Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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The Best Option

Tuesday, October 09, 2012


Running Backs

Jahvid Best, Lions - Best will undergo a battery of concussion tests this week to determine if the Lions will activate him from the PUP list when eligible in Week 7. The Lions are “hopeful” that Best will be available versus the Bears for the Oct. 21 Monday Night Football matchup. The expectation is that Best will take on a Darren Sproles-type role in a tandem attack with Mikel Leshoure. The Lions have a brutal run defense schedule over the next month, but that’s more of a concern for Leshoure than Best, who garners the majority of his value through the air. Best is far from guaranteed to receive concussion clearance, but his upside is such that he merits a roster spot in all leagues. He was a RB1 play in five games last year before the concussion ended his season.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Vick Ballard, Colts - Ballard will take over as the starter with Donald Brown out 2-3 weeks after undergoing a knee scope. A fifth-round pick out of Mississippi State, Ballard caught the eye of NFL Films analyst Greg Cosell as the best runner on the Colts team during preseason action. He's been underwhelming through four regular-season games with a per-carry average of 2.0 yards, but the anecdotal evidence suggests a small sample size wherein Ballard has been hit behind the line of scrimmage at an abnormal rate. The guess here is that Ballard will see roughly 15 touches per week with Mewelde Moore and Delone Carter in smaller roles. Ballard should have low-end RB2/flex value in a trio of plus matchups versus the Jets, Browns, and Titans. If you need a starter to cover bye weeks, go for Ballard. If you're looking instead for long-haul upside, go with Kendall Hunter or David Wilson.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues. 


Kendall Hunter, 49ers - Since the 1970 merger, only the 2006 Falcons have topped the 49ers’ team average of 6.1 YPC through the first five weeks of the season. Mario Manningham and Randy Moss have been effective decoys, drawing safeties out of the box and allowing both Frank Gore and Hunter to gash defenses at a 5.4 YPC clip. Gore is typically good for one lower-leg injury per season, which would leave Hunter as a strong RB2 option behind the league’s most dominant offensive line. Hunter is owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues; he should be on a roster in every league.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

David Wilson, Giants - The Giants coaches told us last week that the explosive back would get chances on offense, and his role will grow if he takes advantage. Wilson responded with a 40-yard touchdown run while Andre Brown never saw the field versus the Browns. Considering Ahmad Bradshaw’s history of chronic foot and ankle injuries, he’s hardly a good bet to stay healthy coming off a career-high 34 touches in Week 5. Wilson is owned in just 18 percent of Yahoo leagues; that number should be well over 50 percent.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Alex Green, Packers - The latest back to regain explosiveness coming off ACL surgery, Green averaged 6.1 YPC after replacing Cedric Benson in Week 5. While the opportunity is there for flex value in fantasy leagues, Green is more likely to headline a committee attack with James Starks, John Kuhn and Brandon Saine also in the mix. Green isn’t trusted to carry the load, doesn’t play on third downs and won’t get the ball at the goal line. In other words, don’t go overboard bidding on Green in FAAB formats this week.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Brandon Bolden, Patriots - The undrafted rookie has averaged 15 rushes for 95.5 yards the past two weeks in the Patriots’ new fast-break offense. Stevan Ridley, dog-housed late last season for fumbling, has coughed the ball up in consecutive weeks. Ridley has played well enough for increased job security this season, but Bolden will benefit if the starter continues the slippery mitts routine.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

William Powell, Cardinals - Powell looked much improved while leading the NFL in rushing during the preseason, but we know it’s a good idea to take exhibition stats with a hefty grain of salt. The Cardinals opted to chain him to the bench for the opening month while Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams combined to average 2.76 YPC. Powell has an inviting matchup this week versus a historically bad Bills defense that has hemorrhaged an average of 279 yards on the ground the past two games. On the hand, he’s coming off a Week 5 concussion and could be mired in committee with LaRod Stephens-Howling and Alfonso Smith. We remain highly skeptical that Arizona will establish a successful ground attack at any point this season.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Beanie Wells, Cardinals - Wells (turf toe) is eligible to return after Thanksgiving, just in time for the Cardinals’ Week 12 game. He could offer value in the fantasy playoffs with Ryan Williams out for the season, but it’s nearly a two-month wait for his services. As much as the Cardinals have struggled to run the ball behind an overmatched offensive line, Wells is only worth stashing in deeper leagues right now.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers - Blount has practiced better the past few weeks, and coach Greg Schiano is now talking up an increased role at Doug Martin’s expense. Blount has looked good as a change-of-pace back and red-zone specialist the past two games while Martin has struggled to break off big plays. We don’t expect Blount to overtake the more well-rounded rookie, but he could turn this backfield into a committee.

Recommendation: Worth a look in touchdown-heavy leagues.

Ronnie Hillman, Broncos - The third-rounder has overtaken Lance Ball as Denver’s No. 2 back, but he’s not a threat to Willis McGahee even after the veteran’s two late-game gaffes at New England. Hillman is purely a roster stash and will only have value in the event of an injury to McGahee.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Watch List: James Starks, LaRod Stephens-Howling, Justin Forsett, Brian Leonard, Shaun Draughn, Bernard Pierce, Bryce Brown, Shane Vereen, Jamie Harper

Starks has a chance to start over Alex Green, but we prefer the latter’s talent edge. Either way, the upside is low in a committee attack. … Stephens-Howling isn’t built to touch the ball 15 times per week. We prefer William Powell as a flier. … Forsett will head back to the bench once Ben Tate’s toe is healthy. … Leonard saw increased snaps at BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ expense last week. … Draughn continues to touch the ball 10 times per week for under 50 yards per game. … Vereen’s touchdown was his only carry of the game versus the Broncos. … Harper is now the backup to Chris Johnson with Javon Ringer out 4-6 weeks.

Cut Bait: Cedric Benson, Jackie Battle, Ryan Williams, Bernard Scott, Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer, Evan RoysterJavon Ringer, Tashard Choice

Benson is out at least eight weeks and possibly for the season. … Battle played fewer than 10 snaps at New Orleans after starting the game. As we’ve said ad nauseum, he’s simply not a starter-level NFL talent. … Redman should have been dropped weeks ago. If you were holding out hope, it’s time to cut the fish loose with Rashard Mendenhall back in charge. … Royster is nothing more than a handcuff.


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Chris Wesseling is a senior football editor and Dynasty league analyst for Rotoworld.com. The 2011 NFL season marks his fifth year with Rotoworld and his third year contributing to NBCSports.com. He can be found on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.
Email :Chris Wesseling



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