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Fantasy Football: Week 5 waiver wire

10.01.13 at 11:11 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 5 waiver wire. A lot of last week’€™s hot names have been snatched up, so the inventory of targets is not what it was as we hit the second week of byes. Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Minnesota and Washington will be resting this week. As always, I will be doing my expanded waiver wire over at Rotobahn.com. If you play in a league with 12 or more teams, we’€™ve got you covered. The players listed here represent the best available talent based on percentages derived from Yahoo’€™s database and should meet your needs if you play in leagues with 10 teams or less.

QUARTERBACKS

Jay Cutler, Bears

He played a poor game in Week 4, but he was still a fantasy asset. That’€™s the benefit of having improved weapons and protection, not to mention an improved scheme. Cutler should be owned everywhere, yet he is available in 42 percent of leagues.

Matt Schaub, Texans

He’€™s available in 45 percent of leagues and he’€™s a fantasy asset. He held up against Seattle better than most quarterbacks have and his schedule gets better from here on out. Schaub can help you if you lack a second option at quarterback.

Terrelle Pryor, Raiders

He’€™s available in 78 percent of leagues and he has a lot of weekly upside. I like him a lot as a matchup play due to his high-end athleticism and his penchant for picking up extra fantasy points with his feet. He should be over his concussion for Week 5.

Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins

He’€™s a available in 78 percent of leagues. The coaching staff is letting him throw it a ton. He can help you if you need a QB. He’€™s a matchup play, so check his schedule against your QB1’€™s bye week.

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Read More: Danny Woodhead, Jay Cutler, Le'Veon Bell, Matt Schaub

Jerod Mayo confident ‘next man up’ will fill void of Vince Wilfork

10.01.13 at 10:18 am ET
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With Vince Wilfork now likely gone for the season, the mantle of leadership on the defense moves to the broad shoulders of linebacker Jerod Mayo.

The Patriots, like any football team, always adopt the mantra of “next man up” when a player goes down, even a proven star player as is the case with Wilfork. That won’t change now as Mayo – co-captain of the defense – pointed out.

“We always talk about next man up. We have a lot of talented guys on our team,” Mayo said. “I think Vince got hurt in the first quarter [Sunday] and guys really stepped up and played well for us. We ended up getting the victory which is always is a good thing. That’€™s our mentality, is the next man up and I’€™m sure ‘€“ we have a lot of great people, great players, great leaders in the organization in general so I know I expect that to continue on.”

“Obviously, Vince is a huge asset for our team, not only on the field but off the field. He’€™s a great leader, he demands double teams in the run game and he also coordinates some of the rushes in the pass game, so a great asset for this defense.”

Actually, in the Patriots case, it’s the next men up.

The first two candidates are Joe Vellano and Chris Jones, both of whom saw action on Sunday night, along with Tommy Kelly inside. Mayo believes both can definitely hold their own.

“Definitely. Those guys practice hard, they’€™re always in the film room, the coaches always have them ready to go. I think that’€™s what it’€™s all about, is preparation during the week and those guys prepare well and they came in to the game and did some good things. Obviously we still have a lot of work to do and gelling together to get that chemistry but that comes with time. But last night was a good night for them.”

As for the possible return of Richard Seymour, don’t expect No. 93 to be making a comeback to New England, as was reported on Monday.

Clearly, Sunday night went beyond football for the Patriots. It was evident from the moment Tom Brady came over to check on Wilfork that his teammates felt for him. There was a game to be won but then after, their thoughts turned to the man who has anchored the middle of the line since 2004.

“Obviously Vince has been a staple for a long time. He rarely goes out with injuries so it was very shocking and surprising to see my friend go down like that. Hopefully he’€™s OK; we’€™ll see what happens. But it definitely caught me off-guard a little bit, because I’€™m used to always having him in there with me.

“I spoke with him after the game. He’€™s in good spirits and we’€™ll see what happens.”

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Read More: Chris Jones, Jerod Mayo, Joe Vellano, New England Patriots

Tom Brady on D&C: ‘Such a disappointment to lose’ Vince Wilfork

10.01.13 at 10:15 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, in his weekly chat with Dennis & Callahan on Tuesday morning, talked about Sunday night’s 30-23 victory over the Falcons that put New England at 4-0 heading into next Sunday’s game against the Bengals, and he lamented the loss of veteran defensive lineman Vince Wilfork.

Wilfork, who suffered an Achilles injury that reportedly is season-ending, has been one of the team’s defensive leaders for almost a decade.

“He’s such a great presence obviously in the locker room, as a leader, as a veteran player, as a guy who’s been in so many big games and big situations. It’s such a disappointment to lose him,” Brady said. “He’s irreplaceable. We’ll have to find a way collectively as a team fill the void. But it’s an unfortunate injury. Injuries are a part of the game. But the season-ending ones are always tough to swallow.”

A five-time Pro Bowler, Wilfork has missed only six games in his nine-plus NFL seasons.

“He makes everybody’s job a lot easier when you play at that caliber and that level that he’s played at for so long,” Brady said. “He’s so dependable, consistent, and he makes his biggest plays in the biggest moments. Someone else is going to have to step in and do that, and I think we’ve dealt with injuries in the past. The league really doesn’t slow down for anybody. I’ve said before, no one really feels sorry for the Patriots. We’re going to have to go out and try to find a win regardless.”

Added Brady: “His message was always taken to heart by everybody. Vince always backed it up on the field. Coach always talked about tough, physical teams, and that was Vince. The other guys, hopefully they’ve watched, the other guys on the roster have watched and learned a little bit about how Vince was able to do some things. And maybe that aspect of what Vince’s leadership has provided will pay off for our team.”

Cornerback Aqib Talib had an impressive game against the Falcons, picking off a pass and coming up with the game-clinching pass breakup in the end zone in the final minute.

“He’s doing great,” Brady said. “He’s been another positive influence on our team since he got here. He’s just been great on the field, great off the field. In the offseason he was a full-time participator, he won the offseason award. I think that really shows what his leadership style is all about, too. And then to go out against one of the best offenses in the league, with that caliber of receiver that he was matching up against all night — Julio Jones and Roddy White — and to play as well as he did was really a huge boost for our team.

“The guys who are as talented as Aqib on our team need to play at high levels every week. That’s what we’re going to need to have. We just don’t have a lot of margin on error right now. Who knows if we will all year, but in order to win these games we’re going to have to really be at our best.”

Added Brady: “I love having Aqib on the team. I go against him every day, and I know how hard it is. He’s really got a unique combination of size and speed and ability to play the ball in the air. His length is impressive. I know a lot of times when I throw the ball in practice and I feel like, ‘OK, I’ve got the completion, I got it over the top of him,’ he’ll jump up and knock the ball away. You go, ‘God, he’s just hard to throw over the top of,’ because of his reach, his wingspan, his ability play the ball at the highest point. And when you make a mistake, he makes you pay. That’s something that I see on a daily basis.”

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Richard Seymour, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady

Tom Brady Confidence Index, Week 4: Julian Edelman approaching Wes Welker territory

10.01.13 at 7:15 am ET
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This preseason, we debuted the Tom Brady Confidence Index, a by-the-numbers look at the comfort level the quarterback had with the rest of the skill-position players when it came to the passing game. Because of the reaction we got, we decided to make it a semi-regular feature and expand it to include overall offensive touches (receptions and carries, with more weight to carries in clutch situations) and how comfortable the quarterback might appear to be with some of his teammates when it came to trusting them in certain situations.

As always, we rate each of the skill-position players and their relationship/comfort level with Brady on a scale of 0 (Taylor Price) to 100 (Wes Welker) on their body of work to this point in the season.

(Disclaimer: While most aspects of this blog deal in mathematical specifics as it relates to football, this entry is more of a tongue-in-cheek approach to Brady and how he relates to the rest of the New England offense. Bottom line? Don’€™t take the rating system too seriously.)

WIDE RECEIVER JULIAN EDELMAN: 91 (last week: 90)

Season stats: 34 catches, 43 targets, 319 yards, two touchdowns

We said it late Sunday night, and it beats repeating in this context: If it wasn’€™t for Edelman, the Patriots wouldn’€™t be one of a handful of teams sitting at 4-0 after the first four weeks of the season. His consistency, durability and toughness have played a large part in any sort of offensive success New England has had over the first quarter of the season. On Sunday, after not catching a ball in the first half (which was more about the game plan than Edelman not getting any chances), he finished with a team-high seven catches on nine targets for 118 yards. Even with the texture of the Patriots’€™ passing game likely to change with the arrival of Rob Gronkowski and the return of Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen, he seems to be a lock to break his personal records of 37 catches and 359 yards, numbers he set as a rookie in 2009. A terrific start to the year for Edelman.

RUNNING BACK BRANDON BOLDEN: 70 (last week: 70)

Season stats: 9 rushes, 58 yards, 17 YPC; 6 catches on 7 targets for 44 yards; 1 negative reception

If there was one member of the committee who didn’€™t match up when it came to overall production this week, it was Bolden. He had a good number of touches, but wasn’€™t able to generate much offense on the evening — he finished with six carries for 17 yards and one catch for minus-five yards in the win. Part of that could be because he went down with a knee injury in the first half, and while he returned, it appeared the Patriots were more inclined to ride with their passing game in the second half. (In terms of overall offensive touches, his night was almost an exact opposite of Edelman — while the ground game carried the Patriots in the first half, Edelman got the bulk of his chances in the second half. Meanwhile, Bolden got the bulk of his reps early on, and stepped aside when the Patriots took to the air.) Bolden, who has struggled with injury at the start of the season, certainly bears watching as it relates to the injury list this week.

WIDE RECEIVER KENBRELL THOMPKINS: 70 (last week: 65)

Season stats: 15 catches, 39 targets, 257 yards, three touchdowns

The drops are still worrisome, but the rookie continues to make strides in the New England passing game. Statistically, he had the best game of his relatively brief career against the Falcons, finishing with six catches (on a team-high 11 targets) for 127 yards and a touchdown. Regardless of the sub-.500 catch rate, it’€™s clear that Brady is going to keep going to Thompkins over and over again — he’€™s going to break Edelman’€™s mark for targets for a Patriots rookie receiver (54, a mark set by Edelman in 2009) sooner rather than later. But frankly, his continued evolution is starting to warrant that sort of trust on the part of the quarterback. He’€™ll face another challenge this week when going up against the Bengals defense.

RUNNING BACK LeGARRETTE BLOUNT: 65 (last week: 55)

Season stats: 34 carries, 155 yards, 4.6 YPC, one touchdown, three negative plays

Blount has been a revelation the last two games, coming into both contests and effectively working as a late-game closer to finish off an opponent — 123 of his 155 rushing yards this season have come in either the third or fourth quarter. He displayed more than enough of a finishing kick Sunday night against the Falcons, rumbling for a 47-yard touchdown run over left guard in the fourth quarter and reaching the end zone for the first time all season. His role has been increasing steadily each week, and provided the Patriots continue to monitor his snaps and use him judiciously, he will remain an important part of the New England running game.

RUNNING BACK STEVAN RIDLEY: 60 (last week: 55)

Season stats: 47 carries, 174 yards, 3.7 YPC, seven negative plays, one fumble lost; three catches on three targets for 34 yards

Another steady week for Ridley, who is emerging as the head of the running back by committee — against the Falcons, he went for 53 yards on 11 carries. While it didn’€™t lead the team in yardage (that belonged to Blount, who came away with 64), Ridley was able to produce steady and consistent yardage between the tackles in the first half — he accounted for 50 of the 75 yards on New England’€™s first scoring drive of the night, the one that set the tone for the contest. Maybe the biggest surprise from Ridley Sunday night was his two catches for 26 yards, including a career-high 24-yard reception.
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Read More: Tom Brady Confidence Indez,

Tom Brady on Vince Wilfork: ‘To say we’ll miss him is an understatement’

10.01.13 at 12:52 am ET
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Appearing at halftime of the ‘€œMonday Night Football‘€ radio broadcast, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady held a wide-ranging Q&A with host Jim Gray, addressing the loss of Vince Wilfork, the progress of Rob Gronkowski as he makes his way back from rehab, and Peyton Manning‘€™s record-setting start to the 2013 season:

On losing Vince Wilfork for the remainder of the season with a torn Achilles: ‘€œWell, to say we’€™ll miss him is an understatement. His presence in the locker room and on the field is really unmatched, so it will be a team effort. I know Coach Belichick said there’€™s no Vince Wilfork’s on the street corner waiting to sign with the Patriots, which is the truth, but we’€™re going to have to find a way to—in a group effort— replace such a valuable player. And he’€™ll be around, his spirit, his leadership, he’€™ll still have a big impact on our team. But he’€™s been a great player for a long time and everyone’€™s disappointed about his injury.’€

On if he can gauge what it does to the morale of the team when you lose such a player of that level of importance, like when Brady was lost to injury a few years ago: ‘€œYeah, well initially there’€™s a blow to the team morale in that you wonder who’€™s going to fill in that spot and who’€™s going to take the void of such a great player. But then as soon as you get into the week, you start thinking about your job, how much you need to do and what the coaches are asking you, and then you really leave it to Coach to think of the things that he can do now to help replace a guy like Vince as well as personnel.  So injuries are really a part of the game and I think we’€™ve learned over the years that there’€™s not one player that makes the team. Certainly losing a guy like Vince doesn’€™t help our team in any way, but we’€™re going to have to find somebody to go in there and do the job of that nose tackle position and do it to the level that they’€™re capable of. It’€™s a team sport so the rest of the team has to pick up the pieces.’€

On if he sensed the severity of the injury when it occurred: ‘€Well, I wasn’€™t sure of the severity, I know that Vince never really goes down and stays on the ground so when he came over to the sideline and I went over and tapped him on the shoulder to ask him how he felt and he just kind of nodded his head which, I knew at that point that it wasn’€™t a minor injury. So he’€™s as tough as they come. He’€™s been durable, consistent. Like I said, his leadership and his ability to motivate the other players on the defensive side of the ball has been one of the best I’€™ve ever seen. So we’€™ll miss him, we’€™ll miss him for the rest of the year, but I know he’€™ll come back next year strong and as determined as ever.’€
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Read More: Peyton Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork

Patriots release safety Kanorris Davis

09.30.13 at 4:46 pm ET
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The Patriots announced that they have released rookie safety Kanorris Davis.

Davis was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad on Saturday, Sept. 28, and played on special teams in the victory over Atlanta last night. Davis, 23, originally joined the Patriots as a rookie free agent out of Troy on May 3. The 5-foot-10, 207-pounder was released on Aug. 31 and was signed to the practice squad on Sept. 1. Davis played as a linebacker in college, where he helped Troy win the Sun Belt Conference Championship in 2011 and 2012.

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Report: Richard Seymour dismisses possibility of return to Patriots

09.30.13 at 3:51 pm ET
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Richard Seymour played with the Patriots from 2001 through 2008 before being dealt to the Raiders prior to the start of the 2009 season, but don’t expect him back in New England any time soon.

The defensive lineman, who is now a free agent after four seasons with the Raiders, told Ron Borges of the Boston Herald “No way,” when he was asked if he would entertain the possibility of a return to the Patriots.

Some believe the 33-year-old Seymour — a five-time All-Pro — would be a stopgap for the New England defensive line, which has to deal with a season-ending Achilles injury to Vince Wilfork. Wilfork was injured in the first quarter of Sunday’s win over the Falcons.

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Read More: Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork,
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