the rushing job last season, opening the door for the Dolphins to look at potential big-name free agent running backs -- and they've spent big on running backs before.

Minnesota: This one is easy: Expect Cordarrelle Patterson to take a major jump in production in his second season. Solidifying the quarterback spot in Minnesota will help a bunch.

New England: To help Tom Brady be a more effective quarterback the Patriots should launch Aaron Dobson, Josh Boyce and Kenbrell Thompkins into a three-way battle for a starting role. The winner would have obvious Fantasy appeal.

New Orleans: Because of the opportunities both players should have next year, Pierre Thomas and Kenny Stills are candidates to be good mid- to late-round picks in Fantasy drafts.

N.Y. Giants: There might be a playbook change but not a roster purge here. Bank on the Giants rehashing their offense while spending resources toward protecting Eli Manning.

N.Y. Jets: The Jets might find another quarterback to compete with Geno Smith but they should also hit the market for a couple of receivers to help whoever starts for them. There could be a sleeper or two in there.

Oakland: The poor Raiders don't have a playmaker on offense and still have some offensive line issues. A guy to watch is rookie Latavius Murray; he missed his rookie season with an ankle injury but has good skills and should have an opportunity come training camp.

Philadelphia: You're going to hear a lot about Zach Ertz in the next six months. The second-year tight end could be a huge stat producer for the Eagles because of his versatility and speed compared to other Eagles tight ends (Celek is owed over $13.5 million over the next three years).

Pittsburgh: There are a lot of positives in Pittsburgh as they should have plenty of offensive continuity heading into 2014. Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown won't be bargains but Ben Roethlisberger should be.

San Diego: Even though Philip Rivers posted his third career 4,400-yard, 30-touchdown season he could use some help in the form of another receiving threat and perhaps more from Ladarius Green. Rivers could be as good if not better in '14.

Seattle: The Seahawks made a splash last year with the addition of Percy Harvin. Another receiver might be in the team's future considering Golden Tate's free-agent status come March.

San Francisco: Get familiar with the name Marcus Lattimore. Eyeballs will be on the 22-year-old this offseason as he puts the finishing touches on his rehab from major knee surgery -- and potentially in position to take a lot of work off Frank Gore's plate.

St. Louis: Two things need to happen here: Sam Bradford to get healthy and the Rams to finally solve their wide receiver dilemma. A guy with good hands who can run quality routes is very much needed.

Tampa Bay: Don't sleep on Doug Martin just because he had a disappointing 2013. Maybe the Bucs will look for another back to help him out but he's still the best -- and most versatile -- running back they still have.

Tennessee: Expect some major changes, particularly with Chris Johnson unlikely to be a part of the roster at his current salary. There is a shot he'll be very effective depending on where he suits up in '14.

Washington: Can't say Robert Griffin III will be a Draft Day bust yet. The Redskins' offensive scheme and offseason additions will be vital to figuring out his value for next season.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard .

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Player News
Report: Saints TE Graham likely to play Sunday despite injury
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(5:14 pm ET) Saints prolific tight end Jimmy Graham has been deemed questionable for the Sunday night game against Green Bay with a shoulder problem, but seems likely to play after practicing on a limited basis, according to ESPN.

Graham played 30 snaps despite the physical issue in Week 7 against Detroit, but was held without a catch.


Colts WR Hakeem Nicks expected to see more targets Week 8
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:13 pm ET) With Reggie Wayne ruled out with an elbow injury, Colts wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is expected to have an increased role on offense Sunday against Pittsburgh, according to ESPN. Nicks has gotten off to a slow start, with 17 catches for 141 yards and two touchdowns as the No. 3 receiver. He was targeted only once and was held without a grab in Week 7 against Cincinnati.

"I look forward to every opportunity," Nicks said. "Each week I prepare accordingly, prepare like I’m going to play, just like I’m going to play this week. Just have to go out there and play within the offense and everything will be good."

Raiders enter Week 8 at Cleveland pretty banged up
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:06 pm ET) The Raiders listed a lengthy injury report for Week 8 at Cleveland. The team ruled out the following players for Sunday: tight end David Ausberry (foot), wide receiver Vincent Brown (hamstring), cornerback Keith McGill (groin), defensive end LaMarr Woodley (bicep) and safety Usama Young (knee).

Deemed questionable were offensive lineman Khalif Barnes (quadriceps), fullback Marcel Reece (quadriceps), cornerback Carlos Rogers (knee) and defensive end Justin Tuck (knee). Guard Austin Howard (neck) was the only player on the list deemed probable.


Browns list eight players on final injury report for Week 8
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(5:01 pm ET) The Browns listed defensive lineman Phil Taylor (knee) and wide receiver Rodney Smith (hamstring) out for Week 8 against Oakland. Deemed questionable were defensive end Billy Winn (quadriceps) and safety Jim Leonhard (ankle).

Meanwhile, defensive end Desmond Bryant (wrist), outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo (shoulder), defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin (ankle) and cornerback K'Waun Williams (concussion) were all labeled probable.


Bengals Week 8 injury report features 10 probables
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:52 pm ET) Outside of A.J. Green and Rey Maualuga, the Bengals enter Week 8 at home against Baltimore relatively healthy despite having 14 players on the final injury report for Sunday's game. Green (toe) was ruled doubtful, while Rey Maualuga (hamstring) was officially ruled out. Brandon Thompson (knee) was limited in practice and questionable.

Meanwhile, the following players were labeled probable for the Bengals: Giovani Bernard (ribs), Kevin Brock (neck), Vontaze Burfict (neck), Robert Geathers (toe), Wallace Gilberry (eye), Leon Hall (back), Emmanuel Lamur (shoulder), Marshall Newhouse (back), Mike Pollak (knee) and Andre Smith (shoulder).


Saints rule out backs Thomas, Robinson against Packers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:43 pm ET) Running backs Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) and Khiry Robinson (forearm) have been ruled out by the Saints for the Sunday game against Green Bay.

Their absences should mean increased work for Mark Ingram and Travaris Cadet.


Chiefs rule Donnie Avery, Chris Owens out against Rams
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:42 pm ET) The Chiefs have labeled wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin) and cornerback Chris Owens (knee) out for Sunday's Week 8 clash against the Rams.

Junior Hemingway (hamstring) was the only player listed on the final injury report as questionable. Meanwhile, Travis Kelce (ribs), Sean Smith (groin), Cyrus Gray (hand) and Justin Houston (ankle) were all full participants in Friday's practice and were officially deemed probable.


Rams CBs Jenkins, Johnson questionable Week 8 in KC
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:39 pm ET) Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson are questionable with knee injuries, according to the injury report released Friday by the Rams for their Sunday game at Kansas City.

The only other non-probables are defensive back Brandon McGee (foot) and center Tim Barnes (shoulder). Both have been ruled out.

Deemed probable are wideout Kenny Britt (ankle), running back Benny Cunningham (knee), linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar (toe), defensive linemen Ethan Westbrooks (hand) and William Hayes (illness), safety T.J. McDonald (concussion), tackle Rodger Saffold (knee) and kicker Greg Zuerlein (illness).


Patriots add Vereen to final injury report for Chicago game
by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com
(4:35 pm ET) The Patriots listed 13 players on their final injury report for their Week 8 home game against Chicago. Chandler Jones (hip) is the only player on the list to be ruled out for the game.

Shane Vereen was a late addition to the report because of an illness. He missed practice Friday and was labeled questionable. Dan Connolly (concussion), Dominique Easley (shoulder, knee), Nate Ebner (finger), Cameron Fleming (finger), Matthew Slater (shoulder) and Bryan Stork (concussion) were deemed questionable.

Meanwhile, Tom Brady (ankle), Brandon Browner (ankle), Jamie Collins (thigh), Dont'a Hightower (knee) and Devin McCourty (rib) were all full participants in Friday's practice session and officially ruled probable for Sunday.


Rams CBs Johnson, Jenkins questionable for Sunday
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4:31 pm ET) Rams cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Trumaine Johnson have both been deemed questionable for the Week 8 game at Kansas City with ankle injuries. A knee injury had prevented Johnson from playing this year.

 
 
 
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