Chris Wesseling

Waiver Wired

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Championship Week Dregs

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Running Backs

Jackie Battle, Chargers - Ryan Mathews’ 15-20 touches per game are up for grabs in the San Diego backfield following his second fractured collarbone of the season. Coach Norv Turner confirmed that Battle “will get a chance to play” while casting doubt on Curtis Brinkley’s role against the Jets this week. We’ve been down this road with Battle several times in the past two years. He’s a straight-ahead runner with decent power and speed but lacks any semblance of lateral agility. On a positive note, he can catch passes and is trusted at the goal line. Battle has a shot at top-30 value in Weeks 16-17 versus the Jets and Raiders.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Shane Vereen, Patriots - Stevan Ridley played just one snap after his third-quarter fumble last week -- his second fumble in as many games. Ridley often rides the pine when the Pats are in comeback mode, however, so we have no idea whether or not he’s in the doghouse. Vereen had a fumble of his own last week while Danny Woodhead stole the show. The Pats travel to Jacksonville to face a defense allowing the most fantasy points to opposing backs, which doesn’t lend itself to a Woodhead-centric game plan. I would still expect Ridley to handle lead-back duties, though Vereen could be a candidate for 15+ touches in the season finale versus the Dolphins if New England is locked into the No. 3 seed.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Ben Tate, Texans - Tate’s outlook is similar to Vereen’s in that he could handle the bulk of the workload in Week 17 if the Texans lock up the No. 1 seed with a victory against the Vikings on Sunday. It would behoove Houston to get their talented backup on track as a change-of-pace to Arian Foster entering the playoffs.

Recommendation: Worth a look in 12-team leagues.

Lamar Miller, Dolphins - Miller was already passing Daniel Thomas on the depth chart before the latter suffered a knee injury in Week 15. The third-round rookie should be the primary backup to Reggie Bush versus the Bills this week. With Bush due to hit free agency in the offseason, the Dolphins could give Miller a long look as the feature back at New England in the season finale.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Mike Tolbert, Panthers - Tolbert matched his season total with a pair of short-yardage touchdowns at San Diego in Week 15. With plus matchups against the Raiders and Saints in the final two games, the powerful fullback should have several more opportunities to vulture touchdowns.

Recommendation: Worth a look in touchdown-heavy leagues.

LaMichael James, 49ers - James isn’t going to be a fantasy option in an all-important Week 16 showdown at Seattle, but he might be worth a look against the Cardinals’ soft run defense if the 49ers wrap up the No. 2 seed in the NFC heading into the season finale.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Ryan Grant / DuJuan Harris, Packers - The Packers have returned to a full-blown committee attack in the backfield with Grant and Harris combining for 25 more yards on the same number of carries as starter Alex Green last week. If Green Bay is locked into the No. 2 or No. 3 seed, Grant could see an uptick in carries as the primary back in the season finale at Minnesota.

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Mike Goodson, Raiders - Finally over his ankle injury, Goodson broke off a series of big plays in totaling 103 yards versus the Chiefs last week. More explosive than workhorse starter Darren McFadden, Goodson is locked into the change-of-pace role at Carolina in Week 16. He’s no more than a desperation flex option for fantasy purposes.

 

Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.

Watch List: Ronnie Hillman, Lance Ball, Jason Snelling

Hillman, Ball, and Snelling could all see increased roles if their teams have nothing to play for in Week 17.


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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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