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Player News
Percy Harvin looking to start the year on the right foot
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:37 pm ET) Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin is looking at a strong matchup Week 1 against the Packers.

A quiet preseason was a good preseason for Harvin. After missing nearly all of last season due to a hip injury, Harvin was able to play in all but the final game of the preseason. He missed the fourth game due to a personal issue, and not because of an injury. Harvin caught seven balls for 92 yards in August.

The Packers didn’t boast a strong pass defense last season. The team allowed opposing wide receivers to average 22.94 Fantasy points per game. That wasn’t one of the worst rates in the league, but it was below-average. The team attempted to address this during the offseason, taking Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round. Despite that, there’s no guarantee the team will perform better in the defensive backfield.

Despite the fact that Harvin is a five-year veteran, there are questions about how he’ll be used with the Seahawks. While Harvin was able to play during the club’s playoff run, it was unclear whether he was actually fully healthy last year. Harvin has shown the ability to be a game-changing wide receiver, so it’s assumed the Seahawks will find ways to get arguably their best playmaker the ball. The club has been been incredibly run-heavy over the past few seasons, but a healthy Harvin could make them more balanced. 


Marshawn Lynch ready to roll Week 1
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:35 pm ET) Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch is looking to get off to a good start Week 1 against the Packers.

Lynch had an abbreviated preseason, carrying the ball just three times for 16 yards. That’s probably not a bad thing considering his high workload over the past couple years. Lynch also had a brief holdout during the offseason, but reported to camp in shape, and should be ready to roll.

The Packers weren’t particularly strong against the run last season, giving up 19.18 Fantasy points per week to running backs. That was the eighth worst figure in the league. While the team tried to shore up things defensively during the offseason, the loss of B.J. Raji should make it easier for teams to gash the Packers up the middle. 

With that in mind, Lynch should be a strong start. The Seahawks modus operandi the past couple years has been the run game, and that probably won’t change now. There are concerns about Lynch’s workload and lack of preseason reps, but his pedigree and matchup make this a strong start Week 1. 


Russell Wilson ready to shine Week 1?
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(8:33 pm ET) Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson begins his post-Super Bowl year with a strong matchup against the Packers Week 1. 

Wilson performed well during the preseason, completing 78.6 percent of his passes. He threw for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. Wilson also managed three rushing touchdowns to cap off a strong preseason.

His ability to put up solid Fantasy numbers should be tested Week 1. The Packers did not boast a great defense against the pass last season. The team allowed quarterbacks to score 20.65 Fantasy points, which was the seventh worst clip in the league. Green Bay has been proactive in resolving the issue, drafting Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round, but it’s unclear how much better the team’s defensive backs will perform. 

The bigger question will be whether the Seahawks open up the offense for Wilson this season. With Marshawn Lynch out for much of the preseason, Wilson showed the ability to carry the team with his arm. Now that Lynch is back, the team could opt to get back to conservative play-calling with the franchise quarterback. Wilson has all the makings of a strong matchup here, but could get the short end of the stick if the Seahawks pound Lynch.


Matt Forte should live up to billing in Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:25 pm ET) Bears running back Matt Forte was ranked as a top five Fantasy running back going into the season, and he falls in the top five in both weekly running back rankings from CBSSports.com experts. After setting career highs in rushing yardage, rushing touchdowns, receptions and receiving yardage in 2013, will Forte get this season started off on the right foot in Week 1 against the Bills?

While Buffalo put together a strong defense last season, the team's particular strength was against the pass. Rushers were able to gain 4.4 yards per carry against the Bills, leaving them 23rd in the league in the category. While the Bills did a good job defending against pass-catching backs last season, they now have to play without linebackers Kiko Alonso (season-ending injury) and Nigel Bradham (suspended for Week 1) as well as safety Jairus Byrd (signed with New Orleans).

New defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense was just average defending passes against running backs in Detroit last season. Forte has been excellent against Schwartz, who was the head coach of the Lions from 2009 through 2013. He has rushed for 1,005 yards and averaged 4.74 yards per carry while catching 38 passes for 360 yards in 12 career games against the Lions. Ten of those contests came with Schwartz at the helm, and Forte should be able to continue giving the Bills defensive coordinator nightmares this Sunday.


Martellus Bennett worth starting in Week 1
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(8:09 pm ET) Bears tight end Martellus Bennett posted career-best numbers in 2013, catching 65 passes for 759 yards while matching his career high of five touchdowns. Three of those five scores came in the first two weeks of the season, and he could be on the verge of starting off hot for the third straight season.

Bennett is in danger of getting lost offensively on a week-to-week basis, as there are only so many opportunities to go around for Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Matt Forte and the tight end. He faces a plus matchup in Week 1, with the Bills dealing with a depleted linebacker corps and the loss of free safety Jairus Byrd. While the one thing new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense did well in Detroit last year was defend the tight end, the Bills don't appear to have the personnel to match up with the imposing Bennett.

Bennett falls inside the top 12 in the weekly rankings of both CBSSports.con Fantasy experts, designating him as starter material in standard leagues. We could see a similar line to his opener against the Bengals last season: three receptions, 49 yards and one touchdown.


Khiry Robinson looking to solidify role
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(8:03 pm ET) Of the Saints' top three running backs, Khiry Robinson's role is the most unclear heading into Week 1 at Atlanta, making him a risky choice in Fantasy despite the favorable matchup.

Mark Ingram is expected to start for the Saints and get the largest percentage of the carries. Pierre Thomas, who led all running backs with 77 receptions last season, still figures to play a big role in the passing game. Robinson, who wasn't nearly as effective as Ingram this preseason, averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, could end up being just a change-of-pace option.

If he gets a decent number of touches, he could surprise against a defense that ranked 31st against the run last season, allowing 135.8 yards per game, but that's too big of a gamble for standard 12-team leagues.

Neither Jamey Eisenberg nor Dave Richard ranks Robinson among his top 48 running backs for this week.


Mark Ingram could begin 2014 on right foot
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:58 pm ET) Coming off an impressive preseason in which he started three of the Saints' four games and ran 22 times for 156 yards (averaging 7.1 yards per carry), running back Mark Ingram has a chance to make an even bigger impression Week 1 at Atlanta.

The Falcons ranked 31st against the run last season, allowing 135.8 yards per game.

Ingram didn't do much in two games against them then, rushing nine times for 11 yards in the first and nine times for 32 yards in the second, but he picked up his pace later in the year, rushing 44 times for 249 yards in his final four games (including two playoff games) for an average of 5.7 yards per carry.

Beginning his fourth NFL season, Ingram is expected to play his biggest role yet for the Saints. He'll still split carries with Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson, but with a strong matchup after a favorable preseason, he's not a bad third running back for Week 1. Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard both rank him as a top-30 option in non-PPR leagues.


Alshon Jeffery owners should temper Week 1 expectations
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:54 pm ET) Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery enjoyed one of the biggest breakouts of the 2013 season, racking up more than 1,500 total yards and scoring seven touchdowns. As a result, he's been selected in the top 10 at his position in most 2014 Fantasy drafts, placing him in WR1 territory as owners look for a big follow-up. But it's entirely possible his third season may get off to a slow start Sunday when the Bears face the Bills at Soldier Field.

Jeffery feasted on big plays last year, scoring from 45, 46 and 80 yards out, but only one of his touchdowns came over the middle of the field, where the Bills project to be weakest on Sunday. Buffalo was the best team in the league against No. 2 receivers in 2013, per Football Outsiders, thanks to quality cornerback play from Stephen Gilmore and Leodis McKelvin. The latter allowed just two touchdowns all season while breaking up 13 passes, so even if the supremely talented Jeffery gets isolated on the corner, he's no lock to come through with a long score.

Jeffery, who caught just three of his seven TDs on passes from starter Jay Cutler last year, should be primed for another big season. But before Cutler's injury, Jeffery hauled in just one catch in two of his team's first six games. Cutler could favor Brandon Marshall Sunday if he continues to face a soft defense over the middle, potentially leaving Jeffery owners a little disappointed in his Week 1 numbers.


Pierre Thomas could make statement
by Scott White | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7:44 pm ET) Carrying the ball just three times in two games this preseason games didn't exactly relieve concerns of Pierre Thomas playing a reduced role in the Saints running game this season -- a possibility he acknowledged earlier this preseason -- but he has the right matchup to make a statement Week 1 at Atlanta.

The Falcons were dreadful against the run last season, allowing 135.8 yards per game, second-most in the league. Thomas himself took advantage in the second of the two games the Saints played against them last year, picking up 73 yards on 10 carries and 57 on five catches Week 12 at Atlanta.

That second number should give Fantasy owners hope for this matchup. With Darren Sproles and Lance Moore out of the picture, Thomas should still play a significant role in the passing game. He led all running backs with 77 catches last year and had four catches for 66 yards in one of his two preseason games.

CBSSports.com Fantasy Football analyst Jamey Eisenberg likes Thomas enough with this matchup to rank him 21st among running backs this week. Dave Richard isn't as optimistic, ranking him 37th.


IK Enemkpali dealing with plantar fascia injury
by R.J. White | CBSSports.com
(7:32 pm ET) Jets linebacker IK Enemkpali is suffering from an injury to the plantar fascia in one of his feet, NJ.com reports.

"Rest is a big part of it," Enemkpali said. "Right now, I'm just leaving it in the hands of the training room staff to see when I can get back on the field."

Enemkpali added that the injury has bothered him off and on throughout his career. He's out indefinitely.


 
 
 
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