Adam Levitan

Waiver Wired

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Waiver Wire: Week 6

Tuesday, October 08, 2013


RUNNING BACKS
1. Zac Stacy, Rams – Owned in 18 percent of Yahoo leagues
Hopefully you were F5-ing the hell out of our News Page Sunday morning. If you were, you knew around 10:20am ET that fifth-round rookie Zac Stacy would be starting against the Jags. Stacy didn’t disappoint, flashing the form that allowed him to run for 2,334 years on 5.72 YPC across two seasons at Vandy while playing behind a completely overmatched offensive line. He doesn’t do it with incredible burst, wiggle or speed. He does it with excellent balance that allows him to get hit in the hole yet keep his footing and churn out more yardage. Stacy was on his way to a 20-carry, 100-yard game against the Jags when he took a shot to the ribs. He still finished with 14 carries for 78 yards. Jeff Fisher has since confirmed that Stacy’s injury is not a big deal and he’ll start again in Week 6. Of course, the sledding gets tougher right away with games against the Texans, Panthers, Seahawks and Titans over the next four weeks. That’s something of a murderers' row. Still, Stacy is a starting running back in the NFL that has earned at least 65 percent of the carries going forward. That makes him a viable fantasy starter these days. Daryl Richardson is a change-of-pace back, Isaiah Pead remains in the doghouse and Benny Cunningham isn’t a threat.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Andre Ellington, Cardinals – Owned in 23 percent of Yahoo leagues
We’ve been talking about how poorly Rashard Mendenhall (3.17 YPC) has performed in this space for the last few weeks. It’s been obvious that Ellington’s usage is on the rise in a big way. His touch count has risen from six to seven to 11 over the last three weeks, and he capped it off with a season-high 30-snap showing in Sunday’s win over the Panthers. Mendy also played 30 snaps. Coach Bruce Arians can keep saying he envisions Ellington as a 30-snap guy because he’s 5’9/199, but the best players have to play. Ellington’s floor is 5-7 carries and 3-4 catches a game. His upside is far higher. It’s obvious Ellington has more talent than his sixth-round draft status suggests.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

3. Marcel Reece, Raiders – Owned in 7 percent of Yahoo leagues
Darren McFadden (hamstring) isn’t expected to play at Kansas City in Week 6 and Rashad Jennings (hamstring) is questionable. Right now, the only healthy running backs on the Raiders roster are Marcel Reece and Jeremy Stewart. If that holds through Sunday, Reece is going to be a candidate for 10-12 carries and 5-7 catches. The matchup is extremely difficult, but McFadden handcuffers from last year and the Raiders staff know what Reece can do. Between Weeks 10 and 13, he averaged 114.0 total yards and caught 5.0 passes per game.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

4. Roy Helu, Redskins – Owned in 19 percent of Yahoo leagues
Unfortunately for Roy Helu speculators, Alfred Morris (ribs) said he was a full-go in Monday’s workout. It looks like Alf will be ready to start against the Cowboys this week. Still, there’s plenty of value in owning Helu. He handled himself exceptionally well in relief of Morris as the Redskins recorded their first win of the season in Week 4. We know he’s going to play on all third downs and there’s a chance he’s earned some touches in other situations as well. The biggest key is that rib injuries are easily aggravated. If Morris were to miss time, Helu would be a borderline RB1.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

5. Shonn Greene, Titans – Owned in 11 percent of Yahoo leagues
In Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, Jackie Battle failed to convert two goal-to-go chances from the 1-yard line and a 3rd-and-1. Yet the Titans coaches never even thought about using Chris Johnson in those spots. In fact, they are lamenting the fact that they miss Shonn Greene. Well, Greene is tentatively expected back from his knee injury in Week 6, and will immediately become the goal-line back. Given the fact that CJ?K is averaging just 3.12 YPC, it’s certainly possible that Greene will get some carries between the 20s as well. There’s value in a guy that gets 6-10 carries a game plus goal-line work.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

6. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Owned in 6 percent of Yahoo leagues
Jonathan Stewart (ankles) is reportedly on track to return when he’s first eligible in Week 7. We don’t know how healthy he’ll be, but we know the Panthers offense is in need of a spark. They’re 1-3, DeAngelo Williams hasn’t run for a touchdown all year and OC Mike Shula’s shift to a base offense has been a failure. Stewart figures to step right into an even timeshare with Williams, pushing for 8-12 carries a game.
Recommendation: Should be stashed in 12-team leagues

7. Brandon Bolden, Patriots – Owned in 12 percent of Yahoo leagues
Stevan Ridley’s knee/thigh injury doesn’t have much of an effect on Bolden. He’s the passing back until Shane Vereen (wrist) returns, a role that leads to a lot of snaps when the Patriots implement a throw-centric gameplan. That’s what happened against the Bengals in Week 5, as Bolden led the Pats with 40 snaps and caught six passes. It’s the second time in the last three games he’s caught five or more balls. The trick here is to figure out when Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady will want to use Bolden’s skill set. Use Evan Silva’s mind-blowing weekly Matchup Column for help with that. I suspect the Pats could be trailing in this week’s game against the Saints, making Bolden a deep-league PPR option.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team PPR leagues

8. Da’Rel Scott, Giants – Owned in 2 percent of Yahoo leagues
David Wilson (neck) may not be ready for Thursday’s game against the Bears. So the Giants have re-signed Da’Rel Scott, who was just cut a week ago. He’s a borderline NFL player at best, but he has more juice in his legs than Brandon Jacobs. The 0-5 Giants are likely to be trailing early at Chicago, so they’ll be forced to throw plenty. Scott will play in those situations, giving him a shot at 3-4 receptions and 20 yards on the ground.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 16-team leagues

9. Donald Brown, Colts – Owned in 3 percent of Yahoo leagues
In three games as a Colt, Trent Richardson is averaging 2.96 YPC. During that same span, Donald Brown has rushed 12 times for 127 yards (10.58 YPC) with a touchdown. No one will ever suggest that Brown is near Richardson’s talent level – even if we’ve overrated T-Rich’s natural ability. But the Colts coaches are raving about how well Brown is playing and saying they need to keep him involved. At the very least, they appear to feel comfortable using Brown as a feature back if Richardson were to go down.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 16-team leagues

Watch List: Shane Vereen, Brandon Jacobs, LeGarrette Blount, James Starks, Kendall Hunter, Andre Brown – Vereen was on his way to a monster year before going down. He could be back by Week 11. Not a bad option if you have an IL spot. … Jacobs will get the goal-line work for the Giants, if they ever get there. … Blount is only a candidate for 10-12 carries if Stevan Ridley (knee/thigh) misses more time. … With Johnathan Franklin getting benched for fumbling, the No. 2 job looks like Starks’ when he gets back from his knee injury. … Hunter is listed here as your weekly reminder to practice proper handcuffing strategy. … Brown (broken leg) has resumed running and appears on track to return in Week 10. With the Giants backfield a mess, he’ll have a significant role.

Cut Bait: Jackie Battle, Isaiah Pead, Leon Washington –Battle runs like an elephant and Shonn Greene (knee) is almost back. … Pead is now well behind both Zac Stacy and Daryl Richardson. … Washington hurt an ankle on the opening kickoff against the Bengals.

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Adam Levitan is in his sixth season covering football and basketball for Rotoworld. He won the Fantasy Sports Writers Association award for Best Series in 2011 and 2009, and ESPN's overall fantasy football title in 2000. Find him on Twitter.
Email :Adam Levitan



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