Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Bag a few Jaguars

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Running Backs

Ronnie Hillman, Broncos - After rewatching the Broncos-Chargers game, I expect Hillman to lead a three-man committee in Denver for the next 4-6 weeks. As much as John Fox praised his “feistiness” in pass protection, Hillman still isn’t trusted as much as veterans Lance Ball and Knowshon Moreno in guarding Peyton Manning. Fox said the starter will be determined on the practice field this week, so there’s a chance that any of three will lead the attack at Kansas City. For Week 12 value, alone, I prefer Bryce Brown. For those in need of a swing-for-the-fences pickup, it’s worth finding out if Hillman can put his stamp on this backfield while Willis McGahee is out.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Bryce Brown, Eagles - LeSean McCoy’s concussion was serious enough that he was carted off the field, was feeling “foggy” after the game, and was still experiencing headaches on Monday. As strictly as the NFL has been clamping down on concussions of late, I would be surprised if McCoy suits up against the Panthers in Week 12. Brown isn’t your typical seventh-round rookie. He was the No. 1 high school player in the country back in 2008, ranked ahead of Trent Richardson. After a checkered college career, he severely outplayed incumbent Dion Lewis in camp to earn the backup job. Unlike Hillman, Brown does have three-down ability and can expect 18-24 touches -- if he draws the start -- against a Carolina allowing the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing backs. Contrary to popular belief, McCoy was fifth in the league in touches prior to the concussion.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Jalen Parmele, Jaguars -  Taking over for an ineffective Rashad Jennings, Parmele racked up a whopping 27 touches at Houston. Unfortunately the former special teamer showed little in the way of running instincts, slamming into the line at full speed on the majority of his runs. Parmele showed little to no patience and lacked a feel for setting up blocks. Although the schedule is tasty with plus matchups against the Titans, Bills, and Jets the next three weeks, Parmele will always be a week-to-week player regardless of Maurice Jones-Drew’s return date. For Week 12, alone, Parmele should be a top-25 running back option.

Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues.

Vick Ballard, Colts -  Still owned in just a third of Yahoo leagues, Ballard is fantasy’s No. 15 back over the past five weeks. He was the clear choice over Donald Brown as the lead back at New England, totaling 79 yards on 17 touches. Ballard has a nice matchup on paper against a Bills defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing backs. Just keep in mind Buffalo’s run defense has stiffened a bit of late, including a shut-down of Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas last week.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Mark Ingram / Chris Ivory, Saints - Leading the Saints backfield with 38 touches, Ingram has been fantasy’s No. 21 back over the past three weeks. Ever since interim coach Joe Vitt noted that Ingram had finally regained pre-surgery form, the Saints have recommitted to a successful ground attack featuring the power Ingram and Ivory. It looked like Ingram was powered by a jetpack when he beat the Raiders to the edge for a 27-yard touchdown in Week 11. I expect Ingram and Ivory to continue to lead this backfield renaissance even with Darren Sproles back in the picture.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

Beanie Wells, Cardinals - Arizona desperately needs Wells back in the lineup as a sustainer.  LaRod Stephens-Howling’s Week 11 stat line was boosted by explosive runs of 40 and 52 yards, but he managed just 35 yards on the other 20 carries. LSH figures to remain in the mix on obvious passing downs and outside runs, but Wells should be the primary early-down back. The problem is that the Cardinals offense (specifically the offensive line and QBs) simply isn’t trustworthy for fantasy purposes. Wells is unlikely to be more than a flex option going forward.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

Ben Tate, Texans - This is yet another handcuff reminder. Tate is listed here as a representative for the likes of Kendall Hunter, Toby Gerhart, Robert Turbin, Evan Royster, Bernard Pierce, and Michael Bush. You don’t want to end up losing out on Ronnie Hillman and Bryce Brown like many remiss Willis McGahee and LeSean McCoy owners will this week. While Tate (hamstring) hasn’t played since Week 7, coach Gary Kubiak sounded optimistic about his progress on Monday. If he doesn’t return to the backup role this week, he should leapfrog Justin Forsett by Week 13 at the latest.

Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues.

James Starks, Packers - A slow-moving Starks managed just 2.96 yards per on 25 carries as the workhorse back at Detroit. Coach Mike McCarthy noted that Starks left too many yards on the field and plans to get an even more ineffective Alex Green back in the mix. Starks has been the better runner, which is damning with faint praise. Expect this to be a timeshare backfield until Cedric Benson returns, likely in Week 15.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Bilal Powell, Jets - Beware of Powell’s Week 11 production. Shonn Greene has been performing better than any Jets offensive player, and Powell’s two scores were a bit on the fluky side. Both came on third-down plays with the defense expecting a pass. It’s not like he’s taken over as the goal-line horse. Powell is only worth carrying in deeper leagues.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Watch List: Kendall Hunter, Toby Gerhart, Evan Royster, Robert Turbin, Shane Vereen, Jacquizz Rodgers, Bernard Pierce, Michael Bush, Cedric Peerman, Daryl Richardson, Montario Hardesty, LeGarrette Blount, Jamie Harper, Kevin Smith, Jason Snelling, Lamar Miller, David Wilson, Phillip Tanner

The bye weeks are over. Dump the flotsam and jetsam floating on the periphery of your roster and pick up the obvious handcuffs to your star fantasy backs.

Cut Bait: Willis McGahee, Joique Bell, Ronnie Brown, Alex Green, Isaac Redman, Peyton Hillis

McGahee will be on crutches for about a month. He’s not going to be an asset for the fantasy playoffs. … Kevin Smith stole third downs from Bell last week. With the bye weeks over, flex options such as Bell, Brown, Redman, and Hillis aren’t nearly as valuable. … Green didn’t see a single carry in Week 11.


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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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