Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Deadline Darlings?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Running Backs

Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers - Keep an eye on Dwyer’s quad injury, which will keep him out of Wednesday’s practice. The Steelers tentatively expect him back by Thursday, but the injury may lead to his fantasy window prematurely closing if it’s decided that he’s not healthy enough to carry the load with Rashard Mendenhall (Achilles) already gaining clearance for Week 9.

 

If the quad injury is indeed minor, Dwyer has earned the early-down role by accomplish a feat in two starts that has eluded Mendenhall in five years -- back-to-back 100-yard games. Dwyer has done it in impressive fashion, gaining 187 of 239 (78.2 percent) after contact. With Mendenhall reaching free agency in 2013, it’s not unreasonable to believe Dwyer should hold onto the starting gig for the rest of the reason.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Darryl Richardson, Rams - Mr. Outside to Steven Jackson’s Mr. Inside, Richardson is averaging 76 scrimmage yards per game since the Rams made an effort to expand his role in the game plan three weeks ago. The team’s use of Richardson suggests he would share the load with Isaiah Pead in the event of a Jackson trade. The latest report from ESPN’s John Clayton is that there is “no action right now” on Jackson, whose $3.705 million in remaining salary may be prohibitive. Richardson is worth owning as a flex option regardless. His value could bump to RB2 range if a contender splurges on Jackson.

Recommendation: Worth a look in all leagues.

LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers - With less than $300,000 remaining on his salary and likely to cost no more than a late-round pick, Blount may be the most likely candidate to be traded this week. He’s never going to be an asset on passing downs and would only stumble into weekly fantasy value if he lands in a clear-cut early-down role in a place like Green Bay. Blount can be picked up as a trade deadline flier, but expectations should remain low.

Recommendation: Worth a look in all leagues.

James Starks, Packers - Alex Green has been running hard, but his ability to read holes has left a lot to be desired. Working as the unquestioned feature back the past three games, Green has managed just 2.40 yards per carry. Coach Mike McCarthy has expressed disappointment with his running game over the past two games. The Packers are a good bet to at least explore trade options this week. If the swing and miss, Starks is the next man up to put pressure on Green for the starting job.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Joique Bell, Lions - Coach Jim Schwartz’s handling of Mikel Leshoure leaves us to interpret the starter’s disappearing act in the final quarter and a half versus the Seahawks. Leshoure limped off the field grabbing his calf or ankle with six minutes left in the third quarter. Matthew Stafford threw an interception on the next throw. Bell and Kevin Smith handled the entire drive late in the third quarter and early in the fourth while Leshoure presumably had the lower-leg injury checked out. After a lengthy Seahawks scoring drive, the Lions got the ball back one more time while playing from behind. Leshoure remained sidelined, which is hardly unusual. Bell has been handling the no-huddle, two-minute drill snaps for weeks now.

 

Schwartz insisted after the game that Leshoure was uninjured. If he can be trusted -- and he usually cannot -- then Leshoure should practice Wednesday and start at Jacksonville. Bell remains the change-of-pace option, two-minute specialist and fourth-quarter closer, but he’s not overtaking a healthy Leshoure.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Ronnie Hillman, Broncos - Don’t go crazy over the speedy rookie’s 86 yards on 14 carries Sunday night. The events surrounding Hillman’s breakout game won’t happen again. Facing a historically bad defense, Hillman saw an increased workload because the Broncos jumped out to a commanding 24-7 lead in the third quarter. Although Hillman isn’t suddenly a weekly fantasy option, he remains a high-upside roster stash.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Ronnie Brown, Chargers - Philip Rivers has morphed into a checkdown artist, throwing 29 percent of his passes to tailbacks this season. Brown surprisingly has accrued not only more receiving yards than Ray Rice, but also the second-most among all running backs (behind Darren Sproles). Averaging six receptions and over 50 receiving yards per game over the past month, Brown has emerged as a decent flex option in PPR leagues.

Recommendation: Worth a look in PPR leagues.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons - Atlanta’s third-down back is coming off his best game of the season, thanks to a 43-yard run -- the longest allowed by the Eagles this season. Prior to that breaking free on that run, however, Rodgers had shown precious little big-play ability on the ground. In denial about Michael Turner’s ineffectiveness, the Falcons have shown no inclination to reduce the starter’s role. Rodgers remains a low-upside flex option best used in PPR formats.

Recommendation: Worth a look in PPR leagues.

Daniel Thomas, Dolphins - Returning from a concussion, Thomas played more than twice as many snaps as Reggie Bush (43 to 20) in last week’s blowout victory. That pattern isn’t going to continue, but Thomas appears to be locked in as the short-yardage power back with the Dolphins looking to lessen Bush’s load in an effort to keep him healthy.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Watch List: Beanie Wells, Cedric Benson, Shane Vereen, Peyton Hillis, Andre Brown, Toby Gerhart, Mike Tolbert, Robert Turbin, Evan Royster, Mike Goodson, Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett, Bryce Brown, Isaiah Pead

Wells can’t return before Week 12, Benson before Week 14. Barring a trade this week, both will return to major roles in the fantasy playoffs -- assuming they’re back to full health. … Vereen should be rostered in most leagues, but that may be a luxury entering the bye week … The rest of the list is essentially handcuffs who could stumble into weekly fantasy value if the starter goes down. All handcuffs should be rostered ahead of low-upside WR5s and TE2s, especially if the bye-week crunch on your own team is over. … Keep an eye on Goodson’s turf toe injury this week. … Pead’s role would increase in a timeshare with Richardson if Steven Jackson is traded.

Cut Bait: Phillip Tanner, Montario Hardesty, Jackie Battle, Bilal Powell, Isaac Redman

DeMarco Murray (foot) has a chance to return this week. Tanner saw just two carries versus the Giants. … Hardesty has no weekly role with Trent Richardson close to full health. … Battle hasn’t had value in weeks. … An injured Powell isn’t worth the roster spot with Shonn Greene playing better. … Redman’s role is going to be limited to third downs.


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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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