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Waiver wire: Playoff planning for Week 14

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Waiver wire: Playoff planning for Week 14

Congrats if you're reading this article because it likely means you're in the playoffs or are still in the mix. At this point in the season, roster usage changes. Don't fret about planning for a rainy day. It's live in the moment time. The only depth that matters now involves players you specifically need for the next 2-3 weeks -- or those you can keep away from opponents.

Carrying three defenses during the regular season is madness. Carrying three or more now, strategic and possibly smart. Same for quarterbacks if you don't have a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Even there giving yourself another option isn't bad; Rodgers faces the Broncos in Week 16. It's also OK to cut those you've been holding in the hopes of a turnaround, including Alfred Morris, Carlos Hyde or Brandon LaFell, though at least the Brady factor adds potential.

Quarterbacks

  1. Jameis Winston (vs. Saints) -- Probably the last week to use the impressive rookie
  2. Alex Smith (vs. Chargers)
  3. Matthew Stafford (at Rams)
  4. Philip Rivers (at Chiefs) -- Not ideal this week, but potentially helpful next two games 

Defenses

  1. Chiefs (vs. Chargers) -- They're rolling and have great closing stretch
  2. Lions (at Rams) -- Nick Foles is terrible
  3. 49ers (at Browns) - On the road, but facing Johnny Manziel 

Others: Steelers face the Ravens and pick-six giver Matt Schaub in Week 16

 Running backs 

  1. Shaun Draughn -- Safe and solid based on usage and yardage
  2. Matt Jones -- In case someone dropped him previous week. Had 18 carries to six for Alfred Morris against Dallas, but week-to-week work is mysterious.
  3. James White
  4. Theo Riddick

Others: Charles Sims, Duke Johnson, Dan Herron, Charles Sims, Ameer Abdullah and really any handcuff for your starter. 

Wide Receivers

  1. DeVante Parker -- Acrobatic TD catch last week and the Dolphins offense needs punch
  2. Dorial Green-Beckham -- Monster Week 13. Has skill set needed for similar numbers.
  3. Cecil Shorts
  4. Tyler Lockett
  5. Markus Wheaton

Others: Devin Funchess, Nate Washington

Tight ends

  1. Austin Seferian-Jenkins -- Legit red-zone threat with strong matchup
  2. Richard Rodgers -- Even without the Hail Mary this Rodgers posted good number last week
  3. Jacob Tamme
  4. Charles Clay
  5. Eric Ebro

Others: Kyle Rudolph, Luke Willson

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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