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For years I’ve stated the Fantasy Football is 60% luck. And no Andrews. In the past few years that number has dropped to about 50%, but it really doesn’t matter. The point is massive amount of luck goes into fantasy football, because the value of the draft is immensely greater than that of other sports. Go ahead…try winning your league without your 1st round pick. Sure, it’s possible, but you’re also in deep trouble if they go down early (see: Jordy Nelson owners in 2015). There are so many things that are out of your hands, even beyond the draft. Take WR, for instance. The most talented WR may not have much fantasy relevance, because their production is fully tethered to the talent of the QB. There are few other positions anywhere in fantasy sports that are so driven by the production of another person. Baseball? It’s a 1 vs. 1 sport, essentially. Basketball? Even if everyone else is firing up bricks faster than a Habitat for Humanity build, someone can start cooking and shoot 70% for a week and carry your team. Football? I mean, the RB needs a good line, but they can overcome (see: Todd Gurley in 2015). WR? Nope…you need a QB. That is unless you’re Josh Gordon back in 2013. Goodness.

But due to the Gordon’s of the world, and so many last year, my penchant for labeling it luck is diminishing. Maybe 2015 was the outlier, but if you wanted to win your league last year you had to scour, sift and stream through the wire. Nope, not Kanye’s breakout song from the oh, so good The College Dropout album. We’re talkin’ about working the waviest of waivers here.

Tim Hightower
David Johnson
Kamar Aiken
Jordan Reed
Charcandrick West (or Spencer Ware)
Gary Barnidge
Javorius Allen

I could probably continue rallying off names, but the point is all of these players began the year largely undrafted, yet all of them played crucial roles on Championship teams in 2015. Bottom line: working the wire is vital to competing in fantasy football! And you can take a lot of the luck away when it comes to this. So…we’ll have a weekly series about working the wire where you can find players owned in less than 25% of leagues that are worthy of a pickup.

(Quick note: the 25% threshold is for either Yahoo or ESPN. If a player is owned at 40% in one, but under the quarter-century benchmark in another he could find his way into the article.)

Our Football RCL’s are hosted on Yahoo! Miss out on joining one? Follow the progression through the season with our RCL Update!

Next week we’ll actually be able to discuss some of the waiver options, but for now here are a few names to keep an eye on that are largely being undrafted:

Dion Lewis, RB – NE (FantasyPros ADP: 112) – I know at 112 that means Lewis is largely being drafted, but I’ve seen some where he’s left off due to the injury. I imagine the ADP here doesn’t reflect the IR designation that came well into the preseason. I love Lewis as a stash, but only if you have a deeper bench. He’s the top IR option, and if you can wait until Week 8-10 when he should return there is incredible value with him. In a .5PPR or full PPR league Lewis has RB1 upside. If you don’t have an IR slot or have a shallow bench he’s someone to monitor closely as we approach mid October. He’ll most likely end up in this series again as the colors turn on the leaves.

Dwayne Allen, TE – IND (FantasyPros ADP: 148) – If you’re simply looking for a bench TE or flier option, you can do much worse than Allen, currently the 15th TE being taken. With Coby Fleener now out of town, and the Colts choosing the re-up on Allen, all signs point towards a potential breakout. Andrew Luck’s smart enough to find the open receiver, and All proved in 2014 that he’s already a great redone target with his 8 TDs in only 50 targets. He should reach a career high in targets (66 in 2012), which would lead to career highs across the board. Allen’s an undrafted option that could end up Top 10 at the position.

Devontae Booker, RB – DEN (FantasyPros ADP: 152) – Do you really trust C.J. Anderson? After last season I have serious hesitations that he’s fully locked in as the #1 bell cow for Denver. Anderson should get every opportunity, especially early, but Booker’s a rookie with enough talent to emerge as a legit dark horse for carries in the Broncos backfield. He already took backup Ronnie Hillman’s spot on the roster, and now his jersey number (Boom!), and don’t be surprised if he ends up with 10 touches per game through the first half of the year before pushing for 15+ come the end of October. He has a higher potential ceiling than other RB taken to fill a bench like Darren Sproles, James Starks or Alfred Morris, something I always look for in my final bench spots.

Mohamed Sanu, WR – ATL (FantasyPros ADP: 163) – Roddy White. Remember him? Now, Sanu is no Roddy White (a should-be Hall of Famer), but he’s proven before that he can bring some solid production if given targets. In 2014 when A.J. Green and Marvin Jones were both out in Cincy Sanu stepped in effectively as Andy Dalton’s go-to. Matt Ryan’s on a similar plan to Dalton, Julio Jones will receive the attention of everyone in the secondary, and Atlanta loves to pass. All of that spells the potential for Sanu to approach 1000 yards this year. From an undrafted option that’s a great value. Let’s go crazy: 70/1000/6 isn’t out of the picture.

Sammie Coates, WR – PIT (FantasyPros ADP: 200) – A true homer run option this late, Sammie Coates has the potential to step in as the true replacement for Martinis Bryant (sorry Markus Wheaton). Teammate Wheaton is going higher than Coates in drafts, but we’ve already seen him with an opportunity as a WR2 in this offense last season. And he did nothing. Coates has legit deep threat speed, is a huge target, and can stretch the defense for Antonio Brown to do his all-world magic across the middle. I don’t think he’ll be a voluminous target, but has the potential to be DeSean Jackson-lite…120 picks later. Great value, and a potential top pickup target after Week 1.

A little something like that. Go ‘head and DROP THOSE COMMENTS! Let me know your questions, pushback and other targets I’m missing. Looking forward to this series with you all year!

 

  1. Randy says:
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    In 12-tm standard (start 2RB/2WR/1TE+flex), I have to drop someone for a kicker. Who would you drop and would you make other moves based on free agents? QB: Luck/Tannehill; RB: McCoy/Ingram/Ware/TColeman/M Gordon/T West; WR: Antonio/Cobb/Gordon/Marvin Jones/Funchess/Boyd; TE: D Allen/J Cook. Free agents: James White, Sproles, Spiller, Stills, Dorsett, Boldin, Hogan, Vance McD, Cliff W, Virgil G, Jesse James, Crockett G.

    Also, to help in a second league, where would you rank T Sharpe vs. Boyd, Funchess, and other free agent WRs noted above?

    Thanks!

    • Kneely says:
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      @Randy: Tannehill can be dropped. I’d find a way to get J. White on your team. Lots of opportunity for him to excel as the Patriots passing back.
      Also, why not just write out full last names? Took me a minute to figure out who “Cliff W” is.

    • kenly0 says:
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      @Randy: Drop Tannehill and Coleman. Pick up White

    • @Randy: Hey Randy! It’s ok…I know who Cliff W is. You have a solid squad, especially at WR all the way down. I’d drop Cook before I drop Tannehill. But that’s not an endorsement of Tannehill. Allen and Cook are both 15-18 TE, and I’d rather have Vance McDonald than Cook anyways. So, with the FA bin housing a few decent options, drop the disappointing Cook. Grab the K there. I agree that White is more valuable right now than Coleman, too.

      Funchess
      Boyd
      Sharpe
      Hogan
      Dorsett
      Stills
      Boldin

  2. William Hung says:
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    @[email protected]: Love your commentary and analysis – took down a lot of notes you had on players for my draft tonight. Between all the material you and Jay provided, hopefully I’ll have better success this year after my disaster last season

    • @William Hung: Thanks William! Really enjoyed the live draft Monday night, and glad you were able to pull something helpful from that…hopefully. Just stay on top of the articles, be heavy in the comments, and pay attention. You’ll fare much better. We don’t like disasters.

      • William Hung says:
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        @[email protected]: would love your thoughts on my draft that I posted below.

        In summation – everyone picked the RBs I was targeting early before I could and instead of reaching, I went WRs my first 3 picks…

  3. gobiggreen says:
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    who would you ride with for a keeper league: DeAndre Washington or Josh Doctson????? I’d expect DeAndre to have the better impact this year but…..

    • @gobiggreen: Doctson. And it’s not that close.

      In Dynasty I’ll always value WR over RB. And if you’re in a dynasty league Doctson is a consensus top 5 rookie pick, while Washington can be had in the 2nd round (most likely). Washington has potential to be a nice addition, but the shelf life is so much less for RB, plus Murray’s in tow, no matter how much people are (unnecessarily) low on him.

  4. Letsgo says:
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    What side do you prefer?

    1) Justin Forsett for charles sims

    2) le’veon bell/deangelo Williams for Matt forte/bilal Powell/ Stefon diggs

    3) forte/Powell/Stefon diggs for dez bryant/ Langford

    • Letsgo says:
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      @Letsgo: What side do you prefer?

      1) Justin Forsett for charles sims

      2) le’veon bell/deangelo Williams for Matt forte/bilal Powell/ Stefon diggs

      3) forte/Powell/Stefon diggs for dez bryant/ Langford @Letsgo: one more:

      Forsett/Alshon jeffery for dez/charles sims

      • Kneely says:
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        @Letsgo: Not sure if your league is PPR, but, if so, Sims is a huge upgrade over Forsett. Maybe you can shed some more light on your league’s scoring, so a better answer can be given to your 4 scenarios.

        • Letsgo says:
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          @Kneely: thanks for the heads up. It’s a standard league, 6 point tds… Rushing yards worth 0.1 points per yard… Cut and dry basic league

          • Letsgo says:
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            @Letsgo: it is NOT ppr.

        • @Kneely: I’d go with Sims even if it’s not PPR (which it’s not). Not high on Forsett this year with so many potential backs in Baltimore, his age, and his injury history.

    • @Letsgo: 1) Sims 2)Bell/Williams (that one’s easy) 3)Dez/Langford.

      I’m not high on Forte at all, and even though Powell has value in a PPR based on what he did last year, the best player in the deal is on the other side. Dez is a borderline 1st rounder; I wouldn’t take Forte until the late 3rd at the earliest. Bell’s the #1 RB from Week 4 on, and until then you have a top 5 option (last year) in DeAngelo.

  5. Kneely says:
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    In PPR, does Buck Allen or T. West represent an upgrade over either B. Powell or S. Vereen?

    • @Kneely: Powell is the most valuable of those four options in PPR. I’d prefer T West next, as Vereen continues to age and decline in production, and I believe Kenneth Dixon will emerge as the third down RB in Baltimore quite quickly, pushing Javorius out of the mix.

  6. Dan says:
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    12 team PPR league.

    Would you drop Treadwell for Eli Rogers, Kenny Stills, or Braxton Miller, or hold for now? Sounds like Treadwell is buried on the depth chart for now, and any of the three guys listed could be sneakily productive.

    Thanks a lot.

    • @Dan: For this year alone, I’d still stash Treadwell. He has the highest upside of the bunch, and could still prove massive in the red zone. My fear is that he reproduces what Devante Parker did last year in Miami, though. Of the other names I like the potential of Eli Rogers in Pittsburgh. I’m not a believer in Markus Wheaton, so while Sammie Coates will fill the Martavis Bryant role, Rogers could slot into the (wait for it)…slot and give some decent PPR value. Braxton would seem to be too raw to bring value yet, and Stills has a lot of weapons around him in a mitigated passing offense.

  7. Carmichael Show says:
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    I’m looking to pick up someone for my IR slot. Its a deep league so Lewis and Ladarius were drafted. Romo and Dixon are available – who do you like between the 2? Is there another injured player that you like better as a stash?

    • @Carmichael Show: I love the Dixon stash in a deeper league. Romo isn’t a bad option, but there are so many QBs, and even when he comes back he’s not going to set the league on fire. We’ve seen since the DeMarco year that Dallas’ plan is to bulldoze behind that O-Line rather than air it out with the rest of the league. Dixon could become a boon in the second half if he emerges as the best playmaker on a team filled with mediocre competition for him.

  8. Onenoretime says:
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    What’s your take on the news with christine Michael? Sounds like he’s the starter for the first couple weeks…

    Question: in a 3 year keeper league, would you ship christine Michael and Justin Forsett for Derrick Henry?

    • RotoLance

      RotoLance says:
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      @Onenoretime: News? More like old news.

      Seriously though, is he the starter or are they just stating the obvious, that it’s a timeshare.

      • @RotoLance: Haha, I don’t know if it’s news. Let’s say it’s more accurately people actually realizing the severity of Rawls injury a little too late into draft season. The backup in Seattle should have been targeted the entire offseason, we just didn’t know who it would be (Prosise? Collins?). Now that Michael’s impressed in the preseason and emerged as the #2 he’ll start the first few weeks for Rawls to build up steam. I’d value him loosely, though, as he’s never done much in his limited opportunities.

    • @Onenoretime: First tot he dynasty question…YES! Give me Henry as fast as possible. Michael hasn’t proven anything yet and continues to get older as a RB. Forsett may be out of the league after this year. Henry could be dominate for the next 5 years.

      Now to this year and the ‘news’ in Seattle. Rawls injury was serious, and it’s shortsighted to assume he’s fully healthy just 9 months later. He’s no Nick Chubb! (Ha! Go Dawgs! And sweet mercy I can’t wait to target him in every dynasty league possible) Sorry, back to it…Michael’s going to start Week 1, and I think that could stretch to Week 4. Like an old flame you still have dreams about, they’ve the thought of bringing him back. Again. If you drafted Rawls early thinking he’d be the bell cow I’d make sure to have Michael on my squad as insurance.

  9. Luke says:
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    In PPR leagues, do you like Sharpe or Aiken more this year?

    • @Luke: Aiken. I was THIS close to mentioning him in the article, but he’s most likely being drafted already as a WR4/5. I mentioned it quickly in the Live Draft commentary Monday night, but Aiken was an INCREDIBLE PPR option last season to end the year. Yes, Smith Sr. was out, but so was Flacco. And look at what he did:

      /Users/matthay/Desktop/Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 2.34.48 PM.png

      • @[email protected]: Well dad blam…I wanted to drop a screen shot in there, but that didn’t work. Here are the numbers from Week 8 on:

        6/62
        7/73
        5/50/1
        6/80/1
        6/48
        5/90
        8/128/1
        8/66
        5/76

        That’s incredible for PPR. He’s an awesome underrated option to grab late.

  10. William Hung says:
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    [email protected] – would love your thoughts on my draft results: 12 team 0.5 PPR

    R1 – AJ Green (Miller was taken 1 spot ahead)
    R2 – A-Robinson (Le’Veon was taken 2 spots ahead)
    R3 – Randall Cobb (McCoy, Charles – not interested, and Martin all taken ahead of me)
    R4 – Greg Olsen (passed up on Rawls and Hyde because they don’t get me excited)
    R5 – Arian Foster (Latavius, Langford, Murray, and Stewart all taken ahead of me)

    At this point I was just going best available based on Jay’s rankings and the rest of the draft played out like this:

    R6 – Gio Bernard (Love his early schedule, debatable if I should’ve passed up Matthews)
    R7 – Danny Woodhead (Derrick Henry was taken this round, but in .5 PPR, I think I got a steal here)
    R8 – Matt Jones (I think he’s getting 20 carries a game, right???? honestly, if I knew how my draft would play out, I would’ve gone Tyrod here)
    R9 – Charles Sims (passed up on Benjamin, Yeldon… I feel like Tyrod killed my strategy)
    R10 – Bortles (cause only 1 other team didn’t have a QB yet and didn’t want to get stuck with Stafford or Matty Ice)
    R11 – Torrey Smith (Your recommendation)
    R12 – Corey Coleman ([email protected]’s recommendation)
    R13 – Tyler Boyd (not sure what to do here so I went upside, I could’ve gone James White here but I had my next pick in mind – Really pissed Ajayi was taken right before I picked)
    R14 – Dion Lewis ([email protected]’s analysis of him had me target him. I’m not sure I have the personnel to keep him though since I’m thin at RB
    R15 – Minny
    R16 – Walsh

    So in summation
    QB – Bortles
    RB – Foster, Bernard
    WR – Green, Robinson, Cobb
    TE – Olsen
    Flex – Woodhead
    Bench:
    RB – Jones, Sims, Lewis
    WR – Smith, Coleman, Boyd

    The best I can say about my team is that everybody is getting snaps except for Lewis. I need to pray to the Gods that Foster doesn’t get hurt

    • kenly0 says:
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      @Letsgo: Sims, Bell, Dez, and [email protected]William Hung: Nice squad. I personally like Stafford over Bortles. Also, I would try to trade one of your wr’s for a top rb. I like all 3 of your bench wr’s as sleepers

      • William Hung says:
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        @kenly0: I’m actually trying to flip Boyd for Ajayi right now as the Foster handcuff.

        I might be forced to play out the first few weeks with this RB core before I trade anyone. Flipping any of my top 3 WRs forces Torrey Smith into my lineup and that’s risking a 0 right now.

        At least Bernard has favorable matchups over Jeremy Hill through the first month and Woodhead could potentially outplay Gordon as well. Not getting Tyrod kind of screwed up the end of my draft.

      • @kenly0: I like Kenly’s idea of trading one of your WR for a RB. I wouldn’t do it yet, as you may have fallen into some good RB options and can get a big leg up on the competition with your WR. But if one of them goes bananas, one of your bench WR looks solid, and a team is really struggling at WR, I’d certainly try to flip them for above draft market value.

    • @William Hung: Alright…let me lock in for a few minutes to debrief this. (I love this part of the gig…)

      In short, I like your squad. .5PPR and trotting out AJ/ARob/Cobb is beautiful. I wouldn’t get excited about Rawls or Hyde, either, but the 4th is a little early for Olsen, imo. He’s solid, but I wonder if there was someone else there that could have brought more value.

      The RB situation is the weak link. And you know that. Foster has the RB1 upside, but I just can’t trust him. Hopefully that pans out. Bernard as a RB2 in .5PPR isn’t bad, but I’d rather FLEX him. However, Woodhead in this format could be a steal in the 7th and mitigates the Bernard at RB2 situation. Jones, Sims and Lewisall have potential to slot in if certain scenarios play out. And I’d hold onto Lewis if you can. The other 5 RBs should be able to bring enough value in a 12 team league since your WR are so incredibly strong.

      I’d actually prefer Stafford to Bortles. It doesn’t really matter as every QB after Eli is basically a wash, and you could group him in there, too.

      Torrey could emerge as a sneaky WR since he’s the #1 option in San Fran. Obviously the QB situation there blows, but he could give a 65/1000/7 year.

      Vikings D is going to be sneaky good. I believe @Zach hyped them at some point in the past month. And Blair Walsh. Go Dawgs.

      Yes, Foster needs to stay healthy…

      • William Hung says:
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        @[email protected]: Thanks for the analysis! I actually had Olsen as my 5th round target, but I was picking 59th overall and Reed had gone 2 picks ahead of me in the 4th, so I def know I panicked a little bit there. I had a choice in the 4th round – pick Olsen a bit early, go for my 4th straight WR, or pick a RB (Hyde, Rawls, Forte, Latavius, Jeremy Hill, or Langford were my top RBs at that point)… I actually would’ve leaned toward Jarvis Landry if he hadn’t been picked right ahead of me there.

        Another player I was thinking about reaching for was Maclin because I think in your draft recap you and Jay mentioned that Maclin could provide sneaky WR1 value in a PPR league.

        • @William Hung: In a PPR Maclin holds great value, but in standard scoring I tend to shy away from him (and wrote an article about him being overrated with a #42 ADP). Anywho…your team’s strong, and you’ll get a good return on Olsen.

      • William Hung says:
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        @[email protected]: Should I have Rob Kelley on my watch list as a Matt Jones owner, or should I cut Tyler Boyd for Kelley? Also, I’m seeing if I can swap Tyler Boyd for Jay Ajayi right now.

        Rob Kelley is getting a lot of hype since Jones didn’t play in the preseason. What are your thoughts on Jones and Kelley?

        • @William Hung: I actually like Boyd as a late round flyer. That offense should pass often, and right now he’s basically the #2 option with Eifert hurt and Jones/Sanu gone. But for your squad, getting Ajayi as insurance wouldn’t be a bad thing. May have to pay more than Boyd, but worth a shot.

          I wouldn’t drop Boyd for Kelley, though. I still like Jones and his potential, but he showed last year, as with the rest of the Redskins backfield, that it’s hard to really trust any of them. And I’d rather have Ajayi than Kelley.

          • William Hung says:
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            @[email protected]: Yeah I love Boyd too, but there’s like a 1% chance that Foster makes it through the whole season healthy.

            I guess the real question is: Is it better to have insurance for an injury prone player, or have a player who could potentially outperform the insurance policy or shit the bed? I don’t have an opinion on Jay Ajayi since I’m not familiar with him, but from some internet sources, they say he has the skill set to be a feature back if/when Foster goes down (even with his lackluster preseason/camp)

            • @William Hung: 1%? Goodness you’re being highly generous, haha. Ajax is higher than Kelley, and Foster’s more of an injury concern (to me) than Jones. Makes Ajayi an easy pick with those two in context.

  11. Damon Clark says:
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    Hi [email protected] – Can you help me find some ways to fill in my weak spots. Most likely will be by way of trade unless there’s a hidden gem you think will be on the waiver.

    This is a “mostly” standard league but there are bonuses for big plays +1 pt for 20 yrd run/catch and +2 pt for 40 yrd run/catch.

    2nd pick of the draft – Snake
    T. Gurley
    A Cooper
    B Cooks
    T Hilton
    L Murray
    D Baldwin (Maybe a gamble, but had to get one heart over head pick)
    J Stewart
    D Williams
    C Palmer
    M Wheaton
    E Manning
    J Ajayi (I dropped him and picked up S Ware on the waiver wire this morning, looking for a trade option since I’m heavy on RB, bonus, my opponent this week has Jamaal Charles)
    A Hurns
    Steelers
    V Green
    A Vinatieri

    I feel like I need to trade a RB for a “safer” TE. Though hopefully V Green lives up to his hype.

    • @Damon Clark: Wow. Really like the squad. Yes, TE is the weak spot, but you can stream a hot name from week to week until you find a trade target. Loe the RB. One thought it trading DeAngelo to the Lev owner after he is awesome in Week 1 for a TE upgrade. I’d start DW while’s on your roster, though, even over Murray and Stewart. I’d sit on the squad until Week 1 passes at least.

      Hurns that late is awesome. Not a big Wheaton fan.

  12. William Hung says:
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    [email protected] – I recall during your post draft analysis with Jay, that you were not high on Spencer Ware which I am seeing as the minority report compared to all the other sources out there. Is C. West someone I should have on my radar early in the season?

    Another player I currently have on my shortlist of potential FA pickups is Theo Riddick – is he someone who can provide good FLEX value in my .5 PPR league?

    • @William Hung: I’m not necessarily low on Ware, I’m just not spending a first 10 round pick on him on what could be one week of starting. DeAngelo is a different animal for the Steelers because it’s three games AND he’s proven he can be an RB1 when starting; Ware’s yet to really do that.

      As for West, I view him just a hair under Ware, because Ware should still get red zone touches even when Charles is back (not all of them), while West more fits the Charles mold and becomes slightly redundant.

      All of it comes down to my belief that Charles will be back soon, and when he returns he’ll fully take the reins.

      Roddick’s not a bad option in a PPR format, but he has a very minimal ceiling with a decent floor. Won’t get you 15+ pts many/any weeks, but is quite safe for 5-8 pts. He’s a BYE week fill-in, not a potential every week starter.

      • William Hung says:
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        @[email protected]: I wish I kept the links and took screenshots of some of the articles I was reading on Ware. Rotoworld had a blurb at some point saying he’s a solid RB2 and can be taken in the 6-8th rounds, while another site said he can be the next Priest Holmes

        • @William Hung: Sure, he CAN be…just like Ryan Mathews could have been the next Marshall Faulk. I wouldn’t pay that heavily for him. Not with Charles there still, and Charcandrick West a capable RB.

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