Adam Levitan

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Waiver Wire: Week 9

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

1. Shane Vereen, Patriots – Owned in 39 percent of Yahoo leagues
Nothing is certain when dealing with the Patriots and injuries, but signs point toward Shane Vereen (wrist) returning to action when first eligible in Week 11. He’ll quick assume a major role. Over the last four weeks, fill-in “passing back” Brandon Bolden has played on 153-of-298 (51.3 percent) of the snaps. He’s a replacement level talent though, so the production and touches haven’t been there. Vereen will soak up all that work, plus do some “joker” things in the passing game and get some base carries as an early-down back. In Week 1, he racked up 14 carries for 101 yards and seven catches for 58 yards. Vereen was going to have a monstrous year if not for the broken wrist.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

2. Andre Brown, Giants – Owned in 20 percent of Yahoo leagues
Over the last two weeks, Peyton Hillis has literally come off his couch and touched the ball 46 times for 166 total yards with one touchdown. In the week before that, Brandon Jacobs got 23 touches and racked up 114 yards with two scores. That’s a ton of production for two washed up, stiff running backs that look like they’re running on ice skates. Now, Andre Brown is certainly no Earl Campbell, but we can confidently predict that he’ll flash far more talent than the aforementioned duo. He’s fully on track to return in Week 10 off that broken leg and the Giants offensive line is finally plowing some holes (too late for David Wilson owners). Brown, who had eight touchdowns in 10 games last year, will be a non-PPR option right away.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

3. Ben Tate, Texans – Owned in 48 percent of Yahoo leagues
Arian Foster (hamstring) is very questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Colts. Ben Tate is also questionable due to four broken ribs, but he vowed to play Monday and said he actually feels better than he did when he played through the injury in Week 7. It sets up a plausible scenario in which the talented Tate will finally get a chance to carry a full workload, with only practice squadder Ray Graham and a couple of newly signed backs (Deji Karim, Dennis Johnson) behind him.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 10-team leagues

4. Montee Ball, Broncos – Owned in 38 percent of Yahoo leagues
One of fantasy’s bigger draft busts is back on the radar for two reasons. First of all, Ronnie Hillman was a healthy scratch in Week 8. And second, the Broncos are now making a concerted effort to ease Knowshon Moreno’s workload a little bit. The idea is that less Moreno now will mean he’ll have more juice in the playoffs as the Broncos chase the Super Bowl. That led to 11 carries and a touchdown for Ball against the Redskins on 30 snaps, while Moreno got 20 touches on 38 snaps. Perhaps most interestingly, Ball got three of four goal-line chances and converted one. He’ll be a monster if Moreno goes down and he’ll have some deep flex appeal if not.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues

5. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers – Owned in 10 percent of Yahoo leagues
The latest update we have on Jonathan Stewart (ankle) is that he’s optimistic he’ll finally return in Week 9. We don’t know how healthy he’ll be, but we do know he’s the best natural talent in Carolina’s backfield. Yes, far better than DeAngelo Williams, who is averaging 4.18 YPC on the season. And certainly better than Mike Tolbert, who is discussed below. Stewart isn’t a must-add because of his ever-iffy health and how he’ll be eased back into a hot offense, but there’s certainly upside with a back of this caliber.
Recommendation: Should be owned in deeper 12-team leagues

6. Mike Tolbert, Panthers – Owned in 22 percent of Yahoo leagues
Everyone saw Mike Tolbert blow up the Bucs for 11 touches, 64 total yards and a touchdown on Thursday Night Football in Week 8. He now has five touchdowns in his last five games, clearly operating as the goal-line back at a beer kegesque 5’9/245. And Tolbert has another good shot at a touchdown this week as the Panthers will host the Falcons. However, prospective owners should note that Tolbert is averaging just 8.7 touches per game on the year and Jonathan Stewart (ankle) could be back as soon as this week. If Tolbert doesn’t score, he’s a fantasy liability.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues

7. Daryl Richardson, Rams – Owned in 32 percent of Yahoo leagues
Wildly impressive Zac Stacy sustained an ankle sprain late in the Monday night loss to the Seahawks. He appeared to be in a lot of pain and was hobbling around, missing the majority of the final drive. Ankle sprains often get worse overnight, so we can’t assume he’ll be able to play in a nice matchup with the Titans in Week 9. That would put Week 1 starter Daryl Richardson back in the saddle as Isaiah Pead remains in the doghouse. Richardson has proven he’s not a plus runner between the tackles, but he catches well and has good speed. There some big-play appeal.
Recommendation: Should be owned in 14-team leagues or as a Zac Stacy handcuff

Watch List: Ray Graham, James Starks, Daniel Thomas, Donald Brown – Graham could end up starting this week if Arian Foster and Ben Tate both sit. … Starks is healthy and the clear handcuff to monster workhorse Eddie Lacy. … Thomas continues to play reasonably well while getting half the reps. … Brown has outplayed Trent Richardson over the last few games. There’s no reason to think that will continue, but it’s worth watching.  

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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.
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