Deep League vs. Shallow LeagueTuesday, October 25, 2011
Even with starting running back falling by the wayside in Week 7, this week's waiver wire outlook is rather grim for owners in 12-, 14, or 16-team leagues. Potential starters such as Ryan Torain (88 percent), DeMarco Murray (82 percent), Knowshon Moreno (82 percent), Montario Hardesty (75 percent), Michael Bush (74 percent), and Maurice Morris(70 percent) are already owned in the vast majority of CBSSports.com leagues.
For shallow leagues in which those backs remain available I'd rank this week's choices as follows:
Deep leaguers will have to settle for scraps to get through the bye-week blues.
On to the players. Here is how I rank the top players at each position as we head into Week 8. Full writeups of each player are below.
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Jake BallardVisanthe ShiancoeBrent CelekDefense/Special TeamsTexans SeahawksSaints TitansQuarterbacksSam Bradford, Rams - A slow start and a high-ankle sprain have Bradford unowned in half of all CBSSports.com leagues. Bradford’s status for Week 8 against the Saints is up in the air. The Brandon Lloyd trade and the return to health of Steven Jackson provide reasons for optimism over the next month with two games against a Cardinals defense that allows the fourth-most points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks. At the price of a waiver pickup, Bradford makes for a fine QB2 for the second half of the season.Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues. Shaun Hill, Lions - Matthew Stafford is officially day to day, though PFT reports that he’s in a walking boot and seeking a second opinion on his ankle injury. Until we know with certainty that Stafford will play against a Broncos secondary allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing QBs, Hill needs to be added. He averaged 259.8 yards passing and with 16 touchdowns as a low-end QB1 in 10 starts a year ago.Recommendation: Worth a look in all leagues.Christian Ponder, Vikings - The numbers may not jump off the stat sheet, but Ponder provided plenty of reason for optimism in his first NFL start. The ball comes out of his hands better than expected, he hangs tough against pressure, seems to have a better handle on the offense than Donovan McNabb, makes aggressive throws down the field, and creates with his feet. If he can get Percy Harvin back healthy to pair with an explosive Adrian Peterson and a steady if unspectacular Michael Jenkins/Visanthe Shiancoe combo, Ponder could approad high-end QB2 status going forward.Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues. John Beck, Redskins - The Shanahans designed plenty of roll-outs to take advantage of Beck’s mobility, and the result was a respectable 22-of-37 for 279 yards with two total touchdowns -- good for a ninth-place fantasy finish in Week 7. The job gets tougher going forward, though, with No. 1 receiver Santana Moss out 5-7 weeks. Beck looks decent on the Rex Grossman scale, but he’s not going to be more than an inconsistent QB2 option in the coming weeks.Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.Andy Dalton, Bengals - While the second-rounder has exceed expectations, Dalton’s 15 fantasy points per week leave him in the same tier as Colt McCoy, Alex Smith, and Matt Cassel. He’s a low-end QB2 heading into matchups against Seattle (17th-most fantasy points to opposing QBs), Tennessee (19th-most) and Pittsburgh (28th-most). Recommendation: Worth a look in two-quarterback leagues.Cut Bait: Charlie Whitehurst
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