Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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No Free Fall for Felix

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


It’s good to be Felix. Austrian daredevil skydiver Felix Baumgartner spent Sunday defying death with a 24-mile free fall reaching Mach 1.24, or 833.9 mph. After his balloon reached the top of the world at 128,100 feet, Baumgartner became the first person to break the sound barrier without benefit of a vehicle.

While that Felix made news as our latest standard bearer in the eternal human crusade of curiosity and exploration, the earth-bound Cowboys’ Felix was gutting the once-vaunted Ravens defense for 105 yards and a score on 19 touches.

Jones is just now returning to form after missing the offseason following shoulder surgery. Since failing his conditioning test at the onset of training camp, Jones has been accused of missing his burst and lateral movement, being a step or two slow, and even “running chunky, like he’s carrying something on his back.”

The burst and lateral movement finally made a reappearance on Jones’ 22-yard tackle-breaking touchdown.

Owner/GM Jerry Jones announced Tuesday morning that the ligament damage in DeMarco Murray’s foot will keep him out of this week’s game at Carolina, and there’s concern that it could be a multi-week absence. Felix steps in as a top-15 fantasy option for Week 7 against a defense that has been gashed by the likes of Andre Brown, Pierre Thomas and Michael Turner. Through six weeks, the Panthers are allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing backs.

As much grief as Jones takes in fantasy circles, it’s worth noting that he’s averaging 5.1 yards per carry through five seasons to go with above-average receiving skills. Although Jones’ injury history leaves him as a week-to-week fantasy asset as opposed to a stable investment, this week’s matchup is such that he merits the No. 1 waiver spot.

On to the players. Here is how I rank the top players at each position as we head into Week 7. Full write-ups of each player are below.

Running Backs
Felix Jones
Alex Green
David Wilson
William Powell
Daryl Richardson
Vick Ballard
Danny Woodhead
Montario Hardesty

Quarterbacks
Matt Hasselbeck
Josh Freeman
Brandon Weeden
Mark Sanchez
John Skelton

Wide Receivers
Donnie Avery
Stephen Hill
Josh Gordon
Chris Givens
Julian Edelman
Santana Moss
Domenik Hixon
Devery Henderson

Tight Ends
Scott Chandler
Dustin Keller
Tony Scheffler
David Thomas
Brandon Myers

Team Defense
Vikings
Patriots
Raiders

Running Backs

Felix Jones, Cowboys - After failing his training-camp conditioning test, Jones finally found his missing burst at Baltimore, totaling 105 yards and a touchdown in relief of an injured DeMarco Murray. Owner/GM Jerry Jones has already ruled out Murray for Week 7, leaving Jones as the starter against a Carolina defense that has allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing backs. Should Murray miss closer to a month, Jones would draw the Giants, Falcons and Eagles in subsequent weeks. Our initial Week 7 rankings have Jones as a rock solid RB2 option.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Alex Green, Packers - Green is owned in just half of Yahoo leagues, ostensibly because a significant percentage of owners believed James Starks would have a bigger role. Green was nearly an every-down back at Houston, and coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that he will remain the feature back moving forward. Green has decent matchups versus the Rams, Jags and Cardinals the next three weeks before the Week 10 bye. There’s borderline RB2 value here with the upside for more in a high-scoring offense.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

David Wilson, Giants - Wilson continues to flash difference-making explosion on kickoff returns and occasional offensive snaps. Ahmad Bradshaw may be the hottest back in the league at the moment, but he’s also a poor bet to stay healthy coming off the two highest carry totals of his career. Wilson appears to have leap-frogged Andre Brown as the Bradshaw handcuff on the Giants’ roster.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

William Powell, Cardinals - We recommended Powell over tiny scatback La’Rod Stephens-Howling last week, and the former out-rushed the latter 70-22 on a similar number of touches versus the Bills’ tissue-paper thin run defense. While Powell is certainly the back to own in Arizona, the sledding gets considerably tougher at Minnesota’s 11th-ranked run defense in Week 7. Expect Powell’s 5.4 YPC average to plummet in the coming weeks.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Daryl Richardson, Rams - If not for a 44-yard run on the second play from scrimmage, Richardson would have ended up with 32 yards on 10 carries at Miami. We suspect his increased role was game-plan specific as a way to beat the Dolphins’ top-ranked run defense with speed and shiftiness as opposed to Steven Jackson’s brute power. Although Richardson is emerging as one of the league’s more heavily involved backs, he’s not going to be a good bet for double digit touches on a weekly basis as long as Jackson is healthy.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Vick Ballard, Colts - Ballard never had a chance to establish a ground attack as the Week 6 starter because the Colts bailed on the run game after falling behind 14-3 in the second quarter. He and Mewelde Moore ended up splitting snaps equally, as the veteran is trusted as Andrew Luck’s protector in the no-huddle. Ballard has a better shot at 15-18 touches this week in a home game versus the Browns. Our initial rankings have Ballard ranked 28th among fantasy options for Week 7.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Danny Woodhead, Patriots - With either a touchdown or 70+ yards in four consecutive weeks, Woodhead is ranked a surprising 31st in fantasy points. Brandon Bolden’s (knee) status is up in the air for Week 7, which could mean a bigger role for Woodhead in an inviting matchup versus the Jets. He can be plugged in as a flex play in PPR leagues for those owners facing a bye-week crunch.

Recommendation: Worth a look in PPR leagues.

Montario Hardesty, Browns - Hardesty was solid if unspectacular in relief of Trent Richardson, totaling 65 yards and a touchdown on 16 touches versus the Bengals. Richardson’s rib cartilage injury is painful, but he’s tentatively expected to give it a go in a made-to-order matchup with the Colts this week. Richardson owners should think about rostering Hardesty as insurance against a late-week setback.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Watch List: Brandon Bolden, Peyton Hillis, Phillip Tanner, Johnny White, Robert Turbin, Mike Goodson, Cedric Peerman, Baron Batch, Delone Carter

Keep an eye on Bolden’s knee this week. He was outplaying Stevan Ridley early in Week 6 before the injury forced him out in the first half. … Hillis is expected to return after the Week 7 bye, though he’s only borderline roster-worthy with Jamaal Charles playing well. … Tanner is on the radar due to Felix Jones’ injury history. … A fifth-round pick out of North Carolina last season, White is a try-hard, one-cut runner taking Brandon Saine’s spot at the back end of Green Bay’s roster. … Turbin and Goodson are handcuffs. … Peerman is only worth a look in the deepest PPR leagues as the Bengals’ third-down back for Week 7. … Rashard Mendenhall has downplayed his Achilles injury, which means Batch is unlikely to have a major role. … Carter’s carries could increase if Ballard doesn’t show improvement.

Cut Bait: Jahvid Best, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jackie Battle, Kevin Smith, Shaun Draughn, La’Rod Stephens-Howling, Justin Forsett

Best’s upside in a best-case scenario was worth an add last week to see if he gained clearance to play football. Now that he’s faced with a worst-case scenario, he can be thrown back on the pile. … Rodgers’ role isn’t increasing, and it seems the Falcons have lost faith in him as a runner. He’s not a playmaker on the level of Darren Sproles. Quizz can be dropped in shallower leagues. … Battle is a low-upside handcuff. … Smith is buried on the depth chart. … Draughn’s carries will plummet with Hillis due back in Week 8. … LSH has no value. … Forsett is back on the bench with Ben Tate healthy.


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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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